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Many of the most passionate and talented home cooks dream of setting up their own food and drink businesses and brands. Never has this been more true than over the past year or so.
With the world rocked by the ongoing global pandemic, how people both live and work have changed dramatically. With millions of people suddenly freshly focused, often for the first time, on innovative new ways to make a living from home, the small-scale business sector has exploded recently.
Cooking from home to sell has proved to be an area embraced by many. For those skilled in-home cooking, it's an obvious choice. What's more, it's also a potentially highly lucrative proposition. Using a so-called sell food from home app, talented home cooks can revel in their passion for all things culinary while simultaneously earning a healthy living.
For the majority, selling food from home starts with signing up for a home-cooked food delivery app such as Fromahome or Yummit. With the necessary skills, tools, and space at their disposal, they're then immediately on track to start selling homemade food online from the comfort of their own kitchens.
With the decision made to explore the world of small-scale business through a focus on home-cooked food delivery and selling homemade food online, any passionate and talented home cook's attention needs to turn squarely to technology.
By far, the easiest and most straightforward way to enter this burgeoning market is via one or more home-cooked food app choices. Among the most well-known is Yummit. Designed from the ground up to be an app for selling home-cooked food, Yummit allows users to run their own food and drink businesses from their home kitchens.
According to its team, if an individual has a passion for cooking and a suitable kitchen to hand, with Yummit, they've got their very own food business. British-based Yummit promises home-cooked meals on-demand. The necessary Yummit funding needed to launch the project saw more than nine months of work and over 32,000 lines of computer code bring the platform to life.
While detailed Yummit revenue figures aren't readily available, the app is free for both cooks and customers. Instead of charging to use the app, the team behind Yummit simply takes a 20 percent royalty split on any orders made. This leaves a healthy 80 percent with cooks on the app, which is paid out instantly via industry-leading online payment processing platform, Stripe.
Castiron is another newcomer to the home cooked food app market. Specifically built for the needs of the cottage cook or home-based food artisan, Castiron offers the tools that these food entrepreneurs need to build, grow, streamline, and scale their businesses. Castiron is eliminating the need for "DM to order" and messy emails to customers when new products are available. To learn more about Castiron, visit castiron.me.
Along the same lines is the Fromahome app. Operating from its international headquarters in Asia, Fromahome has a longer history than its British-based cousin. A concept first imagined by Fromahome's founder more than a decade and a half ago, initial development on the framework of what would eventually become Fromahome began in 2012. The Fromahome marketplace then launched for the first time in 2015.
Alongside Fromahome and Yummit, meanwhile, are other choices, including Chefit, as well as a growing number of more restaurant-focused apps. These include big names such as GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats.
GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats alike all now boast revenues over $1 billion. The market leader, DoorDash, has recently seen its revenue rocket, increasing by a staggering 267 percent. Enjoying close to $3 billion in revenue, this, of course, bodes well for the future of the likes of Yummit and Fromahome, as well as users of these and similar apps such as Chefit.
It's not just dedicated apps for selling home-cooked food that aspiring home-based culinary entrepreneurs need to consider. An array of other options exists, too, including Facebook Marketplace.
First introduced by the social networking giant in 2007, Facebook Marketplace initially failed to gain traction. However, relaunched in October 2016, the platform this time took off, thanks in no small part to the prominence placed on its buying and selling functionality within the Facebook app and on its website.
Facebook Marketplace has since gone on to establish itself as a primary source for online homemade food delivery. Home-cooked food delivery arranged via Facebook Marketplace largely mirrors similar homemade delivery offerings made possible through platforms like Etsy.
Distinct from food-focused websites and apps such as Yummit and Fromahome, plus more general marketplaces such as Facebook, Etsy remains primarily dedicated to vintage goods and craft supplies.
Home-cooked food delivery can also be arranged via websites and apps such as Uber Eats. An ever-growing part of ride-hailing technology behemoth Uber, the San Francisco Bay Area-headquartered company's food delivery service is, admittedly, tailored more toward restaurants. Within its market, Uber Eats now comes second only to DoorDash, with a reported annual revenue above $2.5 billion.
Facebook Marketplace, however, is open to all and boasts several other benefits over Uber Eats and similar competitors in the food delivery space. For example, it's possible for home cooks and customers alike to buy and sell on Facebook Marketplace without incurring fees, royalty splits, or commission charges.
When using Facebook's Commerce Manager, a selling fee of just 5 percent is applied for orders over $8 to cover the cost of payment processing. For orders under $8, sellers are charged a flat fee of $0.40. Beyond this, sellers on Facebook Marketplace keep all of their earnings.
While fees apply for those using Facebook's payment processing functionality, the service is entirely free to use for cash and other off-platform monetary transactions. For this reason, especially, Facebook Marketplace is a great destination for enterprising home cooks to begin their food and drink business adventures, keeping costs to a minimum while, at the same time, benefiting from access to the social network's more than 2.7 billion global users.
Selling homemade food online doesn't only rely on an individual's skills as a cook and their choice of selling platform or platforms. Marketing is also extremely important. Without customers, any business is doomed to fail. Yet, correctly marketed, there's invariably an enthusiastic potential customer base out there waiting to be charmed.
Further to Facebook Marketplace, those embarking on new ventures should also consider using the platform to create pages for their individual endeavors. The same can be done on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest – five other excellent sources of potential customers. Even Reddit and WhatsApp can be utilized to great effect, especially at a local level.
Those looking to invest further in their homemade food business dreams may also wish to explore the possibility of creating a standalone online store for their venture. Services such as Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace all make this easier than ever before. Squarespace's prices start at $12 per month, while Wix carries monthly fees of $14 and upwards. Shopify is markedly more expensive at $29 per month for even the e-commerce platform's most basic package.
A cheaper alternative may be to use a free, open-source content management system like WordPress and an e-commerce plugin such as WooCommerce. The main cost here will be separately arranged web hosting, prices for which typically start at around $2.99 per month courtesy of providers including GoDaddy, Bluehost, HostGator, and SiteGround.
Ultimately, the world is any aspiring home cook's oyster when looking to establish a business selling homemade food online. With that said, regardless of how or where a home cook opts to connect with customers, regulations about the sale of homemade food must be adhered to at all times.
Failure to adhere to stringent regulations can very quickly land small-scale business owners in hot water, so they must be fully acquainted with everything that they need to know before getting started.
Accordingly, it's vital to research precisely how to sell home-cooked food online safely and in line with local, regional, and national regulations. Where a fledgling business is prepared to commit to processes such as professional packaging and labeling—and with the correct licensing or relevant government agency approval—it's also possible to sell food and drink products on Amazon and elsewhere.
More specifically on the subject of regulations, key areas to investigate include so-called cottage food laws, zoning permits, and business licenses. Rules concerning refrigeration requirements, for example, too, should also be looked into and fully understood before launching any sort of home food business.
Researching each of these areas in detail will, also, help to shed further light on how to sell food online from home in a manner that's both profitable and which directly reflects the many tactics and techniques used by restaurants and established home cooks already in the market.
Valuable resources include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, individual state government websites, and pages for regional departments of agriculture, health and human services, rural development, and consumer provisions. It's important to absorb as much information as possible at the outset. The same is true of continuing to stay up to date with any changes made to regulations moving forward.
It's further advisable to subscribe to relevant email newsletters or create Google Alerts for key terms and phrases surrounding local food and drink legislation and regulations, particularly as they pertain to selling food from home.
Once that's taken care of, and whether using Yummit, Fromahome, Facebook Marketplace, Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, or another platform or service entirely, a world of opportunity awaits those committed to success on their home-based food business journey.
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