Food business ideas are among the most profitable small businesses to start with low investment costs.
To help aspiring food entrepreneurs I’ve created this list of the best food business ideas to launch today including new ways to make money in restaurants, food trucks, e-commerce, importing, food products, and cooking instruction.
Let’s cook up some tasty profits…
Idea #1 – Bakery Business
There’s lots of sweet success to be had in the baking business. 🙂 Consider launching your own bakery store, sweet shop, or home bakery business.
The profit margins are high and the startup investment is low if you use your home kitchen to launch your cake business.
Learn more about how much it cost to start a bakery in my detailed article here
Get inspired by reading my big list of bakery name ideas that are available here
Idea #2 – Subscription box snacks
The subscription business model is booming. Capitalize on the opportunity by creating a subscription snack box customized to specific dietary needs such as diabetic, low calorie, low fat, or vegan.
Idea #3 -Restaurant design
The layout design of a restaurant is an important part of attracting customers. If you have a knack for design and understand space planning offer your services to new restaurants to help them design a winning decor.
Idea #4 -Food Brand Marketing and PR
Launch an advertising agency that specializes in promoting food products, restaurants, and food brands.
Idea #5 – Food Photography & Stylist
Food photography is a lucrative profession. There is also demand for food stylist to design the props and arrange the food for the best photos.
These are my best photography business name ideas
Assess my list of ways you can make money with your camera here
Idea #6 – Trade shows & tasting events
Put together a trade show for food suppliers to present their products to grocery store buyers or consider a consumer tasting event. A successful company in my area regularly stages food tasting “fairs” for chocolate, cheese, and beer.
These events make money by charging admission to tasters and also by getting fees from the vendors who are supplying the food and beverages for tasting.
Idea #7 -Cookbook Author
If you are a foodie and like to experiment in the kitchen you could become a cookbook author, recipe developer or tester.
Idea #8 -Specialty beverages
The trend towards specialty beverages such as bottled water, health drinks, and energy tonics is projected to continue strongly. How about developing your own formula drink to sell.
Idea #9 – Juice and smoothie bar
Healthy juices and smoothies could be your next business venture. You can set up your juice bar in a food truck, mall kiosk, or a counter in a gym or yoga studio. Consider expanding your juice bar into a casual restaurant by serving additional healthy fare such as salads and vegan dishes.
Idea #10 -Bartender service
If you know how to mix cocktails then you could use your bartending skills to make money and earn tips as a side hustle. Or you could start a bartender agency with many bartenders that you can hire out to catering firms for large events.
Idea #11 -Brewery pub
Craft beer pubs are hot now. Open a brewery pub serving craft beers, both local brews, and international varieties. Think about brewing your own beer and serve it at your pub.
Idea #12 -Catering
Instead of being tied down to one restaurant location consider being a mobile catering company. You can offer food services for events such as business conferences, weddings, and parties.
Here’s my best advice on how to start your own catering firm
Idea #13 -Food truck
The food truck industry has expanded dramatically over the past five years and is reported as one of the best performing segments in the foodservice sector.
Get busy making and serving food that is unique and gourmet at reasonable prices in your food truck.
Check out my big list of food truck name ideas that get customers lining up here
Idea #14 – Chocolate making
Start a chocolate making business of candy, bars, and sweet treats. Creating chocolate requires specific skills and equipment. Watching chocolate being made is interesting and can be a customer magnet to come into your chocolate manufacturing store.
Idea #15 – Ethnic Grocery Store
Open a grocery store with an ethnic focus. To compete with major grocery chains offer specialty items. Think about opening an Italian pork store, an Asian market or Spanish bodega. There is a successful Polish grocery store in my area.
Idea #16 – Coffee shop
The coffee shop industry is projected to grow by 4% to over 60 billion in the US. In addition to opening a coffee focused shop consider expanding into bagels, sandwiches, and yogurt. Your best customers are going to be 25 to 45 years old, affluent and well-educated.
Idea #17 – Commercial coffee service
Consider selling bulk coffee, tea, and brewing equipment to commercial locations and offices.
Idea #18 – Coffee roasters and importers
Coffee gets its distinctive flavor from the roasting processes and its place of origin. Start a venture of importing coffee and roasting it for delicious results to distribute under your brand name.
Idea #19 – Dining guide map and app
Create and publish a dining guide – map or app – for your local area or of a tourist destination. You could distribute your map free of charge and make money by selling advertisements to featured restaurants or you could sell your guide to consumers if you include discount coupons to listed restaurants.
Idea #20 – Cookie Fruit arrangements
Food gifts are money makers. Create interesting gifts using cookies, fruit, and gourmet products. Sell online for shipment to customers or offer local delivery.
Idea #21 – Gift baskets
Sell custom food gift baskets to corporations for client gifts. Customize your gift baskets by printing your client’s logo items included.
Idea #22 – Cooking classes
If you love to cook use your passion to teach others how to cook. You could teach classes in your home kitchen for local students or you could film the cooking classes and sell them online as a course.
A woman in my neighborhood makes a full-time salary with her in-home cooking classes for up to 8 people. She charges a fee for the class that includes a full dinner tasting and a copy of her printed cookbook.
Idea #23 – Cotton candy stand
Buy a cotton candy machine and use it to make money in a variety of ways. Set up a cotton candy stand at a fair or sporting event, or rent it out for parties, or make cotton candy and package it for sale at local stores.
Idea #24 – Popcorn cart
Gourmet popcorn is gaining in popularity! You could set up a popcorn cart or create your own flavored popcorn treats. How about opening a gourmet popcorn retail shop or online site featuring unusual flavorings such as eggnog, taco and burgundy wine popcorn.
Idea #25 – Farmers market
Open a farmer’s market in your community to help both your local farmers to sell their crops and your neighbors to get access to fresh healthy produce at reasonable prices.
Idea #26 – Vendor Market
Open a stall at an established farmers (or flea) market and sell fresh produce, baked goods, preserved items, flowers, and handmade crafts.
Idea #27 – Pasta making
Invest in pasta making equipment and create fresh pasta to sell to restaurants and gourmet shops.
Idea #28 – Ice cream and yogurt shop
We all scream for ice cream! I know I do. 🙂 Think about opening an ice cream shop. The best locations will be in tourist towns and on beaches.
Idea #29 – Delivery only restaurant
With the increase of consumers’ preference for take-out meals, a new type of restaurant called a virtual restaurant has been created.
This is a restaurant with no physical location to eat a meal but instead only a preparation kitchen where all meals are delivered or picked up for take away.
Idea #30 -Grocery delivery service
Today’s busy families often and don’t have time to go grocery shopping. How about launching a grocery delivery service in your area to help busy moms, elderly and disabled shut-ins get food.
Idea #31 -Hot dog cart
A good old fashioned hot dog cart can be a great money maker. Your mobile cart or food trucks can drive to where hungry customers are – music festivals, food truck events, and parks.
Idea #32 -Inventor of kitchen gadgets
Millions of dollars have been made with innovative kitchen items.
Industry leader, OXO started when their founder Sam Farber created a peeler for his wife Betsey who had arthritis in her hand. His innovative ergonomic form and non-slip grip launched his successful enterprise.
Idea #33 -Handcrafted Wood cutting boards
Use your woodworking talents to create artistic and functional items for the kitchen such as wooden cutting boards, spoons, and cookbook stands.
Get more of my bestselling woodworking business ideas here
Idea #34 – Recipe blog
Get online and create a blog with your recipes and profit from advertising, affiliate marketing, and e-book sales.
Learn about the best affiliate marketing niches in my article here
Idea #35 – Vlog youtube channel
Film informative videos showing cooking techniques, recipes, and ways to store and can food.
Idea #36 -Healthy Nutrition guidance
Become a healthy eating counselor to help people with specific medical issues to develop menu plans to help treat their diabetes, heart disease and IBS irritable bowel syndrome.
Idea #37 – Diet weight loss coach
Help people plan healthy menus and learn how to cook food that is low-calorie and low-fat to lose weight. In addition to helping people lose weight, you could also offer food guidance services for athletes to build muscle.
Idea #38 – Online seafood store
Many towns lack quality seafood stores. So supply their seafood needs with an online seafood store. Set up a dropship website to sell fresh seafood directly from the harbor to your customer’s door.
Get inspired by my big list of seafood business names here
Idea #39 – Specialty food products
Got a great recipe for hot sauce or pickles? Start a business by creating these products and selling them to gourmet markets, grocery stores, and online.
Idea #40 – Herb and spice collections
Import spices in bulk and package them attractively as your branded spice collection. Sell online on your own website or offer wholesale to other websites and grocery stores.
Idea #41 – Personal chef
Busy professionals often don’t have time to cook their own meals and want to hire personal chefs. You could create meals on a weekly basis which your clients heat up at their convenience or you could hire out your chef services for special events and parties.
Idea #42 – Produce store
Communities that do not have a dedicated produce store or farmers market would be the perfect location to open a produce store specializing in fresh fruits and vegetables.
Idea #43 – Wine club
Wine enthusiasts enjoy tasting different types of wine from diverse regions. Thus you could start a wine club featuring a subscription service along with educational material about each wine and the winery.
Idea #44 – Health food store
One of the most successful stores is in my neighborhood is a health food store. They sell a full selection of vitamins, organic produce, and healthy snacks. In addition to groceries, they have a food counter where they sell sandwiches, soups baked goods and coffee.
Idea #45 – Snack vending machines
People get hungry everywhere. Think about starting a snack vending machine business. Make your vending machine stand out by offering different types of snacks such as healthy, organic, low calorie, or diabetic friendly. Install your vending machines in hospitals, schools, offices, and malls.
Idea #46 – Restaurant supply
Instead of opening your own restaurant help others open their restaurants by selling supplies and equipment. Your company could offer kitchen equipment, cookware, silverware, tables, and chairs.
Idea #47 -Tea importer
The tea business is growing rapidly. Seriously consider the idea of importing specialty tea and creating your own brand for distribution.
Idea #48 -Wedding cakes & cake decoration
Profit from your cake artistry skills by selling custom made wedding cakes and decorating cakes for birthday, retirement, and graduation parties.
Idea #49 – Catering equipment rental
Make money by renting equipment to food caterers such as silverware, tablecloths, tables, and chairs.
Here are lots more of my best rental business ideas.
Idea #50 – Olive oil store
Specialty high-quality olive oils are a growing culinary trend. Open a retail store or online website selling garlic, lemon and herb infused oils and specialty vinegar.
Idea #51 -Farming
Grow your own profits by becoming a farmer. Review my best small-scale agricultural ideas here.
Idea #52 – Mushroom growing
Gourmet mushrooms are easy to grow indoors. Learn how to grow mushrooms commercially in my guide here.
Idea #53 – Cheesemaking
Make unique cheeses with cow’s, goat’s or sheep milk to sell at farmers markets and gourmet stores. Or you could make vegan cheese to sell at health food stores or online at vegan marketplaces.
Idea #54 – Fish farm
Start a side hustle by becoming a fish farmer. My neighbor in Hawaii started a fish farm in his backyard that became very successful.
Idea #55 – Candy store
Open a candy store selling nostalgic sweets and international favorites. You could also make and sell your own fudge and chocolate confections.
Idea #56 -Baby food business
Fortunes have been made in the baby food business by creating lines using organic fresh ingredients.
Read more in my article of business ideas aimed at babies here.
Author: Marsha Kelly
She is a serial entrepreneur and consultant for small business owners. She left the corporate grind with an arsenal of business strategies and the resolve to create her own opportunity. As it happened, she started, grew, and sold her first small business for more than $1,000,000.
Now with several successful businesses under her belt, she focuses on sharing her business advice on her blog: Best4Businesses.com.
Read more about Marsha Kelly here…