"Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people eat together."
Food is the fuel that runs the human body like a well-oiled machine. People form bonds, create memories, and have countless stories to narrate at a table full of food. It is true that people bond over food! No wonder then that a food business seems like a lucrative business opportunity to many, it's almost like a recession-proof business. People around the globe have to have 3 meals in a day, out of which every day some people will eat at least one meal outside.
In fact, in 2021, the food processing industry emerged as one of the top 15 most profitable businesses in the world. Now that’s some revelation and motivation enough to venture into the food industry. Wanting to start a food business but clueless about where to begin? Confused about what food business is the most profitable? It is only natural to educate yourself about the most profitable food business if you are considering venturing into the food business. Do not fret, we have got you covered. We have put together a list of the most profitable food business to consider for your food business debut!
Top 5 most profitable food ventures
1. Ice-cream parlor
Everyone loves ice-creams at least that's what the latest research suggests. The ice cream industry is estimated to be worth $65.8 billion by 2026. With new and innovative flavors being introduced and customers open and willing to experiment with them, starting your food business journey with ice-creams is a great idea. There will always be takers for delicious, handmade ice creams, and will be more than willing to pay an extra premium for their favorites. However, like any business, an ice cream business too has its highs and lows. Hit summers and you won’t even have time to breathe as ice cream sales will be unusually high. But come winter and the demand for ice creams plummets. Being a seasonal product the fluctuation in demand for ice-creams is a given. So how does an ice cream business remain profitable throughout the year? By bringing in innovation and catering to the needs of every season. In winter you could have Christmas special menus such as fried ice cream, sizzling ice cream, ice cream served on a bed of hot brownies, and liquor/alcohol-infused ice cream. The goal is to offer something appealing to everyone.
Today bakeries are a whole experience in itself and a food business with high-profit margins. The reason is, that bakery supplies such as wheat flour, sugar, eggs, etc., can be bought in bulk and stored for later use. Buying in bulk lowers your overall purchasing costs and translates into higher profits. If you are a passionate baker you can consider starting your own bakery. The choices are endless, you could start as a small business or get franchise rights to an already established bakery business like a Dunkin Donuts or a Tim Hortons. Setting up a bakery business both in a suburb and an urban area where many families reside and are typically looking for convenience is a good idea. The trick is to have a balanced mix of basics like breads, dry cakes, bagels, and the artisanal variety to cater to both daily and occasional needs of your customers.
3. Food Trucks
Food trucks have gained huge popularity over the last decade and are one of the most popular and rapidly growing business sectors in the US. Food trucks generated revenues worth $1.3 billion in 2021. There are mainly two types of food trucks:
- Food carts: These carts typically sell food items such as hot dogs, corn on the cob, ice creams, and french fries, to passers-by. Basically, any food that people can have on the go.
- Upscale food trucks: Food trucks on the other hand offer sit-down service at scheduled stops during lunch hours and have more variety of food and proper meals such as sandwiches/crepes/rice and curry etc.
Opening a food truck costs way less than opening a restaurant making it a very lucrative and profitable business venture. However, both food carts and food truck owners have to take permits and fulfill all the legal requirements to operate a truck/cart as the case may be in a particular area. The start-up costs too can vary depending on the food you plan to serve. Baking cookies and cupcakes will require more equipment than serving a salad. The manpower required will also vary depending on the demand and the food you serve. The price range of food from a food truck will also vary depending on the food being served and the area where a food truck is operating from. On average food truck, businesses make approx $500 per day.
4. Food Kiosks
Do you aspire to start a food business with a small investment, cook food that’s tasty, appeals to the senses, is healthy, and is easy to consume on the go? Consider opening a food kiosk in a high-traffic area like a popular mall or a popular shopping street or in a financial or corporate center of your city or an office lobby or a famous park or outside a popular concert or outside an auditorium hosting a soccer match. Basically, any place that attracts a large crowd. Food kiosks require minimal capital and overhead cost making them an attractive option for people who want to take it slow and with very little investment. They are a great way to get a feel of what people like and what they don’t. Food kiosks can be a good test run before one decides to invest in a full-blown restaurant.
5. Fast Food business
Now this one is a no-brainer. A fast-food business is bound to be successful and a profitable venture no matter you open one on a franchise business model or a single-unit outlet. Whether you are a small or a large investor there is a fast food business concept for you. Why? People love fast-food and hence fast-food restaurants come in various formats, from drive-throughs to buffets to traditional sit-down meals to cater to all kinds of customers. The concept of fast food came into being with the intent to feed the masses in a quick and convenient manner. The two main characteristics that define a fast food business no matter the size is quick service and affordable prices. You have a small budget, start a drive-through fast-food business, and serve finger-licking at affordable prices and you will be a profitable business in no time.
The food industry is one place where you need not necessarily start out big. If you have the passion and interest but are limited on resources, you could start out with something as small as starting a home-chef outlet too. As your popularity and earnings grow you can invest back in the business and grow your business slowly and steadily. The sky is the limit in this part of the world!
We hope our guide will be a good resource to help you choose where to start, organically grow, and turn your dream of owning a food business into a reality.