Learning how to get started with a profitable meal prep business in India? If so, then you are on the right page. Starting a new venture can be a rewarding experience for any startup. But to be a successful business entrepreneur, one has to make an extra effort in the pre-establishment phase. This write-up encompasses every detail and aspect crucial for establishing a legally viable meal prep business in India.
9 Actionable Steps to set up a Successful Meal Prep Business in India
1: Opt for a Right niche
You have plenty of options for what type of meal prep business you wish to commence & it is best to opt for a niche early on to perfect services & products. There are few widely acknowledged formats worth considering, but you can always branch out & set up a meal prep business that is unique to you.
One popular alternative is uncooked yet prepared meal ingredients. These meal-preparing kits typically comprise delivery of all required ingredients used to prepare the recipe- in the accurate proportion with intuitive cooking guidelines provided. Such meal kits are fun for foodies who wish to cook new recipes or for busy singles that are unable to cook meals without having plenty of leftovers go to waste.
Another viable option for a meal prep business is to facilitate fresh meals & pre-made. You can prepare the meal yourself & deliver a week’s worth of soups, salads, & other lip-smacking meals to your consumer’s doors.
A third popular option is to host meal prep workshops. You will provide and prepare the ingredients for tasty meals and the workshop to prepare the meals. Your consumers will prepare their recipes onsite & take their meals home.
2: Prepare a business plan
A well-thought-out business blueprint can pave down the roadmap of success for your business. Your plan will arrange your research, identify your demand in the given market, prepare your growth plans, & manifest your value to any key lenders or investors. If you are unsure where to get started, a business plan template can ease the overall task much easier.
3. Opt a catchy business name
When you are preparing a business plan, you must also figure out the best name for your business. A catchy and customer-oriented business name can help you underpin a solid presence in the target market, but only if it is unique to its core. You will wish to cross-check that your name isn’t already used by consulting the trademark’s site. If your name is not registered, you may wish to act promptly and register your domain name before someone else does.
4. Choose a viable business structure
When preparing a business blueprint, you will need to underpin the legal structure of your business. If you have not chosen a business structure yet, this is the time to research which form is suitable for you. For some, that might be a general partnership or a sole proprietorship. For others, it could be an OPC or an LLP.
If you are unsure which direction you wish to head in, consider confronting a field expert, preferably a business attorney, about the best entity. This may cost you few bucks, but it is worth spending. Once you opt for a business entity, you should legalize your meal prep business with the required authorities.
5: Pinpoint the products & services
When you figure out your niche beforehand, you probably have the best idea of what types of products & services you wish your meal prep business to provide.
To get more clarification on that, answer the following questions:
- What type of goods or services does you intent to sell to the customers?
- What will be the price of products and services?
- How much supplies are supposed to cost?
- What will be the cost of the production process?
- How much time & funds will be needed to R&D your products?
Invest some time in this process; your completed business blueprint will serve as a road map that can steer your business through the tough times.
5: Get applicable licenses and permits
While this step might not be most delightful, it is mandatory. It is time to ensure you have all the suitable licenses and permits in place to run your business.
Your area of operation, business type and business form will affect what you are required to register for; you have to secure the applicable licenses at state, central and local levels. If you seek help simplifying this process, the CorpBiz facilitate helpful resources to get started.
Anyway, here is the list of licenses and permits that one required to start a meal prep biz in India;
FSSAI food license
The first license that you need to secure for the meal prep business is the FSSAI food license. It is granted by the Food Safety Standard Authority of India. It is an apex government body that regulates food sectors inside out. Every entity serving this sector needs to register with FSSAI. The Food Safety Standard Authority of India facilitates food licenses under three different heads: basic, state, and central food license.
The fire department confers the no-objection certificate after examining the building’s fire resistance and a fire safety mechanism that should be in line with the norms recommended by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and respective state governments, respectively.
Employees Provident Fund (EPF) refers to a scheme governed by the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. This scheme is governed under the aegis of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (aka EPFO), one of the world’s leading social security bodies regarding clientele and the volume of financial transactions undertaken. Generally, EPF aims to facilitate retirement benefits to the employees. Entities having 20 or more individuals working as an employee are required to obtain EPF Registration.
GST registration typically applies to businesses;
- Having an annual Turnover limit is more than Rs 40 lacs
- Engaged with the inter-state supply of goods and services
Apart from that, the GST regime also encompasses the following taxpayers without taking turnover criteria into account:
- Casual Taxable individual/ISD, aka Input Service Distributor
- Non-resident taxable person
- Inter-state suppliers of services and goods
- Suppliers of goods via an online storefront
- Any service provider
- Taxpayers coming under reverse charge mechanism
- Online data access or retrieval service provider
- TDS/TCS deductor
6: Identify viable meal sales channel
As cited above, you have alternatives regarding what type of meal prep biz you can start. That implies you can also secure control of how to sell the meals to the customers. You may have the aspiration to expand your business nationwide and ships meals straight to hungry customers. But if having various commercial kitchens to manage is not for you, you may wish to have a local outlet where end users pick up meals. You could even sell out meal kits at your local market each weekend. If you intend to save on an outlet and initiate a meal prep business from home, you can also set up a great online portal to sell your goods online.
7: Obtain small-business funding
Starting any form of business could be a costly affair, but especially so when you require a lot of supplies. To set up and grow a meal prep business, you will likely need some financial backup. We have curated a list of popular funding options, but be cautious while digging these options and opt for the one that suits you the best.
Business lines of credit
An advantage of this funding option is that it facilitates more flexibility than your conventional business loan. A business line of credit renders a specific amount of funds to address the ongoing business expenses.
Business credit cards
If you are a startup with a good credit history, look no further than a business credit card. Look for a credit card with a 0% intro APR (Annual Percentage Rate) & take the benefit of borrowing money with no interest whatsoever during the promotional period. Just ensure that you can pay off your credit in full before a variable APR come to light at the end of the promotional period.
If you are processing food items in bulk, you may require industrial kitchen equipment. In that scenario, you must take equipment financing into account. A lender will facilitate your credit specifically to fund equipment purchases & then utilize such equipment as your collateral. Owing to this built-in collateral, it is radically convenient for newer businesses to qualify.
8: Identify & control your supplies
Commencing a meal prep business will seek plenty of supplies. If all goes as expected, you will require uninterrupted supplies of fresh food, shipping material, etc. Because your venture will depend on accurate ingredients, you will need to pinpoint methods to reduce the input cost.
Buying your food items in bulk via a wholesale channel is productive way to reduce the supplies cost. Before placing an order, you should drill down on how much inventory you will require at your disposal. Overstocking supplies might be a good idea, but it is only for those catering to the demand of healthy customer base on consistent basis.
Once you have ordered the required supplies, you may wish to consider utilizing the inventory management app to keep the tap on the incoming & outgoing supplies. This way, you can stay on top of your game.
9: Underpin a viable marketing plan
Once you have decided on a business name and brand that you wish to build, it is time to solidify your position in the target market.
That’s right; you need to underpin a well-thought-out marketing plan. When creating your marketing blueprint, you will need to consider how effectively you can prove the value of your offerings. Will your products aid families to ensure cost-saving? How about saving time during the hectic week?
Do kids admire your vegetable dishes? Strive to leverage what makes you so competitive. In business parlance, it is regarded as a unique selling proposition (USP). You will use this as the foundation of your promotional efforts.
Meal prep business is viable business option for those who intend to make a mark in the food sector without investing a fortune. It is a sustainable business model which is likely to remain in trend for years to come.
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