14 Things To Know When Starting A Successful Online Food Business

Want to start your own online food business? Here are 14 tips you should know.
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We've interviewed thousands of successful founders at Starter Story and asked what advice they would give to entrepreneurs who are just getting started.

Here's the best advice we discovered for starting a online food business:

#1: Jen Hansard, founder of Simple Green Smoothies:

We chatted with with Jen, founder of Simple Green Smoothies ($30K/month). In our interview, Jen says:

Being an entrepreneur was never my dream. I wanted to get married, raise a family, decorate a cute house, travel a lot as a family. I started my own business out of necessity— it was my way to help feed our family and pay our rent when things got real tough.

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#2: Alex Moore, founder of Rosa's Thai Cafe:

We chatted with with Alex, founder of Rosa's Thai Cafe ($2M/month). In our interview, Alex says:

We were nice to people, we included all the key staff in a very generous stock option when we sold and looked after the amazing people who have helped make Rosa’s what it is today.

Additionally:

Recipes are a great way to capture the audience, especially if it’s a dish they’ve eaten with us before that can be recreated at home.

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#3: Katie Young, founder of Klondike Kettle Corn:

We chatted with with Katie, founder of Klondike Kettle Corn ($4.5K/month). In our interview, Katie says:

Be open to new ideas and always be searching for creative ways to keep your product interesting.

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#4: Christine Moore, founder of Lil Buff Protein:

We chatted with with Christine, founder of Lil Buff Protein ($80K/month). In our interview, Christine says:

There is no perfect timing. Strike while the iron is hot and figure the rest out later. We started selling our cakes before we even knew how much the cost to produce was. I’m not implying that this is a good business strategy, but there is something to be said for jumping in with both feet and taking risks.

Additionally:

My suggestion is to attend some local entrepreneur networking events. Also, reach out to companies with similar audiences through social media and set up a phone call to discuss goals and roadblocks. I was incredibly shocked at how friendly and helpful the entrepreneur space is.

Further:

Mistakes are where growth happens. When things are going well it is easy to get complacent. Snags create innovation and there is strength in the struggle.

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#5: Kyra Bussanich, founder of Kyra's Bake Shop, LLC:

We chatted with with Kyra, founder of Kyra's Bake Shop, LLC ($64K/month). In our interview, Kyra says:

If you want to grow beyond your own personal capabilities, you need to take a global view of your business, and focus where you are most effective, and hire people who are better than you to do the tasks where you don’t excel.

Additionally:

It took me years to learn how to look at the big picture as more representative of the financial health of the business; while our gross revenue has decreased slightly from our year 7 high, our net revenue has quadrupled.

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#6: Scott Unkefer, founder of Just Panela LLC:

We chatted with with Scott, founder of Just Panela LLC ($175K/month). In our interview, Scott says:

“Don’t look for a void in the market and then go try and fill that void. Find something that when people experience it they say to themselves “Well this is what I wanted all along.”.

Additionally:

It was a ‘couple of gringos trying to ship pallets of powdery substance out of Colombia to the U.S. It couldn’t have looked more suspicious. I was laughed out of meetings with a couple logistics companies in the first year or two. They wouldn’t touch us.

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#7: Heather Saffer, founder of Dollop Gourmet:

We chatted with with Heather, founder of Dollop Gourmet ($30K/month). In our interview, Heather says:

Over the next two weeks, my parents (who are divorced) and I spent 6-8 hours a day in the back of a dark warehouse packaging thousands of orders that had come in from Shark Tank.

Additionally:

I’ve also learned, which I think is important to keep in mind, that there is always another way. There’s a certain way of how things are usually done, but if you have a great product, a great story, and you’re a great person, there’s always another way.

Further:

This is for the solopreneurs: You can absolutely succeed as a solopreneur. Don’t take a partner just because you don’t want to do it solo.

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Want to start an online food business?

See our full guide ➜