Starting a food business can involve opening your own restaurant, bakery, food truck, cake shop, or even starting a business or blog online.
Other kinds of food businesses include manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. Food businesses prepare a wide range of foods such as snacks, sweets, and meals to sell directly to consumers and also include cafeterias at workplaces and similar facilities.
If you have a passion for food, starting a food business can be an extremely fun, challenging, and rewarding business venture.
Here are some real life success stories of starting a food startup:
1. KÜiK Meal ($144K/year)
Enric Miquel Pico (from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain) started KÜiK Meal over 5 years ago.
Hello guys! I’m Enric Miquel and am I the Founder of KÜiK Meal, but I am also working as International Marketing Manager in Laboratoires Grand Fontaine. I am a pharmacist from the University of Barcelona and have been working in the pharmaceutical marketing field for the last 5 years.
To that date, we have already served 14.000 meals throughout Spain, France and Portugal. Besides, this last April, we have gained a new ambassador for KÜiK, Ragna Debats, a world champion leader of running. Until now, she has accumulated titles such as three-time world champion 2018, European champion of sky-running 2017, and recently the absolute winner of the Marathon des Sables 2019, being an ambassador for KÜiK Meal. In this last event, she used KÜiK as her first power supply! We couldn’t be prouder of her and the product.
2. Golden Root ($48K/year)
Andrea Slinde (from Selva di Cadore, Veneto, Italy) started Golden Root over 6 years ago.
Hi all! My name is Andrea and I’m the founder of Golden Root. I manufacture and sell a caffeine-free Turmeric Latte Mix in Denver, CO.
Currently, I sell Golden Root online from my e-commerce site and to over 50 coffee shops nationwide. After a very eventful and strong finish to 2018, Golden Root is making an average of $4k/mo.
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4. Ka-Pop! Snacks ($1.2M/year)
Dustin Finkel (from Loveland, CO, USA) started Ka-Pop! Snacks over 4 years ago.
Hey, I’m Dustin Finkel, the creator, and CEO of Ka-Pop! and Awakened Foods (a new Holding Company that owns Ka-Pop!, Bubba’s Fine Foods, and Awakened Food Crafters). We are an innovative and fearlessly delicious snack company. I started these businesses to create snacks that were genuinely authentic and craveably delicious. It’s disheartening how many consumers have lost their trust in ‘healthy foods’ because they are either misleading in their claims and/or require you to give up taste.
5. Love Good Fats ($36M/year)
suzie yorke (from Toronto, ON, Canada) started Love Good Fats over 6 years ago.
Hey! I am Suzie Yorke, a mom, a CPG marketing executive, and 11X time Ironman Finisher. I launched Love Good Fats from my dining room table in Toronto, at age 50, as a single mom. I took a big chance and invested my life savings. Love Good Fats is a family of food products that are all very low sugar (1-2g of sugar), keto, high fat, and all clean healthy ingredients.
I am thrilled to be the founder of Love Good Fats’ expansion as it quickly becomes one of the fastest-growing bar brands in North America. Love Good Fats is just over four years old, and we’ve already exceeded $120 million in cumulative sales! The brand has had an incredibly fast start, especially here in Canada. Our growth has been unheard of. We are currently listed in over ten thousand stores in Canada and the US in Grocery, Mass, and specialty natural health food stores
6. CandyCan ($180K/year)
Krik Angacian (from New York, USA) started CandyCan about 2 years ago.
Hi, I’m Krik I’m the co-founder and CEO of Protes Protein Snacks and as you can guess… we make protein snacks : )
Today it’s crazy to think you can find our products in +10,000 retailers nationwide.
7. EatTiamo ($120K/year)
Nicholas Figoli (from Vernazza, Liguria, Italy) started EatTiamo over 7 years ago.
Hello there! My name is Nicholas Figoli and I co-founded EatTiamo (us.eattiamo.com) alongside with my business partner and high-school friend Francesco Pelosi.
Over the three years of activity, our Boxes have arrived to the table of three hundred American families and we are happy to continue growing.
8. Peaceful Fruits ($180K/year)
Evan Delahanty (from Akron, Ohio, USA) started Peaceful Fruits over 9 years ago.
My name is Evan Delahanty and I’m the Founder & CEO of Peaceful Fruits. Peaceful Fruits makes healthy, delicious, rainforest friendly fruit snacks.
Though we are still small, we’ve gone from $8000 in sales in 2015, to $25,000 in 2016, to $150,000 in 2017. We are now employing 30 people with disabilities in our production facility and have paid tens of thousands of dollars in wages to some of the most underserved people in any community.
9. Kyra's Bake Shop, LLC ($768K/year)
Kyra Bussanich (from Lake Oswego) started Kyra's Bake Shop, LLC over 14 years ago.
Hey everyone! I’m Kyra Bussanich, founder of Kyra’s Bake Shop, an exclusively gluten-free bakery in Portland Oregon. You may have seen us on the Food Network dominating the sweet competition on Cupcake Wars!
10. ChipMonk Baking ($1.08M/year)
David Downing (from Houston, TX, USA) started ChipMonk Baking over 4 years ago.
Hi there! My name is David Downing and I’m co-founder & CEO of ChipMonk, a specialty mail-order bakery based in Houston. We make low carb, gluten-free desserts, and ship them all across the country. Our mission is to help people indulge mindfully and make better nutritional choices.
As an early-stage company, we’ve remained focused on growing via e-commerce before we attempt to tackle wholesale or get into grocery stores. Right now, we sell around $25,000 a month, with most of that coming directly from our website.
11. janori ($36K/year)
Johanna and Raphael Spannocchi (from Munich, Germany) started janori almost 3 years ago.
Hi there! We are Raphael and Johanna Spannocchi, the founders of janori. janori sells delicious, local, organic food. Like organic coffee, great, slave-free chocolate handmade in Munich, Germany, and some of the finest Gin on the planet.
Our other bestsellers are the original sugared almonds usually sold at the Munich Octoberfest. Since this massive beer celebration was canceled in 2020, we were able to secure a portion of this delicious original for our customers. Made from just 3 ingredients, you get an amazing taste without the additives like wax and shellac often found in these products from bigger, industrial manufacturers.
12. The House of Leaf & Bean Inc. ($360K/year)
Wen Raiti (from Jacksonville, Florida, USA) started The House of Leaf & Bean Inc. over 7 years ago.
I am Wen, the founder, and president of House of Leaf & Bean, organic restaurant and cafe. I am passionate about Lifestyle Medicine due to my personal health journey. I believe that good lifestyle medicine is better than magic pills. "Let the medicine be the food; let the food be the medicine".
I’ve taken many leadership roles in organizations like Jacksonville Sister City Association, National Asian American PAC FL, Jacksonville Chinese Association, Jacksonville Mayor's Asian American Advisory Board, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Leadership Jacksonville, and more.
13. ABS Protein Pancakes ($300K/year)
Ashley Drummonds (from Tampa, Florida, USA) started ABS Protein Pancakes about 9 years ago.
Hi, I'm Ashley Drummonds, and I am the creator of the ABS Protein Pancakes High Protein-Low Carb meal replacement line! The ABS Protein Pancakes is an All Natural, High Protein, Low Carb Meal Replacement that allows people to enjoy pancakes and waffles every day while sticking to a healthy nutrition program.
We have three flavors of ABS Protein Pancakes: Chocolate Chip, Vanilla Cake Batter, and Cinnamon Roll. It's great for fitness enthusiasts, those who follow a low carb nutrition program, on a weight loss program, or anyone who just wants to enjoy a healthier option for pancakes and waffles. It's also great for individuals on a low sugar or gluten-free diet, or if you're just looking to get more protein on a daily basis!
14. Daily Harvest ($50M/year)
The Shake Up hosts spoke with Daily Harvest CEO Rachel Drori about how she navigated investor relations, how algorithms fuel the brand and marketing mix.
Rachel Drori launched Daily Harvest as a passion project to provide health and sustainability-conscious foods to others.
Drori founded Daily Harvest with the intention of making a change in how people consume their food. She is serving foods & beverages made from organically grown, clean, and fresh fruits & vegetables.
Daily Harvest offers dairy-free, gluten-free, and gum-free food items with zero artificial colors or flavors.
Since the company's founding in 2016, it has developed into one of the fastest-growing direct-to-consumer brands in New York.
Read the full story on blog.hubspot.com ➜
15. LEAN BENTO ($1.01M/year)
Charles struggled to find wholesome, nutritious and tasty food that are not wraps or salads. This sparked him to start his own healthy bento delivery firm.
Dionis Chiua and Charles Ng formed a partnership and launched Lean Bento as a passion project serving wholesome single-portion Japanese meals.
The business was established in May 2014 to cater to health-conscious, clean-eating, and fitness enthusiasts.
Using his engineering researching capabilities, Charles gathers data to decide which “customized” combos would become popular for Lean Bento’s menu.
Lean Bento launched a delivery service for the entire island in May 2015 along with the opening of a 20-seat restaurant at The Arcade with a 13-item menu.
Read the full story on vulcanpost.com ➜
16. Shake Shack ($740M/year)
In less than 20 years, Shake Shack has transformed from a small hot dog stand into a gourmet burger and milkshake chain that operates in over 270 locations around the world.
Daniel Meyer established Shake Shack in 2004. When it started, he used to just sell hot dogs from a cart in Madison Square Park.
Meyer has gradually transformed the hotdog cart into a kiosk-style restaurant that serves gourmet burgers, hot dogs, milkshakes, and crinkle-cut french fries.
In less than 20 years, Shake Shack has grown from a single hot dog stand to a global fast food chain with over 270 locations.
Shake Shack offers a lively & fun community hangout place with wide appeal thanks to its fresh, high-quality, and delicious food at an incredible price.
Read the full story on successstory.com ➜
17. Grain ($1M/year)
They run a full-stack service that handles all aspects of the supply chain from sourcing ingredients, preparation to delivery.
Sung along with three other co-founders — Ernest Sim, Gao Rifeng, and Isaac Tan — founded Grain in 2014. It is Food and Beverage Services brand based in Singapore.
It's a multi-brand online restaurant that offers ready-to-eat meals, meal plans, catering services, packaged drinks, and more.
Grain's mission is to provide wholesome nutritious meals packed with lots of flavors that one can eat daily without compromising their health or making a hole in the pockets.
The founders at Grain are all die-hard Marvel fans and their store also has a line of Marvel merchandise for their customers.
In 2015, Grain was among the first few cloud kitchens to provide food to customers without a physical location. Their goal is to transform lives through memorable culinary encounters.
Read the full story on vulcanpost.com ➜
18. Trini Pepper Sauce ($27K/year)
Mustafa (from Raleigh) started Trini Pepper Sauce over 9 years ago.
Hello! My name is Mustafa Mannan, co-founder and co-owner of Trini Pepper Sauce by Findlay Food Group llc. Undergrad friends and I started producing two varieties of sauce, mild [also known as “Original”] and hot, five years ago.
Today, the sauce is sold in specialty stores in Raleigh and Washington DC, with the majority of sales coming from our online store front. All in all we are averaging $3000/month in revenue.
19. Huy Fong Foods ($150M/year)
Huy Fong Foods is an American hot sauce manufacturer headquartered in Irwindale, California. In 1980, a Chinese immigrant from Vietnam named David Tran founded the brand.
The business has developed into one of the market leaders for Asian hot sauces, particularly Sriracha sauce, also known as rooster sauce, because of the rooster-themed label.
When Tran first began his business, he sold his sauces out of a blue Chevy van that he had filled with used baby food jars. In his first month, he earned $2300.
In 2019, Tran's Sriracha generated $150 million in revenue annually, accounting for 10% of the US market for hot sauce.
Read the full story on vietcetera.com ➜
20. Sienna Sauce ($192K/year)
- Tyla-Simone Crayton, first created her signature sauce at the age of 8 when her family had no sauce for their homemade chicken wings.
- Crayton and her mother "threw a bunch of random things" together to create the sauce, which turned out to be a hit.
- Crayton's sauce, called Sienna Sauce, is now sold for nearly $10 a bottle and in 70 stores across the U.S.
- In 2019, the business brought in $192,000 in revenue.
- Crayton begged her mother for years to let her sell the sauce, but it wasn't until she was a teenager that her mother relented.
- In 2017, Crayton and her mother opened a pop-up restaurant night in their home to test the market and prove that the sauce could capture a customer base.
- The pop-up restaurant was so successful, Crayton and her mother made it a regular gig and sold 700 to 1,000 wings every Friday night, bringing in $48,000.
- Based on the success of their makeshift restaurant, Monique agreed to let Crayton bottle and sell Sienna Sauce.
- To launch the business, Monique gave Crayton $1,500 to buy her first bottles and labels, and Crayton would hand-make the sauce in the kitchen every Sunday morning.
- Business began to pick up, and Crayton now sells her sauce in big-name stores.
Tyla-Simone Crayton used several strategies to make her business, Sienna Sauce, a success:
Creating a unique and high-quality product: Crayton was able to recreate the unique, sweet-tasting sauce of her favorite wing restaurant, which had recently closed, and her sauce was well received by her family and friends.
Starting small and testing the market: Crayton and her mother started by selling the sauce at home and then opened a pop-up restaurant night in their home to test the market and prove that the sauce could capture a customer base.
Building a loyal customer base: Crayton reached out to former customers of her home restaurant, who she knew liked the sauce, and would sell a couple of bottles to them, who would then buy some more.
Expanding to retail: Based on the success of their pop-up restaurant, Crayton and her mother decided to bottle and sell Sienna Sauce, which they named after their town, starting in 2018. Crayton was able to expand and now sells her sauce in popular stores like Walmart.
Consistency: Crayton was consistent in making the sauce every Sunday morning and reaching out to her customers, this helped her to keep a steady stream of revenue.
Branding and Marketing: Crayton and her mother used social media, flyers, and word of mouth to build awareness of their brand, this helped them to increase the popularity of the sauce and attract more customers.
Leveraging the support of family: Monique, Crayton's mother, supported her and helped her to launch the business with a small loan of $1500 and also helped her with other aspects of the business such as branding and marketing.
- She sees herself as a curious and creative person who is always making inventions.
- She believes that her sauce is unique and better than the sauce of her favorite wing restaurant.
- She is confident in her product and is proud of what she has created.
- She is passionate about entrepreneurship and wants to be a successful businesswoman.
- She is committed to her brand and wants to keep the quality of her sauce consistent.
- She wants to expand her business and bring her sauce to more people.
- She plans to innovate her product line and add more flavors to her sauce.
- She is grateful for the support of her mother and the role she played in helping her to start her business.
- She is optimistic about the future of her business and sees a lot of potential for growth.
- She is determined to make her business a success.
21. Pip & Nut ($12M/year)
Pip Murray of premium nut butter brand Pip & Nut chats to us about her business journey so far.
- Pip Murray is the Founder and CEO of Pip & Nut. The idea of this business came to her mind back in 2013 when she was whipping up peanut butter in her own kitchen for her own consumption.
- Later when she realized how much others were loving her nut butter she started selling it in a local market in London. She built her brand little by little and even organized a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to launch her products onto the shelves in 2015.
- Along with offering delicious flavored nut butter Pip & Nut is also dedicated to supporting local communities and reducing carbon print.
- Since its launch, Pip has worked hard to make it a well-liked brand and currently it has a team of 20+ passionate people. Pip & Nut is present in 6,000 stores throughout the UK and Europe and is known for its taste, variety, and quality.
Listen to the full podcast on podcasts.apple.com ➜
22. Aybla Grill ($648K/year)
- Saied Samaiel moved from Syria to Lebanon, Cyprus, Turkey, then Greece. Finally, he arrived in the United States to settle down in Portland and open a business of his own.
- Chef Saied’s first Aybla Grill location was in Alder St. in portland and he served the local community with delicious greek and Mediterranean delicacies. Currently, Aybla Grill is present in three locations across Portland and also offers catering services.
- Saied started the business with $20K, and now the company has 3 trucks with average monthly revenue of more than $50K.
Read the full story on youtube.com ➜
23. FireCreek Snacks ($500K/year)
How did a butcher shop's side project turn into "the best snacks in the world" -- and $500,000 in sales in their first year? And more importantly, could you apply the same strategies to help local businesses take their products online? This story features Dustin Reichmann, a long-time Side Hustle…
Dustin Riechmann (from Jerseyville, Illinois, USA) started FireCreek Snacks over 7 years ago.
- Ryan Hansen, a third-generation butcher shop proprietor, established his passion project, FireCreek Snacks. His mission is to give the world a fantastic snack stick that not only tastes fantastic but is also made with pure & traditional ingredients.
- FireCreek Snacks’ products have no artificial ingredients, are gluten-free, soy-free, MSG-free, and also have high-protein & low-sugar.
- This company has a mission to shatter the stereotype of the typical snack stick by delivering a healthy, all-natural snack with exceptional taste.
Listen to the full podcast on podcasts.apple.com ➜
24. Serenity Kids ($9M/year)
Texas-based baby food company Serenity Kids has raised a $3 million investment led by co-founders of Birch Benders, Lizzi Ackerman and Matt LaCasse, after seeing its revenues triple in 2020 to reach $9 million.
Serenity Kids, a company selling baby food, was founded by the couple Joe and Serenity Carr.
This company is the first to offer a naturally balanced ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in a baby food pouch for infants older than six months old.
The husband-wife duo founded Serenity Kids to give their infant daughter, Della, the best possible start in life. They made their baby food because they were outraged by how much sugar and how little nutrition was offered.
The baby food produced by this company is low in sugar, made with organic vegetables, ethically sourced meat, and healthy fats.
This Texas-based baby food company has raised $3M in funding from investors, including Birch Bender’s co-founders Lizzi Ackerman and Matt LaCasse after seeing its sales increase by threefold in 2020 to $9M.
Read the full story on forbes.com ➜
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26. Chandler Honey ($120K/year)
Tique Chandler (from Toronto) started Chandler Honey almost 3 years ago.
Hi there! My name is Tique Chandler, a 28-year-old Toronto woman, and the founder/owner of Chandler Honey. I’ve dreamed my whole life of being an entrepreneur, and I’m so glad I decided to leap at 26.
27. Frag Out Flavor ($1.5M/year)
Patrick Flynn (from Golden, CO, USA) started Frag Out Flavor almost 6 years ago.
Hello! I’m Patrick Flynn – founder and CEO of Frag Out Flavor. We provide the absolute best spice blends and BBQ rubs for meals that bring families and friends together. With over 20 proprietary spice blends, we have something to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. From sweet to savory, no heat to HOT, we've got you covered. As a veteran-owned and operated company, we stand behind those who defend our country’s founding principles, our communities, and the American way of life.
28. Jaju Pierogi ($960K/year)
Casey and Vanessa White (from Lynn, MA, USA) started Jaju Pierogi almost 7 years ago.
Hello! My name is Casey White and I am the co-owner of Jaju Pierogi, alongside my sister Vanessa White. We started our pierogi manufacturing journey back in 2016 with farmers' markets and pop-up events. We both worked in the corporate world but knew pierogi may be something to explore.
As of August 2022, we are in multiple grocery chains and over 650 specialty independent stores. Our monthly revenue hovers between $80,000-$100,000.
29. Urban Smokehouse ($60K/year)
Andrew Buehler (from New York, NY, USA) started Urban Smokehouse about 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is Andrew Buehler, and I am the founder of Urban Smokehouse, the world’s first digitally native BBQ brand.
To date, we have spent zero dollars on marketing. I am now exploring digital marketing strategies to drive traffic to our website and events. I expect a significant uptick in traffic from the word of mouth and organic social media we have relied on thus far.
30. Karachi Kitchen ($24K/year)
Sadaf Ahmed (from Seattle, WA, USA) started Karachi Kitchen over 3 years ago.
I’m Sadaf, co-founder, and designer behind Karachi Kitchen Foods. I started the business with my mother who is a long-time chef and culinary instructor. We specialize in small-batch traditional Pakistani chutneys and spice blends. All products are handcrafted from scratch using locally sourced ingredients and no artificial preservatives or additives. Our goal is to create high-quality products that capture the authentic taste of traditional Pakistani home cooking.
We had hoped everything would move much faster than it did. When we first started working on the project Covid hit and everything came to a halt. There was also a lot more learning to do than we had anticipated related to federal and state regulations. In the beginning, things were slow but they gradually picked up. Since we launched our online store last fall, sales have more than doubled for us.
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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