How to Start a Food Cart Business
Food will always be in demand and a Food Cart is one of the most affordable way to enter the food business. Many entrepreneurs have found their fortune in this small package. Another advantage of this business is that if you picked a poor location you can just move your cart to another place!
• Developing your main product line. This is the most important step and the one where you should focus your investment and effort. You must be able to develop an innovative and tasty product at an affordable price. Just copying other food carts is ineffective unless you improve on them.
• Conducting a taste test on your target market. People have different tastes and what is great to you and your friends may be unpalatable to your market. Also, take measures to keep your priceless recipes secret!
• Developing your cart concept. Work with a professional artist to make your food cart design, logo, and other design elements look visually appealing and compatible with your offering.
• Pricing Issues. Research your competitors. Be aware that substitute products are also competitors. Just because you are the only one offering pizza it does not mean you can price as high as you wish. If you price too high then people will just eat from another vendor and if too low, you will not be maximizing your profit potential. Besides your target market and competition, the location is a key consideration in setting your price. You should price higher in an upscale mall and much lower if in public markets.
• Finding your location. High traffic areas like malls, schools, terminals, large commercial areas, supermarkets, busy intersections, etc. have good prospects. Just make sure to count the actual qualified buyers and to deduct from this the market share that will be taken by your competitors. Anticipate vacancies that usually occur in the year end to have a good chance of getting desirable locations.
• Registering your business. Besides the usual mandatory requirements of the department of trade (for single proprietors), Securities and Exchange Commission (for corporations), Mayor’s permit, barangay permit, and Bureau of internal revenue, you also have to get clearance from the Department of Health. Since you are just starting and this is just a small business you should ask for a non-VAT registration with the BIR.
• Constructing your food cart. Avoid costly reworks, read carefully the requirements of the landlord. Many malls now have rules on the specifications of the food cart for both safety and aesthetic reasons.
• Hiring Personnel. Be strict in finding the ideal person to operate your food cart. Look for a trustworthy and hard working person with no vices and good hygiene. Check the applicant’s skill in simple arithmetic. Finally, a cheerful attitude and presentable appearance is important to attract customers.
• Advertising and promotions. If your food is really delicious and affordable, the most effective promotions are free samples. Flyers and high quality tarpaulin posters are also helpful in bringing in sales.
A food cart is one of the easiest ventures to start especially for beginning entrepreneurs. Its low cost and high potential makes it an ideal venture for those with little capital. For more information on how to operate this business successfully you can attend a seminar conducted by BusinessCoach Inc.
Click here to view details of the training program: Starting a Food Cart Business >>>
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.