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Setting up a Speciality Food Store Business

All you need to know about starting and running your business

Business guides » Setting up a Speciality Food Store Business

What is a Speciality Food Store Business?

A speciality food store is a food-selling establishment that is primarily engaged in the retail sale of a particular specialised food product or products. In many cases, a speciality food business sells items that usually have a more limited distribution. It also generally sells food items that are of a higher average quality (the foods may be described as premium or gourmet), compared to other food stores, and the products usually retail for a higher cost.

The food products may be cooked, baked, prepared or manufactured on the premises or may have been purchased wholesale or directly from the manufacturer and sold on by the food store business. The products sold in this type of business will be packaged and not designed for immediate consumption on-site.

Speciality foods are usually considered unique, high-value foods. They are made in smaller quantities with high-quality ingredients. They will also be packaged in an attractive way, using high-quality packaging materials.

The speciality foods stocked in a food store can be refrigerated, frozen or non-perishable, shelf-stable foods.

Some popular examples of a speciality food store include:

Delicatessens Bakeries Confectionery Shops Artisanal Cheese Shops
Premium Chocolate Shops Organic and Fair Trade Foods Premium Teas and Speciality Coffees Health Food Shops
Artisanal Foods Spices Locally Sourced Produce Charcuterie Foods
Butcher Shops Ice-cream Shops Fishmongers Organic Greengrocers

Speciality food can also refer to food that is manufactured specifically for people with dietary requirements, for example, foods relating to allergies, diet choices and religious specifications.

This can include:

  • Vegetarian foods.
  • Vegan foods.
  • Halal foods.
  • Kosher foods.
  • Gluten-free foods.
  • Diabetes-friendly foods.

 

In some cases, speciality food stores source their stock globally and the items they stock may not be readily available in supermarkets and other food stores.

If you are thinking about starting up a speciality food store business, you first need to decide how you want to run your business.

There are multiple ways you can choose to run your business, such as:

A physical speciality food store

If you opt to set up a physical store, you will sell speciality food products directly to your customers. There are two main ways you can do this:

  • Cooking, preparing, manufacturing or packaging the food items in your factory, commercial kitchen or on-site to be sold directly to your customers.
  • Purchasing the food already prepared (usually directly from the manufacturer) for a wholesale price and selling it on to your customers.

 

If you set up a physical store, you will need to consider your location, to ensure your business is easily accessible to your customers and you can take advantage of passing trade. You will also need to consider the design and aesthetic of your business.

An online speciality food store

If you opt to set up an online store, you will sell your food products to your customers online and deliver the products directly to your customers’ homes or businesses. You can choose whether to manufacture the food yourself or whether to buy the food and sell it on. An online food store may provide speciality foods directly to their customers, or sell their products to other businesses and establishments (for a lower cost). For example, you could sell your products to restaurants, shops or cafes.

There are many different responsibilities associated with starting up a speciality food store business. Although your responsibilities can vary depending on the type of business you set up, some of the typical responsibilities associated with running a speciality food store include:

  • Sourcing food, stock and high-quality ingredients.
  • Creating recipes (if relevant).
  • Purchasing, cleaning and maintaining equipment and machinery.
  • Creating professional and beneficial relationships with suppliers, vendors and wholesalers.
  • Preparing, cooking, baking, manufacturing or packaging the food products.
  • Ensuring the cleanliness of your premises and avoiding cross-contamination.
  • Complying with all legal guidelines and health and safety requirements.
  • Pricing your products.
  • Packaging, labelling and displaying your products.
  • Displaying accurate allergy information and best-before and use-by dates.
  • Selling your products (using your primary selling strategy, e.g. online, direct to wholesalers or face to face).
  • Dealing with customers, handling orders, payments, receipts and invoices.
  • Handling customer collections and deliveries (if applicable).
  • Managing inventory and maintaining accurate records.
  • Managing staff (if applicable).
  • Keeping accurate records.
  • Marketing and advertising.
  • Completing business and administrative tasks.

 

Setting up a speciality food store business can be both personally and financially rewarding. To ensure the success of your business, there are several personal qualities that will be advantageous. First, a high level of knowledge of your chosen niche and previous experience and the necessary skills required for working in this industry. A passion for speciality food and the willingness to dedicate the required time and effort to grow your business and help it succeed are also recommended. An understanding of safe practices and health, safety and hygiene requirements are also necessary. Strong interpersonal skills, a solid business plan and a flair for business can also help your business to succeed.

Types of Customers

Your business’s typical customer base can be dependent on multiple factors, including:

The type of speciality food you sell

This will be the most important factor in determining the types of customers your business is likely to attract. Certain types of speciality food are likely to be more popular with certain types of clients. For example, a confectionery shop is likely to have a different typical customer base compared to a health food shop. Conduct market research to determine the typical customers that usually purchase your chosen food products.

Your primary selling strategy

Your primary selling strategy will be one of the most important factors in determining the types of customers your business attracts.

There are multiple ways you can opt to sell your products, including:

  • Direct to consumers (e.g. via your own shop or website).
  • To retailers (e.g. cafes, restaurants and shops).
  • To a wholesaler.

 

If you set up a physical store, your location will have a significant impact on your typical customer base, as customers tend to shop in food stores that are conveniently located to their home, place of work or study or another location they frequent. Town or city centre locations are likely to attract the highest footfall.

Your price points

Although speciality food products are generally more expensive than other types of foods, potential customers will likely still consider your pricing before purchasing your products.

Customers can typically be separated into three pricing categories:

  • Budget: Price will be the most important factor for this type of customer. They are likely looking for the lowest-priced products and may be less concerned with premium ingredients and packaging.
  • Mid-range: Mid-range customers are looking for a combination of quality and affordability. Although they don’t want to pay premium prices, they don’t look for the cheapest option.
  • High-end: Price is not an important factor for high-end customers. They generally want the highest quality, best-tasting and most unique speciality food and are willing to pay a higher price. They are more likely to look at your ingredients and flavours and your branding, rather than your prices.

 

Your branding

Your branding will include your business story, your business name and logo, your packaging and your website or physical store. Because speciality foods are usually unique, premium products, your customers will expect your packaging and branding to reflect this. Your branding will also affect your typical customer base.

Cheese Speciality Food Store Cartoon
Speciality Food Store Cartoon
Bread Speciality Food Store Cartoon

Equipment You Will Need

The type of equipment you will need depends on the type of food store you set up, and specifically whether you manufacture or prepare the food within your business. Choosing the right equipment is essential, as without it you will not be able to operate your business.

Although equipment requirements can vary, below is a list of equipment typically required by a speciality food store business:

Shop Equipment

The equipment listed below is usually required by food stores with physical business premises frequented by customers.

Product display units

If you sell non-perishable or shelf-stable food products, there are multiple ways you could choose to display your food products, including:

  • Retail shelving.
  • Merchandise racks.
  • Produce containers.
  • Product stands.
  • Display baskets.
  • Display bins.
  • Jars.

 

You may also require serving equipment such as scoops and tongs to allow your customers to remove your products from their display units with minimal risk of contamination.

Refrigerated display cases

This is an essential requirement for your store if any of your food products are perishable (e.g. cheeses or meats). It enables you to display your products safely and at the correct temperature, while still allowing customers to see all of your products.

Open display refrigerator

These differ from standard display cases as they are accessible from the front, allowing customers to access the products themselves. You can opt for a horizontal or vertical refrigerator, depending on your available space.

Display freezers

If your speciality food store sells products such as ice cream or frozen meat or fish, you will need a display freezer in your shop that safely stores these items. Your display freezer should be easily accessible to customers and should, ideally, be glass-fronted, so potential customers can browse the products without repeatedly opening the freezer and exposing the products to higher temperatures.

Fridge and freezer alarm monitoring systems

This is a very beneficial piece of equipment for a food store and can help prevent profit loss from spoiled stock. The alarm will monitor the temperature of your fridge or freezer and notify you if there is a temperature increase (for example, if the power is failing or one of your customers didn’t close the door properly). This can help you to take quick, preventative action to prevent your products from being contaminated.

Weighing scales

Many different types of food items can be sold by weight, including confectionery, fruits, vegetables, cheese and charcuterie items. You will need some accurate and legal-for-trade scales that allow you (or your customers) to check the weight of the items and help you to create a purchase price.

Shopping baskets

Shopping baskets are not only more convenient for your customers, but they can also encourage them to purchase more – increasing your sales and your profits. Choose baskets that are strong and hard-wearing and that fit your store’s brand.

Packaging materials

The types of packaging you will need will depend on the products you sell. Customers of a speciality food store will expect your packaging to be sustainable and environmentally friendly, while still being durable.

Some of the materials you may require include:

  • Strong paper bags.
  • Cardboard containers or boxes.
  • Gift wrapping materials (depending on the food items you sell).
  • A label gun and labels.

 

A cashier desk

This is the area where your customers will bring their items to pay. The desk should offer a degree of separation between your staff and the customers, which helps to ensure your employees’ safety and reduces the likelihood of theft from your cash till.

Your cashier desk may require:

  • A barcode reader.
  • A cash register and Point-of-Sale system (POS).
  • A receipt printer and receipt rolls.
  • A counterfeit money detector.
  • A stapler.
  • A telephone.
  • An alarm button or panic button.
  • Business cards.
  • Pens.

 

Signage

There are multiple types of signage you will need for your food store, including:

  • Shop front signage (with your business name and logo).
  • Opening hours signs.
  • Pricing signs.
  • Promotional signs.

 

Ensure your signs are attractive and eye-catching, that they fit your business’s brand and aesthetic and that they clearly demonstrate the type of shop you are running.

Stainless steel worktops or worktables

If you prepare or package any food products, you will need stainless steel worktops. Your worktables should be made from stainless steel as this material is non-porous, meaning it is resistant to most bacteria and germs. It is also easier to clean and will help you to maintain high standards of hygiene.

Equipment and handwashing sinks

Equipment sinks should be used specifically for cleaning or disinfecting food equipment and utensils and should not be used for handwashing. You must ensure the sink has both hot and cold running water. You will also need separate handwashing facilities that are used solely for washing hands. As well as hot and cold running water, your handwashing sink should also have sanitising products (such as handwash) and a means for drying hands (e.g. a hand dryer or paper towels).

Date labels

These are necessary to label when ingredients were opened. It ensures that all stock and ingredients are completely safe to use and that your store is operating in line with safety and hygiene guidelines. You will also need to label all food products with a use-by or best-before date label.

Food labels

Food labels are essential in your business and should be attached to each packaged food product. Your labels should clearly display information such as the ingredients, any allergen information, the use-by or best-before date, the name of the food and any necessary warnings.

Rubbish bins and a waste disposal system

You will need rubbish bins in all areas of your store. You will also need different bins for different items to ensure you are disposing of rubbish correctly and following recycling guidelines. Colour-coded bins are the easiest way to ensure your waste disposal system is operating correctly.

Safety equipment

Some of the safety equipment your business may require includes:

  • Fire extinguishers.
  • Rubber floor mats.
  • Wet floor signs.
  • First aid kits.

 

A sanitising station

This is an area for customers to sanitise their hands when entering or leaving your store or before handling any products. The popularity of sanitising stations has increased exponentially following the Covid-19 pandemic. Your sanitising station could be a hand sanitiser stand that is positioned close to your store’s entrance.

A CCTV system

Because you will be storing expensive stock, CCTV can protect your business from potential break-ins and theft. CCTV can also protect your business in the event of an injury or accident and can provide vital footage to the police if a theft or incident occurs in your shop. You can choose the specification of the equipment and how many cameras you require.

A box cutter

A box cutter will be needed for any stock or deliveries. A box cutter can make it easier to open boxes and remove packaging tape. It can reduce the amount of time it takes you to accept deliveries and create a more efficient delivery system.

A safe

If your store accepts cash, you will need a safe as a way of safely storing the cash from your till at the end of the day. You can also keep extra change in your safe in case your cash register runs out of change during the working day.

Décor items

You will need to design your shop to fit your business’s brand aesthetic. Adding décor items is a key way to attract customers to your store. However, any décor items should not clutter your shop or detract from the products you are selling. Some things you could use to decorate your shop are artwork, lights and plants.

Cleaning equipment

Keeping all areas of your shop clean is imperative. Food preparation areas and food storage areas are particular areas that should be cleaned regularly throughout the day, to avoid cross-contamination and the breeding of bacteria. You will likely need different cleaning materials for different parts of your shop. You may need to invest in cloths, sponges, antibacterial surface cleaners, bleach, sanitiser, dishwashing soap and a sweeping brush and mop.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE is a necessary purchase for all food businesses, as it helps to protect your food from contamination. PPE can also protect you and your staff from harm. Some PPE you may require includes hairnets, gloves, anti-slip footwear and aprons.

Other equipment requirements

Depending on the type of food store you set up, you may have specific equipment requirements that are necessary for the type of food you will be preparing or selling, for example:

  • Commercial cheese cutters (e.g. for an artisanal cheese shop).
  • Commercial meat slicers (e.g. for a charcuterie shop or butchers).
  • Food preparation, cooking and baking equipment (e.g. for a delicatessen or a bakery).
  • An industrial dishwasher (if your business prepares or handles any of the food).
  • A ventilation system (if you cook or bake any items that could release smoke, steam, odours, high heat or potentially harmful gases).

 

Online Food Stores

If you choose to operate an online food store business, your equipment requirements will differ. Some of the equipment you may require includes:

A computer/laptop and a Wi-Fi system

A computer can be used for running your store’s website and social media. You can also manage your online orders, organise deliveries and advertise your products. A computer can also be used for business and administrative tasks, such as ordering stock and doing your accounts. You will also need a Wi-Fi system to enable you to use your computer or laptop online.

A website

A website is useful for advertising your business and will likely act as your primary selling strategy. It should contain photographs and descriptions of your food (including the ingredients). It should also show the areas and locations you offer delivery to and your customer reviews. Your website will likely feature an option to order online. Design your website to include your business logo and to reflect your branding.

Storage

You will need storage equipment for safely storing your stock in your dedicated storage areas. Your storage areas will need to be temperature controlled and free from potential contaminants. Your storage area will likely include shelving and secure storage containers.

A payment system

The type of payment system you require will depend on your primary selling strategy. For example, if you accept in-person sales, you will likely require a Point-of-Sale (POS) system with a cash till. If you sell your products online or via a standing order with a wholesaler, you may require an online payment system.

Because you will be selling your food products online, you will need to ensure they are packaged correctly to ensure they do not become contaminated or damaged during the delivery process. If you plan to deliver any perishable foods, you will require a specific type of packaging to ensure these high-risk foods do not spoil. Examples of high-risk foods include cooked meat, seafood and dairy products.

Some packaging you may require includes:

Perishable food packaging (refrigerated)

Some packaging you may require for refrigerated perishable foods includes:

  • Coolant gels.
  • Ice packs.
  • Corrugated cardboard boxes.
  • Polystyrene boxes.
  • Water-resistant packaging tape.
  • Perishable Food’ labels.

 

Perishable food packaging (frozen)

Some packaging you may require for frozen perishable foods includes:

  • Sealable, water-resistant bags.
  • Dry ice.
  • Frozen gel packs.
  • Corrugated cardboard boxes.
  • Polystyrene boxes.
  • ‘Perishable Food’ and ‘Contains Dry Ice’ labels.

 

Other packaging materials

Some other packaging materials you may require:

  • Cardboard boxes.
  • Bubble wrap.
  • Packing peanuts.
  • Plastic wrapping.
  • Glass jars or mason jars.
  • Packaging tissue paper.
  • Styrofoam inserts.
  • Packaging tape.

 

Shipping labels

These labels will need to include:

  • Customer name.
  • Customer address.
  • The business name and address.
  • The shipping method.
  • The package weight.
  • A scannable bar code (if relevant).

 

Cards and delivery notes

Small business consumers appreciate personal touches such as a card or delivery note. They could also feature your business logo and information and a discount code to encourage repeat business.

Setting up a Speciality Food Store

Typical Costs

When you are planning your speciality food store business, you will need to calculate the approximate costs associated with setting up and running this type of business. Calculating your typical costs allows you to estimate your initial investment requirements, any monthly and annual costs, your pricing strategy, your profit goals and your acceptable profit margins.

There are multiple costs associated with setting up and running a speciality food store. Some of these costs will be one-off initial costs that you will need to pay when you are setting up your business. Other costs will be ongoing costs you will need to pay regularly – usually weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually.

Although the typical costs can vary, depending on the type of business you set up and the size of your business, the typical costs you can expect to be responsible for include:

Your store business

If you set up a physical store, rather than an online store, you will require a commercial premises. You will either need to purchase your property or rent it on a monthly or annual basis. Rental prices can vary significantly, depending on the location and size of your premises. City centre locations and newly built premises usually have the highest rental costs. Rental costs are often calculated per square metre. They can range significantly, from £500 to £15,000 per square metre annually. Your rental cost may be higher if you are renting an already established, refurbished or equipped store or if your store also comes with a kitchen or another food preparation area.

Refurbishment and installation costs

Unless your premises previously operated as a food store, you will likely need to refurbish or convert your premises to install the equipment you need for your business to operate and make the area fit for purpose. You will also want to refurbish and decorate your premises to fit the aesthetic of your business and make it attractive to customers. Renovation costs can vary, from £500 to £20,000 depending on the level and scale of work required. As part of your renovation costs, consider how you can make your store (particularly any food areas) easier to clean and easier to operate in line with health and safety regulations.

Equipment

As mentioned above, your equipment requirements can vary significantly, depending on the type of speciality food store you set up and whether you make or prepare the food yourself. However, regardless of the type of food store you set up, your equipment is still likely to be a significant expenditure. The cost of equipment can vary depending on the type of equipment you choose and the amount of equipment you require. You may choose to purchase less equipment initially and expand your equipment as your business grows. Equipment for your business can cost between £2,000 and £50,000.

Food stock

The cost of your food stock can vary significantly. As you will need to place regular orders for your food stock, this is an ongoing cost you will need to factor into your budget.

The cost of your food stock can vary depending on the type of business you set up:

  • Purchasing already prepared food to sell on to your customers: You will likely purchase the food items directly from the manufacturer or purchase them wholesale. To maximise your profits, you should aim for a markup cost of at least 20%. For example, if you purchase organic chocolate for £1.50, your selling price should be at least £1.80. Purchasing in bulk can lower your purchase price and maximise your profits, Keep in mind that if your speciality food is imported from another country, your import fees will impact your pricing.
  • Manufacturing the food yourself: If you make or prepare the food yourself, your stock costs will include the price of the food and the ingredients. For example, if your store sells baked goods, your stock costs will include ingredients such as flour, eggs, baking powder, sugar, salt, dairy, fats and icing. To maximise your profits, your ingredient costs should be no more than 30% of your sales price. For example, if you sell brownies for £3, the ingredients to make the brownie shouldn’t exceed 90p.

 

Maintaining, repairing and replacing equipment

Repairs, maintenance and replacements are ongoing costs you will need to factor into your budget. Although some of your equipment and machinery will come with warranties or guarantees, you may still be responsible for the costs of repairs and replacements. Maintaining and cleaning your equipment and ensuring it is used correctly can extend its life, but potential repairs and replacements should still be factored into your budget.

Running costs

These are the day-to-day costs associated with running your business. Your running costs can vary significantly depending on the type of food store business you set up. Some running costs are paid monthly, and others are paid quarterly or annually.

Your running costs can include:

  • Utilities (e.g. electricity, gas and water bills).
  • Council tax.
  • Import fees and taxes.
  • Delivery fees.
  • Vehicle running fees.

 

To maximise your profits, try to keep your running costs as low as possible.

Staff

Depending on the type of business you set up and the size of your business, you may opt to hire staff. The typical costs associated with hiring employees include their wages (you will need to pay your staff at least the national minimum wage), holiday pay, sick pay, maternity/paternity pay, National Insurance and any company pension contributions.

Branding

When creating your brand identity, consider how you want your business to be perceived by potential customers. When creating your brand, consider the type of speciality food store you are setting up, your products, your primary selling strategy and your typical customer base. Branding can include creating your business’s visual identity (e.g. your logo and labels), your design and aesthetic and your business name. You could hire a professional to help you with branding or do some or all of the work yourself. Branding can cost between £500 and £10,000, depending on the level of work required.

Advertising and marketing

To ensure your business attracts customers and creates maximum profits, you will need to spend money on advertising and marketing. It is recommended that you spend between 1%-3% of your annual turnover on marketing. For example, if your annual turnover (or your desired annual turnover) is £80,000, you should spend between £800 and £2,400 on advertising and marketing. You may need to invest more money when you initially set up your business or when you are trying to grow your business. To reduce your costs, capitalise on free marketing strategies, such as on social media.

Your business website

A business website is an essential advertising tool (particularly if you sell online) as it allows potential customers to find your food products online and view pictures, descriptions and additional information. You should ensure your website is attractive to customers and use search engine optimisation (SEO) so that your website ranks highly on search engines, such as Google. Your website will need regular monitoring, updating and upgrading. You also need to make sure your website is secure, particularly if you will be collecting any customer information or banking details. You may choose to set up and run your website yourself or hire someone to do this for you. You can expect to pay between £20 and £100 per hour for someone to set up your website.

Business insurance

There are multiple coverage options available for a speciality food store business, including:

  • Product Liability Insurance.
  • Public Liability Insurance.
  • Employers’ Liability Insurance (if relevant).
  • Building and Contents Cover (if relevant).
  • Equipment and Stock Insurance.
  • Business Interruption Cover.
  • Goods in Transit Cover.

 

The cost of insurance can vary, depending on your insurance provider and the level of coverage you choose. Prices typically start at £10 per month.

Typical Pricing for Customers

Once you have calculated the costs associated with setting up and running a speciality food store, you can then create your pricing strategy. If you sell a variety of food products, keep in mind that different products will have different pricing.

Multiple factors can influence your pricing, including:

  • The types of food products you sell.
  • The costs associated with purchasing or preparing the food.
  • Whether the food contains premium ingredients or is organic or fair trade.
  • Whether the food has been imported.
  • Your branding (including your business name, logo and the design of your labelling).
  • The popularity of your products and how well-known your business is.
  • The pricing of similar products on the market.
  • Your primary selling strategy.
  • Your delivery costs.

Safely Running a Speciality Food Store Business

Safe practices in your speciality food store can help to protect the health, safety and well-being of you, your staff and your customers.

Some ways you can safely run your speciality food store business are:

Safely store food

All food (regardless of whether it is perishable or non-perishable) must be stored safely to prevent contamination and to ensure it is of good quality and safe to consume.

Some safe storage practices you should follow include:

  • Keep storage areas clean and tidy.
  • Check food deliveries are safe and of good quality before accepting them.
  • Follow the First In First Out (FIFO) stock rotation system.
  • Pay attention to use-by and best-before dates.
  • Ensure fridges and freezers are set to the correct temperature.
  • Follow the storage instruction on pre-packaged food.
  • Store raw food and high-risk food correctly (e.g. below ready-to-eat foods).
  • Keep foods that contain allergens separate.
  • Store any chemicals away from food.
  • Label any chilled or frozen food with the date.

 

Ensure you have safety equipment

Safety equipment is a necessity to help your business run more safely and to ensure you have the correct equipment available in the event of an incident or emergency. Ensure safety equipment (such as fire extinguishers and first aid kits) are easily accessible and that all employees are trained to use them. Implementing a system for regularly checking your safety equipment is also recommended.

Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE can help to protect you and your employees from injury and can protect your food from contamination. Some PPE you could use includes latex gloves, protective aprons, hair coverings, closed-toe, slip-resistant shoes and long-sleeved shirts. The type of PPE you require will depend on the type of food business you run.

Ensure the personal hygiene of all staff

Good personal hygiene is essential when working in the food industry.

Good personal hygiene can include:

  • Following handwashing procedures.
  • Tying back hair or covering hair.
  • Not wearing false nails or nail varnish on your fingernails.
  • Not wearing jewellery or watches when preparing or handling food.
  • Not wearing strong perfume or other chemical products that could contaminate the food.
  • Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Following good habits, such as not coughing or sneezing near food and refraining from touching your hair or face.

 

You should also be aware of staff illnesses and ensure no employee is near food if they are displaying signs of illness or have recently experienced vomiting or diarrhoea.

Use a chemical safety data sheet (SDS)

If you store any chemicals (such as cleaning chemicals), you should create safety data sheets to list the properties of each chemical, any potential physical, health and environmental hazards and any safety precautions for handling and storing the chemicals. An SDS can help to prevent exposure and reduce hazards and prepare emergency responses and procedures in the event that someone is exposed to a chemical.

Follow guidelines on foods that may contain traces of gluten or allergens

The Food Standards Agency has provided voluntary guidelines on labelling products that may contain traces of gluten or another allergen. For example, if the foods were prepared in the same area as gluten or an allergen, you should label your products accordingly so that your customers can make an informed decision.

Examples of the labelling terms you could use include:

  • May contain traces of gluten.
  • Made in a factory that also handles eggs.
Speciality store business
Butchers speciality store business

Implement pest prevention and control methods

Pests can be a major issue for food businesses and can result in contaminated food and your store being shut down by an Environmental Health Officer (EHO).

Some ways you can prevent pests are:

  • Fill any gaps or holes in your building.
  • Keep your external areas free from food, rubbish or vegetation.
  • Dispose of food properly in closed bins.
  • Keep your premises clean and tidy.
  • Store food in sealed containers.
  • Use fly screens on open windows or doors.
  • Check your deliveries for signs of pest damage.

 

Pay attention to the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles

The HACCP principles help you to manage food safety hazards that could arise when storing, preparing, cooking and handling food. You can identify potential risks and implement measures to ensure these risks are reduced or removed. You should also keep records of any actions you take in line with HACCP.

Implement cleaning procedures

Having effective cleaning procedures is essential to any food business. It is recommended that a cleaning schedule or cleaning policies are in place that cover the cleaning of equipment, surfaces, and food preparation and storage areas. You will also need to ensure your store is clean and well-maintained.

Keep clear and accurate records

When you are inspected by the EHO, they will likely request to see up-to-date records of your business’s cleaning schedules, risk assessments, health and safety policies and allergen information. Keeping such records not only helps to protect your business and improve the likelihood of you receiving a higher score, but it also ensures procedures are followed at all times.

Conduct risk assessments

Although not a legal requirement for businesses with fewer than five employees, risk assessments can help to eliminate risks and ensure safe practices in your store.

As part of your risk assessments, you should:

  • Identify hazards.
  • Determine who could be at risk.
  • Evaluate any potential risks.
  • Implement relevant safety measures.
  • Record the results of the risk assessment.
  • Review the risk assessment regularly.

 

You should keep physical records of your risk assessments as evidence of your commitment to safe practices.

Implement security measures

Security measures can be implemented to protect your business. Your store will likely store expensive equipment and food stock and may keep cash on site. Some ways you can protect your business include installing a CCTV system, using secure and reliable locks and installing an alarm system.

Obtain health and safety training

Obtaining health and safety training can ensure that you are your employees follow safe practices at all times.

Some training courses you could opt for include:

  • Assessing Risk.
  • Manual Handling.
  • Health and Safety for Employees.
  • Fire Safety Awareness.
  • COSHH Awareness.
  • HACCP.

 

Properly maintain and set up equipment

Any equipment you use must be properly maintained, correctly set up and safe to use. You must protect yourself, your employees and your customers from accidents or injuries caused by equipment. You should also perform regular equipment inspections to ensure your equipment’s safety and help extend the lifespan of your equipment. Maintenance includes cleaning equipment regularly and checking it is functioning correctly.

Legal Requirements

Complying with legal requirements is essential when setting up and running your food speciality store. Legal guidelines can vary, depending on the type of food you sell, whether you prepare and manufacture the food yourself and your primary selling strategy (e.g. online or a physical store).

Some of the legal requirements you should be aware of include:

Follow the Food Standards Agency guidelines on labelling

If you produce, manufacture or package any food in the UK, you must follow the guidelines set out by the Food Standards Agency regarding the information that must be included on a food label.

Some of the information you must include on your label includes:

  • The name of the food.
  • A complete list of ingredients.
  • The allergen information.
  • A quantitative declaration of ingredients (QUID) – i.e. the percentage of each ingredient contained in the food.
  • The net quantity of the food (if it is above 5g or 5 ml).
  • The storage conditions.
  • Date labelling, i.e. ‘best before’ or ‘use by’.
  • Name and address of the manufacturer.
  • Country of origin or place or provenance.
  • Preparation instructions.
  • Nutritional declaration.
  • If your product contains certain ingredients such as sweeteners or caffeine.

 

Comply with allergen regulations

If your products contain any of the 14 named allergens you must clearly state this on your packaging and this information must be clearly highlighted (for example, in bold text or underlined).

  • Celery.
  • Cereals.
  • Crustaceans.
  • Eggs.
  • Fish.
  • Lupin.
  • Milk (cows).
  • Molluscs.
  • Mustard.
  • Nuts.
  • Peanuts.
  • Sesame seeds.
  • Soya.
  • Sulphur dioxide.

 

If your food contains other allergens, these must be clearly listed on the label, although they do not need to be highlighted.

Register as a food business

Any business in the UK that sells food must register as a food business with their local council. You must apply for your food business registration at least 28 days before you begin trading. You can apply for your registration on gov.uk, and it is free of charge.

Display your food hygiene rating

If you cook, prepare, package or handle any food in your business, you will likely be required to undergo an inspection from the Environmental Health Office (EHO) to determine your food hygiene rating.

The inspector will assess your:

  • Food storage.
  • Food handling.
  • Food preparation.
  • Food cleanliness.
  • Food safety management system.

 

Once you have received your food hygiene rating, this information should be clearly displayed on your premises.

Register with an organic control body

If you plan to operate as an organic food store or sell organic food products, you will need to register with an organic control body before you are legally allowed to label your food as organic. You can search for your local governing body and apply for registration on gov.uk. To gain your registration, your products should be at least 95% organic.

Comply with the Food Safety Act (1990)

Under the Food Safety Act, you have several key responsibilities:

  • Don’t take away or add any ingredients that could cause the food to become harmful.
  • Don’t treat the food in any way that could cause it to become dangerous.
  • The nature, substance and quality of the food must be to the standard that customers expect.
  • Your labelling and presentation of the food should not be false or misleading.

 

Comply with the Consumer Contract (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013

If you sell your food products online, you must comply with the Consumer Contracts Regulations. They outline your customers’ basic rights when purchasing online. This includes the right to a 14-day cancellation period.

You must also provide information, such as:

  • A description of the goods.
  • The total price of the goods.
  • How the goods will be paid for and how they will be delivered.
  • Any additional delivery charges and other costs.
  • Details of the right to cancel, including who is liable for the cost of returning items.
  • Information about the seller, including contact details and geographical address.

 

Comply with retail legislation

There are several pieces of legislation you need to follow when selling goods to consumers. You must ensure your products are described correctly and that pricing is displayed visibly. You must also ensure your products are of good quality and are fit for the intended purpose.

Implement a waste management system

Food businesses in the UK should have appropriate provisions for the separation, storage and removal of waste.

Some guidelines you should abide by include:

  • Have appropriate bins which are sufficient in number and specified for different types of waste.
  • Do not allow waste to accumulate.
  • Use bins that have fitted lids and foot pedals.
  • Have a specific waste disposal area.
  • Do not dispose of food waste in the sink.
  • Use commercial sink strainers to prevent fat, oil, grease and small bits of food from entering the sewer network.
  • Apply for a waste carrier registration if you transport any waste.

 

It is also recommended that you clean and disinfect bins regularly.

Comply with premises regulations

When choosing or refurbishing a commercial location, there are some guidelines and regulations you should comply with. These guidelines ensure your store is in good condition, clean and maintained and encourages good hygiene practices.

  • Handwashing facilities: You will need separate handwashing facilities that have hot and cold running water and appropriate materials to allow hands to be washed and dried hygienically.
  • Changing facilities: Your premises should have adequate changing facilities if a member of staff needs to change their clothes.
  • Ventilation, lighting and drainage: Your premises must have adequate ventilation, lighting and drainage in all relevant areas.
  • Food preparation areas:
    – Floors and walls must be in good condition, easy to clean and frequently disinfected.
    – Ceilings must be in good condition, easy to clean, free from condensation and mould and free from flaking paint or plaster.
    – Windows and doors must be easy to clean and disinfect and if they open to the outside, fitted with removable insect-proof screens.
    – Surfaces should be maintained in good condition, easy to clean and frequently disinfected.
  • Facilities for washing food: Your business will need separate sinks for washing food and cleaning equipment. These sinks should have hot and cold running water that is of drinking quality.
  • Equipment: Any equipment that comes into contact with food must be in good condition and cleaned and disinfected frequently.

 

Ensure all staff have food hygiene training

All food businesses must ensure staff are trained in food hygiene. If you receive a visit from the Environmental Health Office (EHO), a food hygiene certificate is the best way of demonstrating your compliance. It may also increase your likelihood of being awarded a five-star food hygiene rating.

Implement a Food Safety Management System (FSMS)

Food businesses in the UK must implement a Food Safety Management System. Your food safety management system should partner with the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan to help you to manage food and hygiene safety procedures in your food business. An FSMS is a systematic approach to controlling food safety hazards. It ensures that your business is following safety protocols and will influence your food hygiene rating. If your store offers a delivery option and ships perishable foods, you will also need to include information about temperature control and preventing spoilage in your HACCP or FSMS.

Comply with laws on delivering perishable foods

By law, all foods must be delivered in a way that ensures they do not become unsafe or unfit to eat. Foods that require refrigeration, must be kept cool whilst they are being transported. The minimum requirement is that refrigerated food must be kept below 8°C at all times, although 5°C is preferable. They must also be packaged in strong packaging and the sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible. The package should also be clearly labelled as perishable and should be tightly sealed to prevent contamination. Keep in mind that you cannot ship perishable food internationally.

Remove the risk of cross-contamination for food deliveries

You should ensure that all cross-contamination risks are removed when packaging your food. Food should be packaged securely and if you sell multiple food types, you should also ensure these do not come into contact with each other during the packaging or delivery phases of your order.

Comply with government guidance if you import food

If your business imports food or food stock from another country, there are certain guidelines you will need to comply with. These guidelines can vary depending on the type of food you are importing and the country you are importing from.

Examples of the guidelines include:

  • Apply for a health certificate to import products of animal origin (POAO).
  • Apply for an import licence to import products from the EU.
  • Apply for a commercial document (for specific food products).
  • Submit an import notification on IPAFFS if you are importing POAO.
  • Apply for a UK Agricultural Policy (UKAP) licence to export agricultural products.

 

Comply with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013

RIDDOR states that you must report all injuries, diseases and dangerous events that occur in your business. Reports must be made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) using an appropriate recording document. These regulations apply to any incidents that involve employees or customers.

Comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002

The COSHH regulations state that you must control any substances that are potentially hazardous. You should also assess, control and reduce any risks or potential hazards and protect people from harm.

Some hazardous substances you should be aware of are:

  • Flour, improver or protein dust.
  • Concentrates of flavour, citrus oils and spices.
  • Cleaning substances.

 

Comply with the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

Manual handling regulations can help to protect you and your employees from sustaining an injury or illness as a result of manual handling tasks. The regulations apply to the lifting or moving of any objects, bending down and reaching high and repetitive movements. You will likely be performing manual handling activities when preparing food or when restocking your shop.

Comply with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998

PUWER regulations apply to you and any employees you hire. You must ensure any equipment in your food store and food preparation areas are fit for purpose and are maintained and inspected regularly. You must also ensure that health and safety risks are minimised to an acceptable level, that you have the correct knowledge and training to use the equipment, and that protective measures are put into place. Equipment should also be used under appropriate conditions.

Comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

The Electricity at Work Regulations state that any workplaces that use electricals must construct electrical systems in a way that prevents danger, maintain electrical systems to ensure they are safe, ensure electrical equipment is checked by a competent person annually and conduct Portable Appliance Tests (PAT). This includes any electrical equipment in your kitchen or in your shop.

Comply with gas safety regulations

If you have a gas boiler you will need to get it inspected by a gas-safe engineer. If your equipment is deemed safe to use and complies with government requirements, you will be issued a Gas Safety Certificate. You will need to display your gas certificate clearly for your customers and other visitors to your business to see.

Comply with fire regulations

As the business owner, you are responsible for fire safety measures in your store. There are multiple fire regulations you must ensure you comply with.

For example:

  • Perform a fire risk assessment.
  • Comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
  • Implement any necessary fire safety measures.
  • Implement emergency procedures and ensure these are clearly displayed.

 

Appoint a competent person

A competent person should be appointed to help your business meet your health and safety legal duties. You can act in this role yourself or appoint another person to fulfil this role. The competent person should have the skills, knowledge and experience to identify any hazards in your business and put controls in place to protect people from harm.

Prepare a health and safety policy

The law states that every business in the UK must have a specific policy for managing health and safety. Your policy should state exactly how you will manage health and safety in your store and state who is responsible for specific tasks and how and when these tasks are completed. Follow the recommended tips from the Health and Safety Executive when creating your health and safety policy. You should make your policy easily visible to any visitors to your business.

Comply with employment legislation

If you employ any staff, you must ensure you follow employment legislation, including the Employment Rights Act (1996) and the National Minimum Wage Act (1998). You must also comply with legislation relating to recruitment, working hours, sickness, discrimination, dismissals, and maternity or paternity pay.

Comply with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (DPA)

You must comply with both pieces of legislation when storing or sharing personal information, such as your customers’ personal information, contact details and banking information. You must also apply for a Notification to Process Personal Data Licence. You will also need to apply for a licence with the Information Commissioner’s Office and renew your registration every year.

Ensure your website complies with the guidelines

If you set up a business website, there are several guidelines you need to comply with, including:

  • Privacy policies.
  • Cookie legislation.
  • Service descriptions.

 

Under the Equality Act (2010) you must also make reasonable adjustments to your website to ensure it is accessible to people with disabilities.

Register your business

You must register your business with HMRC before you begin operating. You can register as a sole trader or as a limited company. You will need to register your business name and any other relevant information.

Register for self-assessment tax

This allows you to calculate and pay your own taxes each year. You will need to track your finances every month and submit any expenses as part of your tax assessment.

As part of your tax responsibilities, you must:

  • Record all forms of income and expenses.
  • Complete an annual self-assessment tax return.
  • Register for VAT if you earn above the threshold (currently £85,000).
  • Pay National Insurance contributions.
  • Keep a record of your business accounts for the previous five years.
Vegetarian speciality store business

Positives of Owning a Speciality Food Store Business

Starting up a speciality food store business can be rewarding in many ways.

Some of the main pros associated with this type of business are:

Specialising in a specific product

Unlike other food stores that sell a vast number of products, a speciality food store focuses on a single class of product. This allows you to develop your expertise and obtain a high level of knowledge about your specialisation. You can advise your customers and use your expertise to develop your business reputation. You can also sell a wide selection of products in your specific niche, which can be appealing to your customers.

A growing industry

The speciality food industry is growing, particularly as people care more about what they put into their bodies or want to expand the range of food they eat. This means there is a strong demand for speciality food businesses, making now a great time to establish yourself in the industry. A growing market makes it easier to grow your business and maximise your profits.

Choose your speciality

You can choose the type of speciality food you want to focus on. You can choose a product you love or an industry you are passionate about. For example, if you are gluten-free yourself, you may choose to set up a delicatessen or store selling gluten-free goods. Focusing on food you care about allows you to create delicious products and make your chosen food more accessible to people.

A scalable business

A speciality food store can have a simple business model, making it easy to set up this type of business. If you want to grow your business, this type of business is highly scalable, as you will already have established strong business relationships with suppliers and wholesalers and will already have created a consumer base. There is always demand for new types of speciality food, making this type of business highly scalable.

Choose your selling strategy

There are multiple selling strategies available for speciality food, including an in-person store, an online store and selling directly to wholesalers or businesses. Having the ability to sell on multiple avenues can increase your customer reach and increase your revenue streams. You can even change your selling strategy as your business grows and evolves.

You can be creative

You can be creative with your recipes and ingredients, the types of food you sell and the range of foods within your niche. Your creativity within your chosen speciality can introduce your customers to foods they have never tried before. Having the creative freedom to sell unique products can be extremely rewarding. You can also be creative with your branding and labelling.

Work in an industry you are passionate about

If you love speciality food and your chosen food products and are passionate about the industry, starting up a speciality food store can be extremely rewarding. You can work in an industry you love and have the opportunity to influence this industry, by creating new and exciting flavours and creating new food trends. You can also introduce different foods to your customers. Profiting from your passion can be very rewarding.

High profit margins

Depending on the type of speciality food you sell (and whether you prepare the food yourself) your products could have a high profit margin (typically between 20% and 70%, although this number can be higher). High profit margins can help you to maximise your profits and make your business more successful.

Capitalise on seasonal opportunities

Depending on the type of speciality food you sell, you may be able to capitalise on seasonal opportunities, such as Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas or Summer. Offering special discounts and promotions at these times, marketing your business more persistently or decorating your store to match the occasion can help to increase your sales and profits. For example, a speciality chocolate store can see an increase in their sales around Valentine’s Day and Christmas. Seasonal opportunities can also attract new customers to your business, that may purchase from you again or recommend your business to others.

Grow your business

If you don’t have an external investor or a large capital with which to start your business, you can start smaller and grow your business in time. For example, you can initially run your business from home and sell your products online. As your profits and your customer base grow and you see increased demand, you will have multiple options for expansion, such as opening a physical store, offering a wider delivery service, hiring more staff and opening a second business in another location. Having the option to grow your business maximises your business opportunities and provides you with more opportunities for success.

Design your dream business

Regardless of the type of food store you choose to set up, you can design your perfect business. This includes the type of speciality food you focus on, the size of your business and your selling strategy. You can also design your business’s aesthetic and branding to ensure it reflects you and the type of business you want to run. As the business owner, you can also choose the employees you hire, allowing you to choose staff who will benefit your business and help you create a positive work environment.

Customer retention and recommendations

Because you will be operating in a specific niche, you will likely experience repeat business and have loyal customers who frequently return to your business. Loyal customers may also recommend your business to others, helping you to grow your business and increase your sales.

Unlimited income potential

There is no fixed income or limit on how much money your speciality food store can make. There are multiple ways you can increase your profits, expand your customer base and increase your sales. A speciality food store has a high-income potential and with a solid business plan, can be extremely lucrative.

Choose your own schedule and workload

As a business owner, you can choose the hours you work and how many orders you want to accept each week and month. You can run your business around your family life, for example, by working when it is convenient for you and your family. You can close your orders if you want to take time off, and if your workload becomes too much, you can hire additional staff to handle the day-to-day running of your business and reduce your responsibilities and working hours.

Be your own boss

You can make all key decisions yourself and steer your business in whichever direction you choose. You can choose how involved you want to be, the type of speciality food you sell, and how you want to run your business. You can make the best decisions for you and your business.

Ice cream speciality store business

Negatives of Owning a Speciality Food Store Business

Although running a speciality food store can be rewarding in many ways, there are some negative aspects to this type of business that you should be aware of:

A lack of variety

Because your business will focus on a specific product, it will, by nature, lack variety. This can limit your customer base and limit the number of customers that visit your store, which can significantly affect your profits. For example, if you sell speciality jams, honey and condiments, these are not the types of products that customers buy regularly, as one jar can last a long time. If you open a physical store, a lack of demand for your speciality in your local area could have a negative effect on your business.

Changes in food trends

Being financially reliant on a single market can be risky, particularly as food trends change and foods go in and out of style. Accommodating new food trends can be almost impossible when you are operating in a specific niche, as it can take your business out of your chosen niche. Unless you are sure that your food products will remain consistently popular, you can never be sure how the changing food market could affect your business.

It can be competitive

As well as competing with other speciality food stores, you will also be competing with supermarkets, which are increasingly stocking a wider variety of speciality foods. Having high competition can make it difficult for you to grow your business and establish a customer base and you may experience low sales and a lack of profitability, particularly when you first set up your business.

High start-up costs

Depending on the type of business you set up, you can have high start-up costs. Your equipment, premises and stock costs can be expensive and can mean you have to source outside investment or invest a lot of capital yourself, which can make your business high risk (as you could potentially lose a lot of money if your business fails). High start-up costs can also mean it takes longer until you begin turning a profit.

Potential for lost income

There are multiple ways you could lose income, including:

  • Contaminated stock.
  • Customer cancellations or returns.
  • Your products becoming damaged.
  • Products not selling before the best-before date.

 

Lost income can significantly affect your profits.

Complying with legislation

The food industry is highly regulated, with a large number of laws and regulations you must be aware of. You need to ensure you follow all policies and procedures, particularly those relating to health and safety. Not only can it be time-consuming to ensure compliance, but failure to comply, even unintentionally, could have serious consequences. A food store business can have high liability which can be a lot of stress and pressure for the business owner.

High responsibility

As the business owner, you will have a lot of responsibility, including ensuring the financial well-being, positive public opinion and the health, safety and hygiene of your business. Although your employees can handle the day-to-day running of your business, you may wish to take on these responsibilities yourself to ensure the success of your business. A lot of responsibility can be time-consuming and stressful.

It can be high stress

As the business owner, you will have a large number of responsibilities and a high level of stress. You will be responsible for every aspect of the business, including marketing, ordering ingredients and running the business. This can be highly stressful, especially when your business first opens.

It can be difficult to grow your business

It can be more difficult for a new food store to grow and succeed because of the high competition. People often choose a food brand they recognise or have eaten before or a store that has been recommended to them. It can be difficult to grow your customer base and you may experience slow business at first. This can have a detrimental effect on your income and profits. You may experience a lack of profitability in your first year of operation.

Inconsistent profits

Some days or times of the year are likely to be busier than others and sometimes this can be difficult to predict. This can make it difficult for you to predict your profits, order your stock and plan your finances.

Ingredients and stock can be expensive

Depending on the products you sell, the initial cost of purchasing them can be expensive, particularly if you are dealing with stock such as meats, seafood, expensive cheeses or organic products. Although you can price your products accordingly, prices that are too high will deter customers. Expensive stock and ingredients can affect your profit margin and your overall income.

Spoilage can affect your profits

The products you sell will all have a best-before or use-by date. If you do not sell your products before this time, they will need to be thrown away. This can have a significant impact on your profits, as the money you spent initially on your food stock will be wasted.

Food poisoning and cross-contamination

Even if you don’t sell high-risk foods, there is still a possibility that your food becomes contaminated or unsafe to eat. If a customer becomes ill after eating your products, not only can this be dangerous for them, but it can also affect your business as it could be held liable.

Issues out of your control

This can be one of the most frustrating aspects of running a business, as things that are outside of your control can have a negative impact on your business and your profits. For example, your supplier raising its prices, your stock delivery being cancelled or your equipment breaking can prevent you from properly running your business, which could not only affect your profits but also result in negative reviews from customers or the cancellation of contracts and orders.

No benefits

As you are self-employed, you won’t receive benefits such as pension contributions. You will also be responsible for doing your own taxes and organising your National Insurance contributions. You will also have a lack of job security.

Planning Your Speciality Food Store Business

If you are considering starting up a speciality food store business, an effective and well-designed business plan is essential. A business plan can help you to focus on the specific steps that will help your business succeed, plan your short-term and long-term goals, determine your financial needs and help your business to grow.

Your business plan should contain information such as:

  • Your company information.
  • Your company description.
  • The services you will provide.
  • Your branding, marketing and advertising plan.
  • The structure of your business.
  • The operational plan for your business.
  • The financial plan for your business.

 

When creating your business plan, some factors you will need to take into consideration include:

The type of speciality food you will focus on

This is the first consideration you will need to make when planning your business. What type of speciality food are you going to sell (e.g. artisanal cheeses, organic chocolate or gluten-free baked goods)? Once you have chosen your speciality, you can then determine the specific products within that speciality that you want to focus on. When determining the types of foods you will sell, you also need to consider whether you plan to make or manufacture the foods yourself or whether you are going to purchase them already made.

Your primary selling strategy

This is a key consideration and can have a significant impact on the types of customers you attract and the success of your business. Will you open a physical store or sell online? Will you sell directly to customers, or will you sell to other businesses? Will you offer pick-up or delivery options? Whichever options you choose will require forward thinking before you begin setting up your business. You could choose to utilise a combination of different selling approaches in order to increase your sales. Your primary selling strategy could also change as your business grows.

Your target market

Determining your target market is a key step in helping your business succeed. Different types of speciality food products and different types of businesses will attract different clients.

Your typical client base

Determining your typical client base can help you to plan your advertising and marketing strategies and help you to make your business most attractive to prospective clients. The types and sizes of the clients you target will also help you to calculate your pricing.

Your competition

Being aware of your competition is an important step to ensuring the success of your business. Analysing your competition allows you to look at what they do well and what you think can be improved upon. Look at the types of speciality food sold, the ingredients used, your competitors’ pricing, and the typical customers they target. Analysing your competition also helps you to identify whether there is space in the market for your business and can help you to identify any niches in the speciality food industry that you could exploit.

Your brand and your unique selling point (USP)

Creating your brand is a key way to ensure you stand out from your competition. Branding can help you to focus your target audience, attract customers and concentrate your marketing and advertising strategies. Some ways you can create your brand are by focusing on your business’s visual identity (e.g. your labelling, business name, logo and the design of your store or website) and creating a brand story. Your USP can also be part of your brand and can help your business stand out from your competitors. Consider what makes your business special and how this fits into what defines your business.

Your advertising and marketing strategies

There are many ways you can choose to advertise your business. This can include partnering with other businesses in your area, advertising on the TV and radio, advertising on social media and using paid online ads. Your marketing and advertising plan should detail what your brand is and how you plan to promote your business. As part of your marketing strategy, consider the most effective ways to reach your target customers and attract potential business. Create an advertising plan that is specific to the type of speciality food business you are going to run.

Your equipment and stock requirements

Consult the list above to determine your equipment requirements. The equipment you require will depend on the type of speciality food business you set up and the size of your business. Once you have determined your equipment requirements, you can then calculate the initial costs of purchasing the equipment. Ensure you include the costs of replenishing your food stock in your budget.

Your start-up costs and running costs

Consult the list above to calculate your approximate start-up costs and running costs. Determining your approximate costs allows you to calculate your initial investment and what your monthly or yearly running costs will be. You can then calculate whether you can finance your business yourself. Being aware of your expected costs also allows you to create a budget, which is a key part of your business plan. Once you have calculated your approximate costs, you can then calculate your pricing strategy and determine your profit forecast.

Financing your business

Consult the list of start-up costs and running costs above to determine what capital you will require. Can you finance the business yourself or will you need to source outside investment? You will also need to calculate when you are likely to begin turning a profit. If you require outside investment, you could consider a bank or other financial institution, a business loan or an investment partner.

Your pricing strategy

How will your price your products? What profit margin is acceptable to you? When pricing your products, you should also consider the pricing of your competitors. As part of your pricing strategy, you can consider any special discounts or deals you are willing to offer, for example, when purchasing your products in bulk.

Your sales forecast

How many products do you hope to sell each day, week and month? Are there certain times of the year that are likely to be busier than others? What are your weekly, monthly and annual sales forecasts? You can also analyse the sales forecasts of similar businesses and look at how sales vary throughout the year to estimate demand. As your business grows, your sales forecast is likely to change.

A strategy for growth

Your strategy for growth is the actions you will take to realise your goals for expansion and any potential challenges your business could face and how you will avoid or overcome them. This can help to make your business more successful.

Potential challenges could include:

  • Issues with your suppliers.
  • Difficulties growing your customer base.
  • A lack of demand in your chosen niche.

 

Some potential strategies for growth include:

  • Selling your products online.
  • Offering a wider range of products within your speciality.
  • Selling your products at food markets and special events.

 

Your business summary

Your business plan should include a detailed overview of your business, including the type of business you are setting up, the food products you will sell, your primary selling strategy, your typical customer base, your staffing and equipment requirements and your business goals.

Your business goals

Your business goals or objectives are an essential part of creating your business plan. Your business objectives highlight the targets and goals of your speciality food store business and help you to create a one-year, three-year and five-year business plan.

Your business objectives should be SMART:

  • S = Specific
  • M = Measurable
  • A = Achievable
  • R = Realistic
  • T = Time-bound

 

Check you have complied with all legal requirements

Consult the list of legal requirements above to check you have complied with all requirements and regulations and that all your paperwork is accurate. Failure to comply with legal requirements could have a detrimental effect on your business or could result in a fine, the forced closure of your business or, in serious cases, prosecution.

 

Download our business plan

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