Are you considering starting a meal delivery service? It can certainly be a lucrative business opportunity. But before you jump in head-first, you need to plan your business. Get started by following these six simple steps.
Step 1: Research Your Target Market to Find Your Niche
The first thing you need to decide is the type of meal delivery business you want to run. For instance, you could provide meal kits, either for everyone or for certain groups like seniors or people who don't know how to cook, or you could offer restaurant deliveries. Knowing whether you will create meals or simply deliver meals from other establishments is the first crucial step. To help you decide, research your local market. By knowing if the area you're planning to deliver to has a university, a business park, or suburban streets, you'll be able to determine your type of meal delivery service much more easily. Knowing your target audience will also help you to determine the name of your business and your marketing strategy.
Step 2: Plan Your Menu and Services
Once you understand your target market and you know whether you're working with a meal prep service or local restaurants, you can plan your menu and services in more detail. For instance, will you focus on family meals, meals for single people, or easy snacks? Defining a clear theme for your business will allow you to strategically approach third-parties like restaurants with your research and business plan.
Step 3: Choose Your Meal Delivery Software
Meal deliveries are all about logistics. While you can use manual calculations in conjunction with online tools to organize delivery schedules when you're just starting, as soon as your business grows to hundreds of customers, organizing and optimizing the delivery process gets a lot more complicated. Planning routes, tracking deliveries, and messaging drivers and customers can quickly become overwhelming. So, it's best to choose a meal delivery software solution to manage your deliveries and streamline your processes. With a software program that is specifically designed for meal deliveries, you will be able to operate a much smoother and efficient service.
Step 4: Create a Business Plan
Once you know what services you will offer and the logistics involved, you need to spend time writing a business plan. While your business plan needs to include things like considerations of your target customer base and your marketing strategies, the glue that holds a business plan together is the financial element. You need to work out your initial and ongoing costs and how long it will take for your business to become profitable. Startup costs for a meal delivery service can range from anywhere between $3,000 and $30,000.
Step 5: Cover Your Legal and Financial Requirements
You'll have to register your business, so work out what type of business structure will work best for your company. You can choose from various types of structures, such as a corporation or an LLC. By having the right business structure in place, you can protect your business assets. You also need to:
- Register for taxes.
- Open a business bank account.
- Get the relevant business licenses and permits.
- Get insurance.
Step 6: Build Your Customer Base
In your business plan, you need to include your marketing strategy. Once you know who your target market is and how you intend to get the word out about your meal delivery service, you can begin the practical step of building your customer base. You should advertise locally but you also need to create a website and a social media presence. The more you use strategic marketing methods, the more you will see your customer base grow over time.