It is really impressive how much diligence goes into running a USDA inspected facility and it really isn't something most people will be able to do straight out of the gate. Ecommerce is especially challenging for food, because the most important decision-making sense—taste—is in the dark. Package design, photography, your website, product page and package copy, need to pitch in to tell the story and help customers imagine how it might taste.
Because packaging is extremely critical in this industry, consider hiring a designer to help with your branding needs. It has to be appealing. And it has to be familiar, so we chose our name and our identity, everything from the label, the look, the feel, the text, to be something that connotes handmade family, yet urban. Most importantly, we wanted you to see the product in the jar. It's not covered up by a label. Aside from the visual appeal of your packaging, each country has its own labeling requirements, which may include best before dates, nutritional information, allergen warnings, and country of origin.
In my interviews with merchants over the past year, one thing is clear, regardless of the product: pricing is hard. Know your costs, and keep adjusting until you get it right. The important thing to remember is if you have a quality product getting it in front of as many people as possible is the best way to grow.
This means, in the short term forgo profit and get as many people to try your product. Overtime those cost savings will come, and you don't want to do that prematurely. If you believe in the value of your product, price it accordingly. The shelf life on most of her products is only months, and Jodi, therefore, keeps inventory tight, turning it over every weeks. That's the trick, we have to make so much to justify a production run, while I have to make sure there's a sales channel or outlet and enough demand behind it to really make it work.
Over-communicate to anyone who touches your inventory about the importance of rotating your stock. Expanding their offering, initially, was in response to overwhelming customer feedback. Low-risk ideas came next—tried and true pickle flavours, applied to other products like chips. Since the early days, however, product development has become more sophisticated and the family relies on data to inform their next move. Before we had access to data, it was a lot of word-of-mouth.
While they still love engaging with customers and hearing their ideas, Bob warns to take them with a grain of salt. Customers love to talk to you about their ideas and you have to take that and refine that and make sure that there's enough critical mass behind the idea before you take that into a product launch. Liberty Village Brewing does not sell beer direct to their customers through their online store, due to Ontario alcohol regulations. However, their website serves as a branding and marketing tool, helps customers find retail and restaurant partners, and sells items related to their product.
Provided you do your homework, acquire the proper licences, and meticulously track everything, the likelihood of getting into legal hot water is low. If you do—and this is the scary part—the consequences can be severe. The government can throw you in jail, or take all your products and destroy them, or shut you down, or give you a big fine.
There are some folks facing criminal fraud trials right now in Ontario relating to whether chicken was mislabeled organic or antibiotic free. If your product is complicated or falls under a particular set of categories that requires additional licensing meat, fish, and some agricultural products, for example , you may wish to consult a lawyer with experience in the food industry.
The last thing that they want is the same rigidity that they sought to leave behind when they decided to start their own gig. Beyond legality, bad decisions around ethics and transparency can ruin a brand. This is true of any business, but the layers of complexity in food can make your business especially vulnerable. When they approach problems in that way they're typically in a better position to maintain the respect and goodwill of the community that they operate in as well as from their customers. Respect and goodwill are hard to earn and they're pretty easy to lose.
Even though that has nothing to do with the law per se it's a really important M. It is, after all, one of the most common pain points among our merchants. And, no surprise, shipping food carries additional challenges, especially when shipping outside of the country. Those have their own rules. Otherwise, you fall back on the Food and Drug Act and you complete a manufacturer's declaration for export of food products manufactured in Canada. Essentially, you swear an affidavit with a notary that sets out the country that it's being sent to, it sets out that it's made in Canada, that sort of thing.
From deciding what to charge your customers, to figuring out insurance and tracking, this comprehensive guide will walk you step-by-step through the entire process. We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe. Get started. Keep in mind to also consider the potential restrictions on your product in the destination country.
Technically, once products are in the shipping stream, they become the problem of the purchaser, but the poor customer service experience can be bad for business. Alternately, to avoid the red tape, you may consider working with a 3rd party warehouse if you do a lot of business across the border. For that reason we ship bulk orders to the US where they are warehoused and shipped directly out to US customers.
As I mentioned with branding, the look and feel of your website is important in helping influence the customer to buy a food product without tasting it first. Photography is therefore hugely important. You can opt to DIY your photoshoots , or hire a professional who has experience with styling and lighting food properly. Shoot product packaging and close-up detail of the product to show texture and true-to-life color, but also experiment with lifestyle photography that suggests serving and pairing ideas.
To keep the product page uncluttered, invest time in a thorough FAQ page to answer additional questions about ingredients, dietary information, and production methods. They really spend their time investing in what we do and most importantly, why we do what we do.
Marketing your online store is another topic that we've covered extensively in this blog, and for food, the same rules apply. In the absence of taste testing, connecting your customers to your story, is extremely important. That's where their core consumer goes, that's where the most vocal action lies with their consumer and we take that very seriously. We want to be engaged with our core community because they're the influencers and word-of-mouth can take your brand extremely, extremely far, as we've seen.
Condiment brand, Green Mountain Mustard , takes recipe content one step further, using it to grow their email list :. The length of this post may have a little to do with my inability to self-edit, but this, friends, is a very big topic to cover. Thanks for hanging in there!
The Economics of Running a Pizzeria
How successful you are depends on how you handle those challenges at any point. Some of them are big enough to break you, but how you use them as a learning experience in the future is what really makes for a great ongoing success story. If we don't learn from what we do as entrepreneurs, we don't truly grow. Dayna Winter is a Storyteller at Shopify, curious about the humans behind the brands and the moments that motivate them to create.
She follows more dogs than humans on Instagram and isn't a real redhead.
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Get free online marketing tips and resources delivered directly to your inbox. In the meantime, start building your store with a free day trial of Shopify. Email address. Your store name. Check out other pizza businesses and see how they run. Spend some time learning the ropes at another pizza business and do your research. The insights you'll gain about not only how to make a good pizza, but also how to run a business, will be useful for your own endeavor.
Figure out what kind of pizza place you want to open. Write a business plan that includes a description of your pizza business, the market you intend to sell to, your marketing strategy, projected revenue, taxes, and start-up costs. There are family-style pizza joints, pizzerias with traditional wood stoves, buffet style pizza places, pizza by the slice, among others.
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You should also choose whether you want to offer delivery service or dine in and take out only. You may want to include salads for your more health-conscious customers.
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Some more common menu items at pizza restaurants are varieties of pasta dishes, breadsticks, calzones. Figure out a way to set your business apart. As customers, people are overwhelmed with options for eating out. Why should they choose your restaurant? Think about what you can do to make your restaurant stand out from the crowd. Maybe this means coming up with a cool decorative theme.
Maybe it means offering over-the-top customer service every day. Maybe it means you initiate some kind of gimmick like unlimited free drinks if they buy a special cup from your store. Whatever your decision, you need to choose something that will make your customers want to come back to your business and to pick it in the first place. Choose between a franchise or an independent operation. While buying into a franchise definitely has its perks already established name brand with loyal customers , going independent means that you have full control over your business and your finances.
Choose a logo. People are more attracted to logos that are easy to decipher than those that seem unrelated to a topic. Enlist the help of a realtor. Getting the help of a realtor as you look for the perfect place to open your business will make your life a lot easier. Realtors are experts at choosing locations and they will have advice to guide you in your choice. Try to choose a realtor that has experience with commercial property, especially in dealing with restaurant locations.
When choosing a location, it is important to know the area and keep your expected clientele in mind.
For example, if you choose a location in a low-income area and decide to open a gourmet pizza place with expensive pies, your business may suffer. Look at available properties in your budget. Make sure you keep your budget in mind as you search for properties. Think about what you can reasonably afford remembering that it will probably take time for you to start making money from your business and only look at locations in that price range. Also consider any additional costs like required renovations, decorating, and taxes. Think about visibility and access.
Choose a location for your pizza business that is accessible, visible, and provides plenty of traffic to attract customers. Check with your city to see if it's zoned for a food company before you sign any lease agreement. Because pizza is such a popular food, a great location for your pizzeria would be in high traffic areas — like busy downtown streets, near shopping malls, close to college campuses, etc.
Make sure you are compliant with all laws. Schedule an appointment with your local health and safety authority to check your location. If all is in compliance with health and safety regulations, you will be issued a permit that allows you to conduct business. This is another thing you will need to look into with your local health and safety authority, as regulations vary from state to state.
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If you are interested in starting a pizza business in your home, you can do so as long as you make sure you apply for a proper food license. Check with your local city hall to find out exactly what attaining the license entails since regulations can vary from place to place. Determine how much startup money you need. Think about all of the costs associated with running your business and how long you think it will be before you start turning a profit. You will probably need to invest a lot of time and money before the business starts showing returns.
These costs include rent and utilities at your location, equipment costs, supply costs, advertising fees, employee salaries, among other things. Get a business loan. Go to your bank and see if you can get approved for a business loan. You will need to provide the loan officer with a detailed business plan including expected costs and the eventual rate of return as well as projections regarding eventual profit. Additionally, look into grants and loans from the Small Business Administration.
Check out what support your city offers for small businesses.
Many cities offer financial support for small businesses in their area. You should go to your local chamber of commerce and find out what kind of assistance you are eligible for. Borrow from private investors. Obtain the capital you need from private investors.
These are people who are willing to finance your business. Acquire the necessary equipment. Buy equipment for your pizza business. You'll need a refrigerator and freezer, gas ovens, a dough mixer, a butcher block table, pans and racks, measuring cups, flat bottom ladles, pizza boxes, napkins, and if you're planning to deliver pizzas, a delivery vehicle.
You should consider asking someone who already owns a pizza business for a complete listing of all the equipment they use on a daily basis in their business. Create a menu. Decide what kinds of foods and beverages you will sell and create a menu. You should consider including assorted pizzas as well as other Italian dishes. Be clear and plan the design carefully. Make sure you proof your menu for errors. Hire employees. Interview employees, and hire those that are reliable, personable, and efficient. Fill out all necessary forms and applications.
You'll need an EIN to legally hire employees. Also make sure to register your pizza business with your city if necessary to obtain a business license. Make ads. Design advertisements that are pleasing to look at and offer all of the necessary information about your business — the location, the goods you provide pizza , your contact information, etc.
Advertise in local newspapers or on the internet. Advertise your pizza business in the local media, on flyers, and on the Internet. It is important for people to see your advertisements so that you can start drawing more business. Consider joining websites like Yelp so that customers can leave online feedback for others to see.
Word of mouth. Tell all of your friends about your new pizza business. Ask them to come try your food. The fastest way for your business to gain popularity is by people telling others about it. Offer discounts. A good way to get people to try a new restaurant is by luring them in with discounts and great deals.