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Jul 1, 2023 9:00:00 AM | 9 Unique Food Business Ideas You Can Taste-Test

Here are nine outside-the-box food business ideas to spice up (or sweeten) your life! From food trucks to homemade delights, you'll find your niche here.

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Here are nine unique food business ideas to help you combine two ingredients that go really well together: Tasty food and that entrepreneur zest. Keep on reading to find out everything you need to know to start a food business.


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Starting a business usually involves taking a couple of specific steps. 

If you’ve got your eyes set on ecommerce, then you’ll likely have to go through the motions of picking out a product to sell, creating an online store and start thinking up strategies to boost your store traffic.

But if you’re thinking of opening a brick-and-mortar store, then you’ll also need to add into the mix things like renting a place, deciding on a warehouse strategy, figuring out your order fulfillment process and investing in physical devices to make sales, like a POS.

That all sounds perfectly reasonable if you’re thinking about selling items like clothes, jewelry, plants, candles, or even crafts. But what exactly are the ropes when it comes to selling food? For instance, how do you open a baby food business? Or an ice cream shop? Or a healthy food restaurant? And how do you come up with profitable food business ideas?

Well, we’ll get there! The truth is, opening a food business can be a great idea for food lovers who enjoy cooking, are passionate about sharing delicious dishes with others and want to give entrepreneurship a try.

Sounds like you? Perfect. Then get your chef’s hat and come with us. Today, we’re taking a look at some food business ideas to help you get started.


🍜 Wanna check out some of the other e-business ideas we mentioned above? Here are some recommended reads:


How to start a food business 

To start your own food business, you’ll first need to decide the business model you’re pursuing. 

This is an important step and it’ll help you plan the rest of the journey accordingly, since you’ll be better equipped to calculate and estimate some of the more strategic aspects of a business (i.e., marketing budget and social media presence) and the more “hands-on” parts of it, too.

For instance, if you have a delivery-basis food business, you need to estimate a minimum and a maximum number of meals you’ll be cooking per day and how many takeout packages you’ll need to purchase on a monthly basis.

But if you’re planning on opening a small restaurant or food truck, then you need to consider things like the cooking time of each item on your menu and the frequency with which you’ll shop for ingredients.

In the food industry, you can work with the following business models:

  • Takeout food business
  • Delivery business
  • Online restaurant
  • Catering business
  • Pre-made or pre-cooked meals
  • Food truck business
  • Food kiosks or small restaurants


Read this before you start your own food delivery business! 🥡

If you feel like you’re more inclined toward online restaurants and other food businesses that are based on the digital sphere, like delivery and even takeout, you should definitely consider starting an online store and advertising your business on social media.

This will help you grow a solid reputation online and stand out from all those other restaurants on apps like UberEats.

After all, a food business is still a business, and your restaurant is still a brand. This means that you’re not just serving a hearty meal; you’re serving them a nice customer experience, great customer service, and speedy deliveries.

the best ecommerce platforms for startups and small businessesOn top of that, having an online store can also help you consolidate all your promotional materials in one place: You can post your menu, write a great “About” page to showcase your story, and share news pieces that feature the restaurant.

And guess what? Shoplazza is one of the best ecommerce platforms for startups and small businesses, and we can help you sort through topics like branding and how to manage your e-reputation. Try us out!


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Food truck business ideas

Food trucks made their debut quite a while back, and they have since become a staple of market fairs, flea markets, bazaars and other gatherings that usually blend small and independent brands.

Starting a food truck business is great if you’re planning on establishing your restaurant as part of your local community, since it’ll give you the freedom to move the truck around to whatever location or gathering is happening in your town. 

And even during those months when the city has no big event planned, you can still leave your food truck parked in other strategic places that tend to get busy during the day. 

That’s exactly what Angry Dragonz does with their food truck. The Asian fusion restaurant also offers catering services, which is also something you can consider pursuing later on.

With that in mind, here are some two food business ideas that you can start with food trucks:


BSB: Burgers, sandwiches or bao 

If you’re a 90’s kid, BSB likely stands for Backstreet Boys (well, at least it does for me). And while you can definitely have them playing as the soundtrack in your food truck, your customer’s tummies will be more satisfied if you serve them something like burgers, sandwiches or bao.

The great thing about working with those BSBs in your food business is that you won’t have to worry about plates or disposable containers, since each bun can be wrapped in a stylized wrapper.

This also means that customers can simply grab your food and eat it on the go, spreading that lovely aroma all around. If you play your cards right and stylize the wrapper with your restaurant’s logo, even better.

Shameless Buns is a Vancouver-based food truck that brings a lot of Filipino-inspired combinations into their menu. The best thing about them is that, besides the tasty food, all of their items can be eaten on the go.


Skewers or tiny bowls

Next up are skewers or small bowl-sized servings, which are also great food business ideas for the food truck people.

The best thing about them is that not only are they practical, like the BSBs, but they can also be cheaper and easier to make. Skewers, for instance, can have just one ingredient, and you don’t need to season them that much; the show-stopper is usually the sauce or toppings you’ll be serving the skewer with.

Mahshiko is a Vancouver-based food truck business that specializes in Korean food. One of the highlights of their menu is the tiny but mighty Beef Bulgogi Bibimbap, which is served inside a bowl and accompanies a disposable spoon.


Read this before you start your food truck business! 🥡 

If one of your food business ideas includes noodles, pasta or soup, it might be worth checking out other food business models. 

Because these are foods that normally require people to sit down in order to enjoy them, you might need to invest in some sitting area around your truck―and that isn’t always easy to come by.

Some good business models for these dishes include takeout services, a catering business and a food delivery business.


Food kiosk business ideas

Another option worth pursuing within the food industry is opening up a food kiosk. Unlike a truck, which is usually parked outside in the streets and driven around, a kiosk holds a specific spot inside buildings (like big retail stores and shopping malls) and in outside venues, too.

Kiosks are also different from food trucks in that they don’t necessarily have a kitchen inside them―or many kitchen utensils, for that matter. This means that you probably won’t be cooking your whole meals then and there, but likely just assembling the plates or selling something that’s already pre-packed.


Baby food

Starting a baby food business with a small kiosk can be a great idea for people who are interested in selling packaged items instead of cooking meals right on the spot. 

You can create your own recipes, cook them in your own house or rented kitchen, and sell them in small glass jars or other containers.

This is also a good food business idea to pursue if you’re looking to sell online and in person because then you can use the kiosk as your physical location. The great thing about combining both selling spots is that you can redirect customers from one to the other, thus getting more returning customers.


Ice cream shop

It’s actually pretty hard to come by a food business idea list that doesn’t have “ice cream” as a viable option.

The reason for that is actually twofold. First, people love ice cream. Second―and more important for entrepreneurs in the food industry―is that ice cream is easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of routine trips to grocery stores or other suppliers. 

Oliphant & Pomeroy is a UK-based store that specializes in baked goods and artisan ice cream. Their Instagram feed routinely shows their super cozy kiosks located in different British cities.


Read this before you start your own kiosk food business! 🥡 

Kiosks tend to vary in size: You can either have a small cart or a fully-fledged container with some nice square meters. 

Larger kiosks usually have sitting areas for paying customers, but keep in mind that this all adds to your expenses and might affect some important aspects of your store’s financial health, like your contribution margin.


Sweets and baked goods business ideas

There are also some other food business ideas that are great for in-person selling and online selling, especially if you have a sweet tooth.


Artisanal cookies

If you want your food business to have a slower and more sustainable pace so you can have the liberty and the time to create something that’s truly artisanal, specializing in cookies, muffins or other kinds of biscuits is one of the best food business ideas available.

Instead of investing a lot of money into a proper cafe, you can work with an order-based model and bake everything at home. Then, you wrap your delicacies into beautiful packaging to deliver an Instagram-worthy unwrapping experience that will guarantee a lot of user-generated content for your brand.

Case in point: Adobar is a great example of a food business that sells home-baked sweets online. Their Instagram game is strong, the images are mouth-wateringly delicious, and they work mainly with a limited number of sweets. After the customer places an order, they schedule pickup and/or delivery times.

And when it comes to packaging and unwrapping, you can take a page from The Pink Wonder, a Delhi-based bakery that sells amazing nankhatais in cute little boxes. This can be a great strategy to pursue if you’re interested in positioning your own food business as a place that offers gift-worthy sweets for people to give out on special occasions.


Cakes and finger foods

Brownies, besan milk cakes, banana halwas. You know what they all have in common?

Well, they’re delicious, of course. But they’re also sweets that tend to be cut up and served in small portions, which means you can create a food business specializing in those so-called “finger foods”.

To add some flair and diversify your offering, you can also sell cakes and pies, like Asukal Desserts. Their Instagram feed boasts a lot of delicious-looking brownies and cakes, and all of them draw inspiration from Filipino cuisine.

Read this before you start your own food business! 🥡 

Here’s a bonus idea for you to consider alongside the nine food business ideas we’re sharing: Instead of baking and cooking, why not build a business where you create content that is centered around baking and cooking?

Cooking channels are really big on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok―actually, they have been for a while now―, and they can be a huge source of revenue if you play your cards right to monetize them.


Interested in becoming a content creator? Here are a few recommended reads for you:


Food delivery service for organic and healthy food

The food industry is no stranger to the rise of different trends that generally don’t last long: A couple of years ago, cupcakes were all the rage and there were hundreds of tiny kiosks popping up in every city―each one selling colorful and novelty cupcakes.

Remember? Nowadays, it’s not so easy to come by one of those, right?

But there are some trends that end up being absorbed by the mainstream and turned into actual and profitable food businesses, like the organic food and/or healthy meal kits niche.

This is a great food business idea to consider if you’re looking to work exclusively with food delivery, and it’s also one of the best food business ideas in terms of variety because you can work with a ton of different business models. 

Instead of setting up an online restaurant with UberEats delivery, you can follow in the footsteps of Tiffin Box and offer customers a meal plan:

Is a meal plan too much commitment? Well, you can also offer a special lunch menu during the week and make that a delivery-only service. Try to offer two or three different lunch sets, so you can cook everything ahead and avoid wasting time with the assembling stage.

If healthy food isn’t really your thing, fear not: Our last two food business ideas are for the meat lovers out there.


Meat-based food business ideas

If you’re passionate about meat, why not create a food business that serves different recipes for that one kind of meat?

This can help you stand out among the competition since there aren't a ton of specialized places like this out there, and it’s also great for your content marketing strategy because it’ll give you a lot of niched material to work with.


Fish-only restaurant

CEV: Ceviche & Kinilaw Shack is probably one of the top examples of how to take this food business idea to the next level. They specialize not just in fish, but in two fish recipes: ceviche and kinilaw.

Don’t be fooled, though! Their menu actually has a lot of variety, since both ceviche and kinilaw can be made with tons of different fish and other side ingredients. This is exactly the sort of balance you should aim for: Pick out a dish that’s very specific, but that can be made with different ingredients.

Read this before you start your own food business! 🥡 

If the thought of having a “meat-only” food business appeals to you, it’s also worth considering how you can expand your business idea while still holding both feet down in the food industry.

Luckily, there are tons of ways to do that: 

  • Sell your own craft beer, kombucha or specialty drink
  • Partner with local bakeries to offer an exclusive dessert
  • Create a “members-only” club to give out special discounts every month
  • Sell your own merch: T-shirts, coasters, tote bags… These are all great items to help you instill a real sense of community among your customers.


Pork-only restaurant

You’ve probably seen a couple of pork-only food businesses in your day: They were huge some years ago, when people were putting bacon in every dish imaginable.

But instead of going for the obvious, why not specialize in some tastier dishes? Like pork sisig, pork adobo, pork mechado or even the amazing bagnet? These dishes can carry a whole restaurant on their backs, and they’ll leave a lot of bacon food businesses eating dust.

Bonus tip: Food business name ideas

After going through our nine food business ideas, you may have noticed that the visual aspect of a restaurant, kiosk, food truck or delivery service is incredibly important. 

For this reason, enhancing the photos of your products is something that you really should master―think of those mouth-watering photos you see on Instagram and you’ll know what we mean. 

But you also need to nail down another very important aspect of your food business: the name. Getting the perfect name will help you establish a nice online presence and really communicate to your customers what type of cuisine you’re serving them.

And guess what? You can use Shoplazza’s business name generator to help you with this daunting task. All you have to do is describe your business in one word, and we’ll generate some options right on the spot.

See? We told you you could count on us.


Get business name ideas


Get cooking

Alright, now it’s time to hit the grocery stores, attend some cooking classes and start jotting everything down so you can reach your goal of opening up your very own small food business. 

Right now, your best ally will probably be a business plan, a document where you’ll be able to organize your objectives and your goals. And, yep, you guessed it: We can help you write a business plan, too.

We hope the food business ideas we shared in this post can help you get started in the food industry. And if you’re not quite satisfied, here’s a quick list with some other ideas:

  • Open a fast food restaurant and serve burgers, fries or pizzas
  • Cater to other restaurants and food businesses, providing them with fresh produce and ingredients
  • Create your own cooking classes and package them as a digital product to sell online
  • Get into the hot sauce industry or the honey market, selling homemade sauces and honey
  • Grow your own produce and sell them at a farmer’s market


Start selling online


Marcela Lanius

About the author: Marcela Lanius

Marcela Lanius is a translator and copywriter. She’s been writing and translating for over a decade, and for the better part of that time, she’s been working almost exclusively with all things related to marketing and ecommerce. She loves words (obviously), cats, and coffee.