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More people than ever are looking for ways to start a home business, and with unemployment rising in the aftermath of COVID-19 lockdowns, home businesses are set to grow further. Experienced hospitality workers are suddenly finding themselves unemployed, as businesses from small independent cafes to large multinational restaurant groups are unable to carry on in the new world. High streets are changing, many cities are struggling, and the idea of finding a new job in the new world, where the sector that you have got the most experience in is dramatically shrinking can bring on a bit of a panic.
Starting a home business is a great idea. Well run small businesses are thriving, as their local communities offer them support, and working from home reduces the need to find a job, while giving you a chance to do things your way, creating a business that is ready to take on new normal, instead of one that’s desperately trying to adapt to it.
But, while starting a food business is tempting, selling food from home is a little different, with more regulations and safety considerations to think about. Here are some things that you should think about if you would like to draw on your experience and start a bakery from home.
If you want to run any kind of business from home, you’ll need to register either as self-employed, as a partnership or as a limited company. But, as a food trader, you will also need to be registered as a food business with your local council.
Being able to make great cakes and pastries might be essential, but it still won’t help you if no one knows about them. As a home business, you may not have the luxury of big marketing budgets, so think about how you could use social media, and perhaps a website, to build a customer base.
Packaging is another key consideration. Your food needs to arrive at its destination in great condition. Sturdy boxes can work well for cakes and other ambient products. But, if you need to keep food hot or cold, or give customers an easy way to reheat, you’ll need to think more carefully.
Then, there’s moving your goods. It can be easiest to offer collection only to avoid any temperature or quality concerns. But, this will severely limit your market. Using a courier with refrigeration service can give you far greater options and allow you to safely deliver to people from further afield. Whatever you choose, make sure you factor in delivery costs when thinking about pricing.
As a food business, you’ll need to keep records of both hot and cold temperatures. You’ll need to test the temperature of your fridges, and any cooked food, as well as regularly checking the temperature of hot hold food, to make sure they meet current restrictions. You will also need to record and display allergen information.
Starting a home-based food business certainly isn’t impossible. But, when working with food, it’s crucial that you take the time to conform to regulations, and put the appropriate safety measures in place.