Starting a business in any economy can be daunting, but never more so that when we’re battling a pandemic and a recession. There will be many operational and financial challenges, but starting a food venture may be a safer option than other industries because no matter the state of the economy, there will always be a demand for good food. Here are some food business ideas you can explore in the time of COVID-19.
Food truck or coffee cart
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people don’t stay in enclosed spaces for a long time, especially those that are poorly ventilated and doesn’t allow for a lot of physical distancing from other people. Following this safety guideline greatly reduces our risk of contracting COVID-19. If you want to provide people with an opportunity to dine out without having to stay in an enclosed space for a few hours, a coffee cart or food truck is the way to go. You can even incorporate other causes you’re passionate about, like sustainability. If you’re into coffee, you could also explore the possibility of providing your neighborhood with a local substitute to the usual suspects like Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
Following the same “no to indoor space” principle, an open-air or alfresco restaurant can or cafe is a good alternative to more traditional dining spaces, especially in the time of COVID-19. There are still consumers who might miss the feeling of dining in a restaurant, and providing them with an alfresco alternative is a healthy way to give them that experience. An outdoor dining location would benefit from industrial-style furniture and design because it looks good against brick walls and concrete, which are already the natural design elements in many suburban settings.
Meal delivery service
Another food business idea that will continue to see an uptick in the next few years is meal delivery services. With many young professionals and students working from home or taking online classes, not everyone has the time to whip up a meal three times a day, seven days a week. There is a market for meal kits because they inherently take out the stress in meal planning, giving the customers various options for a fixed amount. You can also consider incorporating premium products or menus, like a menu based on the number of calories or an all-vegan menu.
Trendy but easy-to-make foods
The quarantine period has brought to the surface a cavalcade of food trends—from Instagram’s Dalgona coffee to Tiktok’s pancake cereal—and for as long as intermittent lockdowns are in the cards, we will most likely see more. Capitalize on these trends by adding your own flair to them and marketing them in unique and creative ways. For example, you can capitalize on the cottagecore trend by creating sourdough bread adding a twist—you can turn it into a cinnamon roll or a chocolate twist. You could also eventually expand to sourdough pizza.
Unleash Your Inner Food Entrepreneur
The pandemic has been hard on the small business sector, with a reported 100,000 establishments closing as of September 2020. But if you have a passion for eating and cooking, you might have a shot at making money through a well-marketed food business with genuinely good products and services. And there will always be people in your community who are always looking to support small businesses instead of big corporations, so don’t hesitate to explore your possible target demographic and which of their needs you can meet. You might be uniquely positioned to provide those needs at this time.