Do you have a passion for cooking and want to offer your delicious dishes and/or cakes for sale using social media or your own website? Nothing could be easier! We explain all you need to know about getting your project up and running and starting your entrepreneurial adventure in food.
The first step is to determine your concept and the type of food you want to sell. Are you going to focus on local specialities, oriental cuisine, vegetarian food or fish dishes? It's up to you to decide based on your affinities and what already exists on the market.
Then read our article below on the steps for starting your business along with tips & tricks for this type of business!
What are the steps for getting started?
Formalities for setting up your company
You will find a lot of useful information on starting your business in the "Start a Business" guide:
Title and access required
Chefs are considered to be operators working in the food chain, so you must register with the FASFC as a "caterer".
Grants and financial aid
Brussels Economy and Employment awards numerous business start-up grants.
Specific financial aid is also available for setting up as a self-employed individual (Actiris self-employed grant,ONEM tremplin-indépendant (self-employed platform), etc.).
General support structures offer you a free support service (business plan, marketing study, price determination, etc.). We recommend that you attend their information meetings to determine which structure is best for you.
Some structures offer specific support (for a fee):
- BRUCEFO. The Brussels Centre for Food Expertise is a laboratory that supports you when launching or improving your product, conducting food analyses, etc.
- BRUFOTEC. Brussels Food Technology assists in the implementation and monitoring of food safety and hygiene standards.
- Agencies combining Food and Business. Agencies specialising in supporting projects in the food sector can assist you with the creation, implementation and management of your project (marketing, logistics, communication, human resources, etc.).
Where to set up your business?
There is nothing to prevent you doing your initial trials at home as long as your products are not made available for sale.
As soon as you start marketing your take-away food, you must ensure that the location used (i) complies with the FASFC standards and (ii) has a planning designation that permits this type of activity.
Does the FASFC scare you? Take one of their training courses and make sure that you comply with the rules.
In a shared kitchen
Another option is to rent a shared kitchen which is fully equipped and complies with FASFC standards, such as:
Rentals are usually by the hour.
An alternative is to rent a restaurant's kitchen when it is closed for example.
In your own professional kitchen
Would you prefer to have your own premises with your own professional kitchen (purchase or lease)? The Inventimmo and Régie Foncière websites list many offers for professionals. You can also contact the real estate agencies, immoweb, immovlan, logic immo, etc.
Create your website
Since you will not have a shop window, the dishes prepared by you will only be available for collection and/or delivery via an online sales system (website or social networks). It is therefore important to dedicate time and energy to a platform worthy of the name.
A few pointers:
- There are many platforms which you can use to create your website such as Weebly, Wix and Wordpress.
- infoshopping.be (created by FPS Economy) is dedicated to good practices in e-commerce. Also take a look at the FAQs.
- Apply for the web grant to create your website.
- Communication and culinary design agencies can help with your digital brand identity, visual content, and so on: Atelier Préface, Agence Miam, Innovative cuisine, Food Shoot, Agence Digitale Solidaire, etc.
There are two options for how customers can receive their orders: collected directly from your workshop or home delivery by you or a subcontractor.
Collection from your workshop, using a click & collect system, allows you to avoid the extra cost of delivery.
If you choose to have your orders delivered, be sure to include the cost of delivery in your price list. For convenience (each to their own, as some would say), you can use a subcontractor. In addition to the most well-known platforms such as Takeaway.com, Uber or Deliveroo, there are also Shippr and Proxideal.
Sustainable food & Ecology
The following portals list local producers and farmers:
Labels and good practices
- Info Label includes an explanation of the various labels in existence.
- If you commit to complying with the Good Food criteria, you can be included in their database.
- The environment.brussels website is full of tools and good practices for the food industry. For example, it has provided 4 new guides to inspire food and catering businesses that wish to embark on a waste reduction approach.
In addition, RABAD promotes and supports the development of sustainable food professionals in Brussels by organising webinars on sustainable food topics.
Develop your network