Even before the pandemic locked families down in homes, the prepared meal delivery service business has been widely patronized. Prepped home-cooked meals are delivered to the doorsteps of people who wish to save time planning, shopping, and cooking meals for the family or for themselves. Prepped meals delivery services are also popular among niche consumers such as special dieters, vegans, athletes, elder adults, etc.
Prepped meals delivery services that thrive in the business offer nutritious and delicious meals packed conveniently and presentably, delivered fresh and promptly. Your business can encourage healthy eating by offering only planned healthy choices and making it conveniently available by way of door-to-door delivery. What do you need to begin operating a prepped meals service and how can you market your services effectively?
Prepared Meals Delivery Service: an Overview
Prepared meals delivery services provide gourmet home-cooked meals to consumers who get the meals delivered to them once or on a recurring schedule. The customer may choose from a range of breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack menus. Typically, food service businesses make their profit from markups on ingredient and labor costs, plus overhead and allowance for wastage.
You may already factor in delivery charges into the meal price or you may offer free delivery as a value-add to your services. You may also consider selling extras like wine, bread, or special recipe condiments.
Permits and Licenses
It is important to look into local and federal regulations that apply to a home-based food preparation business. According to federal regulations, private residences that meet customer expectations are not considered as a “facility” and are not required to register with the FDA. You may read up further on federal regulations that may apply to you.
Find out about required state licenses and permits that apply to operating a food preparation delivery service in your area. For starters, you will be required to secure a seller’s permit that will identify your business and will allow the state to collect appropriate taxes. You might also need to pass a health inspection conducted by your local health department as part of the license application process.
As you get your legal paperwork in order, you will find that your food business will need insurance coverage. Business insurance, essentially, protects your entity’s finances in case of claims. Typically, small businesses start off with the most common general liability insurance. This helps cover attorney’s fees, medical expenses, and damages for claims you are found to be legally responsible for.
Niche Markets to Prepare Meals For
Prepared meals delivery services appeal to consumers who enjoy gourmet dishes, have limited time or ability to prepare them and have the disposable income to pay a little more for specialized service. You should maintain your edge over typical fast food items by offering specialized less processed, carefully planned, and made meals.
You may consider showcasing a variety of meals, snacks, or specialty drinks made from plant-based, organic ingredients. Think salads, oat cups, savory soups, and organic smoothies. Study the shelf life of each dish and how long they can be kept in the freezer.
You may market your prepped meals among athletes or workout buffs. You may offer set or rotating menus of keto, vegan, paleo, or vegetarian dishes. Offer dishes made with vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and lean proteins. Package your meals with shelf life notes and re-heating instructions.
Your business could specialize in ready-to-eat or heat-and-eat meals that aid in healthy weight loss. You may refer to various special diets such as Atkins, keto, vegetarian, South Beach, etc. Your website could be designed in such a way that a customer can customize and schedule meals to be delivered right to their doorstep.
You can also deliver prepped meals designed for elder adult consumers with various special dietary needs. Offer menus specially tailored for elder adults requiring low fat, low sodium, diabetic- or renal-friendly dishes. Make sure to include easy-to-read heating and Best Before instructions.
Marketing Your Prepped Meals Services
Establish your online presence in social media platforms, internet directories, or your very own website. As you were starting your business, you likely did plenty of web research to find out about your state requirements such as licenses, permits, and insurance. Take cues from insurance marketing tips and ideas and invest substantially on online channels such as Instagram, Facebook, Yelp, etc. that can make customers find you easily.
Traditional flyers and handing out calling cards may boost your business on the catering side. To promote your catering services, you should actively sponsor community events or charities.
There is a wide market nowadays for prepared meals delivery businesses, which just grew substantially with the onset of pandemic-driven lockdowns. More and more people are looking for healthier food options such as vegan, gluten-free, diabetic-friendly, keto, etc. You can start your own business of preparing and delivering homemade meals from your home with the necessary licenses, permits, and insurance. Delicious specialty foods can easily earn you loyal, satisfied customers who can help market your services to an even wider market.