Many individuals, especially working professionals, don’t have the time and patience to prepare their daily meals. This also makes maintaining a healthy diet even harder for those with busy schedules. One perfect solution for this is meal preparation, which is a service that offers a stress-free method to help people achieve their diet goals.
If you’re a food lover and a passionate home cook, entering the meal prep business is worth a try. This business isn’t just about making money, but you also get to share your love for healthy food and help others get the essential food intake. With meal preparation, you can also take part in minimizing food waste and unnecessary food purchases. Are you interested in starting a meal prep business? Find out how in this healthful guide.
1. Create your meal prep menu
Starting a meal prep business isn’t just about serving any dish you think is healthy. You want to focus on different niches, depending on demand or your skills and resources. The first one is the vegans or vegetarians. The strictest group doesn’t consume any animal products. Meanwhile, some plant-based eaters are still open to eating eggs and other animal-based dishes in moderation. Your menu should cater to both groups.
Another health niche is the raw foodists who only consume food in its natural state. In catering to this group, your menu should contain nutritious and tasty food that usually consists of nuts, fruits, and salads. The third popular niche is the calorie counters, which are individuals who eat and maintain a specific number of calories per day. For this, you’ll need an extensive menu with detailed calorie counts. Make it exciting by doing a mix and match style dish selection.
2. Manage supplies and equipment
You’ll need to acquire plenty of supplies when running a meal prep business, from the fresh food and ingredients to the packaging and shipping materials. For the ingredient inventory, you’ll need to consider your projected sales. You can save on costs by purchasing the ingredients in bulk.
At the same time, make sure you’re not buying too much so that you’ll end up having spoiled food. Be smart when getting your ingredients to avoid food waste. You’ll also need to plan for portion packaging supplies. Pick the material, shape, and size of containers that suit the portion of cooked meals you’re planning to sell.
As for the shipping materials, you’ll need more than just ship out meal boxes. You need a printer for labels, packing tapes, and some dry ice too.
3. Invest in the right equipment
You’d also need to invest in different kitchen tools. For instance, you’ll need to invest in various meat processing machines designed for commercial use. Some of the tools falling under this category are sausage stuffers, hamburger patty presses, tenderizers, and meat mixer grinders and saws.
Other things you need are commercial mixers, food processors for vegetables and salsas, slicers, immersion blender, dough dockers, pastry cutters, and so on. If you’re expecting huge orders, it’s best to invest in refrigerated prep tables to help you easily assemble food such as sandwiches and salads. Invest in the range of equipment you need based on the type of meals you’re preparing and the size of your operations.
4. Create a prep workspace
Having a proper meal prep workspace is necessary for maintaining cleanliness and efficiency when you’re preparing the orders. You can use your personal kitchen if you’re planning to operate the meal prep service at home. However, you’ll need a commercial space if you’re opting to run on a larger scale.
In case you’re planning to rent a place for your meal prep business, there are certain areas that you should look for. The kitchen should have enough counter space for preparing the meal kits. It’s also essential to have a place for packing the meal kits and preparing them for delivery.
As for the shipping, you’ll likely need a refrigeration storage area to keep the orders before handing them to the delivery personnel. It’s also best to have a designated office space where your customer service, marketing, and accounting teams can work on. Depending on the size of your operations, you’ll need a meeting room for hosting potential clients and small business events.
Offering a meal preparation service is absolutely a healthy way to earn money while doing something you’re passionate about — food. Start small and provide your service to relatives and friends who’re looking for a convenient way to have balanced and healthy meals. Collect their feedback and make your final business plan.