How to start an online hospitality business
Digital disruption is often framed as a challenge, but it can create new opportunities. With rising costs and an increasingly competitive industry, launching a hospitality business may seem impossible. Thanks to e-commerce many young food entrepreneurs are seizing the opportunity to start small and kickstart their hospitality dreams.
Why start an online food business?
Food entrepreneurs often dream of starting with a bustling cafe, high-end restaurant or even a pâtisserie empire. While these all involve physical venues, there's much to be said for the benefits of beginning your food business online.
- Lower start-up costs: There are a range of e-commerce platforms available which are considerably cheaper than the cost of a commercial lease, such as SquareSpace or Shopify. These tools allow anyone to establish an online store, even without a web developer background.
- Ease of compliance: Food business management requires strict compliance with health and safety regulations in Australia. When operating a customer-facing space, your business is opened up to a greater range of health and safety risks. Customers bring risk into the physical business environment and, if not managed carefully, these could affect food preparation.
- 24/7 operation: With online shopping, your business's point of sale is not limited to daily operational hours and customers can purchase food whenever they want.
- Flexibility: You have the option to start a business from your own kitchen - but in time that may not provide enough space as the business grows. Without customer locality or access to consider, you have much better flexibility to choose a commercial kitchen space that suits your business.
How to start your online hospitality business
Even with the e-commerce tools available today, to be successful you still need a firm understanding of what it takes to manage a hospitality business.
Before you can launch your e-Commerce site, you must consider a range of business decisions, such as:
- Unique selling points.
- Profitable but competitive pricing.
- Procurement of ingredients.
- Longevity of food products.
- Shipping and handling costs.
- Staffing requirements.
- Market demand.
- Health and safety.
There's a lot to be considered when starting a hospitality business, whether online or bricks-and-mortar. To gain an in-depth understanding of what it takes to start your own food business, apply for a Bachelor of Business (International Restaurant Management) at Le Cordon Bleu.
Adelaide alumnus Amanda Lee graduated with a Bachelor of Business (International Restaurant Management) in 2012 after travelling Australia as a pastry chef. In the next year, she worked from home to establish her online pâtisserie, Sugar Sugar Cakes, which was quickly flooded with work for prestigious events. Today, she runs the Sugar Sugar Cake School, providing innovative online learning opportunities to professional and hobbyist bakers alike.
Chasing your culinary dreams begins with the right education, contact Le Cordon Bleu today.
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