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How Much Does It Cost to Start a Meal Prep Business?

You can start a meal prep business from home with no money and still grow the organization to become successful. You can also invest over $150,000 to open a meal prep business from a rented restaurant facility. The bottom line is that you can work with whatever budget you have and still establish your meal prep business.

A meal prep business is a service-oriented enterprise that prepares and delivers ready-to-eat or partially prepared meals to customers, typically on a subscription basis.

However, it is important to note that certain important factors determine the amount it will cost you to successfully start a meal prep business, and that is what we will discuss in this article.

Factors That Determine the Cost of Opening a Meal Prep Business

  1. The Type of Meal Prep Business

The fact that anyone who wants to start a meal prep business may decide to start the business from home, from a restaurant, or a commercial kitchen facility means that the cost will be different. The truth is that it is far cheaper to start a meal prep business from your home.

The cost of renting and equipping either a restaurant, or a commercial kitchen facility will consume the bulk of your budget, and it does not come cheap.

  1. The Location Where You Want to Start the Meal Prep Business

For example, in the United States of America, some cities are pretty expensive to start and run a business. If by chance you settle for an expensive city to run your meal prep business, then it will cost you more when compared to someone who chooses to start his or her meal prep business in a cheaper city.

For example, it will cost you more to start a meal prep business in New York City, New York when compared to Silver City, New Mexico. Factors such as the amount required to rent or lease a facility, the cost of labor, and other utility costs are different and significant.

  1. The Cost of Equipping Your Meal Prep Business

If you have plans to start a standard meal prep business, it means that you are required to rent or lease either a restaurant, or a commercial kitchen facility, and then go on to equip the facility with the needed equipment, electronics, and furniture.

Aside from getting comfortable furniture such as stools, couches, sofas, tables, shelves et al, you will also need electronics such as flat-screen televisions, sound systems, and perhaps public address systems.

When it comes to your working equipment, you will need grills and griddles, deep fryers, food preparation stations, refrigeration and freezers, bun toasters, holding cabinets, food processors and blenders,

Utensils, and cookware (spatulas, tongs, knives, cutting boards, pans, pots, baking sheets, and other items necessary for cooking, serving, and food preparation), and dishwashing stations et al.

  1. The Number of Staff You Want to Recruit

The only reason why this might not be an issue is if you choose to start your meal prep business as a one-man business where you and your family members can handle all aspects of the business.

But, if you choose to start a standard meal prep business, then you must make plans to recruit and train key employees who will occupy different roles in your organization.

You should make plans to recruit a manager, an accountant or cashier, cooks or chefs, servers, delivery guys, and kitchen staff.

  1. The Cost of Obtaining the Needed Licenses and Permits

The fact that different states require different types of licenses and permits means that your budget for permits and licenses will be determined by the state you want to start your meal prep business.

As expected, you should budget for a Business License, Food Service Permit, Health and Safety, Permit, Liquor license, Zonal Permits, Signage Permit, Operational State Facility Inspections, and a live entertainment license if you want to provide entertainment, amongst others that may be unique to the state or city where you want to start your meal prep business.

  1. Your Ongoing Expenses

Ongoing expenses for any business including a meal prep business are unique to the meal prep business owner and their preferences.

But any social entrepreneur who wants to start a meal prep business should have a budget for regular maintenance and repair of equipment, such as blenders, refrigeration units, and food processors.

You will also spend on packaging and supplies such as bowls, cups, lids, utensils, napkins, cleaning supplies, and condiments.

There are also food ingredients, and utilities such as electricity, water, gas, internet services, software, and delivery and logistics to take care of.

  1. Miscellaneous Expenses

Although there is no one mold fits all when it comes to miscellaneous expenses for a meal prep business, an entrepreneur may decide to include the cost of:

Hiring and paying tax consultants, attorney, the cost of branding, promotion, and marketing of the meal prep business, the cost for logistics and outreach costs, your insurance and premiums,

The cost of the purchase and customizing of uniforms for your employees and volunteers, and the cost for the grand opening of the meal prep business as part of the miscellaneous expenses.