Do you want to start a food kiosk in a mall? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a food kiosk business with NO money and no experience plus a sample food kiosk business plan template. Since the advent of fast food restaurants, loads of entrepreneurs have become millionaires. If you are interested in the food industry but you don’t have the capital needed to launch a standard fast food restaurant, one of the coolest ways of making money is to open a food kiosk.
Though this type of business is profitable, but at the same time you can run at a loss if your food kiosk business is not well positioned and managed. It is important to state that loads of fast food kiosks and restaurants close shop because they failed to conduct detailed market survey and feasibility studies before opening. Your ability to re-strategize and always up your service delivery will help you stay competitive.
Starting a food kiosk business also means that you already have some plans in place; plans like how you intend to compete in the market, how you intend to make your business known to the people, as well as other important factors that must not be overlooked.
Before launching this type of business, it will pay you to carry out your market research, economic and cost analysis and of course feasibility studies. If you get things right before launching your food kiosk business, it will not take long before you break even and start smiling to the bank.
So, if you have the desire to start your own food kiosk business, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well equipped.
18 Steps to Starting a Food Kiosk Business
1. Understand the Industry
The Fast Food Restaurant industry consists of restaurants and food kiosks where clients pay for quick-service food products before eating. The food purchased may be consumed in the restaurant or within the kiosk, taken out or delivered as requested. Gross revenue generated in the industry is derived from both franchised and company – owned fast food outlets.
Franchise fees (up-front costs associated with opening a franchise) are also accounted for in the revenue generated in the industry. Although this industry does not include coffee and snack shops but most fast food outlets also sell beverages such as water, juice and sodas, but usually not alcohol.
The Fast Food Restaurant industry has managed to excel during the last five years right through the recovery. Keeping consumers’ appetites satisfied, fast food outlets/franchises have created new menu options that capitalize on the trend of increasing awareness of the health risks associated with high-fat diets. The industry has also thrived by developing products at price points attractive enough to weather the slow recovery, resulting in strong revenue growth.
The Fast Food Restaurants industry that food kiosk business is part of, is a thriving sector of the economy of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Canada and in most countries of the world. Statistics has it that in the united states of America, the Fast Food Restaurants industry generates well over $228 billion annually from more than 208,392 registered fast food outlets/franchise scattered all around the United States of America.
The industry is responsible for the employment of well over 4,269,281 people. Experts project the Fast Food Restaurants industry to grow at a 2.4 percent annual rate. MacDonald’s, Yum Brands, Inc. and Subway are the leaders in the Fast Food Restaurants industry; they have the lion market share in the industry.
The Fast Food Restaurants industry and food kiosk business is confidently embedded in the mature stage of its life cycle. Over the next 10 years, industry value added which measures an industry’s contribution to US GDP, is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 2.5 percent, compared with estimated annualized GDP growth of 2.2 percent during the same period.
Thus, the industry has exhibited slow and steady long-term growth at a slightly faster pace than the economy as a whole. For this reason, many fast food chain operators are seeking higher growth in the global market. The food kiosks line of business will continue to blossom because people will always want to eat when they are hungry and can’t afford to go home to fix meals for themselves.
Despite the fact that the industry seems over – saturated, there is still room big enough to accommodate aspiring entrepreneurs who intend opening their own food kiosks in the United States of America.
Over and above, the turnover for an average food kiosk can be as high as 50% and above that is why entrepreneurs who intend making good money from a restaurant cum fast food related business with less struggle and startup capital can open their own food kiosk; they either start their own food kiosk business from the scratch or buy an existing and successful food kiosk franchise.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who buy food from food kiosks cut across all genders and age groups; male and female, adults and children all eat fast food and snacks hence the demographic composition for food kiosks businesses is all encompassing.
The truth is that when it comes to selling food and snacks, there is indeed a wide range of available customers. In essence, your target market can’t be restricted to just a group of people, but to all those that reside around the locations where you have your food kiosks and who have the purchasing power.
So, if you are thinking of opening your own food kiosk business, you should make your target demographics all encompassing. It should include corporate executives, students, migrants, entrepreneurs, business people, celebrities, military men and women, sports men and women, tourists and every adult in the neighborhood where your food kiosk will be located.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
If you have plans of starting a food kiosk business, you just have to carve out niche areas that you need to specialize in. This is so because there are loads of foods and snacks that can be sold in a food kiosk and a food kiosk will find it extremely difficult to cook all the foods and prepare all the snacks that is available in the United States of America.
These are some of the niche ideas a food kiosk business can choose from;
- Sale of Burgers, sandwiches and other snacks
- Sale of Mexican
- Sale of Pizza and Pasta
- Sale of Chicken and Chips
- Sale of Asian
- Sale of rice, beans, salad, beverages, such as water, juice and sodas et al
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The competition that exists in the food kiosk line of business goes beyond competition amongst food kiosks in your location; you are expected to compete with fast food restaurants, mobile food trucks, regular restaurants, canteens and any other outlets that also sell food and snacks. So, it will be right to say the competition in the food kiosk business is tough.
The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you brand and promote your products or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure that you are good at preparing the food you have on your menu, you can deliver excellent customer care services and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by the customers and general public than the others. These are some of the leading food kiosks, fast food restaurants and mobile food trucks/brands in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Be More Pacific (Austin, Texas)
- Hook and Ladder (Denton, Texas)
- Serial Grillers (Tucson, Arizona)
- Grillenium Falcon (Fayetteville, Arkansas)
- Maximus Minimus (Seattle, Washington)
- Patty Wagon (Los Angeles, Californa)
- Big Gay Ice Cream Truck – New York City
- Chef Jeremiah – Miami, Florida
- Chi’Lantro BBQ – Texas (Austin, Fort Hood, Houston)
- Clover Food Lab – Boston, Massachusetts
- Coolhaus – Southern California, New York City, Austin, and Dallas
- Don Chow Tacos – Los Angeles, California
- Grease Trucks – Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
- The Grilled Cheese Truck – southwest United States
- The Halal Guys – New York City
- Honeysuckle Gelato – Atlanta, Georgia
- Kelvin Natural Slush Co. – New York, New York
- KIND Movement – tours the United States
- Kogi Korean BBQ – Los Angeles, California
The food kiosk business is not a Green business, as a matter of fact; you will come across several food kiosks, fast food restaurants and mobile food trucks when you drive through town. So, if you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of what is required to rent a space where you are expected to install your food kiosk and the amount required to purchase cooking utensils and equipment, food ingredients and other supplies and also the running cost of the business.
Over and above, if you are considering starting a food kiosk business, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of renting a space to install your food kiosk and purchasing cooking utensils and equipment, food ingredients and other supplies, but also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base, you are sure going to maximize profit in the business.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to buy the franchise of a successful and well – established fast food restaurant or food kiosk as against starting from the scratch. Even though it is relatively expensive buying the franchise of an established fast food restaurant or food kiosk brand, but it will definitely pay you in the long run.
But if you truly want to build your own brand after you must have proved your worth in the fast food restaurants industry, then you might just want to start your own food kiosk business from the scratch. The truth is that it will pay you in the long run to start your food kiosk business from the scratch. Starting from the scratch will afford you the opportunity to conduct thorough market survey and feasibility studies before choosing a location to launch the business.
Please note that most of the big and successful food kiosk business and fast food restaurants around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own food kiosk business today, one of the major challenges you are likely to face is the presence of well – established food kiosk businesses, fast food restaurants, mobile food trucks, regular restaurants and canteens et al and any other outlets that also sell food and snacks. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.
Other challenges and threats that you may face are economic downturn and unfavorable government policies. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
You have the option of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability company which is commonly called an LLC, or a sole proprietorship for a business such as food kiosk business. If your intention is to grow the business and have chains of food kiosks across the United States of America and other countries of the world via franchising, then choosing sole proprietorship is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your food kiosk business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
If you are considering starting your own food kiosk business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Corinthians Food Kiosk®, LLC
- Queen Monique Food Kiosk, LLC
- Anti-Hunger Food Kiosk, Inc.
- Lindsay Holmes Food Kiosk®, Inc.
- Food 4 All Food Kiosk®, Inc.
- Peter Pan Food Kiosk, Inc.
- Friends of Veg Food Kiosk, Inc.
- One Stop Food Kiosk, LLC
- Irene Morgan Food Kiosk, Inc.
- Golden Turkey Food Kiosk, Inc.
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your food kiosk business.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own food kiosk business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health/Medical insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own food kiosk business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
When it comes to operating a food kiosk business, you do not need to have any formal training or special certification before you can be allowed to open and operate a food kiosk business in the United States of America and in all countries of the world. All you need is informal training that will expose you to the in and out of preparing good food and snacks and effectively running the business.
On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can aid you to conduct your food kiosk business effectively, then by all mean try and pursue such certification.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper legal documents.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own food kiosk business in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Tax Payer’s ID / Tax Identification Number
- Food and drink handlers certificate
- Health inspection Certificate
- Proof of district-issued food and drinks manager identification card
- Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Building License
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a food kiosk business can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale by running a small food kiosk business in a street corner. Securing a standard and well – positioned store/kiosk facility and purchasing cooking utensils and equipment, food ingredient supplies and serving wares et al are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital.
If you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale food kiosk business. Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your food kiosk business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell of shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank/banks
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
When it comes to choosing a location for your food kiosk business, the rule of thumb is that you should be guided by the demand for such food and snacks, and easy access to wholesale purchase of food supplies directly from farmers or wholesale food distributors. Of course, if you are able to secure a central location for your food kiosk business, it will give people easy access to your kiosk.
It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to open your food kiosk business is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people with the required purchasing power and lifestyle.
If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a facility for your food kiosk business in a not too visible or hidden location simply because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in promoting the business and perhaps giving direction to potential customers.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your food kiosk business;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for food and snacks in the location
- The purchasing power of the residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of food kiosks, fast food restaurants, mobile food trucks, regular restaurants and canteens et al and any other outlets that also sell food and snacks in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
On the average, there are no special technology or equipment needed to run this type of business except for cooking utensils, food service equipment (microwave, toasters, dishwasher, refrigerator, blender etc.), Storage hardware (bins, utensil rack, shelves, food case), Counter area equipment (counter top, sink, ice machine, etc.), Computers and receipt issuing machines, Sound System (For playing music), Point of Sale Machines (POS Machines), CCTV Cameras and Flat Screen TVs. So also, you will definitely need computers/laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
As regard leasing or outright purchase of a store facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standing, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short term rent/lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long term lease or outright purchase of the property.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard food kiosk business with more than one outlet, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Merchandize Manager, Cook/Chef, Food Kiosk Manager, Sales and Marketing Officer/Sales Girls and Sales Boys, Accounting Clerk, and Cleaners. These are some of the key employees that you can work with. On the average, you will need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff members to run a small scale but standard food kiosk business.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
When it comes to the business services process of a food kiosk business, there are no hard and fast rules about it. Basically, it is the duty of the merchandize manager to help the organization purchase food ingredients. They go out there to source for good purchasing deals and they also ensure that they only purchase at the right prices that will guarantee them good profits.
Once the food kiosk business is in full operation, the food and snacks are prepared and listed on the menu. Food, snacks and drinks purchased from a food kiosk are usually take-away since it is a food kiosk and they may not have the capacity to accommodate their customers.
Stocks are taken at the close of business every day and accounts are balanced. It is important to state that a food kiosk business may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated food kiosk business process is not cast on stone.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
Running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods and services. If you choose to launch a food kiosk business, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will struggle with the business because there are well – known brands that determine the market direction for the fast food restaurants industry cum food kiosk business.
These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your food kiosk business;
- Introduce your food kiosk by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to corporate organizations, car owners, taxi companies, transport companies, households, sports organizations, gyms, schools, socialites, celebrities and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your food kiosk is located.
- Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn so that those on social media or those who read blogs will know where to go when they need to purchase food and snacks within your location
- Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
- Directly market your products
- Engage in roadshows in targeted communities from time to time to promote your food kiosk business
- Join local food kiosk business associations for industry trends and tips
- Provide discount days for your customers
- Advertise our business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Encourage the use of Word of mouth marketing (referrals)
17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
One key factor that will help you sell your food, snacks and drinks at rock bottom prices is to purchase your food ingredient supplies directly from farmers or from food ingredient wholesalers in pretty large quantities. The truth is that the higher the quantity of items that you purchase directly from farmers and wholesalers, the cheaper you tend to get them.
Another strategy that will help you retail your food, snacks and drinks at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum, and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.
18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting a food kiosk business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by opening chains of food kiosks and franchising, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and requires consistent brand awareness and boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Your corporate identity has a lot to do when it comes to building a profitable business.
Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your food kiosk business;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and food magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events/programs
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your food kiosk business
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your food kiosk business
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact corporate organizations, car owners, taxi companies, transport companies, households, sports organizations, gyms, schools, socialites, celebrities and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your food kiosk is located informing them about your food kiosk business and the food, snacks and drinks you sell
- List your food kiosk business in local directories / yellow pages
- Advertise your food kiosk business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Position our Flexi Banners in strategic positions in the location where food kiosk business is located
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks/vans are well branded with your company logo et al
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