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Business Ideas

Examples of Food Business Ideas

You'll first need examples of what others are doing to stand out, before you can launch your food business. Here are 10 tantalising examples of how you can make your customers hungry for your business:
Examples of Food Business Ideas
Image credit: Bigstock
Entrepreneur Staff
Sales Enablement - Content Developer
8 min read

You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

So, you’ve decided to start a food business, but how do you differentiate yourself? What are successful food businesses doing to put themselves a topping or two above their competitors? When starting your food business ensure you incorporate the lessons from these businesses to ensure your food business idea is a success.

Here are 10 food business ideas and examples of successfully operating businesses:

1. Bakery

Do you love baking? Llinos Woods launched this business because of her love of baking and it is now a successful and thriving bakery. Here is an example of her operating business and what you can learn from it:

How this Bakery Business did it:

Business Name: Pretty Cakes of London

Website: http://www.prettycakesoflondon.co.uk/

Established Date: 2009

About the business:

Pretty Cakes of London offer fabulous party cakes, beautiful wedding cakes and gorgeous cupcakes and cookies. This bakery specialises in edible works of art, catering to every event from children’s parties to lavish weddings.

Innovative business offering

Along with a comprehensive website and beautiful images, so customers can clearly see what they’re ordering or get ideas from what this bakery offers, they also give an estimated serving amount for each of their cakes, so customers can buy exactly the right size for their function.

2. Catering

Do you love hosting parties and cooking food for your friends and family? If you’re a skilled cook you could be selling your delicious creations. Here is an example of an operating business you can learn from:

Business Name: By Word Of Mouth

Website: https://www.bywordofmouth.co.za/

Established Date: 1993

About the business:

By Word Of Mouth is a catering company that offers unique designer menus of superb food selections and tastes. They also have a full event management offering, including event design, floral design, hiring and décor, beverages, front of house management and waiting staff.

Innovative business offering

This innovative catering business built a reputation to match its name. They aimed to have the most talked about, polished events and parties in South Africa and they achieved their goal and continue to excel.

Related: 20 Innovative Business Ideas Doing Well Overseas (That Could Make You Money In SA)

3. Food truck

If you want to open a restaurant without the overheads or test your concoctions out on the public before opening a bricks-and-mortar business, then you may be looking for a food truck. Here is an example of an operating business you can learn from:

Business Name: Cinnamon Snail

Website: https://www.cinnamonsnail.com/#!home

Established Date: 2010

About the business:

This food truck business has been operating for 9 years and already has two restaurant locations as well as being a beloved brand in the areas it operates. 

Innovative business offering

This is a vegan business that focuses on “tearing the roof off of people’s expectations of vegan cuisine.”They’ve focused on specialising in vegan cuisine and becoming specialists and innovators in this area. 

Chef Adam Sobel is the founder of this unique idea and serves delicious sandwiches, burgers, bowls and a selection of more than 30 different vegan donuts and pastries daily.

4. Spice processing

Spices are vital for creating interesting and flavourful taste combinations. If you understand how the different spices work and which ones enhance different dishes, then this could be the business opportunity for you. Here is an example of an operating business you can learn from:

Business Name: Africa Spice

Website: http://africaspice.co.za/

Established Date: 1996

About the business:

Africa Spice imports, blends and packs spices from all over the world. They focus on high-end and pure natural spices, while delivering consistently high-quality products.

They supply products to South Africa’s largest independently-owned and franchised butcheries.

Innovative business offering

To ensure they differentiated themselves from their competitors they also offer their customers custom spice blends. This allows them to offer unique flavour profiles that meet their customers’ requirements.

Related: The Ultimate 101 List Of SA Business Ideas To Get You Started

They also offer an innovative range of sauces, marinades and condiments.

5. Home cooked meals

If you’re good at cooking food in bulk and you’re good at making food that freezes well, you can sell home cooked pre-made meals. Here is an example of an operating business you can learn from:

Business Name: Ginger Apple

Website: http://www.gingerapple.co.za/index

Established Date: 2012

About the business:

Ginger Apple offers home-cooked home meals with personally sourced ingredients and will cater to numerous dietary requirements. They deliver fresh ingredients and perfect pairings for their home-cooked and delivered meals.

Innovative business offering

They’ve differentiated themselves by expanding their offering to include order-to-freeze dietary solutions, culinary consulting to other restaurants and chefs, as well as their own restaurant in Pretoria-East. 

6. Cooking Class

Do you love to cook? Do you also love to teach others to cook? Why not turn your passion into a profitable business opportunity. Here is an example of an operating business you can learn from:

Business Name: Taste Buds

Website:  http://www.taste-buds.co.za/

Established Date:

About the business:

Taste Buds offers cooking courses for singles, couples, groups and events. They focus on the entertainment side of cooking, while teaching customers different techniques and recipes.

Innovative business offering

They differentiate themselves by offering a variety of courses for different occasions, from romantic couple’s classes to sushi specific courses. They also teach classes for various types of cuisine for the more adventurous customers, from Mexican, Indian, French and Italian classes.

7. Bartender

Do you make a mean cocktail? Are you good at making friends with strangers? Why not get paid to pour and mix drinks at parties and events? Here is an example of an operating business you can learn from:

Business Name: On the Rocks Bartending

Website: https://www.otrocksbartending.com/

Established Date: 2013

About the business:

On the Rocks Bartending is a boutique bartending service that offers inclusive, full service bartending for numerous events and parties, including: weddings, corporate functions, and social celebrations.

Related: 11 Uniquely South African Business Ideas

Innovative business offering

To ensure they differentiate themselves from others in their market, they offer personalisation of each bar package to their client’s specific needs. They also take care of everything bar related to give their clients peace of mind.

8. Meal Delivery

If you’re good at compiling the best ingredients and coming up with amazing recipes you can sell your meals ideas to busy South Africans. Here is an example of an operating business you can learn from:

Business Name: UCOOK

Website: https://ucook.co.za/

Established Date: 2016

About the business:

David Torr and his team launched UCook from a garage. They packed ingredients into boxes with a recipe and started selling subscriptions to customers.

Innovative business offering

UCook offers 3 different categories for their customers to choose from allowing them to eat according to their dietary preferences. Customers can also decide how many of the same meal they want and when they want their box delivered.

9. Organic Food Shop

There are a growing number of health-conscious people who prefer organic food, especially in urban areas. You can launch an organic food shop to help them find the healthy food they’re looking for. Here is an example of an operating business you can learn from:

Business Name: Jackson’s Real Food Market

Website: http://jacksonsrealfoodmarket.co.za/

Established Date: 2014

About the business:

Jackson’s Real Food Market buys their supplies from small holder farmers in South Africa. Once the products are sourced, they taste test and analyse the ingredients to ensure their customers know exactly what they’re eating.

Innovative business offering

Jackson’s Real Food Market expanded their operation in a natural way by launching a restaurant offering organically cooked food to their patrons. They have also expanded their markets around Gauteng.

10. Microbrewery

Do you love making craft beer? Trying different ingredients to get new flavours? You could open a microbrewery and sell others your tasty inventions. Here is an example of an operating business you can learn from:

Business Name: Jester King Brewery

Website: https://jesterkingbrewery.com/

Established Date: 2010

About the business:

Jester King Brewery is an authentic brewer of farmhouse ales, which means all of its products are linked to an historic event, it’s timing and the local cultural people. Their philosophy is to work in partnership with nature to create beer that is unique to its natural surroundings.

Innovative business offering

Jester King Brewery only opens it’s Tasting Room for 3 days every week effectively turning every weekend into a beer festival. This has improved their customer numbers from 800 to 1500 on one day.

Related: 25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

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