There are tortillas and then there are tortillas. If you have the knack for making them, there may very well be a demand in your community for them. It wouldn’t be surprising, as Americans consume about 85 million tortillas a year. Fresh tortillas are particularly valued, so any local tortilla business producing a high-quality product is certain to gain loyal customers. There are several steps you must go through to get started with your tortilla-making business, but once you do you'll be ready to go and have a chance at success.
Research the local, state and federal requirements for starting a food-based business. Many of the requirements vary depending on where you live. You may need to have access to a commercial kitchen in order to sell food for consumption and to register your business with the Food and Drug Administration. In most states, you will also need to get an inspection by a state inspector.
Analyze your local market. Is there a demand for tortillas in local restaurants, Mexican bakeries and supermarkets? If you see a niche that is unfilled, use your tortilla business to fill it. Perhaps you can make low carb, super-sized or flavored tortillas.
If you will be doing business under a name other than your own, you will need to register your business name. Contact your county courthouse to find out where you can register your business name.
Locate a wholesale source for your ingredients. Tortillas have a low profit margin and you will need to save money wherever you can. Check with a local Mexican restaurant to find out where it purchases flour and corn masa.
Purchase bulk packaging for your tortillas. You can purchase either plain or printed packaging. If you are starting out on a limited budget, purchase plain packaging and include a paper insert with the name of your company, nutritional information and ingredients.
Buy a professional tortilla press in order to produce tortillas quickly. Making each tortilla by hand will be too time-intensive for you to make a profit.
Approach restaurants, "mom-and-pop" stores and supermarkets and pitch your product. Have fresh samples available for potential buyers to taste. Offer to do a product sampling in a supermarket on a busy day in order to help promote your tortillas.
Get the word out in your community that you make fresh tortillas. Use social networking sites and business cards to get the word out. Send a press release to the local newspapers and television stations, as they may offer to do a story about your up-and-coming business which will increase interest in your product.
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.