According to the Restaurant Association survey published on the Entrepreneur website, 57 percent of people surveyed said they would use delivery services to their home or office if more restaurants offered it. A box lunch delivery service can be profitable if it has a good location near large office districts. Box lunches are easy to assemble and deliver. They usually include a main meal such as a sandwich or salad, snacks like cookies or chips, possibly some fruit and a drink. Starting a box lunch service requires little startup capital.
Create a business plan. Write down the general idea for the open box lunch delivery business. Include the target market and how you plan to let it know about you. Also include some research about competing food delivery services in the area, financial projections and a budget detailing how much you need to start delivering food.
Secure funding. Since this is a small business with low startup costs, you can possibly start this business from home. Decide if you will fund operational costs yourself or through a loan or an investment. Contact your local branch of the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help you polish your business plan so you can present your idea to banks and investors.
Register your delivery service. If you're operating from home, check with your local county courthouse about zoning regulations and whether you can operate the delivery service from your residential area. Get a "doing business as" (DBA) form and submit it to your local courthouse. Register your business with your secretary of the state's office by filling out and submitting articles of incorporation. That office normally has sample documents and forms to assist you with this process. Get an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS's website if you plan on having employees, such as delivery drivers.
Price your services. Compare lunch prices with those of restaurants in your area. Create a simple survey for local companies and ask what price they would pay for a box lunch delivery service. Price your box lunch according to the competition's. Price higher than your competitors if you want to position yourself as a quality provider. Price lower if you're going for a higher sales volume.
Purchase ingredients and equipment. Decide what type of lunches you can offer and concentrate on one or two main choices to start. Buy the ingredients from wholesalers like Costco or Sam's Club to save on prices. Also purchase boxes small enough to carry but big enough to hold the whole meal. Create sample box lunches for friends and family, and get their feedback on quality, functionality and price.
Market your services. To start, approach a local office building and offer your products for free for one day. Leave your contact information on every lunch box and make it available to the office manager or person in charge. Offer introductory discounts and group rates to increase your business. Promote your service through fliers, ads in local paper and yellow pages. Create a simple website describing your services, prices and contact information.
Obtain liability insurance for your drivers, if you have any.
- lunch! image by Kimberly Reinick from Fotolia.com