A home-based food business keeps your costs low while allowing you to share your culinary experience with clients. Each state regulates the operation of home-based food businesses, with some local counties and cities having separate regulations. Such regulations may include a separate kitchen for the business, a license and regular inspections. Check with your state and local health department to determine what you need to do to legally operate a home-based food business.
Desserts work well as the basis for a home food business. Decorating cakes, cupcakes and cookies is a common option, if your state allows it. Home cake decorators design and create cakes for birthdays, showers, weddings and other events. Specializing in a particular dessert, like cupcakes or decorated sugar cookies, helps you gain clients. Another option is to make desserts to sell to local restaurants. The restaurants then resell your desserts to their customers.
A personal chef prepares meals for clients who want to save time. You may prepare and serve a meal immediately at the client's home, or prepare several meals that the client freezes for later use. Another option is to prepare meals at your home that you deliver to clients. To create accurate pricing, create a set menu and calculate the cost for ingredients. Add the cost of your time to ensure you make a profit.
A catering business from your home may also be an option, depending on your state's regulations. If your state doesn't allow cooking in your home for catering, consider renting a commercial kitchen for your catering food preparation.
Parties with a cooking theme work well for outgoing individuals who want to share their cooking experience. If you're knowledgeable about wine, host wine-tasting parties for couples, or as a girls' night out activity. A basic cooking party that teaches guests two or three recipes is another option. For those who enjoy children, market your services for kids' cooking parties that allow the kids to learn kitchen basics. Specialize in one-time parties, or in recurring classes, with the same set of students over several weeks.
Food Gift Baskets
Selling food-based gift baskets is an option if you don't want to work as much with food preparation. Put together themed food baskets to sell either online, or as a vendor at a farmer's market or craft show. Theme ideas can include things like barbecue food items, tea, coffee, chocolate, or cheese and wine. Check on local regulations for selling items, particularly if alcohol is involved.
If you have a large garden and a green thumb, consider selling the fruits and vegetables that you grow. A local farmer's market is a selling venue that works well for this business. Ads on community bulletin boards and spreading the word through acquaintances is another way to sell your produce. An alternative is to grow starter plants to sell in the spring.