Thursday, March 18, 2021

Top Tips for Starting Up a Food Tour Business #foodcareers #foodtours #liveyourpassio

The COVID pandemic has caused many people to lose their jobs. When the pandemic ends and life becomes somewhat normal again, many people will be looking for new careers. For food lovers seeking to become entrepreneurs, operating a food tour business is a great option! Now is the perfect time to formulate a business plan so you're ready to hit the ground running once pandemic restrictions are lifted. Today, The Weekend Gourmet correspondent is sharing some great tips to consider as you start your own food tour business. This article may contain affiliate links.

Stemming from the rise of the foodie movement, culinary tourism become a quick-growing trend among travelers -- including The Weekend Gourmet -- in the years before the COVID pandemic. A foodie is someone who loves indulging in and enjoying various types of food and drink -- more so than the average person. A food tour involves taking visitors on a guided culinary journey to explore a city or neighborhood's best restaurants. Sounds great...especially if you're into the food yourself. Imagine how much fun it could be to turn your passion for food into a business! This article shares some great ideas to help you formulate a plan to start your own food tour business.

Image via Pixabay CC0 License

(1) Find Your Niche

The first step you should take -- as with any new startup -- is to identify your target business niche. To choose a market segment that best fits your audience's want/needs, you must first consider who your target audience is, what type of tour they want, and why this niche interests them. Examples of popular food niches include pub crawls, best of a specific type of food (i.e., Tex Mex in San Antonio or pizza in New York), or even the best of an iconic food neighborhood in your city. You also need to be aware of your overall business goals.  Examine the food tour industry to assess which markets are saturated and which markets have space for business expansion. This step allows you to choose a niche that best meets the needs of your audience AND your business.

(2) Choose the Right Location

Choosing the right location for your food tour is critical. For example: there's no point setting up a vegetarian food tour business in a town where there are no vegetarian restaurants -- or no market for this type of food. Your food tour should also be located in an area that's pleasant to walk around, with good accommodations and transport links. Finally, your food tour location(s) also need to be a good fit in with the target audience that you've identified.

(3) Have a Solid Business Plan

Plan every business detail you can imagine. You need a comprehensive business plan that lays out all your business goals and objectives -- as well as how you intend to finance and reinvest in your company. You also need to consider practical matters, including ant equipment you'll need, marketing tasks, and so on. If you must relocate to start up your new venture, you'll also need to incorporate these tasks in your business plan. Key relocation questions to ask -- if applicable to your personal business plan -- include: Where will you live? Will you need to arrange transportation of your personal belongings and a car delivery ? Are you going to simply start from scratch after you relocate?

(4) Reach Out to Local Food Vendors and Restaurants

This is typically the most fun part of the food tour business start up process -- working out which venues you're going to include in your food tour. Of course, this involves a lot of testing and tasting. It is a hard job, but someone has to do it! Things you need to consider include:

  • Your tour's food niche

  • The quality of the food -- casual, upscale...or maybe a combination

  • The atmosphere of your tour -- funny, educational, etc.

  • Pricing per person and/or group

  • Specific services provided in the tour admission price

  • Location of your tour

Remember, if your customers have a poor experience at a restaurant or with a specific vendor, it reflects badly on your tour, so be careful when choosing which venues to include. Before you approach a restaurant, do your research...and plenty of taste testing. Then, reach out to the restaurant's owners to inquire whether they're interested in being included in your tour. Most restaurants will be thrilled, because it's great advertising and marketing for them. Being featured also opens them up to a whole new audience.

There are plenty of other things you need to think about when starting a food tour business. However, the tasks discussed above are great tips to get the ball rolling.

Good luck!

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