Many mums find happiness with cooking

If you enjoy cooking or baking and feel comfortable giving others your food, you might want to start your own home food business.

This kind of business can come in many forms – you might make specialty food products and sell them online, or you can be a caterer or a personal chef.

Home-based food businesses can be a hobby for extra income or the start of something much larger. They are manufacturing and wholesaling enterprises but at a smaller scale.

Handling food for sale at an address which is also a domestic premises means there are special food safety issues to consider.

Preparing or storing food at home for later sale (including in-kind rewards) is considered a food business. Requirements to be met are the same as for other retail food businesses.

Examples of home-based food businesses include:

  • preparing food for sale at markets or school canteens in a domestic kitchen
  • bed and breakfast accommodation
  • home-based child care for a fee involving provision of food
  • home-based catering businesses.

Some of the requirements also apply where the food premises are mostly commercial and people live at the premises, such as restaurants with accommodation for the restaurant owner, family or staff.

It is the responsibility of each food business to understand relevant food safety requirements and comply with them. Some food businesses engage consultants for expert food safety advice and to help them meet compliance obligations.

Let’s look at a few possibilities.

Specialty food

This is one of the easiest food businesses to start. If you make the world’s greatest biscotti or homemade jam, you might consider selling it online or in the “real world” at markets and festivals.

If you decide to sell your food product online, you can do it on Ebay or through your own website. You might also offer recipes, or several flavors or varieties of product. You might decide to keep it simple and offer the dry mix of a particular recipe so the customer can make the product at their convenience at home.

There are some limitations to be aware of, and these vary from area to area. There might be local council restrictions on selling food, or restrictions based on where the food is produced. Make sure you pay attention to these rules and restrictions before you make food and sell it. Often, there are loopholes (like selling a mix) you can discover that allow you to create a small business from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Catering

Many mums have started catering businesses from home. If you are always called upon to cook the food for special events and you have particularly good recipes, you might be halfway in business already. In addition, if you have a large group of family and friends, you might also have a built-in client base.

To run a catering business, you have to have a kitchen to work in. Most state laws restrict making food from your home and carting it to another location. But you can always rent kitchens to use, such as church kitchens and the kitchens at schools and the like.

This is an ideal business for mums because you can choose the jobs you want to work on.  You can have a lot of control over your work schedule until the event itself, when you might work a few hours before and a few hours after the event.

Personal chef

Personal chefs cook food for people in their own home. This is an excellent choice for the cook who has the skill to be a caterer but no permanent kitchen to use. By cooking the food in the client’s home, you circumvent that problem.

Most personal chefs offer two primary services – they will cook a special meal in someone’s home for them to eat right then, and they cook food for a family or person to eat throughout the week. In that case, you will cook or pre-prep several meals and leave them in the fridge or freezer for the customers to eat later.

More than the other options, working as a personal chef requires that you have some cooking training. If you have no formal training, it can’t hurt to take a few classes. Having a culinary degree isn’t necessary, but you do need to have some training under your belt before you sell yourself as a professional chef.

These jobs might not be jobs that you work exclusively at home, but all of them have a focus at home with some work needed off-site. In that way, they are ideal for the mum who wants to work at home but needs to get out and about now and then too.

Resources

Starting A Food Business

Home Based and Mixed Businesses

10 Tips For Starting A Food Business

Useful Contacts

Restaurant & Catering 1300 722 878

info@restaurantcater.asn.au

Australian Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers’ Union 02 8204 3000

www.lhmu.org.au

Australian Government Small Business Support Line 1800 777 275