The answer to that question is a definite maybe. Whether or not you can make a business out of grandma’s apple pie recipe depends on a few things.
- Can you manage a business?
- Can you cook?
- Is grandma’s apple pie really that good?
- Do you like the idea of being in food service?
- Do you have the facilities to bake and sell apple pies?
As it happens, the one question turns out to be a lot of questions. All of them are vitally important and need to be answered before taking the inquiry any further.
There is also the prospect of rejection. What if people don’t like them? You are not proposing selling any old apple pies. These are grandma’s special pies that fuel every good childhood memory you have ever had. This is not just business. It’s personal.
That said, entrepreneurs have been making a living off of family recipes for as long as food has been a business. So provided that people would not generally reject these pies on taste, the answer is, of course, you can do it too. Here are a few of the things you are going to need to do first:
Be Honest About the Startup Costs
One of the worst things you can do to your startup is to lie to your investors about how much it is going to cost to get your business off the ground. The absolute worst thing you can do is lie to yourself about it.
How many people do you plan to serve daily? Your kitchen at home is probably not going to cut it. You are going to need to look into commercial freezers that can handle the load of a food service operation while meeting all the regulatory specifications.
If you are going to go mobile, you will need some kind of commissary where you can keep dishes and hands clean and sanitized throughout the day.
You have got to consider every big and little thing, and price it out. Getting startup capital is hard enough. Getting more capital because you underestimated the cost is a lot harder.
The best apple pie in the world won’t sell itself. You can’t assume that people are going to take the time and effort to seek you out. You have to go to where they are. One of the best ways to do that also coincides with one of the hottest trends in the food industry: food trucks.
Three of the best things about food trucks are that they are relatively inexpensive compared to fixed locations. They’re versatile. And they’re mobile. If you want a fourth reason to consider a food truck, people love them. They already have market acceptance.
There are definitely a few things you need to know about how to open a successful food truck. The main thing you need to bear in mind is that a food truck is still every bit a real business, and needs to be treated that way. Forget that, even for a moment, and not even grandma’s apple pies will save it.
Every big business starts as a small business. This is especially true in the food business. Dream big. Start small. Take a lesson from food trucks: Tiny restaurants can turn into small wonders. You can save a fortune by simplifying.
Beyond saving money, one of the best reasons to start small is to keep your mistakes small. What if the lunch crowd at the office building really doesn’t like your grandma’s apple pie? Better to find out with a small run of pies than to try and mass produce thousands at a time for those supermarket freezers.
Small failures are actually positive results. Big failures can wreck your dreams. Small successes are also positive. And they build on word of mouth and confidence that blossoms into much bigger successes over time. Even if your big idea is a winner, you will likely need some time to grow into it and perfect the strategy.
Don’t sandbag your startup costs. Find a way to take your product to the people. And don’t bite off more than you can chew. Keep these things in mind, and grandma’s recipe can become as ubiquitous as, well, apple pie.