A couple of weeks ago I had to make a difficult decision to close down my chocolate courses & parties business. I hope this is just a temporary arrangement and once the current health scare blows over, I’ll be able to open my little cooking school again to all my students.
But, if you like me have a food business and have been thinking what else you can do while your main business is shut, here are my top 5 tips on making sure we carry on regardless!
1. Run a virtual get together or cook – a – long
This one is a fantastic idea, which doesn’t need much setting up. Just let your customers or followers know when and how they can join you and then start streaming a cooking session from your kitchen.
Let people know in advance what they need to have ready (e.g. food ingredients and equipment). Choose something straightforward with a few ingredients to make sure that people have these ingredients at home or can easily buy them.
To run your online cooking lesson successfully you need to make sure that you have a fast internet connection, so that you can focus on presenting the lesson and not worry about your laptop buffering as your internet connection fluctuates. You can shop around and check the best windstream internet plans for your area and your business to make sure that you can carry on working online without any interruptions.
2. Stay visible on social media
So, I can’t run my usual chocolate making courses, but I can still stay in touch with my customers by writing up my recipes and posting them on my social media channels. Rather than promoting my food business, I’m sharing my best recipes and easy to follow tutorials, which I know will be useful to my customers.
3. Introduce a home delivery
This is the most obvious one, and if your food business set up allows it, there is no reason why you couldn’t provide home delivery and bring your delicious food direct to your customers. If you use your car to deliver fast food, then make sure you have proper car courier insurance to give you protection against any liability.
4. Make sure you have an online presence
It always amazes me how many food businesses don’t have an online presence. If your normal way of running your food business, whether you are a local cafe, restaurant or fast food takeway, is that people come to you, now it’s the perfect time to set up your own website, so that you can ‘come to people’!
You can start with just a simple one page website using one of the many online website builders, such as WordPress, SquareSpace, Weebly or Wix. To compliment your new website, start at least one social media channel so that people can easily connect with you at any time.
Once you have your own online presence, you can start advertising your home food deliveries, add online shop with your own products, ingredients or ready meals and provide other services.
5. Look out for opportunities to partner up with another business
Now is also a great opportunity to partner up with another business or volunteer to support your community. I’ve seen some amazing examples, where a local cafe started to supply local hospital staff with sandwiches and freshly baked cakes. Or I know a home baker that partnered up with a local running club, whose members help to deliver bread to a vulnerable people in the community.
Another fabulous example is of a gin distillery and beer brewery working in partnership to produce hand-sanitising gels!
We live in unprecedented times and we have to think on our feet, but I hope that these few tips will inspire you to carry on with your food business and think positively!
And as for me, I’m going back to my kitchen to prepare another simple dish that I’ll post later on my blog for everyone to try.