Create a free online store with Square
- Build your own site easily using Square's site builder
- No monthly fees, instead you pay a 2.2% fee on each sale
- Can be used for online retail, appointments & food ordering
Create a free online store with Square
We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
Are you a passionate home cook who wants to turn your love of food into a business? Or do you want to use your experience in restaurant kitchens to start your own food-based business?
From market research to business insurance, there's quite a bit to consider when setting up any new venture. Keep reading for a simple guide on how to give your new home cooking business the best chance of success.
"Home cooking business" is a broad term that can refer to a number of different businesses.
If you're dreaming of creating a home cooking business but don't know where to start, following these steps will help you get up and running.
There are several factors you'll need to consider in order to run your home cooking business safely and effectively. Let's look at some of the most important factors one by one.
Just like any other food business, you'll need to satisfy certain food safety requirements in order to legally run your home cooking business. This means you'll need to comply with relevant parts of the Food Standards Code, including:
One of the first steps you'll need to take is to notify your local council of your intention to start a home cooking business. You'll need council approval and may also need to obtain a licence in some cases. Depending on where you live and the exact nature of your business, the council may require you (or someone else in your business) to undergo training to become a certified Food Safety Supervisor.
According to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), your business will need to satisfy criteria across a range of categories. These include:
You'll also need to familiarise yourself with, and follow, best food safety practices to prevent contamination. This includes things like:
You'll find plenty of useful details about these requirements on the FSANZ website, while you can also contact your local council or the food authority in your state for more information.
From a cooking point of view, you don't necessarily need any formal qualifications to start your home food business. Completing a vocational course can equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to be a successful cook. Options include certificates in Commercial Cookery, Baking and Patisserie.
There are also many other training organisations, culinary institutes and cooking schools that offer courses teaching essential skills. Consider the available options to decide whether completing further training will help you broaden your cooking knowledge.
You'll also need to consider training requirements from a food safety point of view. For example, if you're required by law to appoint a Food Safety Supervisor, they may be required to undergo some sort of formal training. The Australian Institute of Food Safety also offers a number of courses that deal with food safety laws and responsibilities, how to maintain a clean workplace and food safety programs.
The tools and equipment you require for your home cooking business will depend on your niche. For example, if you're selling cakes, you'll need cake decorating tools, cake and cupcake tins, and a large oven. If you're starting a catering business, you'll need to consider factors such as serving dishes, beverage dispensers and even having enough refrigeration space to keep food fresh. If you're delivering food items yourself, will you need transport with refrigeration?
The home food business sector is so diverse and the list of essential items can vary greatly from one niche to the next. Take some time to think about all the equipment you need and how much it will cost.
Regarding software, an inventory management app will keep track of your incoming and outgoing supplies. Some available apps are Sage, MYOB, BevSpot, Zoho Inventory, GoCanvas, Kounta and MarketMan. Accounting software, such as Xero or QuickBooks, can also assist with managing your finances and keeping records for tax purposes.
Once you have decided on your market, decide on your business structure. In most cases, home cooking businesses will use one of the following structures:
Companies and Trusts are the two other main business structures in Australia. Check out our guide to structuring your business for more information on how each option works.
It is critical to have all the necessary licences, permits and qualifications in place before opening up your business. However, the exact requirements vary depending on where you live and the type of home cooking business you want to run. You can research rules and regulations yourself, or seek online legal advice to make sure you've ticked all the essential boxes.
A lawyer can also help you draw up any important legal documents, or you may be able to take advantage of free online templates. Some of the documents you may need include:
Whether your home cooking business is a side hustle or your main gig, you'll need to report all business income to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). If you're a Sole Trader, you can use your existing tax file number (TFN), but Partnerships will need their own TFN.
Tax requirements can also vary depending on your business structure, and you'll need to register for goods and services tax (GST) if you have an annual turnover of $75,000 or more (or expect to exceed this limit in your first year in business).
If you're confused about any aspect of your business's tax obligations, seek advice from an accountant or registered tax agent.
You'll also need to consider taking out business insurance to protect yourself and your business.
The first types of cover you need to think about are Public Liability and Product Liability Insurance. They can ensure that you're protected if you cause injury or property damage to a third party, such as if an item you prepare gives someone food poisoning.
Next, consider what cover you need for your business equipment. For example, do you need to cover any items for theft and damage? What about machinery breakdown cover if your refrigerator breaks down? And if you deliver the food yourself or drive a special refrigerated vehicle, be sure to research your car insurance options too.
Pricing structures can vary depending on the services you offer. For example, if you offer a home-based catering business, you'll need to consider whether you'll offer your services for a fixed price or an hourly rate. If you're baking cupcakes to sell at markets and festivals, how much should you charge for each item to make it worth your while? And if you're running cooking classes, how many people will you have per class and how much will you charge each person?
To work out your rate you will need to determine the cost of serving of each ingredient that goes into your dish. Include the condiments, seasoning, cooking oil and garnishes as well.
Then, calculate the cost of all your overhead charges. These include everything from equipment leasing, electricity and water costs, the time and effort you put in, plus the expenses associated with marketing your business.
You should also analyse your competitors. How much do they charge for a vegetarian meal or a snack? What are their delivery costs? Once you've researched the market, you can adjust your prices accordingly.
Marketing is an important consideration for any small business. When you're starting out, you might rely on your personal network of friends and family plus word of mouth to help build your business.
As your business grows, you may need to change and evolve your marketing strategy. There are several ways you can market and promote your products and services, including:
Do I need a Food Safety Supervisor for my home cooking business?
Whether or not you need a Food Safety Supervisor depends on where you live and the food you'll be cooking and selling. Contact your local council to find out about the requirements in your area.
What should I include in my cooking business website?
Your website should provide customers with all the essential information about your business – who you are, what you do, your training and experience, your pricing and more. Include photos of your food to give customers a taste of what you offer and use SEO techniques to ensure that your site ranks highly in search results.
Do I need insurance for my cooking business?
Yes, insurance is something every business owner should consider. Public Liability and Product Liability Insurance both offer important cover, while insuring key equipment and protecting yourself against loss of income are just a couple of other important considerations.Back to top
Today's best Finder Daily deals include: $1,250 off electric bikes, $70 off Nintendo Switch, $30 off Logitech G PRO X Lightspeed headsets.
Everything we know about the Didi Chuxing IPO, plus information on how to buy in.
Quality. Variety. Freshness. Get gourmet meals delivered directly to your door with Chefgood.
Here’s where you can gain qualifications in hospitality at your own pace with an online course.
Discover how Square and Stripe can help you process your business payments.
How to find the best car storage facility to keep your set of wheels safe and secure.
What you need to know to compare and choose an oven and cooktop cleaner for your kitchen.
Satisfy your cravings for delicious Chinese cuisine from the comfort of your own home.
Australia’s top food takeaway platforms can satisfy your Thai delivery cravings in an instant.
We read hundreds of customer reviews to find the seven best waffle makers you can buy in Australia right now.
finder.com.au is one of Australia's leading comparison websites. We compare from a wide set of banks, insurers and product issuers. We value our editorial independence and follow editorial guidelines.
finder.com.au has access to track details from the product issuers listed on our sites. Although we provide information on the products offered by a wide range of issuers, we don't cover every available product or service.
Please note that the information published on our site should not be construed as personal advice and does not consider your personal needs and circumstances. While our site will provide you with factual information and general advice to help you make better decisions, it isn't a substitute for professional advice. You should consider whether the products or services featured on our site are appropriate for your needs. If you're unsure about anything, seek professional advice before you apply for any product or commit to any plan.
Products marked as 'Promoted' or 'Advertisement' are prominently displayed either as a result of a commercial advertising arrangement or to highlight a particular product, provider or feature. Finder may receive remuneration from the Provider if you click on the related link, purchase or enquire about the product. Finder's decision to show a 'promoted' product is neither a recommendation that the product is appropriate for you nor an indication that the product is the best in its category. We encourage you to use the tools and information we provide to compare your options.
Where our site links to particular products or displays 'Go to site' buttons, we may receive a commission, referral fee or payment when you click on those buttons or apply for a product. You can learn more about how we make money here.
When products are grouped in a table or list, the order in which they are initially sorted may be influenced by a range of factors including price, fees and discounts; commercial partnerships; product features; and brand popularity. We provide tools so you can sort and filter these lists to highlight features that matter to you.
We try to take an open and transparent approach and provide a broad-based comparison service. However, you should be aware that while we are an independently owned service, our comparison service does not include all providers or all products available in the market.
Some product issuers may provide products or offer services through multiple brands, associated companies or different labelling arrangements. This can make it difficult for consumers to compare alternatives or identify the companies behind the products. However, we aim to provide information to enable consumers to understand these issues.
Providing or obtaining an estimated insurance quote through us does not guarantee you can get the insurance. Acceptance by insurance companies is based on things like occupation, health and lifestyle. By providing you with the ability to apply for a credit card or loan, we are not guaranteeing that your application will be approved. Your application for credit products is subject to the Provider's terms and conditions as well as their application and lending criteria.