Easy to start, created specifically for local, handmade food: Castiron’s food business management platform is built to help you grow. Create an online store for your business, sell where and how your customers want to buy, and look professional without being technical. Keep customers coming back with email marketing tools, customer records, and more.
Food entrepreneurs, this is your moment. Your community is more and more conscious about what they buy and where it is from. They want food made with love. With ingredients they can pronounce. And they want to support their community while doing it.
Castiron is the best fit for your food business because we're not a one-size-fits-all tool. Selling local food is different from pre-packaged warehouse products. Whether you sell cooking classes, need local pick up, utilize pre-sales to plan inventory, or need a fully custom order form — we got you.
No code required. Add products, upload your logo, share your story, and link to your social profiles from your flexible store. We'll handle the tech so you can focus on growing your food business.
Never track down a payment or oversell products again. Real-time inventory tracking and secure payment processing make life easier for you and your customers, and our order form builder makes managing custom requests a breeze.
With our marketing tools, your email marketing can go on autopilot. We make it easy to promote your latest products, announce custom order availability, and stay connected with customers.
Starting a business selling homemade food is incredibly easy, affordable, and can be done in a short amount of time depending on the state you live in. If you're wondering how to start a food business from home, your first step will be to familiarize yourself with cottage food laws in your state and city, and their many benefits.
For starters, it's important to understand that catering food is a bit different than traditional foods covered under the cottage food law. Cottage food allows you to sell prepackaged, labeled foods directly to a consumer straight from your kitchen. This can be done without the need for a permit, licensing fees, or inspections in most states. However, this is subject to change depending on your state or county. States will also only allow food that is non-perishable to be sold from home, meaning it doesn't have to be refrigerated to be safely eaten. Some catering business ideas that can be covered by cottage food laws include selling scones, cakes, pastries, and candies to large parties!
Some states, such as California and Wyoming, will even allow the sale of perishable foods, with California allowing the sale of fully cooked meals and Wyoming allowing meats and live poultry to be sold.
Cottage food laws can be beneficial for those also wondering how to start online food business from home. Most states now allow the sale of foods through the internet, although it must be delivered directly to the customer. This isn't an issue with catering businesses, since the consumer is directly interacted with.
If you're selling non-hazardous, properly labeled, and pre-packaged foods in bulk, you can still operate under most states' cottage food laws. However, you will need to register with your local or state health department if it is specified in your states' rules on selling food from home. Your local health department might issue you a permit for selling food from home, or might even tell you you don't need one to sell non-hazardous foods. For instance, Iowa doesn't need people to have a permit or license to sell cottage food from home.
However, if you're starting a catering business that sells ready-to-eat or perishable foods, you will need to register your business with your local city, obtain an EIN, register it as a sole propriety or LLC or any other business model, and obtain all proper licenses for catering businesses. Most states require a catering business that sells potentially hazardous food to only run from a commercial kitchen, not a residential or home kitchen. For instance, for those wondering how to start a catering business from home in Georgia, unfortunately, no catering businesses are allowed from a home kitchen. This is different from other states, which might allow food to be prepared in a commercial-approved kitchen attached to the home.
This is the case for those wondering how to start a catering business in PA. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture allows foods to be prepared from home, provided the kitchen being used to prepare the catering goods is separate from the personal kitchen and approved by the department of health.
In addition, it's important to also consider zoning laws. For instance, for those asking themselves how to start a catering business from home in Arizona, they will need to register with their county health department and ensure their catering business is in a commercial use zoning area.
The bottom line is, you must always register your business as a catering business through the proper channels, and then contact your local health department for more solid advice on permits, zoning, inspections, and fees.
If you want to open a catering business that sells perishable foods, you will more than likely not fall under cottage food laws. You will have to register your businesses as a sole proprietor or LLC, and then obtain an EIN for tax purposes. Your catering business registration to handle and safely prepare food will also be filed with your local county or city health authority.
Some home catering business ideas to help you avoid the headache of having to rent a commercial kitchen and file extra paperwork is to sell non-hazardous foods. These can include bagels, cookies, breads, and cakes that can be sold en mass. You call also use an approved commercial kitchen that's not yours, such as your local charity or non-profit organization to help you.
Remember, it's important to make a catering business plan complete with a menu, budget, and marketing strategies. Catering business startup costs can range form $10,000 to $50,000, so plan accordingly in your budget.
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