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How to Start a Food Delivery Business From Home

Wondering how to start a food delivery business from home? It’s an exciting business decision with plenty of opportunities. There’s a growing demand for delivery options, so it’s a great time to get started.

Research shows that food delivery is at an all-time high, mostly due to the effects of COVID. As people isolate and quarantine due to the pandemic, their options for meal service are scarce. A food delivery business from home lets you remain safely distanced when necessary while also letting you grow a business on your own terms. You can reach this customer base while socially distancing yourself.

Wondering how to start a food delivery business? It’s not a simple task, but there are a few guidelines that can help you grow quickly. Here’s a complete guide full of tips to start your own home food delivery business or takeaway.

License Required for Food Delivery Business

You may be wondering, “Do I need a business license to deliver food?” Some states have certain rules you must follow when selling food from home. The guidelines vary from one state to the next, but you can check your local regulations to find the legal requirements for food delivery. City hall is the best place to start your research. You can also contact your state’s Department of Agriculture.

Many states have cottage food laws, which allow people to start small businesses selling food from home. These foods are usually things like baked goods (cakes, pies, breads, etc.), packaged teas, jams and preserves, and similar packaged items. Cottage food laws sometimes have a limit for how much you can sell in a year. The limit is usually between $20,000 and $50,000.

You’ll need to find the local regulations in your state to avoid penalties. For example, Florida doesn’t require a food delivery license for cottage foods, but many states do. Some states also require food delivery businesses to collect sales tax. Others require a business license for online sales.

Because so much of your business structure depends on the rules you’re required to follow in your city and state, it’s important to find local regulations before you start purchasing supplies and planning your menu.

Food Delivery Business Ideas

If you’re looking for food delivery business ideas, this guide is a great place to start.

You can deliver any type of food you like, as long as you follow local guidelines for permits and licensing.

Cakes and cupcakes are a popular choice because they don’t require refrigeration and usually meet cottage food laws. You can deliver cakes and cupcakes for birthday parties, weddings, and other events.

If you’re looking for more innovative food delivery ideas, consider your current hobbies. Do you enjoy herbal teas or flavored coffees? Is there a particular cuisine you enjoy more than others? Do you have a family recipe you would love to share with the rest of the world? 

You could also consider surprise delivery business ideas. Maybe you specialize in candlelit dinners for two, and customers use your service to plan a unique evening for their loved one. Or perhaps you provide another service with your deliveries. You could surprise people with birthday cakes and a small gift. 

Nearly any idea can be lucrative if you put enough thought and planning into your business. Focus on what you enjoy, what you’re good at, and what you’re allowed to do in your area. Brainstorm ideas for an hour or so, and you’ll likely find plenty of options.

Is a Food Delivery Business Profitable?

Profit is the goal of any business. If you’re thinking, “These ideas sound great, but is a food delivery business profitable?” The answer is, “It depends.”

Some people are naturally great at business decisions. Others need to plan and research a bit more. In general, though, any business can be profitable if you know what you’re doing.

First, let’s consider the two major food delivery companies: Uber Eats and DoorDash. Is DoorDash profitable? Is Uber Eats profitable? The answer may surprise you. So let’s take a look at their business models.

Both of these companies deliver food but don’t prepare it. They work with local restaurants instead. Customers place an order through an app, and the order is sent to the restaurant. The restaurant prepares the food and follows strict packaging guidelines to ensure it’s freshly sealed for delivery. A driver sees the order on the app, picks it up, and delivers it to the customer’s home within the specified timeframe. Some apps require contactless delivery, so they just leave the food on the doorstep and notify the customer through the app. Customers are encouraged to tip.

Both companies generate profit through fees and markups. Each menu item costs a bit more on the app than it does in-store. Customers also pay delivery and/or subscription fees, depending on their membership level.

Overall, the profit is low per item, but the company makes up for the food delivery profit margin with the volume of sales. However, revenue reports state that neither company turns a profit—at least on paper.

This is probably because of the business model. If you want to run a profitable food delivery business, you will probably need to prepare the food yourself and charge a delivery fee for each order. When you work with local restaurants, you’ll need to charge a much higher price for both businesses to earn a profit. Customers aren’t willing to pay exorbitant fees for delivery, so prep the food yourself and charge a reasonable delivery fee to offset your expenses.

How to Start a Food Delivery Service in a Small Town

Food delivery is more common in large cities, but it’s also more competitive. Smaller cities lack food delivery options, so you may have plenty of customers. However, if you’re wondering how to start a food delivery service like Uber Eats, you have plenty of planning to do first.

Create your food delivery business plan.

First, you’ll need a plan. Brainstorm business ideas, contact your local authority for regulations, and figure out the logistics. Estimate your sales prices, expenses, and profit. Then order a food delivery service feasibility study, which requires financial and market analysis to predict business profitability. You can hire a market researcher to perform the study or attempt to do it yourself if you’re familiar with financial, marketing, and accounting concepts.

Alternatively, you can find a local food delivery business for sale. This eliminates some of the startup costs and planning, though you’ll need to determine why the business is for sale and how you can make it more profitable.

Set up your food delivery business.

Before you order supplies and start cooking, you’ll need to register your business, order permits, etc. if required. You’ll also need a business bank account and credit card to order supplies. Register your delivery vehicle and purchase auto insurance, as well. Remember that most personal auto insurance won’t cover a business-related accident. You may also need business liability insurance.

Purchase food and delivery supplies.

Now it’s time to purchase supplies and get organized. If you’re cooking the food, you’ll need cookware, bakeware, ingredients, packaging supplies, and utensils. You may also need professional-grade appliances for larger orders.

Market your food delivery business.

Purchase ads on social media, set up your website, and let people know you’re in business. 

Food Delivery App Business Plan

Your business plan may evolve as you grow your business. For example, you may find your food delivery business costs increase as your orders increase. You may decide to expand your business and provide another product or service. You may need an app to keep up with growing demand for your business.

A home delivery business plan is fairly simple. You take the order, prepare the food, and deliver as requested. However, what happens when you’ve got too many orders and not enough time? You may need additional employees or a better way to streamline your workflow.

Food delivery app development may cost too much when you’re just starting out, but it’s something to consider once you grow. If you’re wondering “How can I make a food delivery app for free?” then you may be disappointed by the answer. Unless you know how to develop an app yourself, you’ll probably incur some expense. You can keep costs low by hiring a freelance app developer and overseeing the design yourself, however.

A food delivery app business plan is quite similar to any other food delivery business plan. However, instead of taking orders over the phone or online, you use the app. Most companies reach more people with an app, so your sales may skyrocket. You can let customers order, communicate, and track the delivery through the app. Of course, this requires a bit more effort on your part, but it can also help you stay organized.

Food Delivery Business Plan Sample

Ready to start your food delivery business plan? Here’s a business plan template to get you started.

Industry Overview

This section includes the current outlook for a food delivery business, based on industry statistics and comparable businesses.

Executive Summary

This is an overview of your business stated in your own words. Outline the name and type of business you’re planning, your goals, and how you plan to create profit. Include any obstacles you may face and how you plan to overcome them.

Products and Services

This is a quick overview of the products and services you plan to offer.

Mission and Value Statement

This is a bulleted list of goals and values for your business.

Business Structure

Include an overview of your business structure, including employees and officers.

Job Roles and Responsibilities

Create a quick list of responsibilities for each employee role within the company.


Include a financial and market analysis to show your potential profitability using similar businesses as a comparison. Make sure you focus on relevant statistics.

Marketing Strategy

Include your target market and your marketing plan, now and in the future.

Financial Forecast

A financial forecast is a printed document outlining your finances for the next 1 to 5 years, based on your financial planning.

Expansion Strategy

If you have plans for further expansion, include them here.

Demand for delivery options is growing, and now is the perfect time to start your food delivery business from home. Begin your food delivery journey here.

Heather Brookshire

The Cake Whisperer


My business would not be the same without my Castiron website! It is an easy setup with lots of customization and tons of support! I am so glad I set up my shop last year before the holidays — it really helped increase my sales!

Amanda McMonigle

The Whimsical Cookie


Castiron provides me a professional site to my customers increasing my credibility and value while giving me the tools to effectively market and manage my business in an easy, user-friendly manner.

Kim Sims

Wesley's Treats Hallie's Sweets


Castiron has made my cottage bakery shine, and my business easy to manage. As a platform they care about my business as much as I do.

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Mill City Cooking Company


Before Castiron, I was taking orders really manually, through emails or texts or Facebook. Now I can send customers straight to my website, and I don’t have to worry about missing any details.

Daniella Smith

Oso Good Clean Eats


I couldn't run my business without the Castiron platform. It made it so easy to get my shop up and running — it truly removed a massive barrier to me getting started!

Ali Serpe

Kultured Kombucha


I realized that the barrier of having to DM or text me to order was holding a lot of potential customers back.

Now that I have a professional website and a simple ecommerce checkout, I'm seeing a huge increase in new customers and they appreciate how easy Castiron makes ordering.

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