does kitchen location matter for start up specialty food business

Joined Jun 12, 2010
I am working on a biz plan for a start up gourmet organic baby food biz. I'd like to start out by providing weekly home delivered packages  and then hopefully get into local supermarkets. I anticipate that at least in the short term when I am doing home delivery my customers would be professional high income earners.

I need advice regarding location.  Would it be better to just lease a space in the cheapest location possible  with no real visibility to my customers.  Likely this will be the cheapest option - just a space, probably not in the best area.  Or would it be worth the extra cost to get a location with a little bit of 'take out' space along with a kitchen in a major shopping area. I mean would it be worth the visibility and maybe the image of legitimacy that a nice looking retail space might convey to customers?

Any advice greatly appreciated.
Joined Feb 13, 2008
It's a terriffic question, and the answer depends on what kinds of locations are available in your area.  Not many can support a specialty baby-food business -- but a few can.  You need a trendy, young neighborhood to do anything with walk-in; but if you can do a decent retail business that will certainly help the wholesale end in terms of marketing.

In the baby niche, you need to be extremely cognizant of liability.  Make sure you operate using an appropriate business form (such as a corporation or LLP), carry plenty of insurance, and have enough capitalization that a plaintiff cannot "pierce the corporate veil" and get to your personal property.

Good luck,


chef tomain

Joined Nov 17, 2008
I am starting up a small limited seating /take out joint.  My advice would be this. If you are looking for  walk in s then I would look for a location near your target market. If your business is going to be delivery then location is not as important.  From years of business exprience in various business Its location location location if your looking for walk in traffic. .Location can make or break a business. On the other hand if cash is an issue and you have to lease a less desirable space  you will need to use heavy  promotion to get walkin traffic. Word of advice don't use newspapers they are a wast of money. Weekly news paper with coupon work pretty well. Flyering neighborhood can generate customers. Also if you don't know what your customers want and need you can survey them to see what they would want and need in relationship to your products. I personally surveyed thousands of people on my restaurant from food to name of the restaurant. Funny thing happen as I started out with one idea and through surveying I found out people desired the exact opposite. If you need help with anything thing else just let me know.

I am worried about the econemy day by day people expendable income is disappearing which could sink my business before it gets started.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Neighborhoods change.  People move in, have babies, kids grow up and go to college, houses sell, stuff turns over again.  Never think a single neighborhood can support your business forever.  So my take on this is no, don't expect foot traffic to drive your business, and don't worry too much about location.

If I were you I'd also do toddler, little kid, kid meals, tweens, and grown up meals.
Joined Jun 12, 2010
thanks!  chef tomain, how did you survey your customers? i mean what channels did you use to reach ppl on the ground and get their ideas?
Joined Feb 8, 2009
It all depends on if your doing inside retail sales. If its all production and delivery, does it really matter ??????????..........Chef BillyB 
Joined Oct 10, 2005
It's just a matter of numbers.

Picking a number out of the air, say $3.00 for a bottle of baby food, how much product does it need in order for a trip to a remote location to be profitable?  Doesn't matter if you're doing the delivering, or if the customer is doing the pickup.

My advice?

Either network with baby specialty stores to carry your product, or open up a place with good walk-by traffic and sell the whole baby line--diapers, cribs, toys etc.

Assuming that new families have only one child, you only have a customer for 12-18 mths before baby starts on solid food.  It's something to think about.

Also, take BDL's advice about liability very seriously.

chef tomain

Joined Nov 17, 2008
thanks!  chef tomain, how did you survey your customers? i mean what channels did you use to reach ppl on the ground and get their ideas?
First you need to select your public ( people you are interesting in attacking. as in income, race, culture, location, lunch , dinner, breakfast etc.) Who ever you feel is your public. Once you selected  a public for example lets say you open up a chicken restaurant in a black neighood this is a factual example. Your first survey would be your competion find out who is serving food that you want to serve. In this example a friend open a chain fried chicken restaurant ( this happen in Wilmington Delaware) I forget the name of the chain but I believe they went out of business. I warned him to survey but he knew best. On first survey of competion he would of found out that there was this place a few blocks from him called Walts that I believe to this day served the best fried chicken I have ever eatten and I believe that their secret is just frying chicken in a pressure fryer. The chicken was so moist and flavor full and his product could not compare.

Across the street was a place that served fried chicken and fried fish. They would serve a fish sandwich with four large pieces of whiting for very cheap. Two people with big appetites  could easily be satified with that fish sandwich.  Which bring up the next survey question how much would you pay for -------------- fill in the blank. This question would of establish that his product was way over price for the community his open in his restaurant as being a franchise his pricing was preset by the franchising company. I believe that price of food was his down fall also. Five dollars for four small pieces of chicken vs three dollars for large portion of fish and Walts four dollars for six pieces. A side note here: Walt's open up another location in a predominate white community and failed. Just because you succeed at one location don't think you will not fail at another. Before you decide to open make sure you know all the factors that made you a  winner. Another example if your have a location with out any or much competition and now you decide to open where there is more competition.

Now lets say you find that fried chicken is a good bet. Next question would be : How much would you pay for a fried chicken dinner? Survey a few hundred people or until that same questions starts giving the same answer. Lets take two scenarios first answer is bad economy. You will get answers like this " I can't afford to pay anything" "I only spend a dollar " etc. You know right off the bat wrong public. Can't sell product in that area.

You can survey any questions you feel that will affect your business. Don't be shy.

Next question could be " What is your favorite food? If you intended to sell fried chicken and hamburger comes up as over whelmingly as number one item as for the Wilmington study if I were to open up a kitchen I would of went the Soul food route as there wasn't any soul food restaurant. 

Next question could be " How many times a week do you eat out?

Do you eat out dinner, lunch or breakfast most? Let say breakfast comes out as overwhelmingly number one reply. Then you can restart another survey and find out if there is room for another breakfast restaurant. On and on you can survey.

Know before you go. Surveys don't guarantee success but they make your chances a lot better. The big boys survey every thing before McDs puts a new item on the menus they try it out at a new location. Before they build a new franchise they determine if the location is financially viable.

I fore see a revolution of good chefs serving great food at fast food prices. Because most of the fast food is junk food filled with so many chemicals. For example I brought a burger from McDs and one from the King and its been five years when I got them and the burgers and bun and pickle have not developed any mold they look as if I just brought them although kind of dried out. This is very unnatural and goes against the health and welfare of mankind in general. I think people are looking freshly prepared food at good prices but don't know it.

If you have any questions on surveying or marketing I would be pleased to help you out if I can..
Joined Oct 10, 2005
I fore see a revolution of good chefs serving great food at fast food prices. Because most of the fast food is junk food filled with so many chemicals.
I was afraid of that.

"Fast food prices" are the result of:

-entrees and pre-portioning done elsewhere

-onsite food preparations done to an absolute minimum

-Emphasis on long shelf lives for drygoods as well as produce

-staff with no previous or very little foodservice training/experience

-Ambiance geared towards a maximum of 20 mins.stay,  Drive-thrus not counting...

-Highly, and I mean HIGHLY dependant on advertising.

Basically, you can consider "fast food" just the "delivery arm" of a food purveyor.

In order to compete with fast food prices you need:

-the corporate and financial clout of the big boys,

-the food purchasing and distribution system of the big boys,

-the financial clout and legal expertise of the big boys to obtain and negotiate leases/purchases on choice properties

-the financial clout to develop the properties


-The advertising clout of the big boys


Advertising via big media is like a  gas fire..... 

Lets say you're cold and and dark and you want a fire.  The old fashioned way is to take paper, kindlnig and gently, carefully light a fire, then slowly add on bigger and bigger twigs until you get to the stage where you can throw on a log every few hours or so and not have to worry about tending the fire much.

Advertising is like throwing gasoline on a candle:  Instant light and heat!  But it burns very quickly and you have to constantly keep adding gasoline.  And you have to constantly watch the fire.  And it's not cheap either. 

Are the results the same?

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