How To Start Selling Food Online: A Complete Guideline

By Riajur Rahman -- Tuesday, 05 Jul, 2022
how to start selling food online

People now-a-days spend more time online than in real life. So if you are considering selling your products online you can reach a large number of people and grow your business in really less time. You might be wondering how to start selling food online.

Food is one of the most basic requirements of mankind. For this reason, food is a great niche for business. But there are some major concerns. Such as, storing food in the right way and selling it before expiry date. Otherwise you have to face a huge loss as you have to throw the food.

Another concern is that your food can make people sick. So you have to be very selective about the ingredients and also need to maintain hygiene. Therefore selling food online can be a bit challenging. But a good guideline can help you become a pro in no time. And with many global marketplace and e-commerce platforms you can sell food online.

Let's dive deep into the article and learn about the full guidance on how to start an online food business.

What Is Online Food Ordering?

An online food ordering is a way of ordering food from a website or ecommerce site or other application. You can have a restaurant business without even having an actual physical location of a restaurant. You can prepare food in your kitchen and sell them online.

But if you own a restaurant or eatery, you can also enrich your business through online business. You can serve more people than your table limit if you have an online business. Nowadays many restaurants serve their customers online.

Restaurants With Online Food Selling Business

In present days pretty much every restaurant has their own food online ordering system. With the help of restaurant online ordering systems, restaurant owners are now serving food to more people than their sitting capacity. Types of restaurants with online food selling business or who are selling food online are,

  • Fine Dine Restaurant

Fine Dine Restaurants are full-service restaurants with specialized meal courses including fine dining establishments. These restaurants use higher-quality materials in interior decoration. Additionally, they have eating standards that are frequently followed by guests. Including a dress code.

Many fine dine restaurants rely on Fine Dine Restaurant Software these days to manage their eatery effectively. People now can enjoy fine dine restaurant’s specialized meal courses from the comfort of their home by ordering online. As fine dine restaurants are serving more people than their table limits online.

  • Bakery & Confectionery

Bakeries and confectionery stores are types of food stores. The primary difference between a bakery and a confectionery is that the first one sells baked goods, while the second one sells sweet foods. The bakery's goods don't all include sugar.

In the present, like everything else, bakeries and confectionery stores are also upgrading their system by managing their daily activities through Bakery & Confectionery Management Software. Moreover most of them are selling their fresh goods online.

  • Burger & Sandwich Shop

An eatery where the main items on the menu are burgers or sandwiches is known as a "burger and sandwich restaurant". These restaurants do serve other goods which go perfectly with the main items, such as different sides like fries and desserts like ice cream and drinks like soft drinks and various types of shakes.

Table service is not available as the primary means of ordering in a burger and sandwich shop. It is specially designed on the idea of having a meal during the workday. These restaurants serve food at a very cheap rate.

Nowadays these types of eateries are taking orders online with the help of POS Software for Burger & Sandwich Shop. But the main reason they are using the POS System is to effortlessly manage the entire process of their eatery.

  • Pizza Restaurant

A pizza store is a place where mainly people visit to have pizza. Other items such, sides, desert and specially refreshments are also sold in a pizza store. Pizza stores are taking their eatery to a next level by taking online and offline orders with their POS Software.

  • Seafood Restaurant

A restaurant that specializes in seafood meals like fish (salmon, tuna, dory fish etc.), shrimp, prawn, lobster, crab, octopus, oysters; is known as a seafood restaurant.

Seafood restaurants prepare cuisines with freshwater fish. As the concept of a seafood restaurant is basically to prepare and serve fresh fish rather than frozen. Non-seafood items like chicken and beef dishes are also served by seafood restaurants.

These days seafood restaurants are also bringing technological touch in their business by using the Seafood Restaurant POS system in their diner. And also selling their seafood dishes online.

  • Canteen

A canteen is an eating space with no wait-table service that can be found in places like big corporate buildings, hospitals and schools. Canteen is not just a lunchroom or a dining space. People can buy food from the canteen to have lunch.

Many firms are taking canteen management to the next level by using Canteen Management Software. Many canteen businesses are making big profits by selling their meals online.

  • Food Truck

A big motorized vehicle where you can cook, prepare, serve and sell food is called a food truck. Some food trucks offer pre-made frozen food, like ice cream. Others, make food from scratch or reheat food that was made in a physical commercial kitchen. Second type of food trucks have on-board kitchens. Nowadays owners sell their cooked meals online using the POS System to speed up the wheel of the food truck business.

  • Food Court

A food court is an indoor space which has counters of multiple food vendors. All of these food vendors serve their customers in a common or joint dining space. Shopping centers, airports, and parks all have food courts.

Food courts also take online orders and sell their food items online. They manage their online and offline orders with Food Court POS Software to save time and increase revenue.

  • Cloud Kitchen

A cloud kitchen is a professional kitchen that has been set up only for the purpose of cooking meals for delivery. It is also called "Ghost Kitchen".

They do not have a customer sitting facility. Cloud kitchens have drive-throughs and takeaways. Cloud kitchen is an online food selling business. They manage their entire process with a POS System named Cloud Kitchen Software.

  • Catering Service

The business of providing food service at a distant location is known as catering. Like a hotel, hospital, bar, airplane, cruise ship, park, filmmaking location or studio, entertainment location, or event venue.

Smart caterers are using the Catering POS System for growing visibility without a storefront and managing both online and offline orders.

  • Cafe Or Coffee Shop

A small, casual, low-cost eatery that serves coffee is known as a cafe or a coffee shop. Coffee shops save their time and money by managing their online and offline orders through the POS System.

  • Juice Bar

Juice bar is a cafe that serves freshly squeezed fruit juices. People love to enjoy seasonal fruit juices from juice bars, especially health conscious people. Juice bars are now elevating their service by providing their customers online food ordering system with Juice Bar POS Software. Apart from their in-house customers, juice bars are making a huge profit with their online food selling business.

How To Start Food Online Business

If you love cooking and you are famous for making an item like, pickles, jam, cookies, cupcake etc. among your family members then you can start selling that item online. If a large number of your family already likes to eat that item, then it's proof that other people will also love to eat them.

How To Start Food Online Business

  • Market Research

When you want to start online food business, the first thing you should do is research what food items people are searching for in large numbers on Google. You should spend some time researching. Learn what people like and how to attract them.

The first and most important step is to choose a business area or location. Because when you sell food online, you must keep in mind that those food products must be delivered to your customer's location. Additionally, you need to know how far you can go from your business location, so you can deliver goods.

Once you select your location then the people living in this area are your targeted audience. Now you have to research your targeted audience. You can take the help of Google Trends to see what is trending on your location. And you should choose an item which is always trending and will never lose popularity.

You can also take the help of a keyword researching tool to find out the most searched food item on Google.

  • Generate Ideas

Market research will help you understand what food item your targeted audience are searching for the most. Now the next step will be to find a way to attract them. You should look at the people who already have online food selling businesses. They are your competitors. You can generate ideas from your competitors. Spend a good amount of time to see what and how they are selling food online. And you can come up with some fresh ideas.

  • Niche Selection

When you already know what your targeted audience is looking for and how other people are selling who already have an online business in your location, then you can select a niche better. As you already know which food item will help you make good money.

But beginners need to keep many things in mind. Like, if you are a beginner you need to choose an item which is very unique and has less competition. As babies will easily lose a fight against adults. 

Also which item you can start selling online spending less money. How can you store and deliver your product? Choosing a niche considering all these factors will help you become successful in a very short time. You can choose to make items like pickles, jam etc. Also you can choose to make lunchboxes for school or offices.

  • Law

One of the first steps of the food business is to know your law. Ignorance about laws can make you pay a huge amount of fine or even get you behind bars.

Additionally, Laws are not just meaning less rules but are tried and true guidelines for you. For example, law says you need to keep your kitchen free of animals or pets. Now we all know how pets can ruin your food items.

Laws can be different in different places. So know clearly what your local laws are. Like, if you are from the US, then you have to follow Cottage Food Law. These laws even vary from state to state. But has some similarities Such as,

  1. Clean Kitchen: You have to make sure your food preparing space or kitchen meets all hygiene requirements.
  2. No Animal: No animals or pets should be staying in your kitchen.
  3. Appropriate Storage: You must have enough resources and equipment to store both cold and dry items. And most importantly both cold and dry storage are hygienic and have no expired items.
  • Get License

get a license for restaurant business

When you are starting a new online food selling business you need to get some license, such as,

  1. General Business License: You need to get a valid food business license depending on the country or state you are starting your business.
  2. Health Inspection Permit: You need to have a kitchen inspection done by the health department one a year.
  3. Zoning Clearance Permit: You need to have a zoning clearance permit approval from the health and agriculture department.
  4. DBA: You need a DBA or doing business as your assumed name of the business.
  5. Tax Permit: Some countries or states have laws to collect taxes on the food you sell. If you are living in one of those, then you need a tax permit.
  • Get An Insurance

Food is a very delicate item. So anything can happen. You must be prepared for any situation. That is the reason you should get insurance to stay on the safe side. If an accident takes place you can count on the insurance.

How To Start Selling Food Online

How To Start Selling Food Online

Now let's dive deep into the main operation of selling food online step by step:

  • Set Up Your Own Commercial Facility

You need to set up your own commercial facility where you can cook your foods and store them. It can be a commercial space or your own house kitchen. You need to make sure you have all the necessary equipment in your kitchen.

  • Work With An Existing Manufacture

Sometimes when you are a beginner you don’t have enough savings to own or rent a commercial space. And also your house kitchen is not the best place to prepare food for business. Then you can start working with an existing manufacturer. Best part of this is you don’t need to buy any equipment. You can save a lot.

  • Discover New Recipes

You can discover new recipes from the internet or YouTube or choose your family’s secret recipe. You can make unique and new flavors of an existing item. You can make your family, friends, neighbors taste them. And then choose a flavor or product to sell online that your family, friends, and neighbors have claimed to be the tastiest.

  • Food Preparation

You have to prepare your food item very carefully. You have to make sure you are preparing food in a very hygienic way. Also the ingredients you are using are not expired. Ingredients must have the legality to be used in food. After food preparation, store them properly until you deliver them to your customer.

  • Find Your Supplier

When you are just a beginner, you need to find a supplier and also make sure the ingredients are good qualities. Because your ingredients can affect the taste. Bad ingredients can make your customer sick and reduce the lifespan of the food. Thoroughly inspect ingredients every time you receive those from the supplier. 

  • Packaging, Branding, Labeling

Make an eye catchy packaging

Packing the food is one of the important steps of the food business. As packets represent your food. Selling food online is a bit challenging as customers can't taste your food. So you need to design an appealing and relevant package for your food. You can hire a good designer for this job.

  1. You have to choose or invent a name for your business. You should choose a unique and easy to remember name for your business.
  2. You must choose a font style to write your brand name on packages and also on your online store (website or e-commerce site).
  3. You need a specific brand color. It might be a single color or a mixture of several colors.

You also need some good quality images for packaging. You can use relevant copyright free images. But the best practice is to take high quality photographs yourself or hire a professional. These images also can be used for marketing online.

Your package must have the ability to protect the food from outside harm. And also save your food item from damage. Packages must carry some important information, such as,

  1. Used ingredients (customer can check what ingredients are used and can avoid it, in case customer is allergic to any ingredient used in this item).
  2. Nutrition information like how much calorie or energy it contains
  3. Quantity of food inside the package 
  4. Prepared and expiry date
  5. Business name and location
  6. Leave an email address for your customer to give feedback. These feedbacks will help you improve your food quality.     

There are many laws made when it comes to labeling. You must know and follow those laws.

  • How To Price Food Products

Pricing is the hardest part of the food business. You have to keep in mind a lot of things. Like ingredient cost, labor cost, branding cost, marketing cost, packaging cost, storage cost, delivery cost and what not. After all this you can leave in a little place for your profit.

But you also need to keep in mind that the price should not be too high. No matter how good quality your product is or how much hardship you did to prepare your food. People will not purchase anything from you if they can buy the same item at a lower price from others. Especially when you are a beginner no one knows you. So why would they buy anything from you at a higher price? So you need to keep market comparison in mind when you are pricing your product.

On the other hand if you are pricing your products at a lower price, then it indicates that your product is not a good quality product. And also you cannot make any profit out of your product. So pricing is very tricky and you must act smartly when it comes to pricing.

  • Shipping & Delivery

A big part of the online food selling business is the delivery and shipping in case you are selling food to people outside your country. It’s very important to deliver food on time as it ensures customer satisfaction and also food is very delicate.

You can take help from effective delivery services like food portals such as Zomato, Foodpanda, Swiggy, Uber Eats. On the other hand you can deliver yourself. But this can be a bit challenging and costly when you are just starting. So choosing a food portal and delivering through it will be a good idea. It will be effective and hassle free at the same time.

When you choose a food portal for delivering food, they make sure your customer gets the product on time.  Delivery man will collect food from your business location and deliver it to your customer’s doorstep.

Start Digital Promotion Of Your Online Food Selling Business

When you finally figure out everything from getting licensed to delivering food. Now you need to promote your business to reach more people. And more importantly, the right people at the right time. Let’s learn on how to promote your business effectively online.

  • Create Your Online Store

You are going to need an online presence first to sell and also to market your food item. You have a lot of options. You can find a good supplier and do dropshipping or take help of an online marketplace or create your own website and integrate a POS Software with it.

Create Your Online Store

  1. Dropshipping

If you are a beginner and you don’t want to take any risk then dropshipping is the best solution for you. You just need to find a supplier. And they will take care of everything. From packaging to delivery. You only need to take orders from online and prepare food.

  1. Online Marketplace

The food industry has experienced rapid growth over the past few years. Online food selling business is a billion-dollar industry. Online marketplace, such as Amazon, Etsy, Airbnb, eBay etc can help you if you are a beginner and also want to create your own brand. You just need to create an account on any of these platforms and list your items. Take online orders and prepare food and deliver them.

create your own brand

If you are not interested in spending time setting up your own website then it's a good solution for you. You don’t need to manage an entire website and you have plenty of time to focus on your core business activities. Online Marketplace has global connections. So it makes sure you reach the maximum audience in a short amount of time. 

  1. Website

You can create a website of your own and design it as you please to sell your food items online. You can integrate a POS Software with your website to enhance your customer solution and also it will help you manage your website effectively. POS systems are not just for restaurants. You can use it to level up your online business. You don’t need any technological knowledge to maintain it. Just make sure your POS Software has these following features,

  1. Inventory Management Software
  2. Online Food Ordering System
  3. Cloud Kitchen Software
  • Target Audience

You can target your audience through many ways. You can target people based on their geographical area. It will be the best way as you also need to deliver goods to your customer.

  • Social Media

One of the best ways to market your business is to promote them on several social media. In present days everyone has a social media account. And people share a lot of information on social media. Moreover people spend a lot of time on social media. Even on their busy days people visit their social media at least once a day.

So you will get a large number of people to notice you if you choose social media to promote your business. You can reach a lot of people organically. As you also have the option to share a lot of details in social media about the food item you are selling.

You can connect with your audience and communicate with them. Additionally you can run paid ads and target audience wisely in several social media platforms. It will cost you money but also it will find you new and potential customers in a very small time.

  • Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization or SEO is one of the best strategies to market your business. It will increase your website's ranking in search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. And you can get more people to notice your business. Eventually grow your business.

  • Email Marketing

Email marketing is a very easy but effective way of marketing. Nowadays we all have email addresses for many purposes like work, education etc. People seem to check if they received any new email, at least 2-3 times a day. Even if they are not expecting to receive one. So email marketing can be an effective approach for promoting your business.

You need to create a wonderful attractive template for sending email. Choose a festive day and send emails to your potential customers offering them discount or free delivery. You will get a good response from your potential customer by email marketing. 

  • Content Marketing

Content marketing is the best way to convert your visitors into leads. And then convert leads into customers. It is a good way to get more visibility. You can write articles and blogs relevant to your business.

For example, you can share recipes, cooking hacks and also cleaning tricks. People searching for recipes will notice that you are selling that particular item. Eventually they might end up ordering.  

  • Influence Marketing

Influence marketing is a way to promote your business through influencers. Influencers have a large number of audiences who admire them and adopt their recommendations.

Many of the influencers accept sponsorship to promote other businesses. You can find a good influencer to promote your business. You can get unthinkable responses from influence marketing.

Why Online Food Selling Business Is Popular

Online food selling business is becoming more and more popular these days. Many people prefer to buy food online rather than going to the physical store. This is because online food selling businesses offer a wide variety of food that you can’t find in the physical store. They also deliver food to your home or office.

Food delivery has been a booming industry for a long time. But in the last few years, the online food selling business has gone from being the realm of small mom-and-pop operations to a full-fledged industry. This is largely thanks to the rise of e-commerce, which has given would-be food business entrepreneurs access to massive amounts of potential new customers. As a result, online food selling businesses are becoming more and more popular.

In today’s world, almost all people prefer to buy their items online. This has led to a huge increase in the number of online food selling businesses. Many people have found that operating their own online food selling business is much more profitable than working for someone else. This has led to a huge increase in the number of people who have started their own online food selling business.


If you are a beginner and wondering how to sell food products online, then this article can help you. But remember working hard is the key to success. Now working hard is not enough when you are planning to sell food online. You need to make a strong strategy and strictly follow it to ensure your success. Online food selling businesses bring you a large number of audiences. You also have to face a large number of competitors. You need to think fast and act smartly to stay ahead of your competitors.