by Brenda

Sometime last year, my husband and I started a food business called COSOOMIA KITCHEN. The term COSOOMIA was coined as a slang during his days in the university, and was given the meaning LIGHT OVER DARKNESS. Starting a food business from home and during the COVID-19 period meant that we could learn on the job and enjoy the freedom and independence that comes with entrepreneurship. Never did we think that it would be this hard and tedious.

From our little 1-year experience, here are a few tips on how to build a thriving food business.

1. Focus on the quality of the food, and not so much the quantity. In the beginning, everyone was worried about the quantity considering the price our food was pegged at, until they saw and tasted the quality. The type of rice we used and the ingredients put together earned us endearing compliments. As a food vendor, it’s easy for people to forget your food when it tastes poor. I mean, your clients are not going to forget the emotions that food stirred up, and will certainly not remember you for good. Thus, you must consider improving the quality and the consistency.

2. This brings me to my next point, consistency. Entrepreneurship involves hiring and firing, but one thing it also involves is consistency. After you get the quality right, you must try your possible best to maintain consistency so that clients you get through referrals are not disappointed along the line. One day when one of our cooks was out of the kitchen, we took an order for 12 people. We prepared the food like the way we normally do, but the client complained that it did not taste the same as the first. We learnt the hard way, to document our recipes. That way, chefs and cooks who come and go do not destroy the functionality of the business.

3. The next is to focus on the people, not the applause. It’s easy to get complacent in the food industry when everyone compliments your great food. You tend to feel that you have arrived, and that you have it all figured out. But clients can turn to foes real quick. In fact, you will be surprised that a slight hitch in customer service can prevent a once loyal customer from consuming or purchasing your food. In our case, most of our clients were friends and family, so it was hard to tell whether they were genuinely happy with our service or it was pure flattery.

It is therefore important that in managing a food business, you not only focus on the food, but on building relationships and restoring lost ones. So that on days where your customer’s food arrives late or spilled up due to bad roads when making deliveries, he or she will remember the relationship, not the incident.

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