10 things to consider when starting a food or drink business

10 things to consider when starting a food or drink business

Posted: Thu 5th Aug 2021

The UK food and drink industry continues to thrive. It's also fickle and highly competitive so you have to stand out from the crowd. The Enterprise Nation community is overflowing with ambitious entrepreneurs looking to combine their love of food with a desire to be their own boss.

In this blog, you'll find all the resources you need to give your food and drink business every chance of success. You'll also meet expert advisers who are on hand to help you get it right first time. Let's tuck in!

Write a business plan

The key to a successful food and drink business lies in getting everything right at the beginning. And the way to do that is to develop a business plan that will give you a sense of direction and prioritise your first steps.

Done right, your business plan will guide your new business towards being both profitable and sustainable. It should outline your goals, strategies and financial targets, which will make it an invaluable asset for attracting investors and securing finance later.

Some important aspects of your business plan include the following:

  • Defining your food concept: This involves determining what type of food and/or drink you'll offer, your style of service, and the core values that will set the business apart from its competitors.

  • Identifying the target market: Appealing to potential customers means knowing who they are! You should research the demographics, preferences and behaviours of your target audience.

  • Developing a marketing strategy: A good marketing strategy will allow you to build a loyal customer base, increase sales, and enhance brand awareness.

  • Choosing a location: Where your business is based is another essential ingredient in the recipe for success. Selecting the ideal spot for the business will depend on many factors, such as accessibility, foot traffic, competition, and the cost of renting or buying premises.

  • Laying out your budget: This section outlines the costs of starting up, your operating expenses and your cash-flow projections, providing a clear picture of the finances.

  • Planning to hire staff: You need to decide what type of employees you'll need, the hiring process you'll follow, and what salaries and benefits you'll offer.

Business plan support

Raise funds

Whatever stage your business is at, there’s a range of funding opportunities to consider – from government grants to crowdfunding campaigns.

Funding support


food services


Research your market

Market research should never be underestimated. Conducting regular market research allows you to understand both your customers and competitors, and to stay abreast of market trends.

Market research support

Ace your accounting

From company formation and bookkeeping, to securing finance and filing your tax return – there’s lots to consider when starting your business.


This article will help you choose the correct business structure, register your business and make sure your intellectual property is protected.


In this webinar, learn how you can start managing your accounts and make them feel less of a chore!

Connect with an expert adviser

The team at Finance Box will take the agro out of accounting. Contact Steven Case to discuss your needs. Book a discovery call with Steven.

Stand out from the crowd

There’s more to building a winning brand than simply whipping up a logo. It also includes your company’s offering, message, values and personality.


Discover why and how to build a brand identity for your business.


Enterprise Nation adviser Aarti Parmar works with businesses to build authentic and meaningful brands that help them achieve their goals. Find out how.

Connect with an expert adviser

Self confessed ‘shopper stalker’ Tessa Stuart has worked with many food and drinks brands to ensure their products stand out. Book a discovery call with Tessa.

food services

Spread the word on social media

People eat first with their eyes, so social media is perhaps the easiest way to get your food brand out there. A solid social media strategy will help you reach new audiences.


Discover how social media tools can help you to plan, monitor and manage your social media.


There are many ways you can utilise social media for your business. Here are three videos that’ll help get you started.

Connect with an expert adviser

Social media expert Fin Whycherley can help you build your social media sales machine. Book a discovery call with Fin.

Get your products into the aisles

Is your dream to see your product on the shop shelves? Competition is fierce, but with a little guidance you can secure your spot in the supermarket aisle.


Checkout this definitive guide to finding and pitching supermarket buyers with your product.


Discover what James Bailey, Managing Director of Waitrose, is looking for when stocking the aisles and discover how you can come to the attention of the buying department.

Connect with an expert adviser

Karen Green, former retail buyer with Tesco, has launched many successful products and brands. She can help you get pitch perfect. Book a discovery call with Karen today.

Make your space work

From fast food outlets and street food vendors to full-service eateries, food service accounts for more than half of all food sales. Making your retail space work for your business is vital.


If you own and operate a food business it’s highly likely that you also have a landlord. This article is all about how to negotiate lease terms as a hospitality business.


Pop-up shops can be a great opportunity for e-commerce brands to meet customers in person and test physical retail. Find out what it takes to successfully set-up and sell in a pop-up.

Connect with an expert adviser

In the world of physical retail it’s not enough to have a high quality product. Your retail space needs to get people talking too. Dara Coko Mihajlovic designs remarkable spaces that deliver on dreams. Book a discovery call with Dara.

food services

Make sales and maximise profits


Develop a profitable product ecosystem and maximise every sale.


This webinar will provide some practical tips for making your food business more profitable.

Connect with an expert

With over 25 years’ food and drink sales experience David Orr will help you to explore new sales channels. Book a discovery call with David.

Export your product

Exporting goods can make small businesses more competitive, innovative and productive. While it can be intimidating and time-consuming to explore international opportunities, it’s easier than you think.


This article will help you to understand the rules of origin and how to comply with them.


Discover how to prepare for export in a post-Brexit world.

Connect with an expert adviser

Nicola Thomas is passionate about helping food and drink businesses build sustainable and profitable sales overseas. She’ll deliver practical support programmes for new and experienced exporters. Book a discovery call with Nicola.


Get the right support to start and grow your business: Become an Enterprise Nation member for free!

Need help with building your dream food business?

No problem! As an Enterprise Nation member, you'll get free access to in-depth resources on everything from business plans and marketing to finance and sales. Join today for the full range of member benefits! 

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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