Like any other online businesses, selling food online is increasingly becoming popular ever since the pandemic, spurring many new food businesses to get on-board, from home-based cooking businesses to restaurants having to digitalise. Ordering food online has become a regular affair and this trend will only continue. According to Statista, revenue for online food delivery in the Philippines is expected to increase by 14.81% annually, and is expected to hit US$4.08bn by 2027.
Of course, a growing industry only means stiffer competition. But if you are ready to take on this challenge and enter the world of selling food online, the good news is that you’re in the right place. We’ve created a step-by-step guide to teach you how to successfully sell food online, so let’s get started.
1. Find the type of food you want to sell
Generally, online business ideas are created out of a passion or hobby, and this applies the same for selling food too. If you have been making chicken spread for your family and friends, that can be a good place to start since you already have the recipe and know the process of creating it. But if you do not know how to start, follow the tips below to inspire you.
Food trends can be a good starting point for you. Food Navigator Asia has listed that spicy flavours are making a comeback and likely to see the launch of more spice and spicy oriented flavours in various food products. Explore food publication sites and social media platforms to get a general idea of where the food trend is shifting towards.
Bear in mind that jumping on a trend will only mean that you’ll most likely meet with plenty of competition. So you need to ask yourself if you’re ready and able to stand out from this noisy market.
Food business ideas
Alternatively, you can find gaps in the market to fill. Usually most profitable businesses are able to fill the needs of the market or are able to solve an issue. Here are some food categories to help you brainstorm.
- Certified organic food
- Dietary restrictions (gluten free, etc.)
- Trending diets (keto, low carb, etc.)
- Ethical (vegan, halal foods, etc.)
- Gourmet, artisanal food
Ideas for food novice
If you have minimal food knowledge and are not a professional cook, try out food businesses that require lower investment, no heavy cooking involved or the need to use different cooking equipment. You can find some ideas below.
- Nuts and seeds
- Coffee and tea
- Canned products
- How to Start a Food Cart Business in the Philippines (2023)
- Catering Business – How to Start in the Philippines
2. Create your digital menu
Digital Menu is simply a digitised version of a physical food menu. The advantage of having a digital menu allows you to make edits such as pricing and new items to the menu instantly. It can also let you create an interactive menu by building graphics and animations to it, which can help to upsell your add-ons.
QR codes for restaurants (table ordering)
One key feature of a digital menu is QR codes. If you are operating a restaurant, QR codes can eliminate traditional menus as customers view your digital menu by scanning the QR code on the table. They can also order directly from the digital menu if the ordering feature is incorporated into it, improving operational efficiency.
QR codes for online food stores
Similarly for online food stores, QR codes can be a quick method for you to run your online food business, if you do not have the bandwidth to create an online food store currently. For example, if you have an existing website about your food business, you can create a QR code with a digital menu for your visitors to scan and view so that they can still order via phone call.
3. Integrate your food ordering system
The food ordering system enables you to accept and manage orders placed on your online food store, either for delivery or to takeaway. Typically, it has two platforms – website or app for customers to view your digital menu and place an order. The platform has an admin interface that enables the restaurant to receive and fulfil the food orders.
Requirements for customer view
- Accessible across all devices from desktop to mobile
- Allowed to choose delivery or self-pickup
- Select when they like to receive the food order
- Pay securely and directly
- User friendly and responsive views
- View past orders and include re-ordering feature
Requirements for admin view
- Accessible across all devices to manage orders anywhere
- Easily configure settings to fine tune the ordering experience
- Real-time update through sound or visual notifications
- Multiple accounts for staff with restricted access option
4. Select your delivery method
Selling food online will require deliveries as that is the only way for customers to receive their orders, though there are some unique cases where food business owners will gather all customers at a location and distribute the orders out.
But if you decide to provide delivery options for your food business, food delivery is something that you can’t miss. So you need to think about how you can deliver food to your customers. Likewise for restaurants, providing delivery services opens up an additional source of income for your food business.
Depending on the type of food business, there are different food delivery business models.
Delivery platform to consumer
Third-party apps that list available restaurants close your customer’s proximity, normally through a mobile app like GrabFood.
Restaurant to consumer
Restaurants offering food delivery services directly from their websites, or app. One example is Mcdonalds, where it operates its own food delivery network in its respective countries via their own app.
5. Invest in food photography
As a food business owner, it is vital that you can present your food in the most enticing way possible to improve your branding. Customers who are not aware of your brand or have not tasted your food will rely on your food pictures to convince them to try (apart from food reviews). So having professionally taken photographs of your food is a strategy to drive sales.
There are multiple areas to consider in food photography. Lighting, colours, backdrops, angles and props are key areas that you should explore. Though it might take several tries to perfect it but with experience, it will be a good asset for you and is always worth it in the end.
Taking your own food pictures
Learning how to master the perfect shot takes time but be sure to invest in good camera equipment if you have the budget, as it will be essential for you. Alternatively, you can also try taking professional food pictures with your phone too.
Engage a food photographer
If you have a budget, it is good to engage a professional food photographer to assist with your food product shots. When selecting a professional food photographer, always request to review their portfolios and find the style that best suits your brand identity and food business theme.
Common questions about selling food online
What types of food should I consider selling online?
There are different types of food that you can sell online. Depending on your budget and cooking skills, you start with selling snacks like chocolate and biscuits for a start if you have a limited budget. Alternatively, if you have a recipe that you want to show to the world, work towards that menu since you already know the process and how to prepare it.
How can I create a digital menu for my food business?
There are several ways that you can create a digital menu and one of them is to find a platform for your digital menu such as website builders like Shopboxo where it allows you to create a digital menu and upload it onto your online food store.
Some factors to consider when choosing a platform include the cost, ease of use, and features available. Consider factors such as cost, ease of use, and the features you need.
What is a food ordering system and how can I integrate one into my online food business?
A food ordering system allows customers to place their food orders with an online food shop or restaurant. These systems are integrated with a business’s website that allow customers to place food orders for delivery or self pick-up . A more advanced food ordering system has payment functionality that enable customers to pay securely and directly, while also allowing them to track their delivery with real time tracking.
Look out for website builder platforms that have a food ordering system integrated to it. It will be a lot easier for you to set up without needing to find a third payment software to install into your website.