Blog - Book to Cook - Book to Cook Mon, 16 May 2022 05:27:47 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Top 10 tips for starting a food business Top 10 tips for starting a food business

We have put together a top 10 checklist of things to do when starting a food business to help you succeed.

1.Nail your product and processes

Know your product well and be able to make it consistently. Work on refining the most efficient process in terms of ingredients you purchase (in bulk etc.) and production of the product to save you time and money.

2.Research your market

Find out what already exists in that area. Look at the successful and unsuccessful businesses and attempt to identify why they did well or what they didn’t do so well that determined their success. Find out who your target market is and what they are looking for.

3.Register your business

Register for an ABN and Business name. It is important to make sure you are handling the legal side properly so you do not run into trouble down the track. Find the government link here.

4.Create a brand image.

Pay someone to do your branding. Do not buy a $5 logo off a website, work with a graphic design firm or freelancer who will help you achieve the look you really want. This is the face of your brand, it needs to look good. It is essentially the difference between wearing a dapper suit or a pair of trackies and singlet when you meet your customers - you need to look your best. We work with Walker. for our own and our customers branding.

5.Get online

It doesn’t have to be a twelve page website with an in-depth history, gallery and extensive information about your business, just get a basic webpage designed that has some information about your business and information on how to contact you.

6.Have a social media presence

Particularly for food businesses, social media like instagram and twitter can be a fast way to spread the word about your businesses. Make sure to do some research or look at our post on "3 Essentials to Kickstart your Business on Social Media" on how best to approach this.

7.Network and use who you know

Get on Linked In and network with those who you already know to make connections and help build and grow your business. You can also network by attending food related events, and getting involved in the community.

8.Work out costings as exact as possible

Work out your costings taking everything into account. Ingredients, packaging, labour, kitchen hire, transport, market stall, marketing. It all adds up, from here, you can work out how much you will charge your customers as well as situating your price well within the market. It’s an important balance to get right but crucial to making sure you succeed. The best price is when you as the seller sees more value in the customers money than the product, and the customer sees more value in the product than the money they are handing over.

9.Set up your finance or get an accountant

Use a program such as MYOB or Xero to manage your finances. It is important that you keep an eye on your books to track your spending so you have a better idea of what you need to do to improve and what seems to be working. An accountant can be great, and if your budget allows for it, I would definitely recommend it, but don’t hand it all over to them. Make sure you keep an eye on what is going on.

10.Get licensed

Register through the council for your Food Licence. You will need to be registered to a premises or commercially licensed kitchen. If you are using a kitchen hire company such as ourselves, we will often have a contact within the council or a reference number that allows you to get your licence approved faster. By completing these steps, you will be well on your way to your first production of your product and getting out to the world.
]]> (Super User) Blog Wed, 18 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0000
The top 5 Benefits of Hiring a commercial kitchen for your food business The top 5 Benefits of Hiring a commercial kitchen for your food business
I was talking to Lani from Yelp Brisbane the other day when she came out to visit our space. Our conversation drifted towards the benefits of hiring a commercial kitchen space as opposed to cooking from home and I realised there were many benefits that are usually overlooked. Our conversation inspired me to write post about it so I decided to compile a list of the top 5 reasons to hire a commercial kitchen for your food business.

1. You are more productive
Lani and I were discussing this after she used our office spaces for hire the other day. When you take the time to get out of your home, change your environment and hire a space to use, your productivity increases dramatically. Not only does the physical change of environment stimulate your mind, but your mindset will change with the introduction of a definitive start and end time. Many articles I have read over the years have all recognised a similar concept of key triggers. Over time, just by walking through the door to the kitchen and unpacking your ingredients, this will trigger your subconscious to go “ok, now it’s time to work”. At home, there are distractions such as pets, kids, tv and chores that disrupt our routine and play havoc with our focus.

2. Professional Equipment means Professional Product
Just as good quality ingredients mean a great quality product, professional equipment will ensure your product is as good as it can be. There are areas in your business where you can cut cost to save money, but when it comes down to the product you are selling, you only get one chance with a customer. Get it right and not only will they keep coming back, they will spread the word and help build grow your business.

3. Protect your carefully built brand image
You have and will spend many hours building a loyal customer base and strong brand image that your customers will come to love and trust. They trust that you are producing a high quality product that is produced in a high quality environment. If there was an incident to occur in relation to a businesses food product such as food poisoning, and their customers found out that their processes did not meet regulations, it would be much harder to rebuild trust and loyalty with the brand than if they followed council regulations and could claim they were doing the right thing.

4. Your insurance will actually mean something
Public liability insurance is something we unavoidably need to have when owning a food business. It protects us in the rare incident of food poisoning or a similar case, however failing to follow regulations would mean that money would be wasted. Insurance will be helpful unless you are unable to prove that you have been following the correct procedures.

5. Scale with ease
Studies have found that one of the biggest fears of small business owners is that they will not be able to handle rapid growth if it were to occur. Let me assure you, like Guy Kawasaki said in his awesome talk “The top 10 mistakes of an entrepreneurs”, this is the best problem you can have. With a commercial kitchen, this will make the process much smoother. Increase your hours of hiring and double your staff if necessary to meet demand, other than this, you can fine tune your process methods to ensure they are as smooth as possible. No need to look for a venue, then have to wait while your food license is approved before moving premises and having to adjust to new equipment and all the hassle that comes with moving.
]]> (Super User) Blog Fri, 27 Feb 2015 00:00:00 +0000
4 Habits Of Persistence Every Entrepreneur Should Have 4 Habits Of Persistence Every Entrepreneur Should Have

Startup companies can seem fun. Working for yourself, in your own time, getting paid what you make, doing what you love - but it’s not always as it seems. Don’t get me wrong, working in my own startup has been great, and if you have your own passion you wish to follow or are following, I encourage you whole heartedly and say go for it - but with anything good, there often challenges that we will face. It is how we deal with these that will ultimately determine our success. Based on what I have read and learned, I have constructed a list of 4 habits I believe are essential for an entrepreneur to have during the start up process.

Stay true to your dream, don’t dilute it.
A chef I used to work with told me this during a busy service whilst telling her my plans for the future. She told me how people will say “You need to do this”, “You need to do that”, and if you listen to them you will dilute your true goal and dream of heading where you want to go. Only you fully understand your vision because it’s in your head. It’s like someone trying to drive your car from the passengers seat while you are in the drivers seat. Only you have full vision and control of what is really going on, anything they might do or suggest may lead to disaster.

This ties in with staying true to your dream. Once you have written your business plan, be consistent. If your initial customer base isn’t as big as you first hoped or response to your product is not to the extent of what you imagined, that is OK! Humans take time to try and adjust to new things. It might take a while to catch on, perhaps longer than you had hoped, but be consistent. Stick to your guns and keep doing what you believe in, by changing how you do things every few weeks, you will confuse your customer and not convey a message of strength through your brand.

Try, try, try again.
As with consistency, you must continue to persist with what it is you are doing. Persistence is the key to success. If it was fast and easy, everyone would be doing it and making it. As William Edward Hickson so brilliantly stated, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again. Don’t give up, often the toughest times come just before a major breakthrough. It is that persistence and thirst for your goals that will ultimately bring you success.

Fail wisely - learn from your mistakes
Failure can be one of the most valuable learning experiences in business, if you use it correctly. Of course no one sets out to fail, but it has been proven over and over again that failing is the best way for humans to learn something the right way. Naturally we have a fear of failing, and fear is one of the biggest motivators. If you are running to come first in a 100m sprint, or running from a savage dog snapping at your heels, I can guarantee which one will have you running faster and harder. This is why failure can be helpful, it drives us to be better, more than the motivation of reaching for our goals. So by failing once, we can assess how and where we went wrong, and out of fear, we make sure we don’t do it again.

As I mentioned before, I encourage you whole heartedly to start something, take on that idea you have been toying with. Just make sure you equip yourself with the knowledge and tools to set yourself up for success.
]]> (Super User) Blog Thu, 19 Feb 2015 00:00:00 +0000
Free coffee from community cafe Free coffee from community cafe

The Idea
So if you have been following our social media at all, you will know that tomorrow we will be launching what we have affectionately been calling our “Book to Cook Coffee Drop”. The idea started from a narrow space between the end of our walk-in freezer and roller door. When building our kitchens, council restrictions prevented us from building too close to the roller door. We always wanted to turn this space into something but it always seemed too small. One day we had an epiphany and decided we could put in a coffee machine and food produced by our customers in our own kitchen.

Free Coffee
What better way to run a coffee shop than to have ALL of the food prepared just behind in our kitchens by local Brisbane food start ups. This means we can support our customers by stocking their product as well as giving the community a chance to come down and support local startup Brisbane businesses. Tomorrow on our launch day we want to celebrate with our customers and cooks by offering a free small coffee (or hot beverage) to everyone that comes down between 6am and 12pm. Our coffee has been carefully selected and is locally roasted in Brisbane. Our cabinet has a few items with more to be added over the coming weeks as our Book to Cook customers begin to fill the shelves with their delightful creations.

How it Works
As the name suggests, it is a Coffee Drop, there is minimal seating at this stage, but the idea is to drop in and pick up a coffee and your lunch or treat for the day to take with you. While you are here you are welcome to check out our facilities particularly our office spaces for hire or our creative space upstairs where you can host meetings, workshops or training events.

We have been working hard to get the coffee drop up and running and now it is here. Starting tomorrow we hope to see all of your wonderful faces turning up for your free coffee and supporting local food businesses.
]]> (Super User) Blog Mon, 16 Feb 2015 00:00:00 +0000
3 Essentials to kick start your business on social media 3 Essentials to kick start your business on social media
Word of mouth is still believed to be the strongest form of advertising you can do. A recommendation coming from someone who has no affiliation with your business is the best kind. They are recommending your services to a friend, so firstly they are a trusted source and secondly they gain nothing from it - so it is a genuine reference.

Whilst, “word of mouth” style advertising is often the strongest, it used to be something we were unable to control; these days however, social media changes all of that.
I like to think of it as todays word of mouth, but on steroids. If someone shares a post on Facebook, that is their recommendation to read, view or visit the post that they have shared about. It is because of this that it is important to harness the power of social media to get the ball of online chatter about your business rolling.

We have put together three simple yet critical steps to kick start your business on social media and make sure you get it right.

1. Post quality content
This is important for a few reasons. Readers do not want to waste their time reading about something or following someone they don’t care about. They want to get something out of it. Secondly, it says something about your brand, if you are posting low quality photos with low lighting or short statuses that seem to be irrelevant to what your company is trying to do, then it can damage your brand (depending on what you are going for).

Make sure your content is relevant to your followers and give them something they can use. Whether that is new information about a cafe that just opened up that they should try, something that is happening in your business like a product launch (be careful not to SELL over social media) or simply a link to a blog post that will help them with something relevant to your product/services.

To recap - there are two types of quality content.
1. Rich and thoughtful content that is of a high quality both in information and visual aesthetic.
2. Relevant content to your readers that they will gain something from.

2. Post often
There is nothing worse than a social media page that looks like a ghost town. You want to make your business look alive and active. Social media is really a behind the scenes look at a business and a way for customers to follow what that business is up to. By keeping your customers informed in what you are up to and delivering relevant, quality content to them, you will stay forefront in their minds and they will be more likely to spread the word about you. Alternatively, if you haven’t posted something for 4 months, I can guarantee you will have fallen deep into the pit of forgotten memories.

If it helps, write up a schedule for each social media platform that you are on and when you will aim to post. This is not necessary but can help to make sure you stay on top of your social media. Timing can also be critical when posting on social media to maximise the reach of your post. I read a great article the other day on Buffer Social titled A scientific guide to posting tweets, facebook posts, emails, and blog posts at the best time. Give it a read and experiment with what time and type of posts work best for you.

3. Become part of the community
As important as posting content is, this is not the end of it, merely the beginning. It is called a social network of people for a reason: because you network, with people. Engage your audience and community, if someone comments - respond. Even if the comment is negative, attempt to repair the relationship with the customer and perhaps ask them to contact you privately in order to resolve the issue. Just move the conversation off social media as soon as possible. Aside from this, seek our other businesses relevant to you and like/follow their pages. Comment on and share their awesome posts, they may return the favour (giving you reach to their customers as well). By doing this you will start to develop relationships and become part of a community. Businesses will refer you to their customers and you will do the same. You will support them and they will support you. By staying stagnate and not engaging with your audience and other businesses, it may seem as if you are on social media to promote yourself, and that is not word of mouth at all.
]]> (Super User) Blog Thu, 05 Feb 2015 00:00:00 +0000
30 Days to Beat Procrastination and Embrace Fear. 30 Days to Beat Procrastination and Embrace Fear.
A good sportsperson will practice what they are best at because it makes them feel better about their performance. A great sportsperson will practice what they are worst at in order to improve, no matter how many times they may fail.

It is the same in our daily lives that we must challenge ourselves every single day. As I mentioned in the last post about being productive - do the hardest tasks at the start of your work day. Not only do you have more energy but you literally feel more empowered to smash through your other daily tasks. Motivational speaker and life coach Robin Sharma says that by doing the things we are resisting, we literally take back the will power we would have lost if we gave in to the resistance. He describes will power like a muscle and says the more we do the things we fear and the more we challenge ourselves, the more that muscle is worked and exercised.

Think about the things you fear and tackle them head on. Do not define failure as a lack of success but as a learning curve on the path to it. I read a quote the other day from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that said “If your dreams do not scare you, then you are not dreaming big enough”. If we do not continue to reach for the things that seem out of our reach, then we will never grow or achieve success.

Procrastination can be one of the biggest factors that stops us from achieving and getting things done. Most of the time we procrastinate out of fear or failure. We don’t start a task, because we want to get it right the first time. I’m sure you have heard people say “If I could just get started, I would be unstoppable”. This is because they have an underlying fear of not making the correct decisions or movements from the very beginning - it shouldn’t be this way. Before they start their masterpieces, a lot of artists will paint random colours onto their blank white canvas. This way it does not matter if they make a mistake, the canvas is already messy, it is their job to transform it. We should use the same metaphor in life and start every task by jumping into it head first. This doesn’t mean to say we shouldn’t plan - having a plan is critical. But be direct - create a plan and then go for it.

A practical way to help beat procrastination and embrace the challenges we face day to day is by doing a procrastination diet. Again, this comes from Robin Sharma. Use a diary or digital calendar and each day write down a simple task that you have been resisting or resist daily. This could be as simple as doing the dishes, or visiting the dentist. Or as extreme as starting your new business; try and mix it up but do one thing each day. After 30 days straight you will notice a huge difference in your confidence to tackle the things you used to dread. Try it out and let us know how it goes.
Blog Fri, 30 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0000
5 steps to “turn on” productivity every single morning 5 steps to “turn on” productivity every single morning
Being productive in our world today isn’t as easy as it used to be. So when it comes to starting a business, or getting daily tasks done, we need an action plan to combat this. We have put together a five step plan that if followed will see huge improvements in how productive you are each day.

1. Sleep Well

This is an obvious one, yes - but it is essential none the less. In order for our brains to function properly and be able to stay focused, we have to use will power. If we are tired or not well rested this can prove difficult and we may be setting ourselves up to fail. To ensure we get enough sleep, there are a few simple things we can do.

- Make sure to turn that technology off 1 hour before bed and don’t take it to bed with you.
- A charging station can be a good idea that forces us to keep our devices away from our bed.
- Use an app like Sleep Cycle or something similar that will wake you in the right part of your REM sleep cycle.
- Don’t eat after 8pm at night. Trust me, you will feel more rested in the morning as your body is not trying to digest food throughout the night.

2. Get up early

This goes hand in hand with getting good sleep. Making sure you get to bed at a reasonable time and getting good quality sleep will help with this. The routine of a set bed time can help with ensuring you get the right amount of sleep. Waking up early however, has many benefits of its own. Think about it this way, you are part of an elite club who wakes up early before the noise of our world begins. There are less distractions and you feel good about yourself. It puts your mind in a positive mood and you have the whole day to accomplish all the tasks that you need to.

If you’re like me and still find this difficult, our friends at Skinny Kitchen wrote a fantastic article "Becoming a Morning Person” that is amazingly helpful and insightful.
3. Have breakfast + Stimulant

A car cannot run without fuel, nor can we as humans function without our fuel - food. If you are a regular non-breakfast eater like I used to be, then it can be hard. You may not “feel hungry” or have the time. Well make time. If you follow step two then you will have plenty of time to make yourself a nutritious breakfast that can fuel your body for a productive day. If you think about how hungry you get through the day and how you rely of food as a source of energy, then you may begin to realise (like I did) the importance of fuelling your body after 8 - 10 hours of fasting. For an extra added boost - try some sort of stimulant. Coffee has actually been proven to increase focus in the short term and aid against memory loss in the long term. If managed correctly, it can actually be a natural enhancer for increasing our focus. With that said, sugar or syrups in coffee will cause a spike and then dive in our energy levels. If you need that extra sweetness, try a natural sweetener and gradually ween yourself off. Try and stick to a single shot each morning and you may actually see the benefits. If part of a daily routine, a morning cup of coffee can be used as a trigger to tell your subconscious, “right, now I am ready to focus.” And for around $4.00 a day, your productivity as a result may well be worth it.
4. Create a distraction free workspace.

This is imperative to ensuring you beat that world of distractions that is knocking at your doorstep. As you can see with my workspace, I keep it clean. I only bring with it what is specific to the individual task that I am partaking in. Before I start a project I will ensure I have all the tools I need including water (vital). This way I can keep my workspace free of all other distractions that are unnecessary to the task. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple from Disney, he brought a tin of white paint into his office and began to paint all of the red walls white. His colleagues asked him why he was doing this and he responded by saying that he did not want anything to stand in the way of his creativity. Do whatever is necessary to rid your workspace of anything that may distract you.
5. Do not check notifications or email (the most important of them all).

This is by far the most vital step in our plan to “turn on” productivity. We live in a world of dramatic distraction where people and technology are constantly breaking our concentration. Studies show that once we break our concentration it takes up to 25 minutes to get back to the same level of focus that we were previously at. So even just pausing briefly to check your inbox every 15 minutes can add hours to your work. It disrupts your work pattern and workflow, an email can wait. If people expect us to be on our emails and phone every minute of every day, then that is their problem if we aren’t. If we start at 8 or 9, we should go a whole 2 - 3 hours without checking any of these notifications. Even checking them first up puts them in the back of our mind and our subconscious ponders them whilst we are trying to focus on the task at hand. Do not engage with online communication full stop until you are 2 - 3 hours into your work day. People will learn your habits and eventually know not to contact you before then or at least expect a response anyway. Remember that you are in control and you inbox does not dictate when you should check it. While you are at it, do your most difficult tasks at the start of your day. You are freshest and full of energy then. As the day goes on and the distractions start to flow in, you can focus on the smaller tasks that require much less energy and still get things done.

Blog Wed, 21 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0000