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Recipe for Starting Your Food Business

Great restaurants start with a great idea; excellent coffee, delicious pastries, exquisitely prepared entrees. There are many successful restaurants and specialty stores that have started with something as simple as a box of cupcake recipes. One thing these prosperous businesses have in common is their knowledge of “the biz.” This includes different laws, regulation, and processes that regulate the food industry as well as some common sense when it comes to branding, location, and marketing. This resource covers all the basics of starting a restaurant, coffee shop, bakery, specialty selection, or food stand. Below is an extensive collection of some of the best resources that new food business owners need to know.


Government Agencies

United State Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – From the U.S. Government, the FDA provides information for consumers, the food industry, and health professionals, as well as keeping readers up to date with the latest regulations and restrictions.

Food Safety – FoodSafety.gov is the gateway to food safety information provided by government agencies in order to better communicate information to the public, allowing consumers to receive food safety information quickly.

State Liquor License Agencies – Liquor Licensing varies from state to state and country to country. This site has a list of current state liquor licensing government websites.

Food Safety and Inspection Service – The FSIS is the public health agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Its chief responsibility is ensuring that the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.


Laws and Regulations

Food Handler’s Permit – From the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals, a complete list of each individual state’s regulatory requirements for food handling.

How To Run A Restaurant: Permits – Forbes magazine breaks down the fundamentals in answering the question, “What permits do I need to open a restaurant?”



Food and Nutrition Information Center – The United States Department of Agriculture includes dietary guidance, food labeling, food supplements, surveys, reports, research, and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

International Food Information Council Foundation – This multi-cultural organization provides food safety, nutrition, and healthful eating information to help consumers make good and safe food choices.


The Food

Foreign Agricultural Service – The United States Department of Agricultures has a specific branch dedicated to regulating food exported from other countries. If you’re planning on importing any foodstuffs, the FAS has a process.

National Restaurant Association Menu Collection – The Johnson and Wales University began collecting menus in 2009 and has since been uploading the 7,000 menus to their website over the past few years.

Food Storage – The University of Nebraska presents an in-depth and scientific look at how to properly store food and the fascinating (and micro-organic) effects of what happens when you do not.



Food Marketing Policy Center – This organization based out of the University of Connecticut, conducts research on food and agricultural marketing and related policy questions to better inform food owners.

Hungry for Business: A Look at Restaurant Marketing – The Art Institute takes a closer look at marketing strategies, trends, techniques, and the importance of having a strong online presence.

Marketing Tips for Small Restaurants – These questions will help Restaurant Owners as they begin to review and plan for changes to increase profit, prices, and patron return.


Web Presence

Cornell research analyzes current state of restaurants’ online food ordering – This article covers a study of 372 U.S. restaurant operators (of all sizes) that accept takeout orders; the study found online ordering boosted profit, but not in the way owners thought.

40 Tasty Restaurant Websites to Inspire You – These forty screen shots provide a variety of examples of how different restaurants draw in and keep customers through their impressive websites.

Customer Perceptions of Electronic Food Ordering – Cornell University surveys 470 internet users about their frequency and reasons for using electronic food ordering such as from a mobile app or text message.


Controversial Topics

Why Restaurants Fail – The Economics Department from Cornell University tackles this perplexing question, examining types of restaurant failures, the failure rate over the years, and external and internal factors that affect the success of a restaurant.

Is Organic Better? – From Columbia University Medical Center, this report examines the definition of “organic,” the FDA seal of approval, and whether or not organic food is in fact healthier.

Food Advertising in the Age of Obesity – The University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Communication looks at the change in food marketing techniques in light of the obesity epidemic in Western culture.


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons