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Food eCommerce 101: How to Start an Online Food Business


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The joy of doing business comes from the fact that it’s yours. Today, companies are blessed with exciting growth opportunities, thanks to the entrance of eCommerce and other digital channels. To attain long-term success, experienced and aspiring entrepreneurs constantly look for ways to increase their visibility.

In the food and beverage industry (F&B), channels like social media allow better chances for businesses to be seen. An example would be the rapid growth of online food delivery in the Philippines. According to Statista, the online food delivery revenue in the country is projected to reach $333.30 million in 2022.

With the current trends and the rapid shift online, the internet is providing better avenues for businesses to excel. If you’re looking for the best guide to teach you the basics of food eCommerce, the infographic and article below will teach you how to use the internet for your online food business.

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From rainbow bagels to everything ube-cheese, the food industry has had its fair share of explorative eras. However, one thing that the food industry is best known for is its drive for innovation and a continuous goal toward better customer service.

If you have the same drive to provide superb customer service, this article will discuss everything you need to know about starting an online food business.

Business Creation and Development: A Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Conduct market and competitor analysis

    Market research refers to gathering information on one’s target consumers. Whether a company is B2B or B2C, large or small, new or established, market research is essential to every business plan. By acquiring the necessary demographics, businesses can market themselves more efficiently, improving their chances for success.

    Allowing businesses to base their decisions on data will make all the difference during decision-making. If you already have an idea, research will let you see if it’s feasible. In a crowded market, how can your product stand out? Can this product find a market? Is there a sub-audience that’s untapped? On another note, consider your product’s legalities, fragility, and shelf life to see if you can execute it accordingly.

  2. Research trending foods and snacks

    If you’re currently brainstorming for products, look into current culinary trends for inspiration. Knowing what’s popular will help you determine which dishes to make, enabling you to draw more customers.

    The food you intend to provide is one of the crucial factors you should consider. To ensure success, you must follow a few fundamental procedures to launch a new restaurant. Add some current popular food concepts to your menu. Traditional comfort food is unquestionably still a favorite.

  3. Plan product and service costing

    One of the most crucial business decisions you should make is the cost of your goods or service. At best, setting a price that’s too high or too cheap may restrict your expansion and impact your sales and cash flow.

    Before you launch your food and beverage business, thoroughly evaluate your pricing plan. Ensure that the price and sales levels you choose will make your firm profitable. It would also help to consider how your product or service stacks up against competitors.

  4. Establish your brand identity

    A brand identity comprises your values, how you market your goods, and the emotions you want customers to feel when doing business with you. Your brand identity can be considered your company’s character and promise to your clients. It’ll ultimately impact your customers long after a sale so you want to make sure that everything from your food photos down to your beverage packaging is consistent!
  5. Know your customers

    Successful business owners know what their customers want and how best to deliver their goods or services. Knowing your customers’ interests, tastes, hobbies, and what they watch, listen to, and read can provide a competitive edge.

    Identifying who’ll most likely need or want your product or service is important for business owners. Here are some questions that successful business owners need to ask themselves:

    What motivates your customers to make a purchase?

    How frequently will your customers need to purchase that item or use the service?

    Who are they buying it for?

    Where do they often make purchases?

  6. Build your business

Without putting time and money into it, it’s impossible to establish a strong business. You’ll need to market your company and create a powerful marketing strategy. Building a business today also entails having a strong online presence on social media. You can use these to understand your clientele better.

Legal and Business Requirements

  1. Read up on government laws

    Food safety refers to handling, storing, and preparing food to avoid illness and injury. Food products may be subject to certain health risks as they move through the supply chain from farm to factory to fork.

    Safe food handling methods and procedures are followed across the whole food production life cycle to reduce these hazards and safeguard customers. A wide range of academic disciplines, such as chemistry, microbiology, and engineering, are relevant to food safety. These guarantee the safety of food processing wherever food products are sourced, produced, or prepared.

    Food safety, in this sense, refers to a comprehensive system of hygiene and accountability that affects every facet of the global food sector. Some government laws regarding food safety in the Philippines include but are not limited to:

    Food labeling rules

    Declaration of food additives

    Open-date marketing

    Nutrition information panel

    Country of origin labeling

    Setting food safety laws aside, it’s also important to touch on other regulations that can factor in your logistical needs and intellectual property rights. Just like big brands such as Coca-Cola, you should look to trademark your logo and protect your recipes by labeling them as a trade secret. 

  2. Secure business licenses and permits

    An entrepreneur must first obtain the legal prerequisites from the government before setting up a business in the Philippines. Most of these requirements are certifications, clearances, or permits. All these documents help ensure that business owners will stay compliant with local laws and policies:

    Certificate of Business Name Registration

    Barangay Clearance

    SSS, PhilHealth, & PAG-IBIG Registration

    Mayor’s Permit

    BIR Registration

    As a food business owner, you must also get a registration certificate from the Bureau of Food and Drugs, Department of Health (DoH-BFAD).

  3.  Determine your funding options

Financing is an important phase in starting an online business. While collecting funds may be a difficult process, there are different ways in which aspiring entrepreneurs can get started. Here are some examples of financing options in the Philippines:

Saving up

Getting a side business

Liquidating your access

Asking a friend or family for a loan

Asking a friend or family to be your business partner

Getting a loan from the bank

Borrowing money from the government


Getting angel investors

Operational Considerations

  1. How much are you willing to spend for your business?

    Business is always an investment. Whether it’s a big or small venture, you’ll still need money for it to take off. Since it’ll cost a huge chunk of money, you should consider how much you’re willing to spend to achieve your goal.
  2. Where will you source ingredients?

    Sourcing quality ingredients is one of the top priorities of a food business. Since you’re dealing with consumables, use quality ingredients to elevate your products and improve your standing in the market. Also, sourcing the best ingredients is a great way to show your customers that you value them.
  3. Where will your operations be stationed?

    Online business or not, the strategic positioning of your business is important because you can gauge just how well your business will do. For example, stationing your business in a remote, close-knit area might not be the best choice if you sell something trendy or new. By reviewing the area’s demographics, you will also be able to determine the type of customers that you will cater to.  
  4.  What are your delivery options?

    There’s no better way to expand your business than by servicing more customers.

    A fully-owned delivery system gives you better control over the delivery process. With an in-house delivery system, F&B companies can acquire their fleet of vehicles and recruit a trained team of committed delivery personnel to bring orders to consumers. But if you’re not ready to build your own delivery system, the good news is that you can outsource this process to a third-party logistics provider

    Customers should be able to process their orders with no complications. A seamless order system doesn’t only improve customer satisfaction, it may also increase your revenue in the long run. Fortunately, making use of a proven eCommerce platform will allow you to do just that. 

    For starters, Rush has a comprehensive order fulfillment module where customers can choose what fulfillment options to activate. This way, your clients will have the benefit of advanced ordering, allowing you more preparation time and lowering your risk of overproduction.
  5. Will you have enough staff to keep up with your growing customer base?

    When your business takes off, it’ll be harder to focus on anything else but your development. As your customers demand more, you’ll also need to evolve and scale up your operations. The best way to stay ready for your eventual growth would be to engage in proper staff planning.

    Consider the number of staff you need when expanding your business. The more staff you have, the more it’s needed for you to conduct staff training. As your business grows, you’re sure to need help.

  6.  What kind of packaging will you use?

    Food eCommerce is particularly difficult because customers can’t taste the food immediately. Branding is crucial because people can’t sample your product. To tell your story and give customers an idea of your products, you need to collaborate with experts on food packaging, website, food photography, and copy.
  7. What are the pieces of equipment you’ll need?

    Purchase materials and cooking supplies from credible providers. The type of cuisine you’ll be cooking will help you determine which tools, kitchenware, and measurement devices you’ll need.  

How to Build a Strong Online Presence and Make Your Products Sell

  1. Start with a reliable eCommerce platform

    Now that we live in a digital age, businesses across all industries have shifted online. Of course, the F&B industry is no exception to this trend and you’ll see that many brands have already started to sell their products online. 

    Due to the countless opportunities that eCommerce presents, it’s no surprise that many have started to engage in online selling. The best way to ensure that your online store operates smoothly is to power your store with a reliable eCommerce platform. As you gather your options, make sure to read up on our guide on how to select the best eCommerce platform for your business.

  2.  Double down on product packaging

    Food packaging is used to ensure separation from dangerous chemicals, particles, bacteria, and pests, safeguard the quality of food products, and facilitate the simple transportation of commodities.

    Additionally, packaging showcases consumer-facing information, such as ingredient lists, enabling you to comply with all laws and rules governing the labeling of commodities intended for consumption.

  3. Experiment with online advertising

    Once you’ve established your eStore, your next agenda would be to establish your online presence. With online advertising, you’ll enhance your visibility on the web and build brand awareness in no time. 

    Before advertising online, ask yourself what you want to promote. Do you want to promote a certain offer? Posting it on social media will be your best bet! Do you plan on educating your consumers about your products? Sending them a newsletter via email will do the trick!  Once you choose what you want to advertise, it’ll be much easier for you to determine the channels that will work best for you

  4. Look into your reports and analyze them

    Data analysis allows you to go deep into the numbers to understand better why your business is performing in a certain way. It’ll let you know why a particular employee performs better than others on certain days or why you get more orders for certain items on Tuesdays.
  5. Streamline your systems for online ordering and delivery

    Customers should enjoy seamless ordering and feel directed at every turn. An example of an enhancement is a real-time menu that updates quickly in parallel with your main point-of-sale (POS) menu. 

    With a full access content management system, business owners can update their inventories and product catalog for all their branches instantly. On a micro-level (branch specific), digital store management apps like the RUSH Merchant app allows authorized employees to update their branch’s stocks and fulfill orders in a few taps. With just one click, you may clear up any uncertainty if something is out of stock or when a seasonally available item is unavailable.

    Customers may also find that creating profiles and saving order histories can completely change how they order food because it dramatically reduces the number of processes required.  It may even allow them to place a reservation order. If you do that, you might find that they develop new routines around your takeout service on certain days of the week. Fortunately, users of Rush’s eStore and Loyalty Platform are able to enjoy this feature across all channels so get on board today! 

  6.  Explore brand placements

    Product placement on certain platforms can greatly improve your chances for success. Selling your story is a terrific way to draw people to your project and the platforms you choose for your product placements will be key. As an example, one advantage of being a Rush merchant is that you are able to leverage the reach of big brands like Globe and Ayala for both seasonal campaigns and long-term activations. 

    With that said, indicate your involvement in community service or sustainability efforts if you have any. Discuss with your product placement target how you hope to raise awareness of your cause and product.

  7.  Offer vouchers and discounts

    Discounts and free one-time-use offers can help your business grow client loyalty, increase brand recognition, and get a quick infusion of revenue. For your store, a coupon can boost web traffic and pickup/delivery orders, which could result in more sales and revenue. The unique offer and the deal’s timing are both under your control.

    If you plan to run promos and give other exciting offers, make sure that your eCommerce platform will allow you to do so. Luckily, making use of the Rush CMS will enable you to give discounts with little to no hiccups

  8. Activate an omnichannel strategy

Customers interact with companies across various touchpoints and anticipate a consistent level of engagement across all of them. Brands today can provide customers additional value, personalized communication, and around-the-clock customer assistance thanks to a robust omnichannel strategy.

It translates to superior customer experience management, optimal brand performance, customer retention, and lasting brand loyalty.

Start Something Delicious

While creating an online food business is surely a lot of work, the effort is all worthwhile. But before you move on with your venture, ensure that you’re properly equipped with the correct knowledge, resources, legalities, and considerations for starting a food business.

Utilizing the above mentioned strategies will amp up your customers’ experience and give your business an edge. If you need help with your online transition, know that Rush offers premium eCommerce services that’ll let you get things running in no time! Book a demo with one of our sales representatives to learn more!



Sofia Caram

Strategy and Partnerships Director at RUSH Technologies

Sofia Caram is the Strategy and Partnerships Director at RUSH Technologies - the go-to e-commerce services partner of every business in making digital easy, efficient, and effective in the Philippines. She has had a wide exposure to the world of business management at a young age, having held roles in Product and Project Management, Market Research, and Growth Hacking. Being a business-minded professional that she is, she also co-manages a business with her siblings. During her free time, she likes to read, binge watch reality shows on Netflix, and spend time with her dogs. She also loves sitting under the sun to recharge.


Sofia Caram

Strategy and Partnerships Director at RUSH Technologies

Sofia Caram is the Strategy and Partnerships Director at RUSH Technologies - the go-to e-commerce services partner of every business in making digital easy, efficient, and effective in the Philippines. She has had a wide exposure to the world of business management at a young age, having held roles in Product and Project Management, Market Research, and Growth Hacking. Being a business-minded professional that she is, she also co-manages a business with her siblings. During her free time, she likes to read, binge watch reality shows on Netflix, and spend time with her dogs. She also loves sitting under the sun to recharge.

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