This article is written by Deiya Goswami, a student of UPES, Dehradun, on licenses required for starting a tiffin service / home delivery of food in India.
Tiffin service in India
Most people in India prefer homemade food for daily meals when conducted a survey about having meals. Also, most of the people tend to migrate from one place to other usually leaving their hometown for education or jobs etc. The tiffin service targets busy professionals and students working in offices, particularly the employees of large firms through direct marketing tactics. Most office going professionals and those living away from their families face a major problem of their daily meal which often leads to ill health issues. These people either end up eating out most of the time or cook fast and quick food for themselves for such people tiffin services are like rain in dessert. These demographic mostly consists of young individuals with more disposable income, less time for cooking their own meals to eat, but have social values and an aptitude towards food with a taste of homemade flavor. Moreover, it is found that customers value hygienic, healthy, and tasty meals. Many would be willing to spend 10 rupees more to get one on a regular basis. The main competitors of tiffin or catering service are the food vendors, restaurants, and street food carts,which are quite easily available and are also affordable. The reasons for people preferring tiffin system is that they offer a more user-friendly ordering system, provide hygienic and healthy food, offers a variety of food choices at a reasonable cost.
The home delivery system is a boon in the modern world. With the added work burden, people are not willing to travel an extra mile to fetch food as going out and eating is considered as a waste of time. In such cases think ringing up the restaurant or the food catering service and you get to have your lunch or any other meal sitting at the same place.
Food providing services have huge potentials to create employment and livelihood opportunities for low-income community members particularly women. Employees will have the opportunity to advance into skilled positions and will be provided training; these opportunities are often absent for people from informal colonies.The distinguishing factor about tiffins is that the food has a home cooked touch to it. The cooks ensure that the food is cooked in a healthy medium and there is minimal use of oil, salt, and spices. There are low or no chances of pre-cooked gravies, preservatives or artificial colors in the meals and usage of below-graded ingredients.
If one person is good at cooking food then this kind of profession is the best suited for him/ her. All you have to do is in the morning a few hours of working in the kitchen and then free for all day long. Most importantly you don’t have to be a chef at a hotel or restaurant or hotel, but something at home. With a constant influx of people migrating to the city, more so for work and without their families, they miss home cooked food and one option for them is the homemade catering and tiffin service.
The alternative option that one could tie up with dabbawalas (people who deliver tiffins), and have them deliver meals. They generally set up a weekly or monthly menu and the food accordingly. Also for setting up such a tiffin service one does not need to have a lot of additional investment, as all one needs is a proper functioning kitchen and some tiffin boxes for diners. Although most of these services, ask their clients to invest in the tiffin boxes, as per their preferences. All that one needs to remember that the quality of food cannot be sacrificed at any cost. This is one thing that should be consistent and the diners should feel that they are getting their food worth the money they are paying. Also, it is advisable to avoid experimenting with tiffin. However, not repeating the menu is also a mammoth task that needs to be satisfied. If someone wishes to try out new things then one must send sample free tester and take responses from their customers about the liking and disliking.
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When one starts a catering service he is required to have quite a few licenses and certification as selling food from home is similar to selling food at restaurant. Although most of the tiffin services run without licenses. So, one must get started with one’s business operations, and licenses and certifications could come along the way, one can start procedures for general licenses from local Food and Health Department. To protect your personal assets such as your home, consider creating a business entity such as a limited liability company, if not go with Sole Proprietorship, which is very simple and easy to get it done. Compare and understand the advantage and disadvantages of both business entities. Also, it is very important for such a service provider to adhere to Health Department regulations. One must contact the local Health Department for specific regulations, certifications, licenses, and insurance information in one’s area. The Health Department also usually requires an inspection of the area to be used for the kitchen or for catering business.
Couple of licenses / permissions you need, it may vary from state to state:
- Shop and Establishment Act License
- License from Food & Health Department (FSSAI License).
- Trade license.
- Fire brigade.
- Society’s NOC
One has to get in touch with the local municipality to know more about state-specific licenses required. Also, some people suggest rather than starting a new one on your own, just enroll as a home chef in food delivery marketplaces to scale up easily and to reach out more audience instantly.
So if one could offer delicious food which is tailored to each person’s custom nutritional requirement it will be awesome and the business shall grow manifolds.
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