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I Need Input: Would You Pay For This Service?

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posted on Jan, 19 2014 @ 10:58 PM
I have had a crazy few weeks since this year began, wondering exactly what direction I am going in my life. I need to provide financially for my family, however I'm not a traditional "9-5" kinda gal... never have been, so thinking outside the box is necessary for me. I have also been trying to find my passion in life, my purpose if you will and discover how to make money with whatever that may be. Well after much (and I mean a lot) of soul searching I have come to the conclusion that I am a pretty amazing cook, well in the area of home cooking at the very least. Every Holiday is hosted at my home and I am in charge of the menu virtually from start to finish.; many of my dishes are requested time and time again. I am also, out of neccesity, a pretty savvy shopper ~ meaning I can feed an army on very little out of pocket.

Taking all of this into consideration I believe I have had an epiphany of sorts. We live in a culture here in the US where families need both parents working in order to maintain the standard of living that most feel comfortable with. Americans need to feel as if they are "keeping up with the Jones' " so to speak and that is becoming increasingly more difficult. Obesity, diabeties and numerous other mal-nutrition related illnesses are on the rise due to this specific conundrum. Americans as a whole are buying a lot of fast food and take out in order to feed/fuel their families. They are also realizing that it's just not healthy and shouldn't be consumed in such large quantaties as it has been! However people can not financially afford to have a parent lose their job just to address this issuse, no matter how important and in their face it is. Families buy this crap because it is quick and easy, allowing them time to sit around the table and spend quality time.

Now what if there was a way to provide your family with home cooked meals that only required 15-30 minutes to heat up, 5 minutes (if even) to plate and then time to sit around the table and really connect?! Better yet, what if this meal was waiting on your doorstep when you got home and you knew what all the ingredients were? What if there was a menu delivered to your home once a week and you could choose the meals from that menu for those nights when your schedule just simply didn't allow you to cook yourself? Well this is a real thing; it's called "Home-Cooked Meal Delivery Service" and I sincerely feel it is the wave of the future.

I need input here, so if you have read this far, please allow me the opportunity to whet your appetite! This will cost me a good bit of money in order to allow the FDA into my home to approve my kitchen. I will need a License for my home kitchen, a Catering License and Liabilities Insurance... as well as a comprhensive menu, website on which to sell my goods and containers and labels. But I'll deal with all of that if I feel this is viable, so please help me feel out this prospect.

Here is an outline of my basic beginners menu:

Chicken Pot Pie (Bott Boi)

This would be served with biscuits


This would be served with either corn bread or white rice

BBQ Chicken

Severed with homemade mashed potaoes and "weekly" vegetable

Meatloaf with brown or red gravy

Again served with homemade mashed potatoes and "weekly" vegetable

Baked Pasta

Served with garlic bread (with or without cheese) and salad

These are the basics for introduction sake, there will be a few more main courses, including biscuits, corn bread or bread sticks... as well as an additional dessert. I need sincere input before investing in this endeavour as it is pretty risky. So ATS; would you pay for this service?!
edit on 19-1-2014 by IrishCream because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 19 2014 @ 11:11 PM
reply to post by IrishCream

It sounds like a great idea but, one thing troubles me, your location: Amish Country.

In areas like that, or out in the sticks, its more than likely that they will prefer to make their own home cooked meals than pay someone else for it. If you live out in the country, you won't be likely to have a large enough customer base to make all the regulatory crap affordable.

If on the other hand, you live in an urban area or some place with a high population density, it would be easier to find customers, especially if there is a community with a lot of high income folks who could afford such a service on a regular basis.

Just be careful you don't take on more customers than you can take care of by yourself. Hiring employees and expanding your operations may create even more headaches and expenses making you think twice about the whole endeavor.

Good luck in your project and I wish you all the best but, make sure you know what you're getting into before taking it too far.

posted on Jan, 19 2014 @ 11:18 PM
I wouldn't pay for it however that is just because I can make and prep meals. I can always stop by a fresh and easy for the same prepped type meal granted with a few things added however they do have things like spaghetti with veggies blended in the sauce.

I do think there may be a desire for such a thing, I remember babysitting for a family when I was younger who sometimes had a personal chef cooking a few days worth of meals for them while I was there, families like that may enjoy the ease of making dinner. There is a company already doing this around me called "My healthy meal" that has this type of business. I think it really depends on your pricing, if people don't think they're getting a value then they will not buy. Best of luck with your idea.

posted on Jan, 19 2014 @ 11:22 PM
reply to post by FortAnthem

Thank you for this input and I'm sure my "member location" is a bit off-putting lol. Really I live in the Suburbs, the outskirts are more of the Amish Country. I actually live in the "Coolest Small Town In America" 2013 (if you feel compelled to do the researchh lol) and the median income is $120,000-$200,000/yr, which of course I don't make or I wouldn't be looking for ways to increase my income.

"Amish Country" just seemed kind of realistic to put down as my location for information purposes, i.e.; the mindset of the majority where I live. Also why I make Chicken "bott boi" as opposed to "pot pie"... very Pennsylvania Dutch food.

posted on Jan, 19 2014 @ 11:28 PM
I think spending time cooking is quality time. Sitting down at the table and discussing ways to improve the dishes you made is quality time. Quality time does not have to mean you sit and watch tv, it is doing things together as a family. When you eat together or cook together, that is spending time with the family isn't it? I won't call doing the dishes as quality time though but if everyone pitches in the cleanup is done in a jiffy.

posted on Jan, 19 2014 @ 11:30 PM
reply to post by kittendaydreamer

I've heard of this very thing, which is why I had contemplated it off and on for a few years! I feel the timing is right now for me for a few reasons. Bottome line, this would make mothrs feel as if they are preparing the meal due to the fact that they would have to heat it up in their own oven and plate it on their own dishes. they can even take it one parental step further and have their children load the dishwasher lol.

We don't have anything quite like it around these parts, but it was heard of in AZ when I lived there. I just keep coming back to this when I think of my personal passions and would sincerely LOVE to share my homemade meals with other families. I know there is a "market" for this type of service, but the question is: would people pay for it. The fact that it exists in your area makes me even more confident in the market niche' as it were, so thank you.

And just to add, great for you for preparing the same type of meals for your family as I do for mine... it's awesome to know we are feeding those we love so well.

posted on Jan, 19 2014 @ 11:44 PM
reply to post by rickymouse

I agree 100% and I do wish everyone felt that way and/or made time for such family experiences. The cold hard facts are that the majority of America doesn't see "meal time" the way we do. Additionally, they don't and won't make time for it for a number of reasons; "Susie had cheer practice and Jimmy has wrestling, I don't get out of work till 5pm, so how do we make the time?" This is a reality for far too many Americans, so why not serve that need, fill that void and give them what they need in a wholesome way that can't be found at the local Micky D's?

The average American family spends $25-$35 dollars per meal at fast food restaurants and no one knows what all ghastly ingredients they're feeding their families? I can provide a gallon of chili, 6 corn bread muffins and a dessert for 6 with a total cost of $20 and give them a list of all the ingredients. All they need is 10 mins to heat it up in the microwave and dishes to serve it on. Realistically it would take less time to heat and dish out than they would spend driving to the restaurant, waiting at the drive thru and then getting it home.

edit on 19-1-2014 by IrishCream because: spelling

posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 12:00 AM
reply to post by IrishCream

I think that is a good idea, but you would probably need a license for that. In Michigan the governor passed a law that people could sell things made in their homes as long as it was marked that it was not made in a licensed or inspected facility. It is limited as to what you can sell though. I don't think it would cover meals. Breads, Jams, Sweet rolls and breads, pickles, fresh veggies, etc...are allowable.

If you were to go to their home and prepare the meal, this would not apply. Another problem is that if you prepare something and one of the ingredients has aflotoxins from something present in it and they get sick, you may be liable. It doesn't even have to be your fault. Some aflotoxins do not break down with heating either.

posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 12:01 AM
reply to post by IrishCream

Where I live there is a service called Meals On Wheels SEE HERE. This is for the aged or disabled but could be a good resource for you.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 12:01 AM
I don't know about the FDA, but in Canada I know several people who have found it impossible to get approval in a home situation. They've had to rent a separate address with a uniquely-devoted kitchen with specific best practices in food handling. Sharing it with family and especially children who can easily contaminate the area is the worry I believe, plus mixing food to be sold in the same refrigerator as the family one is verboten, to my knowledge. I would suggest you speak with caterers about how they got their licenses.

Not trying to discourage you, but have you considered going to work with a caterer for a while? The experience and knowledge gained might save you having to learn some hard lesson you may not have considered. Another source of menu information is the Meals on Wheels program. To be honest, your menu can be found in my grocery store's frozen section as well as many take-outs around where I live, so it really does bear investigating further.

As for my own personal taste, I would only be interested if the menu were less common, such as a dressing stuffed chicken breast with lemon sauce and roast potatoes, or dishes that I don't ordinarily make.

However I do wish you well with your adventure. I can see where some people would really go for this.

posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 12:51 AM
reply to post by rickymouse


I have done the research for my state (PA) and I would need a license as well as insurance to cover those contingencies. I currently have a residential cleaning business that has not grown the way I had hoped and to be completely honest, I have lost my passion for. As such I already have a "service based" insurance policy that will cost very little to convert to include this specific service.

Also, I would be listing all the ingredients in the menus as well as on labels that would be adhered to their respective containers, so any food allergies could be identified before hand.

reply to post by brice


I am very familiar with Meals On Wheels and think what they do is an amazing service for the elderly and shut-ins, however this would be a slightly different service with the same basic concept in mind.

Thank you so much for your well wishes!

reply to post by aboutface


It is actually the Health Department (not the FDA, my mistake) that would come into my home and inspect the food preperation/storage areas. I have two refrigerators right now and as long as I make bulk of each menu item and then store them properly (packaged and refrigerated/frozen) I should be fine. However like I said, before investing the money in my licensing and inspections, I want to get a feel from a broad base as to whether it is worth it or not. ATS is one of the broadest bases I can think of and just one more reason I am grateful to be a member here lol!

I really appreciate your menu item suggestions! I picked those first 4 based on common meals that most people enjoy, however take a lot of time to make. You're right that they can be found in local grocery stores all over the place in the deli departments so I could research my menu items a little further. However, have you read the ingredients listed on their pre-made meals?

posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 01:22 AM
Sounds like you've thought this through well enough. I would definitely use this service if I needed to. Good ol' home-cooked meals
mmmmm ...and those mains do look tasty. In fact, the pot pie, bbq chick and meatloaf look like Moms home cooking.

I know around here there are a few individuals and store caterers who provide such services. A friends Mom is one of these individuals. Dunno bout your area, but old age communities and gated communities, golf estates and the like may be good places to start, if you can get in there (If that's 'normal' outside of S. Africa, I don't know)

All the best on your new venture

posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 06:26 AM
reply to post by IrishCream

Hi there IrishCream! I hope this pans out for you, as it could be a very rewarding business venture. I, personally, would not pay for the service simply because I work from home, but I think it may be somerthing others would for the very reasons you have layed out in your OP and responses. I have explored a small home based food business as well in the past and have some things to share with you that may prove useful:

1. Sit down and take the time to write out a business plan. This could take a day or an hour depending on how far along you've thought things through. There are tempates you can find online to assist you with this. Even if you do not share it with anyone else, it can help focus your mind on your short term and long term goals, stacking the deck in your favor for success.

2. Seek out others in your area who provide a similar service. This may seem a little odd, but can also be fruitful. Approach it from an angle that you know they are successful in their trade and wonder if they have 20 minutes they could give you to discuss how they became successful in the industry, not looking for trade secrets. Besides, it's always good to guage the 'competition' in your area so you know what you are up against. (I did a quick search for my area, Buffalo NY, and there are several individuals that provide your type of service. I imagine it could be the same in your area?) I am also not suggesting something here to you, that I myself have not already done because I have and gained some valuable knowledge on things I had not thought of previously in the particular business I one day would like to start.

3. As an alternative to to having your home kitchen inspected, explore the possibility of renting out a commerical kitchen that has already gone through the inspection process and may have a better stocked supply of pots, pans, baking sheets etc. than you would have on hand in a home kitchen. In the beginning it may be that you only need a home kitchen to meet the needs of your clients, but it may grow to the point where you DO need more room etc. So it may be good to have a couple of places in mind so when you DO grow out of your current space or have a week that has more 'volume' in orders, so that you do not experience a disruption in your service based business. (For me, I would need to start out in a commerical kitchen because the particular products I want to produce is not allowed to be produced in a home kitchen per the health dept. and then further to a commerical packaging service that specializes in 'small batch' production food stuffs, therefore increasing my end result product pricing)

4. Once you have all your ducks in a row and are up and running, it may be beneficial to join a small business association. In my area there is a 'small food producers association' that once I get things going (IF I can) I would join. They can provide support in various ways like marketing, best business practices and would also look good on my website showing I am serious about my business. Just a thought.

Those are just some of the things that come to mind when I read your post. I found this Cornell University Website very useful when I was in the 'investigative' stages. There are alot of links to follow to get a wealth of information from when you go poking around the subjects on the left hand side of the page.

Anyway, I hope this helps you some and I wish you all the best in your future endeavours!

posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 08:14 AM
This business model and premise has been used before. I would suggest looking into if their's others that are doing the same. In this day of food trucks and small bistros & the like, IMHO very few would use this service. I dont know where you do your cooking, but most states require a commercial kitchen for food stuff's sold to the public. Unless you are ready to plunk down some serious cash to get this up & running, I would suggest a catering business model instead, except you specialize in "home cooked foods". Way larger client list possibilities.

There is the possibility that you broker a deal with a local restaurant to "rent" their kitchen. Or simply partner with an established local restaurant. I know the scary feeling of branching out on your own. When I started my own business, at the start times were lean indeed. Then I started to get more & more projects, most from word of mouth from a client. I have went as far away as N.Y to do a kitchen renovation. I will never work for the "man' again. I hope all works out for you in this venture...just do the proper amount of research and do look at other possible business models. The restaurant industry is fleeting, just look at the ones that are no longer your local area. Average life span of new restaurants is 4 years. Unless their attached to big chains restaurant. Good luck to you. peace OYM1262

PS. A friend of mine and maybe yours too( Bigfatfurrytexan) is well versed in the restaurant/hotel business, I'm sure he could give you some very sage advice as how to proceed with your idea. If nothing else, he'll make you laugh
PSS. Some churches will rent out their kitchens as they are commercial ready and are regularly inspected. Hope this helps.

edit on 20-1-2014 by openyourmind1262 because: (no reason given)

edit on 20-1-2014 by openyourmind1262 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 08:17 AM
It's a great idea...people are doing that here in the ATL area. Go for it!!!!

posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 10:32 AM
Being a single guy that likes good food I would pay for it. I try to cook, sometimes it works well, other times not so much.

I actually thought about that idea, except for the part of not being able to cook sounded reasonable.

My main concern other than not being able to cook though was how much to prepare. I guess you could get orders to be delivered the next night...

posted on Jan, 21 2014 @ 01:15 PM
reply to post by IrishCream

I'd stay away from any BBQ/fried chicken dishes. Most are horrible reheated.

I would also keep the menu small. It'll help keep cost down. Maybe even have the menu change with the day of the week - have 2 items that people can order. Better to expand your menu to meet customers demand than to be overburdened with overhead costs.

But yes, I'd pay for that stuff if it was good. Cheaper than going out and you aren't spending 2.50 on iced tea.

Edit. You could even have a paleo diet dish. Easy to make and you could charge more for it.
edit on 21-1-2014 by ChuckNasty because: as above

posted on Feb, 19 2014 @ 01:51 AM
Hi Irishcream

I think it is a great idea! I would absolutely use a service like that rather than the traditional take out option, also investing in something like a thermomix could be great for a business like that and would make everything easier and even less hidden nasties just a thought! Good luck!

posted on Feb, 19 2014 @ 02:37 AM
reply to post by IrishCream

Not only would I pay for it, I'll give you a second option.

I once worked for a investments firm, 600+ of us at the Home Office, and one thing they did was have person/business come in each day and offer a meal to take home. We all would get an email each morning letting us know who was downstairs, what the menu was, price, etc. and if you wanted to get one you had to sign up (via email) by noon. This was good stuff, and variable.

One day, we might be offered chicken casserole, another it might be ham, potatoes, and green beans. You signed up by portion, it was priced by portion, and picked it up on the way to your car. If you could get in with some big business like that to provide employees with an easy dinner to take home that would be a huge leap forward for you!

If you are to go this direction with your life, I recommend you find a way to stand out from others like Pizza Hut, or any chain restaurant which someone could stop at to get takeout. Like, All my Food is Organic! Menu is GMO Free! Gluten Free Meals Available! or whatever. Good luck.

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