Profitable Food Business Ideas

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Wondering what food business is the most profitable? If you are considering becoming a food entrepreneur you will want to know which are the highest profit food businesses. Here are the best money-making ideas – listed in order from highest to lowest profit margins – for your next delicious culinary startup consideration.

List of Most Profitable Food Businesses -Sorted by Highest Profit Margin:

  1. Honey production – 30% average profit margin
  2. Coffee shop – 25% average profit margin
  3. Popcorn business – 22% average profit margin
  4. Custom cakes – 19% average profit margin
  5. Chicken poultry -17% average profit margin
  6. Pizza – 15% average profit margin
  7. Fruit juice – 14% average profit margin
  8. Cookie business – 8 to 11% average profit margin
  9. Chocolate business – 8 to 10% average profit margin
  10. Tea brand – 10 to 20% average profit margin
  11. Caterers – 7 to 8% average profit margin
  12. Food Trucks – 7% average profit margin
  13. Candy Stores – 6 to 8% profit margin
  14. Bakeries – 4 to 9% profit margin
  15. Ice cream shops – 3 to 19%
  16. Restaurants – 3 to 5% average profit margin
  17. Grocery stores – 2% profit margin (organic and natural foods 5-10%)

Have more questions or looking for related information. Check out the FAQ section or our Related Posts at the bottom.


One of the best food business ideas by far is the restaurant industry. Restaurants generated $659 billion in revenue last year and might be growing even more, this year. The US, China, Japan, and Brazil rank among the top five countries regarding what percentage of their population eats at restaurants regularly (or almost daily).

Restaurants are a good investment for many people because they can scale up or down what the restaurant offers to meet the current market demand. For example, restaurants will add more lunch specials and fewer dinners to balance out their needs if there is high demand during lunchtime and low demand at dinner time. It gives customers what they want while keeping their business profitable.

Discover a catchy name for your restaurant on my list of the best names for restaurants here

Another reason why restaurants are profitable is because of what’s called “the experience.” Experiences make people happy, and when a person is happy, they’ll go out again. It’s like any other retail household product – if it doesn’t work or isn’t what you expect, many times, you won’t buy that product again. However, with experiences like going to a restaurant where everything goes well (great food, enjoyable environment), guess what? The customer will be back for more increasing profits while decreasing advertising costs to get new customers.


Catering is one of the most advantageous food business ideas because it offers many opportunities to make money. Fees for providing catering services vary from a few hundred dollars to over $25,000, depending on their offer and how much service time.

They may also charge additional costs for plates, cutlery, tables, and chairs if those require your event or party – increasing profits considerably. Caterers that provide their staff will typically cost less than caterers who need the team to be supplied by the client; however, both types have great potentials when looking at what kind of income we’re talking about here:

The gross profit margin in this industry ranges between 8% – 12%.  It means that caterers, on average, make between $34,000 to $36,000 a year from what they charge for their services. So if you have catering expertise (or know how to learn it), this may be an excellent and profitable business opportunity for you. ​

Grocery Stores

The grocery store business is what you might call a “classic” small-business success story. It all started back in the 1800s when large retail stores were unheard of, and people shopped at local marketplaces where they could buy what was available fresh from regional farmers.

As technology progressed, so did marketing techniques. It included innovations such as colorful packaging that would catch the customer’s eye. Which eventually led to larger chain supermarkets dominating smaller markets by offering lower prices for canned and packaged goods often sourced overseas.

There are some upsides to both types of businesses: with chains come economies of scale, allowing them to offer competitive pricing. At the same time, mom-and-pop shops have more flexibility about what products they stock on their shelves or what products they offer.

Out of all the grocery stores, what is the most profitable?

The answer varies per market and region: a chain store may dominate in some areas, while another site might have many small local businesses that are pretty successful. For example, Walmart currently has over 11,000 locations across America with more than 48 billion dollars in revenue each year– making it one of the largest food retailers on Earth.

On the other hand, there’s independent grocer Clifton Market Cooperative, where families shop for quality products at prices below what can typically be found anywhere else nearby without comprising anything but quality. Food trends and customer demand has skyrocketed profitability for natural and organic foods to a 5-10% average profit margin.

Food Trucks

Food trucks are one of the fastest-growing business sectors in the US; Its market size revenue is 1.3 billion in 2021. There are two main types: food carts such as hot dog and ice cream vendors, which typically sell to passersby, and more upscale food trucks that offer sit-down service at scheduled stops during lunch hours.

Street food is one of the most profitable businesses to start because it costs less than opening a restaurant. It can also be more lucrative depending on what you sell and what kind of foot traffic your location gets. However, street vendors need permits from their city to sell certain foods like hot dogs, iced tea, or fruit salads, so make sure you know the legal requirements in your area.

Depending on what type of food business idea you want to start and the type of truck your business operates from, plus how many employees need to run it, there can be high startup costs.

There’s a wide range of what you can expect to pay at food trucks. Some charge as much as $50 for gourmet fare, while others only ask for donations. However, the average food truck business makes about $500 per day.

Learn more about the food truck industry from our article about The Best Food Trucks in America.


Bakeries are among the most valuable food business ideas to start. Especially if you like making bread and bake cakes, this is a great way to make money.

You can either have people come in and buy what they want or offer them what’s on display to take home themselves. If you don’t live near an area with a high population of people with disposable income, consider opening up a shop in suburbia.

Check out my list of the most creative and unique bakery names here

It will be easier to get business here than in urban areas because more families reside closer together and are typically looking for convenience rather than specialty items that bakeries might carry (such as artisanal baked goods).

Also, keep in mind that since bakeries buy supplies such as wheat flour, sugar, eggs, etc., these items can be purchased in bulk and stored for later use – bringing down your costs and increasing your profits. Get the details here in my blog listing bakery startup costs here.

How to Open a Bakery in Your State

Thinking about starting a bakery? Learn how to open your own bakery with these step-by-step business guides specifically written for your US State requirements (Come back and visit again since more states are being published regularly)


The most profitable food business idea on our list is the cookies business. It’s what helped start some of America’s most prominent brands like Girl Scout Cookies and Famous Amos.

The best thing about a cookie-based food company is that it doesn’t require specialized equipment, training, or space to produce its goods. Plus, you can make them anywhere from your kitchen counter to an industrial bakery – as long as there are ovens available!

That means you can start this type o enterprise in small spaces with limited funds and experience. This website has more information on starting up a cookie business by sharing what ingredients are needed, how much they cost, and what kind of profits you could expect if your product gets popular enough.

Biscuits and cookies are simple to make and easy to ship, so don’t overlook this low-key but high-profit industry when looking at new businesses ideas! Name your cookie company with a cute brand name from my list of bakery name ideas here

Candy Stores

Candy stores are one of the most profitable businesses to start. Because they have high markup and low overhead costs, which means you can make a lot of money with very little investment.

In addition, candy makes for excellent impulse purchases–people buy it when they’re seeing what’s new in the store or if they happen to be passing by. So if you’re looking for a new food business idea, seriously consider a sweets shop.

Ice Cream Shops

One of the most fruitful food business ideas is an ice cream shop. To start an ice cream business, one must have a license and know what flavors will offer and what kind of equipment they’ll need.

There are many ways you can go about starting this type of food business, from opening up a shop in your city or town to creating what’s known as a “mobile ice cream truck.”

This type of food business is about $150,000 to start, and the average annual revenue can be between $200-300K. Ice cream shops are good for creating in an urban area, or tourist beach, where there is high foot traffic so more people will buy your product.

Frozen Yogurt Shops

More than what you might think, frozen yogurt shops are some of the most profitable food businesses. This industry makes $1 billion per year, and the average store makes $398,724 annually.

In the past decade, frozen yogurt shops have grown from a small-town novelty to an international trend. Frozen yogurt is driving new business ideas and entrepreneurial opportunities all over the world. Women are starting businesses in their kitchens, while others buy existing stores or franchises to make money off this trendy food craze!

Popcorn Companies

Popcorn companies make a lot of money because people like the taste, they use them to eat at movies, and sometimes they even buy these products as gifts for their friends or family members in other places.

There is usually either one big company that sells all the snacks (like Frito-Lay) or many smaller ones (such as Auntie Anne’s). One of the most profitable food business ideas is what you would expect: snack foods. Yes, including potato chips!

Popcorn ranks high among some of the top highest-produced items, including cotton balls, bedspreads, and sheets. It’s a nostalgic and delicious snack food that can boast 80-90% profit margins.

If you are looking for a new food business idea to start, popcorn companies might be what you’re seeking. They make money, and people love them! It’s the perfect combination of two good things that will undoubtedly lead to success in your future endeavors.

Baking Powder Making

Baking Powder Making Business is also a profitable business. The demand for baking powder is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.3% by revenue from 2013 to 2019. This market was valued at 2.35 billion dollars in 2012, which is predicted to exceed 3.36 billion by 2019. The secret behind this high profitability rate is that baking powder only has two ingredients: cornstarch and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Most businesses use five to six different elements, so what does it cost more for them to produce versus what costs less for Baking Powder Manufacturing Company’s products.

This type of company can be expensive upfront because you need equipment such as storage space, ovens, or mixers before you start making sales, generating revenue over time. However, with this being said, if you are willing to invest the capital upfront, you can make a good living in this industry.

Chocolate Making Business

Another money-making food business idea is chocolate-making. Chocolate makes up $227 billion of the global confectionery industry by itself, and it’s only growing as more people are becoming chocoholics (like me).

The top ten companies grossing over six million dollars in revenue all have chocolate-based product lines to their name. Nestle is at the forefront of this sector, commanding nearly 40% market share worldwide.

Starting your successful chocolatier can be what you need if what you’re looking for is something that will keep bringing home the bacon while still satisfying your sweet tooth too!

Fruit Juice Production Business

Start a fruit juice production business, and you will be in for some lovely profits. Smoothie shops generate a gross revenue range, with the low end at $250,000 and the high end at $800,000. The bottom 25% of Smoothie King franchised stores in 2015 managed to have only an average annual gross profit of $681,724

To start a fruit juice production business, you will need to purchase or lease land and build a plant with the necessary equipment for processing, packaging, storing, and shipping fresh fruits that are fit for juicing. You will also have to establish distribution channels before opening your doors if selling wholesale is what you want to do.

If retailing through stores is what you want, the next step would be finding a fruit supplier. You will also need to meet specific regulatory requirements for the processing, including obtaining permits and licenses from state or federal agencies such as USDA, FDA, etc.

Your business must have excellent market research before deciding what type of business model to follow because the beverage business is highly competitive with many major companies dominating the market share.

Honey Production

The US honey industry in 2017 was responsible for 22,000 jobs and an economic output that exceeded $4.74 billion.

  • To start this business, you need to be skilled in beekeeping and access an abundance of pollinating bees. You also need to have the physical space or available acreage for housing beehives.
  • You will need a hive and protective clothing, such as gloves, suit, veil hat, and boots.
  • To produce honey, you must first remove bees from the comb using the smoke of burning dry grasses called “smoke laundering.” Bees are then brushed off the comb, and the honey is extracted using a centrifuge or by boiling it out of the cells.
  • Then, you must harvest what remains in the beehive boxes called frames with the loose foundation exposed to bees for eight hours.

Tea and Coffee Shop

A tea or coffee shop is an extremely profitable food business idea. The key to success for this type of enterprise requires a good location, quality drinks with unique flavors, and customer service skills. Don’t forget about adding an inviting atmosphere where people will want to come back again and again.

The highest profit margin for food maybe coffee. The coffee industry is a multibillion-dollar business, with 2.3 million cups of coffee consumed every minute.

A tea and coffee shop business is also the most profitable, with a potential monthly income of $15,000. Suppose you are budget conscious or have fewer than five employees. Then, it might be what you need to start your new food-service enterprise!


Usually, pizza is amongst the most profitable food business ideas due to low ingredient costs and high retail prices. You can start a new restaurant or even just make pizzas at home and sell them for profit.

It’s essential to have expert pizza chefs because it helps get customers in the door – when people share the word about your delicious pizzas. It’s critical to have people understand what they’re doing on your team because it helps bring customers in the door.

Start a successful pizza business with just $500, and you can make up to $40 an hour. Taste what the pros are talking about for new ideas in what food is the most profitable.

Chicken and Turkey Meat

The poultry business can be a lucrative and profitable enterprise. Raising chickens for meat, eggs, or feathers is less expensive than other livestock in feed and land use. It’s also the most environmentally friendly option for what you eat because they produce little waste than cows or pigs.

  • Chickens are among the most accessible animals to raise. Although they require some protection from the elements, their diet is inexpensive. In addition, there’s little need for costly artificial lighting year-round since chickens can produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.
  • Poultry farms are an excellent way to use small plots of land in what used to be marginal areas where crops could not grow well due to poor soil.

FAQ: Profitable Food Business Ideas

  • The highest profit margin for food may be coffee. The coffee industry is a multibillion-dollar business, with 2.3 million cups of coffee consumed every minute.

  • The cheapest food business to start is a catering company. All you need for this type of business is good recipes, an oven, and ingredients. You can prepare dishes in your own home or elsewhere and sell them at special events like weddings, banquets, or parties. So the cheapest option for starting a food business is to start with this type of product line. Read how to start your own catering company in my guide here

    The next cheapest food business to start is a farmer’s market stand or produce truck. This type of food business needs time and effort, but not as much money upfront. You will need some equipment such as crates for storage, coolers, and tables, all of which are pretty affordable on the whole. You’ll also have varying costs for what you grow.

    The another next cheapest food business to start is a baking company or pastry shop. You will need equipment like an oven, stand mixer, and other bakery gear to make your baked goods. This type of business can be more expensive upfront due to the cost of equipment but could pay off with time as well if it’s what you love.

  • It’s a common question for those looking to start their own business. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a “home biz,” which means you work from home, cooking and selling products like cakes or sandwiches out of your kitchen. But, if that doesn’t sound like what you’re looking for, there are other options.

    Food trucks can be a great way to start your own business if what you want is the freedom of being an entrepreneur with little overhead costs and no need for permits or licenses. Also, if you have some cash saved up, investing in a food truck instead of leasing one could pay off in the long run.

    Some other good options for what food business is most profitable include a coffee shop, restaurant, or bakery. There are many ways to start your own successful food business, and each has its perks, so find what’s right for you!

  • Make sure you have a kitchen that is properly equipped and licensed for food production meeting health requirements.

    Find out what’s involved in starting a food business – this includes licenses, insurance, and permits.

    Determine how much a startup costs are needed to start your business – this includes the initial investment of buying equipment and ingredients as well as the costs of running your business on a day-to-day basis. Learn how to calculate you startup costs with my tips here

    Look into whether any zoning laws might affect where you can operate your home-based food operation.

    Research some recipes for items that people would like to purchase (think about popular foods and new culinary trends.)

    Decide if you want to sell products at farmers’ markets, online, or through other means.

    Once you’ve completed these tasks, then launch your new food business! Don’t forget about setting goals so that you know where to focus time and energy.

  • The first step is to find a website that sells homemade food.

    Look for a websites and online marketplaces that sell edible items.

    Create your e-commerce site, or use one of the many free templates available online

    Ensure you have all of the necessary licenses and permits from your local government before selling anything online

    To sell on these websites, you’ll need to create an account with them, upload photos of your products, and set up prices.

    After making a statement with the website(s), list some items for sale – this will take time, but it’s worth it in the end!

  • Cooking is not just a hobby. It can be a full-time business. Some food businesses have higher profit margins than others, and what you sell matters when considering what will make money for your house.

    You should know what cooking skills you possess before starting up any kind of food enterprise. For example, if you are an expert baker specializing in bread, focus on this area with the niche market. Specify your product or service. The easy and fast it is to grow and promote what you offer because there’s no competition from other companies. Maybe start by baking different kinds of bread — white, whole wheat, rye, etc., and keep in mind how much demand there is for these types of bread in your area.

    Cooking is what you make of it, so start small and expand to what makes sense for the number of people who are willing to buy what you sell or need what you offer. There’s no better way than cooking as a business because there’s always room for growth if that niche exists.

    Get more money-making ideas using your culinary skills in my list of small business ideas here

  • A food business can be profitable if it has the proper infrastructure and management. One of the best ways to increase profitability in a food business is by doing what other companies do:

    Take advantage of economies of scale.

    Produce quality goods at low prices.

    Maintain product availability.

    Control costs with planning and negotiation.

    Find new markets.

    The most significant way for any company to make more money from its customers is through increasing customer satisfaction levels. It means producing high-quality products reasonably priced so consumers will repurchase them and recommend them to friends or family members who may also buy those products. That’s what we call good word-of-mouth advertising! It pays off when you have happy customers because they’ll not only buy what you’re making but also tell others about what they bought.

    The simplest way to increase profitability is by taking advantage of economies of scale – or the benefits of large-scale production. The more products a business produces and sells, the lower its per-unit costs will be. Lower item costs are achieved because fixed overhead expenses are divided among more significant output amounts.  

    Another way to take full advantage of economies in food businesses is to use the lowest cost ingredients. Reducing your ingredient costs will boost your profits. Research vendors and overseas buying options to slash your product costs. Also negotiate with your suppliers for the very lowest prices and longest credit terms.

    To keep producing high-quality goods at low prices while maintaining product availability, they must constantly plan. Not only will this help them control costs as required by most economic principles, but it also provides accurate data needed to prepare production levels so sales goals can be met and exceeded over time. Planning doesn’t just refer to making sure inventories stay up; instead, companies should focus their efforts on what customers are buying and what they’re not to avoid having too much of any unpopular flavors.

    New markets can be found for any company, no matter what the industry is – including food businesses. For example, suppose what you offer has value to consumers, but your market isn’t currently large enough or expanding fast sufficient due to outside factors such as consumer spending habits. In that case, a new marketing campaign may help attract more buyers from other regions of the country or world. When companies start increasing their profits by looking at what others in different parts of the world want instead of what they’re used to making, that’s when profitability starts going up quickly!

    The list above shows from highest to lowest how profitable each type of food business would be for entrepreneurs looking into starting their own company. It’s best if you take these numbers with a grain of salt and really do your research before deciding on which niche market to enter; however, they should give you some basic information about how different aspects of the industry compare when it comes down to profitability rates.

    It’s not easy to make a living in the food industry. With so many different types of restaurants, grocery stores and other options for consumers, it can be tough to stand out from the crowd. But if you are considering becoming a food entrepreneur, here is some good news: there are actually quite a few ways that you could potentially increase your chances of success by selecting profitable business models for your culinary startup consideration as we have listed in this blog post.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness