If your Italian restaurant has a signature sauce that is a huge hit with customers, then you might want to think about distributing it beyond the four walls of your establishment. There are lots of success stories of restaurants taking a signature dish (be it the Sylvia's greens, or a hot sauce out of a French Quarter joint in New Orleans). So, if you're got a sauce that people stop in and ask about, even wanting to buy some to take home, then you've got a great opportunity to expand your business. There are many people who love real Italian sauces, but simply don't have the time to make them in their kitchens. That's why the store shelves are staked with all sorts of premade sauces. However, before you bottle up some sauce and start shipping it out, there are a few things you need to do.
Research FDA Guidelines And Consult With A Lawyer
It would be completely reckless to start mailing out food items without checking with the FDA regulations. To start operating a mail order food business without proper due diligence opens yourself up to lawsuits, legal fines, and even a potential closure of your primary business. It might behoove you to contact a lawyer who specializes in dealing with food law and seek their consul on the endeavor.
Arrange For Proper Packing Supplies
You want to be professional about the process, so that means getting the right packing supplies. Of course you will want to have nice glass jars with your restaurant's logo on it, but you also need to have proper packing supplies. Because you will be managing this on a small scale, you will be doing the cooking and packaging yourself. When you get larger you can consider licensing your name, but in the time being it's going to be you and the cooks filling the jars, sealing them, and then packing them up. So, in addition to jars that can be sealed up to code (this needs to be discussed with the lawyer who can interpret FDA regulations) you also need packing boxes and cushioning devices such as styrofoam peanuts.
You will want to get boxes that have individual sleeves for each bottle so that the likelihood of them getting smashed in transit is lessened. So, find a packing supply company, such as Mailender, that deals with customers who ship glass containers.
Create A Web Presence
The final step is to create an online presence. This includes Facebook and Instagram accounts for your restaurant. Instagram is particularity good for food business as it's a photo based medium, so you can show off different plates every day. You also want to have a main website that people from around the country can use to order your sauce from.