There is a food job right in your own neighborhood. It requires no specific qualifications (other than being nice). It requires no investment. You can choose your own hours. Set your own fees. Have no one to report to. You are your own boss. Hmm. What could this be?
Tourism is a huge and rapidly expanding industry and culinary tourism is becoming a niche market that is experiencing impressive growth.
Anyone with a love of food can get started by simply getting to know the neighborhood.
Plan a tour of a cheesecake factory, an ice cream plant, a ranch or farm and a farmer’s market, two or three ethnic groceries and a specialty food store.
Explore local wineries and plan a wine tasting. Visit a brew pub. Attend a class at a cooking school. Organize a talk with a culinary historian, cookbook author or television star.
Visit an artisanal baker and a cheese maker. Maybe there is a a chocolate maker or a smokehouse nearby? The yellow pages directory can provide you with many more ideas. Think about organizing a fishing trip. Make reservations for breakfast, lunch and dinner at restaurants you know and love.
I’m sure you will have many more ideas.
Here are few rules though:
Never surprise the businesses you plan to visit. Schedule a specific hour well ahead and make every effort to avoid their busiest time. A homemade food gift from you to the destination owner will surely be greatly appreciated.
Have frank conversations with vendors about whether they can expect payment, or if their compensation might be in form of goodies sold to tour participants.
Consider how many tourists you can handle at a time.
Settle all the details regarding the number of clients you can handle, transportation, accommodations and payment for meals. For a two day tour, you may enter into an agreement with a bed & breakfast owner.
Decide how to market the tour.
Give your company an appealing name and one that is easy to remember. Don’t be cute and inscrutable. Food Lovers Market Tour is a better name than Have Thyme?
Build and constantly update your web site. Tweet and post your information on other social networks.
Join culinary organizations and local clubs where you can network.
Seek advice from others about fees to charge.
Consider hiring a marketing professional as a consultant.
Prospective clients may also be identified by talking to real estate brokers and kitchen designers about recent home buyers. Talk to religious groups about new arrivals to the neighborhood.
A convention and visitors bureau may be willing to distribute your sales materials. So too may beauty parlors and doctors and dentist offices where patients are often left waiting with nothing to do but read old magazines.
Keep a dedicated telephone number for your business.
Determine other marketing venues i.e. wwwShawguides.com, state tourism department.
Good luck. Start planning today.