Latest posts by Sara Tilly (see all)
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In this blog post, we discuss everything you need to know about how to start a food tour business!
If you’ve been thinking about starting your own culinary tour, we’ve prepared an infographic to help you turn your idea and passion into a business reality.
What’s it like to be a food tour guide?
Tour guides lead smaller tourist groups around the city or a certain neighborhood where they get to try the local cuisine, learn about the city’s history and culture.
How To Start a Food Tour Business?
A lot of people ask can they start a food tour business if they don’t have a culinary background.
Well, of course!
Remember what I’ve mentioned at the beginning of this blog post? You need to have a passion for what you’re doing. And patience, of course.
Now, starting a food tour business can be your side gig or the real deal. It all depends on how you approach it.
If you’re already a tour guide, you could add food tours to enhance your tour guide offer.
While you’re at it, you can come up with various cooking and restaurant experiences.
Today’s tourists are very much interested in getting to know the local community, food, and culture. That’s what makes the whole experience authentic.
How to Come Up With Food Tour Ideas
Spain is well known around the world for its cuisine.
For example, if you’re a tour guide in Spain, you could organize cooking classes where travelers can learn how to make the most famous Spanish meals such as gazpacho, paellas, tapas, and other delicious meals.
Introduce city, markets, food, and people
There are various markets which sell home-grown vegetables and fruits, wine from the local vineyards, essential oils, exotic spices, different types of cheese, and other appetizing local products.
Travelers would be more than thrilled to visit these markets, try some of the specialties, and get to know the culture through food.
Walking tours usually best work with food tours, especially if you’re organizing sightseeing with a gorgeous view and amazing food.
It would be a good idea for you to do some research on what travelers who visit your region like.
Be active on forums as well, to find out what people are most interested in.
Remember, it’s not all about the food—it’s about making your food tour enthusiastic, amusing and knowledgeable.
Research, ask for advice, research some more
When starting a food tour business, like your travelers, you need to spend enough time on research. Everyone is going to tell you right away that you need to find your niche. But I say, start with the research.
I’ve already mentioned that you have to be a regular on forums, here are some links:
Another awesome way to find what people are looking for is based on their comments and reviews on TripAdvisor. What I like to do is browse different food tours and check out what people wrote about it, what they complimented, what the tour lacked, or anything that would give me an idea of how to create the most interesting food tour article.
Find influencers in the food tour niche you’ve chosen
And not just your usual influencers, but you can research chefs, food critics, food bloggers, as well as travel bloggers to find out what are the most popular food trends.
Contact them and follow them on social media to stay-up-to-date. Discuss ideas with them and grow your networking.
As in any business, meeting new people, building and nurturing meaningful client relationships, and growing your business through word of mouth also means being trustworthy. And it takes time.
Start off by making connections with other food operators, restaurant, and cafe owners.
Find hidden gems
Apart from researching online, you are going to have to do a little bit of digging in person as well. Get your comfy pair of shoes on and go for a walk around your neighborhood. Ask around and keep your eyes open.
It’s usually that little shop at the end of an alley that hides the best steak in town, best burger, or that super-delicious french crepes.
Or it’s so hidden somewhere, only the locals know it’s there or it’s just a food truck that doesn’t really look presentable at all but has the best noodles in the hood.
Pedestrian gourmandizing has many perks, be sure to find them and include them in your tour. Once you get into it, you’ll see the culinary tourism market is huge. If you’re creative and have the patience to create customized food tours, you can earn a pretty decent living.
How to Price Food Tours?
You’ve already mapped out a business and legal framework, you can then fine-tune your tour and adjust the prices.
That’s why I’ve mentioned it’s good to stay in touch with other food tour businesses. It also helps if you do market research as well as research your competition and their prices.
When defining the price for your food tour, you have to keep the following things in mind:
- Food quantity
- Group size
Then add to that the man-hours you need to pull off your tour. This includes preparations, bookings, as well as leading an actual tour.
Your pricing should keep your clients happy as well as bring profit to your business. Since you’re just starting out in the food tour business, be prepared to tweak a few things as you go, especially when it comes to pricing.
Sign up for a few food tours yourself so you can experience what different competitors are offering for the money.
How to Sell Your Food Tours?
First things first, set up a website. You can use a predefined WordPress template or create a Wix website.
Go to our Best Online Tools for Tour Operators You Should Be Using Right Now blog post to find the best online tools to help you sell your food tour offers online.
And while you’re reading up on online marketing strategies and tools, check this out:
In the blog post, I’ve linked, we mention that you need an online booking engine so you can sell your tours 24/7 and attract more clients.
Most food tours or any other tours are booked online. It’s easier, more convenient, and travelers want to book a tour after they’ve done their research online without having the need to physically visit a travel agency or a DMO.
That’s why nowadays, having an online booking system is an absolute must if you ever want to have a competitive edge.
Here’s an article that explains how to pick a booking system that best fits your business, how to implement an online booking system, as well as the benefits of using one to manage your bookings and sell more tours online:
While we’re at it, here’s how Orioly can help.
Orioly is a SaaS booking and distribution software built for tour operators, activity providers, and small travel agencies.
Since you’re just starting a food tour business, Orioly offers a fully featured 30-day trial.
Sign up here, create your first food activity and add a booking button to your website to start selling your tour!