The Ultimate Guide to Start a Food Tour Business

What Is A Food Tour?

Culinary tourism is becoming a popular trend among travellers that tour operators must now consider this as an alternative tour activity. A food tour is easy to organise as it involves guiding travellers through a tour of food from the best things to eat in your neighbourhood.

Why Start a Food Tour?

So, why should your tour or activity business start a food tour? Food tours are unique by letting foodie travellers enjoy exploring the city they are visiting. Most travellers will two things they want to experience when visiting a new destination – (1) to visit the attractions and (2) to sample the local food. According to the United Nations World Traveler Organization’s report on food tourism, over one third of a traveller’s budget is spent on food. The remainder is spent on transportation, activities and accommodations.

Food tours require little startup investment. You only need a computer, a website and one food tour guide to start with. Food tours are flexible: A typical food tour lasts between 2-4 hours and this can be done around the same hours of your existing tour or activity business. Food tours are great for the community: Starting a food tour business helps the local community by bringing customers to the businesses in your area.

How to Start a Food Tour Business

  1. Find Your Niche

Understand your travellers, get a feel of what they want, and why they want it – so that you can choose a niche that satisfies their needs. What type of food is popular in your area? Is the food excellent? Snacks, not meals: Don’t overdo it with the food! You want your customers to enjoy a little nibble of food on each stop of the tour. Make it a learning experience for your customers by talking about the cultural history of the food they are enjoying.

2. Find Your Neighbourhood

The neighbourhood that you choose to do a food tour business must be beautiful to walk around and one that contains other tourist attractions. This will keep your food tours diverse and the customers engaged. Choose the location of the restaurants on your food tour. Close enough together so that travellers don’t have to do to do a lot of travelling, but also far enough a part so that they have time to digest their food between food stops.

3. Reach Out To Local Restaurants

Choose restaurants based on quality of food, ambience, price, and service. Once you’ve decided which restaurants you would like featured on your food tour, reach out to the owners to see if it’s possible. Explain why having the restaurant featured on the food tour would be beneficial for business, that it will give their business exposure to new clients, free marketing, and new ways to generate profit.

4. Set Up Equipment And Staff

Running a food tour business involves very few start up costs – a computer, a website and a tour guide. Eventually you may need to hire staff to assist with the tours, but if the business is small, one person can give the tours. Use a website to promote your new food tour (together with your existing tours) and make it easy for travellers to book by having an instant booking system.

5. Market Your Business

Starting a food tour business is one thing, getting it to grow into a successful business is another. Spend time marketing your food tour business because travellers will mainly hear about it through word of mouth and internet reviews. Invite local foodie bloggers for free tours: Ask them to write articles, produce videos, post on social media and blogs in exchange of the free tour. List your food tour on websites such as Tripadvisor, Yelp, or Zomato. Provide followers with live updates on twitter. Create food tour events and share them on Facebook. Share pictures of your food tours on Instagram.

6. Be Innovative

With low barriers of entry, the food tour business can easily become over-saturated with competition. It’s important to continuously be innovative with your business. Visit new restaurants in your neighbourhood; Find new ways to advertise; Ask new influencers to promote your business; Update your website with new information; and Check for local and national foodie and food tour trends. Bon Appetit!

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