Start a kitchen supplies store by following these 10 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your kitchen supplies store. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a kitchen supplies store?
The business requires a store, inventory, insurance, employees, a computer, high-speed internet, a point of sale system, cash registers, and marketing. In terms of inventory, it is advisable to stock everything commonly used in a kitchen from silverware to pots, pans, slow cookers, spatulas, soup ladles, microwaves, convection ovens, plates, bowls, cups, mugs, and beyond.
What are the ongoing expenses for a kitchen supplies store?
Ongoing expenses include the cost of the facility's rent or mortgage payment, wages/salaries, inventory expenses, facility maintenance, insurance, utilities, high-speed internet, and advertising. A kitchen supplies store manager will earn about $30,000 to $50,000 per year. Low-level clerks, cashiers, shelf-stockers and customer service representatives will earn between $8 and $12 per hour. Plan on spending at least $500 to $1,000 per year on facility maintenance. Inventory is an ongoing cost that fluctuates according to the amount of product you sell. Plan on spending about $500 to a couple thousand dollars per month on new inventory. If you decide to rent the building in which you sell kitchen supplies, budget in at least $700 to $1,500 for rent. Utilities including high-speed internet will cost between $150 and $300 per month. Marketing costs hinge on the level of exposure you desire for your kitchen supplies store. Budget at least $200 per month at a bare minimum for marketing. If you are intent on getting the business's name out there, plan to spend upwards of $500 per month or more on marketing.
Who is the target market?
The ideal customer is a manager or owner of a restaurant who is willing to spend a significant amount of money on kitchen supplies. Another ideal customer type is an individual who makes the purchasing decisions for a local culinary institute. Such a person is inclined to regularly spend large sums of money on kitchen supplies for the institute's cooking classes. It will also help to recruit cafeteria managers from local schools and medical facilities. These individuals are also in position to spend a significant amount of money.
How does a kitchen supplies store make money?
This business makes money by selling kitchen supplies to everyday people, restaurants, culinary institutes, and other institutions like hospitals and schools that have cafeterias.
How much can you charge customers?
You can charge a wide array of prices for various kitchen supplies. As an example, a spatula will cost as little as a couple dollars while a slow cooker will retail for around $50 and a fondue maker will cost upwards of $100.
How much profit can a kitchen supplies store make?
This type of store can make anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 or more in the first year. Develop the business, reduce costs, and establish a niche, and profits can reach six figures in a couple years. Expand the business across your town, region, and the nation and the business has the potential to make millions of dollars in profit.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Consider selling items related to cooking such as dining room furniture, cabinets, kitchen islands and so on. You can also sell cookbooks and cooking show DVDs to those who are interested in learning how to cook new dishes and with new methods. You can maximize profit by selling tickets to cooking lessons held on-site. However, this will require hiring a cooking instructor. It is also possible to build a website to sell kitchen supplies to locals as well as those across the nation. If you are willing to invest in a delivery system to transport the items sold on your website, this addition to your business makes plenty of sense.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Kitchen Supplies Store Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your kitchen supplies store is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a kitchen store. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Certificate of Occupancy
A kitchen store is generally run out of a storefront. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a kitchen store.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- If you plan to purchase or build a location:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your kitchen store will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
How to promote & market a kitchen supplies store
Promotion of the business starts with pressing the flesh. Network with those who make purchasing decisions for their cafeteria, restaurant or other institution that needs kitchen supplies to prepare food. Connect with everyday people through all different forms of marketing. Advertise in local papers, on local radio, local TV, etc. Post flyers, put up billboard ads, and purchase some online ads. Explore all of these marketing avenues and you will reach a wide variety of people in your community.
How to keep customers coming back
Establish a website and add search engine-optimized content at least several times per month. A steady supply of keyword-laden content will help those who need kitchen supplies find your business when conducting online searches. Attend conferences and other networking events related to food and cooking. These get-togethers are your chance to connect with restaurant owners and managers of other institutions that require large amounts of cooking supplies.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A Kitchen Supplies Store In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
This business is ideal for people who have a passion for food and cooking. If you have worked in a restaurant, are an excellent cook, or simply desire to be involved in a food-related business, opening a kitchen supplies store is an excellent idea. After all, people will always need to eat, and the vast majority of food requires preparation of some sort. Kitchen supplies are necessary for that preparation.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a kitchen supplies store?
A kitchen supplies store owner handles a wide range of activities. He manages inventory, decides on marketing strategies, delegates work to employees, stays abreast of cutting edge cooking trends, researches new kitchen supplies, and establishes relationships with product suppliers.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful kitchen supplies store?
A kitchen supplies store owner who stays up to date on the latest cooking trends will have a leg up on the competition. Never stop learning about cooking methods and cooking equipment. Be personable. Establish relationships with those who make purchasing decisions at local institutions where food is served. It will also help to have marketing prowess so you can advertise your kitchen supplies store in a highly effective manner.
What is the growth potential for a kitchen supplies store?
This type of business has serious growth potential. The bottom line is that people and institutions will always require cookware, utensils, dishes, and other items that relate to the cooking process. Locate your kitchen supplies store in the right area and establish relationships with those who regularly buy large amounts of kitchen supplies, and your business can rapidly expand. It is possible to open up a second location within a year or two. You can eventually expand to multiple locations across your region and the country.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a kitchen supplies store?
You can jump start your kitchen supplies store business by establishing relationships with those who are in need of your products. These individuals include managers and owners of restaurants, culinary institutes, hospitals, schools, colleges etc. It will also help to establish a strength in one particular cooking category such as gourmet cooking, confectionery supplies, or baking. If you establish a reputation as the go-to source for such specific cooking supplies, you will enjoy consistent business from those who need such cookware.
How and when to build a team
Begin building your team right away. You can't operate an entire kitchen supplies store on your own. Add employees to man the cash registers, stock the shelves, order new inventory, and assist customers. You will eventually have to add a store manager, a marketing expert, and an accountant as the business grows.