How to Start a Pasta Business

Many people love pasta and eat it regularly. While much of the pasta consumed is commercially made “dry pasta” (e.g. Barilla brand pasta), the demand for artisan “fresh pasta” is growing. From 2012 to 2016, unit sales of fresh pasta grew 20 percent and revenue was up 25 percent.

With sustained growth and no single dominant brand, now is an excellent time to start a business that makes fresh pasta. Italian pastas are the most well-known and popular, but pasta businesses can also specialize in egg noodles or other types of pasta.

Learn how to start your own Pasta Business and whether it is the right fit for you.

Ready to form your LLC? Check out the Top LLC Formation Services.

Start a pasta business by following these 10 steps:

  1. Plan your Pasta Business
  2. Form your Pasta Business into a Legal Entity
  3. Register your Pasta Business for Taxes
  4. Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
  5. Set up Accounting for your Pasta Business
  6. Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Pasta Business
  7. Get Pasta Business Insurance
  8. Define your Pasta Business Brand
  9. Create your Pasta Business Website
  10. Set up your Business Phone System

We have put together this simple guide to starting your pasta business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas.

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:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

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 Pasta Business Name Generator

If you operate a sole proprietorship, you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.

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.

Want some help naming your pasta business?

Business Name Generator

What are the costs involved in opening a pasta business?

The startup costs for a pasta business run between $10,000 and $50,000. These funds go toward ingredients, packaging supplies, and pasta-making equipment. At a minimum, the following equipment is required:

  • Work table
  • Extruder
  • Mill-cutter
  • Pasta dryer (multi-shelf)
  • Refrigerator
  • Sink and stove
  • Scale

It’s possible to start with just this equipment, although only limited types of pasta can be made with this list. Business owners who have additional funds available may alsowant to get the following:

  • Automatic ravioli maker
  • Gnocchi maker
  • Molding pasta machine (for agnolotti and cappelletti)
  • Cutter attachment (for short pasta)

Business owners can reduce their startup costs by purchasing used equipment and renting kitchen space.

What are the ongoing expenses for a pasta business?

The ongoing expenses for a pasta business include rent and utilities, as well as ingredient and shipping/delivery costs. Businesses with employees must also pay those employees’ salaries.

Who is the target market?

The target market for a pasta business tends to be foodies who have some discretionary income. Because fresh pasta commands a higher price than dry pasta, the people who buy it usually appreciate good food and are at least somewhat affluent.

How does a pasta business make money?

Pasta businesses make money by selling pasta. Noodles are typically sold by weight, and they may be sold to retail or wholesale customers.

How much can you charge customers?

Fresh pasta may sell for anywhere from $3.75 per pound for basic egg pasta to $13.60 per pound for lobster ravioli. Wholesale prices are substantially less than these retail prices.

How much profit can a pasta business make?

RP’s Pasta Company produces between 2,000 and 2,500 pounds of pasta a day. Even if all of this were plain fresh pasta, it could bring in between $7,500 and $9,375 in retail sales each day.

How can you make your business more profitable?

After a pasta business offers a variety of pastas, the next natural area to branch into is sauces. Pasta sauces can be sold separately from pastas, or they can be packaged together for easy dinner kits and gift baskets.

Want a more guided approach? Access TRUiC's free Small Business Startup Guide - a step-by-step course for turning your business idea into reality. Get started today!

STEP 2: Form a legal entity

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your pasta business is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

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 through the IRS website. If you would like to learn more about EINs, read our article, What is an EIN?

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.

Open a business bank account

Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:

  • Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • Makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.

Get a business credit card

Getting a business credit card helps you:

  • Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.

Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from BILL and build your business credit quickly.

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.

Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.

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.

Federal Business Licensing Requirements

There are federal regulations regarding what can and cannot be added to, sold as, and processed with food. Attached is a resource from the Food and Drug Administration detailing the process of starting a food business: How to Start a Food Business

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a pasta business. 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.

Certificate of Occupancy

A pasta business 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 pasta business.
    • 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 pasta business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.

Food Regulations

When selling food, you will need licensing from a local health department; all establishments serving food are required to pass a health inspection. Tips for faring well on a health inspections

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.

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.

FInd out what types of insurance your Pasta Business needs and how much it will cost you by reading our guide Business Insurance for Pasta Business.

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.

Recommended: Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.

If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.

How to promote & market a pasta business

When marketing a pasta business, business owners should shy away from grocery stores and supermarkets. The dry pasta sold at these locations is too cheap to compete with, especially when people are worried about their grocery budget and just looking for a quick dinner.

Instead, business owners can sell their pastas at niche food stores, farmers markets, craft fairs and foodie events. People who shop at these locations are frequently willing to pay more for a premium product.

How to keep customers coming back

Pasta businesses can set themselves apart from the competition by making organic, gluten-free, stuffed or other unique pastas. These types of products can be offered when a business launches, or they can be added as a business grows.

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.

Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.

Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.

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. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.

Recommended Business Phone Service: is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.

Is this Business Right For You?

Anyone who likes cooking and is able to connect with people may enjoy running a pasta business. A passion for cooking will help business owners get through the many days that they spend at the stove making pasta, and having people skills will make it easy for business owners to share their enthusiasm for pasta with others.

Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

Entrepreneurship Quiz

What happens during a typical day at a pasta business?

A typical day at a pasta business may be spent in the kitchen or out selling.

When in the kitchen, business owners spend a lot of time prepping ingredients, actually making the pasta, and packaging it. They must, of course, clean up once finished.

When out selling, business owners spend a lot of time talking with other people about pasta. Fresh pasta typically sells for more than commercial pasta does, so it’s necessary to educate customers on why this type of pasta is worth the added cost.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful pasta business?

In order to successfully grow a pasta business, business owners must know how to make delicious pasta. Those who don’t already have a famed family recipe can learn how to make pasta by working at another pasta business, taking a pasta making class, and/or reading books on the subject.

There are pasta making courses throughout the world, including in New York City, San Francisco and (of course) Italy. Because pasta making is a hands-on process, online courses aren’t a very effective way to learn the techniques involved.

A few popular books on making pasta include Mastering Pasta, Making Artisan Pasta, and Flour + Water. These can be especially helpful when read after taking a course or if business owners have a mentor who can answer questions that arise while reading.

What is the growth potential for a pasta business?

A fresh pasta business may remain a small operation run by just the business owner, or it can grow to become a large company. For example, Fresh Pasta Delights is a business in Dallas-Fort Worth that has been operating for more than 30 years and continues to primarily serve the metroplex area. In contrast, RP’s Pasta Company has been in business about a decade less but sells throughout North America.

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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:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

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 pasta business?

Business owners can sometimes both reduce their upfront expenses and jump-start their business by forming a joint venture with an Italian restaurant owner who doesn’t already have their own line of pasta. Such an arrangement has benefits for both parties.

Restaurant owners benefit from having high-quality pasta that they can purchase at cost to use in their eatery’s dishes. They can also sell the pasta on-site for additional revenue, and they may receive some compensation from sales completed elsewhere.

Pasta business owners can split the startup costs with someone else and can use the restaurant's kitchen during non-peak hours to make pasta. Marketing the pasta under the restaurant’s name also instantly boosts the brand.

How and when to build a team

Most pasta business owners start out working by themselves, bringing on employees as the workload requires and profits allow. Peter Robinson of RP’s Pasta Company hired a president to help grow the company about 15 years after starting out.

Useful Links

Real World Examples

Further Reading

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