Starting this food business involves having a proven recipe for turning meat into tasty treats that people can pick up and eat right out of the package. There are two routes one might take: you can choose to make the jerky yourself or source them wholesale from a local meat processor and sell retail.
While making beef jerky can be quite easy, building a beef jerky business that will stand out in this competitive industry isn’t that easy. For one, coming up with a winning recipe will take a lot of hard work and experimentation. Have in mind it takes a while to perfect your spices, rubs, and techniques. Aside from that, you’ll also have to invest in certain necessary equipment like storage refrigerators and dehydrators.
Steps on How to Start a Beef Jerky Business
Table of Content
Conduct Market Research
To succeed in this business, you must carry out extensive market research. Note that one of the first things you need to do is to understand the local laws regarding homemade food products. You must follow all guidelines required to sell your food products as you may even be mandated to secure a local commercial kitchen.
Truth be told, there are numerous hurdles to overcome to legally start selling your beef jerky to customers. Ensure you find out as much as you can about your business location and potential competitors as this will help you on the path to success.
a. Who is the Target Market for Beef Jerky?
Businesses that make and sell beef jerky are known to market to consumers who are looking for a fast, easy, and healthier meal. These consumers range from employees out on their lunch break to parents eager to pick up a meal for their family on their way home, or just anyone who needs a meal on the go.
You should also consider targeting businesses within a five to ten-minute walk from your factory and a driving distance of seven to ten miles. In addition, you may want to offer delivery services to events within your areas, such as weddings, graduations, and birthday parties.
b. Is Beef Jerky Business a Profitable Business?
Yes. According to reports by the Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS) and the U.S. Census information, at least half of the U.S. population consume meat snacks and beef jerky regularly – that’s around 160 million Americans
c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?
- Online Beef Jerky Retail Shop
- Meat Processing Facility
- Beef Jerky Shop
- Subscription-Based Beef Jerky Supply Business
- Beef Jerky Franchise
d. Who are the Major Competitors?
- Slim Jim
- Store Brand
- Jack Link’s
- Wild Ride
- Blue Ox
- Field Trip
- House Of Jerky
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Beef Jerky Business?
Rules, regulations, and laws concerning beef jerky vary from state to state, province to province, and country to country. It is necessary to carry out extensive research in the location you intend to make your jerky. In the United States, the industry is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS).
In addition, the FDA regulates animal drugs and feed ingredients. Also, have it in mind that at least 28 states have their meat inspection programs. For instance, if you intend to own a farm and breed cattle, you will be expected to comply with the rules set by the FDA, USDA, FSIS, and state agencies.
If you plan to buy the meat from local or national suppliers, then you must adhere to FDA rules. Have it in mind that all meat sold commercially, including beef jerky, are expected to pass an inspection to guarantee it is properly labeled and safe for consumption
f. Is There a Franchise for Beef Jerky Business?
- Beef Jerky Outlet: $215,750 to $394,900
- Jeff’s Famous Jerky: $1500 (Estimated) Start-Up
g. What Do You Need to Start a Beef Jerky Business?
- Packaging and packaging design
- License and Permits
- USDA Approved kitchen
- HACCP Plan (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point)
- Proper Recordkeeping
Memorable Beef Jerky Business Names
- Stick Fresh Jerky
- Clinton Meat Processing
- Everyday Jerky
- Jerky Protein
- Soul N Meat
- Protein Foods
- House of Meats
- Pure Jerky Co
- Emperor Meats
- Flash Jerky
- Vanguard Meat
- Captain’s Jerky
- Eastern Meats
- Blue Ribs Beef
- Longhorn Jerky Shop
- Sunshine Meat Shop
- Protein Joy
- Daily Protein Snacks
- Affordable Delights
- Crest Meat Store
Register your Business
a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Beef Jerky Business?
Experts recommend that most new business owners go down the LLC route since it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while also known to be easier to form than a corporation.
b. Steps to Form an LLC
- Choose a Name for Your LLC.
- File Articles of Organization.
- Choose a registered agent.
- Choose between member and manager management.
- Create an LLC operating agreement.
- Adhere to other tax and regulatory requirements.
- File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Beef Jerky Business?
- Business license
- Employee Identification Number (EIN)
- Food establishment permit
- Seller’s permit
- Employee health permit
- Building health permit
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Open a Beef Jerky Business?
While there are no mandatory certifications needed to start a beef jerky business, here are top food industry certifications to boost your credentials and expertise;
- Certified Food Manager (CFM)
- Food Safety Manager Certification
- ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification
- Certified Professional – Food Safety (CP-FS)
- Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS)
- OSHA Safety Certificate
- AMSA Culinary Meat Selection & Cookery Certification
e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Beef Jerky Business?
- Food and Safety Certificate
- Necessary Licenses
- Insurance Policy
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Doing Business As (DBA)
- Business Plan
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?
Patent and copyright protection in the food industry can be very complicating and difficult to understand. Agreeably, recipes can be protected under copyright law as long as they are followed by “extensive literary expression.” In the United States, this literary expression is expected to include directions or explanations.
Aside from protecting your business’s unique recipe, you can also trademark and protect your business names, logos, or slogans of food products. You can also use the trade dress law to protect the packaging, shape, or appearance of food products, as long as they showcase the origin of the owner’s products.
Do your Cost Analysis and Budgeting
a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Beef Jerky Business?
Note that the cost of starting a beef jerky business can range from $4,000 to $26,000, averaging $17,000. Your main costs will include marketing, equipment, and licensing fees, as well as the cost of building your website. Since beef jerky is a foodstuff, it faces strict regulatory and compliance requirements from federal, state, and local governments.
b. What are the Cost Involved?
- Licenses and permits: $750-$1,500
- Insurance: $250-$500
- Marketing and advertising: $1,500-$5,000
- Website: $500-$1,500
- Software: $300-$1,000
- Rent or Lease of Commercial Kitchen: $600 – $3,000
- Equipment: $500 – $11,000
- Jerky and other Food Supplies: $100-$5,000
- Miscellaneous: $100-$300
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Beef Jerky Business?
- Business Concepts
- Business Size
- Customer Acquisition Plan
- Licenses and Certifications
- Raw Materials and Suppliers
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility?
This will most often vary depending on your business location and plans. In the United States, the meat market is highly regulated by the FDA, USDA, and other government bodies. While you are not allowed to sell beef jerky made at home, note that you can set up a production facility, team up with a factory, or rent a commercial kitchen in a local restaurant.
The total start-up costs (including land, equipment, construction, and working capital) for a typical meat processing facility will range from $600,000 to $1 million, with a cost per square foot from $150 to $180.
e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of Running a Beef Jerky Business?
- Advertising costs
- Lease or rent
- Staff costs
- Raw materials
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
- General Manager: $82,510
- Production Manager: $77,980
- Procurement Manager: $72,360
- Sales and marketing manager: $58,000
- Production workers: $46,780
- Salespersons: $38,920
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Beef Jerky Business?
- Government grants
- Bank loan/overdrafts/credit card
- Peer-to-peer lending platforms
- Business liquidation (other non-performing businesses)
- Property sale
- Friends and family
Write a Business Plan
a. Executive Summary
At Protein Joy, we will make and sell natural snacks that will effortlessly fit into any lifestyle. We intend to source the finest cuts of beef in the country and also provide 14 grams of protein-packed goodness in each bag.
Carefully and deliciously made daily in our facility in Tampa, Florida, Protein Joy beef jerky will offer the best benefits millennials could ask for: mouthful, allergy-free, a good source of protein and fiber, gluten-free, soy-free, low fat, convenient, keto, refined sugar-free, and much more. At Protein Joy, we will leverage Enviro-Pac CHU-2000 cooking equipment known to cook meat at the USDA optimal levels for both moist and dry operation.
b. Products and Service
- Beef Jerky
- Beef seasonings
- Protein Joy Designed Wears and Gears
c. Mission Statement
Our mission at Protein Joy is to create quality, one-of-a-kind products that sustain the unbreakable spirit of those who dare to be bold. By leveraging very fresh ingredients and unique spice blends, we intend to capture the authentic flavors of beef jerky that excite the palate of our customers and keep them coming back for more.
Our vision at Protein Joy is to make snacks our customers can feel good about eating, regardless of their lifestyle or diet. By excluding unnecessary ingredients, we plan to always ensure that all Protein Joy jerky are low fat and contain no added sugars. Note that our flagship Beef Jerky contains 7g of protein, 4g of fiber, and only 80 calories per serving, so customers can munch on the snack and feel good about it.
d. Goals and Objectives
- Always offer quality services and products that will grow customer loyalty.
- Only employ people that have excellent customer skills
- To achieve a substantial cash balance by the end of year four
e. Organizational Structure
- General Manager
- Production Manager
- Procurement Manager
- Sales and marketing manager
- Production workers
a. SWOT Analysis
- Consumers are seeking healthy and quality foods
- No other company is mass producing this food.
- Experience of our management team
- Treating our employees with dignity and respect.
- Intense competition from already established local and small beef jerky businesses
- Since no other companies mass produce this product, the demand for it is not very high
- Cost and maintenance of equipment
- Health consciousness of American consumers growing encouragingly
- There are new B2B opportunities to tap in
- Untapped market
- Since no other company produces this style of jerky, the growth has the potential to be huge
- The arrival of new beef jerky or related business in the same location
- Economic impasse
- New government regulations
b. How Do Beef Jerky Businesses Make Money?
Regardless of how you intend to structure your beef jerky business, have it in mind that businesses in this market make money from the sale of beef jerky and other related products.
c. Payment Options
- Payment with cash
- Payment via credit cards
- Payment via online bank transfer
- Payment via mobile money transfer
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
- Aligning with grocery stores and other food retail shops in your area
- Connect with local bloggers and websites
- Leverage Social media
- Print and distribute handbills in public places
- Selling at a price that others
- Local radio advertising
- Banner ads at local venues
- Develop a customer loyalty program
- Pay Per Click
- Coupons and gift cards
a. How Much Should You Charge for your product?
What you charge for your beef jerky will depend on numerous factors; however, it is advisable you first research competing companies selling similar types of jerky in your area. Also, don’t forget to add the costs of making your own jerky. If you intend to sell your beef jerky to stores, you will have to offer wholesale pricing so the shop can mark up the jerky, sell it, and also make a profit.
b. How Much Profit Do Beef Jerky Business Owners Make a Year?
According to industry reports, a flourishing beef jerky business will make between $2,000 and $5,000 per month. If, for instance, you sell 1,000 beef jerky per month at $3 each, it simply entails you make $3,000 monthly and around $36,000 in annual revenue.
Most often, your main expenses would include the cost of labor and ingredients, at about $1,500 per month, in addition to $300 as miscellaneous costs, totaling $1,800. At this 60% profit margin, you would make $21,600 on $36,000 annual revenue.
c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
- Factory or shop size
- Profit margins
- Years in business
- Your location
- Nearby competition
- Business concept
- Distributors and network
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Beef Jerky Business?
According to reports, the gross margins for a beef jerky business are typically around 40%, which is considerably high and allows for beef jerky businesses to grow and manage costs easily.
e. What is the Sales Forecast?
- Year One: $36,000
- Year Two: $98,000
- Year Three: $320,000
Set Up your Shop
a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Beef Jerky Business?
It is always advisable that you seek a central location that will easily connect you with your target audience, and also to farmers and wholesale distributors that will be supplying you. Don’t forget to carry out a feasibility study to verify that the location you are choosing is the best option for your beef jerky business. While choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:
- Central location accessible via public transport
- Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
- A flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
- Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
b. What State and City are Best to Open a Beef Jerky Business?
- Orlando, FL
- Houston, TX
- Phoenix, AZ
- Chicago, IL
- Las Vegas, NV
- Los Angeles, CA
- San Diego, CA
- New York, NY
- Louisville, KY
- Austin, TX
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate?
- Food Slicer
- Plastic Bags
- Oxygen Absorbers
- Cleaning Equipment
Most often, a beef jerky business is started with just friends and family assisting. However, as the business grows and customers continue to troop in, you will need a team. Note there are businesses in this market that offer internships to culinary students. Via this route, the students receive the training and credit required and the business in turn gets help at a reasonable price.
When looking to hire employees for your beef jerky business, always remember that your business success will depend on you and your employees being on the same page. Don’t also forget to hold regular meetings to ensure everyone understands your business goals, and that concerns, challenges, and feedback are discussed.
Launch the Business Proper
When starting a beef jerky business, you should test your beef jerky on a local market to refine the recipe and build a following. You can start with farmer’s markets, food festivals, concerts, flea markets, and specialty or gourmet grocery stores in your area, then invite feedback from customers to find out how your product rates.
If the rates and feedback are encouraging, then you’re ready to sell outside of your local area. At this point, consider speaking with grocery and convenience stores that stock quick foods. Also, consider stores that sell natural food especially if your jerky contains no preservatives or uses natural spices or herbs. You can also build an e-commerce website and start shipping your product directly to consumers.
a. What Makes a Beef Jerky Business Successful?
- Providing high-quality products.
- Forming alliances with grocery stores and other food product retailers
- Managing clients and keeping them happy
- Creating a competitive advantage with a strong national marketing strategy.
- Controlling finances and cash flows by keeping capital and operating costs low.
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Beef Jerky Business?
To cater to the healthy snack needs of your customers and ensure they keep coming back, you must invest your time and resources into the following daily activities:
- Ordering meat and other jerky supplies
- Putting together a budget
- Offering top customer service
- Updating business website
- Maintaining web presence
- Dealing with quality control
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Beef Jerky Business?
- Hard work
- Management experience
- Multitasking abilities
- Food service experience
- Customer service skills