A food kiosk business or a QSR (quick-service restaurant) kiosk is a business that sells food from a kiosk. A food kiosk refers to a small, temporary, stand-alone booth used in high-traffic areas to sell food, and a food kiosk may be manned by one or two people.
Subway, McDonald’s, Burger King, Arby’s, and other fast-food chains started experimenting with in-restaurant kiosks way back in 2006. Please note that food kiosks are designed to service areas where it might be difficult to quickly construct the convention restaurant; areas such as carnival sites, construction sites, sporting event centers, campgrounds, beaches et al.
Food kiosk is part of the food truck industry and the annual food truck revenue in the United States is about $1,200,000,000. The industry revenue increased by 12.4 percent over the past five years. The total number of food trucks (food kiosks inclusive) in the U.S. is put at 4,130. Available data shows that in 2028, the interactive kiosk market is forecast to reach a size of 45.32 billion U.S. dollars, with a CAGR of 6.9 percent.
Steps on How to Start a Food Kiosk Business
Table of Content
Conduct Market Research
If you are considering starting a food kiosk business, you would need reliable market research to be able to maximize profits from the business. The first step in the market research process for your food kiosk business should be to develop market-based research questions in line with your overall business goal and objective.
In this regard, you should source for information that will help you maximize your business, give you reliable data and clue of what your potential market will be looking out for from a food kiosk business, and also help you operate your food kiosk business with less stress and of course, build the business to profitability.
a. Who is the Target Market for Food Kiosk Business?
- Facility managers
- Event Planners
- Campers (Campgrounds and RV parks)
- Sports fans (Stadiums)
- Everyone who resides in the location where you intend to sell your food.
b. Is Food Kiosk Business a Profitable Business?
Yes, the food kiosk business is profitable. According to Off the Grid’s Matthew Cohen, most trucks are making an annual revenue of around $250,000 to $500,000, while the top 25 percent bring in upwards of $1 million.
c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?
Yes, there are existing niches when it comes to the food kiosk business. Here are some of them;
- Self-service kiosks
- All meals food kiosk
- Snacks and drinks food kiosk
- Gourmet food kiosk
- Vegan food kiosk
- BBQ and grilled food kiosk
d. Who are the Major Competitors?
- Burger King
- Taco Bell
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- Pizza Hut
- Panera Bread
- Sonic Drive-In
- Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s
- Little Caesars
- Dairy Queen
- Jack in the Box
- Papa John’s.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Food Kiosk Business?
Yes, there are county or state regulations or zoning laws for food kiosk businesses. Towns, cities, and counties also have zoning restrictions, designating commercial and noncommercial zones. While you may be partially mobile, you can’t just place your food kiosk anywhere.
Most areas limit food kiosks, food trucks, trailers, buses, and carts to specific locations. A list of where you can and can’t place your food kiosk should be available from the county clerk.
f. Is There a Franchise for Food Kiosk Business?
Yes, there are franchise opportunities for food kiosk business, and here are some of them;
- Burger King
- Taco Bell
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- Pizza Hut
- Panera Bread
g. What Do You Need to Start a Food Kiosk Business?
- A Feasibility Report
- Business and Marketing Plans
- Business Licenses and Permits
- Food Kiosk
- EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal Tax ID Number.
- A Corporate Bank Account
- Commercial Kitchen
- Food Ingredients and Packaging Materials
Memorable Food Kiosk Business Names
- Pally© Food Kiosk, Inc.
- Providence™ Food Kiosk, LLC
- Star Joint© Food Kiosk, Inc.
- Food Solutions® Food Kiosk Company, Inc.
- Meal King™ Food Kiosk Company, Inc.
- Fuller™ Food Kiosk Company, LLC.
- Joe Nelson and Co© Food Kiosk Company, LLC
- Food Guys® Food Kiosk Company, Inc.
- Big Meal© Food Kiosk Company, Inc.
- Eat N Go© Food Kiosk Company, Inc.
- Good Cook® Food Kiosk Company, LLC
- Your Chef® Food Kiosk Company, LLC
- Beach Front™ Food Kiosk Company, LLC
- Creamy Taste© Food Kiosk Company, Inc.
- Sun Rise® Food Kiosk Company, Inc.
- Fork N Spoon ™ Food Kiosk Company, Inc.
- Food Depot™ Food Kiosk Company, Inc.
- Americana© Food Kiosk Company, Inc.
- Hottie Serve® Food Kiosk Company, LLC
- Master Chef™ Food Kiosk Company, Inc.
Register Your Business
a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Food Kiosk Business?
Even though there are several options when it comes to the business structure of a food kiosk business, the one that most players in this line of business consider is an LLC. It is common to consider an LLC because providers want to protect themselves from lawsuits.
Please note that an LLC will need an EIN if it has employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below.
b. Steps to Form an LLC
- Choose a Name for Your LLC.
- File Articles of Organization.
- Choose a registered agent.
- Decide on member vs. manager management.
- Create an LLC operating agreement.
- Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
- File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Food Kiosk Business?
- General Business License
- Zonal Permits
- Signage Permit
- FSSAI license
- Liquor license
- Health and trade license
- Proof of district-issued food manager identification card
- Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report
- A music license if you want to play music in your food kiosk
- A dumpster placement permit that specifies where you can put your dumpster outside your food kiosk
- Sidewalk permits if you plan to offer outside seating
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to start a Food Kiosk Business?
You don’t need any certifications to start a food kiosk business.
e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Food Kiosk Business?
- Business and liability insurance
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit and Building Approval (For your kitchen)
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Food Handlers’ License
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Contract Document
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?
If you are considering starting your own food kiosk business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
Cost Analysis and Budgeting
a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Food Kiosk Business?
The startup cost for a food kiosk business is not uniform. But basically, a food kiosk business will cost from $2,000 – $200,000 to start and that can easily go higher depending on your overall business goals and objectives especially if you decide to have several food kiosks in different locations.
b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Food kiosk business
- Business Registration Fees – $750.
- Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – $3,300.
- Marketing, Branding and Promotions – $2,000.
- Business Consultant Fee – $2,500.
- Insurance – $8,400.
- Rent/Lease for small Commercial Kitchen – $35,000
- Well-equipped and designed kiosks (4) – $10,000
- Other start-up expenses like phone and utility deposits ($1,800)
- Operational Cost (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $10,000
- Start-up Inventory – $15,000
- Store Equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $1,750
- Cooking and serving utensils – $15,000
- Website: $600
- Opening party: $3,000
- Miscellaneous: $2,000
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Food Kiosk Business?
- The size of the food kiosk business (number of kiosks you intend to start the business with)
- The choice of location
- The required licenses and permits
- The cost of hiring and paying a business consultant and attorney
- The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the food kiosk business
- The cost for purchasing, furnishing, and equipping the food kiosk business – commercial kitchen inclusive
- The cost of insurance
- The cost for registering the business
- Cost of recruiting and training your staff
- The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
- The cost for the grand opening of the food kiosk
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?
It is not compulsory to build a new commercial kitchen or facility for your food kiosk business.
e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Food Kiosk Business?
- Food ingredients and serving materials
- Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage and software renewal fees et al)
- Salaries of employees
- Trucks maintenance (For transporting your kiosks to and from different locations)
- Marketing costs
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
- Chief Operating Officer (Owner) – $38,000 Per Year
- Manager – $30,000 Per Year
- Kitchen Staff – $26,500 Per Year
- Attendants – $26,100 Per Year
- Cleaners -$24,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Food Kiosk Business
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
- Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
Write a Business Plan
a. Executive Summary
Eat N Go© Food Kiosk Company, Inc. is a registered and licensed food kiosk company that will be based in Palm Beach, Florida but operates all across major cities in Florida serving delicious meals and drinks.
Eat N Go© Food Kiosk Company, Inc. has been able to secure all relevant licenses and permits to operate throughout the United States and Canada. We will ensure that we abide by the rules and regulations guiding the food truck industry.
b. Products and Service
- Food and Snacks
- Beverages and bottled water
c. Mission Statement
Our mission is to build a food kiosk business that will meet the needs of all our customers in the regions/cities where our food kiosks will be positioned and to sell franchises all across the United States of America.
Our vision is to become one of the preferred choices when it comes to food kiosks in the whole of Palm Beach, Florida.
d. Goals and Objectives
The goals and objectives of a food kiosk business are to service areas where it might be difficult to quickly construct the convention restaurant; areas such as carnival sites, construction sites, sporting event centers, campgrounds, beaches et al.
e. Organizational Structure
- Chief Operating Officer (Owner)
- Kitchen Staff
a. SWOT Analysis
- Excellent operational history
- Superb menu list
- Experienced and trained professionals.
- Well-branded and equipped food kiosk.
- Excellent customer testimonials.
- Kiosks enable customers to customize their orders since they provide suggestions for what may go well with their main dish
- The owner is new to large scale marketing
- We will need a loan to launch the business and purchase commercial kitchen equipment
- The owner is currently running the business solo
- Lack of economies of scale.
- Growing outdoor activities
- Kiosks lead the average customer to spend 15-30% more money. Customers are more likely to purchase add-ons—like dessert or a side of fries—when ordering from a kiosk
- Kiosks drive higher revenues with larger returns, even after the upfront capital investment.
- Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets.
- The first year will be financially tight while we gain customers and pay off loans
- Competition in the area could increase
- Management of employees requires time, money, and effort
- The regulatory department could change its regulatory status and decide to enforce strict regulations that can strangulate new business.
b. How Do Food Kiosk Businesses Make Money?
Food kiosk businesses make money by selling foods and drinks from their kiosk and also by selling franchises.
- Payment with cash
- Payment via credit cards
- Payment via online bank transfer
- Payment via mobile money transfer
c. Sales & Advertising Strategies
- Introduce your food kiosk brand by sending introductory letters to residents, facility managers, park managers, and other stakeholders in and around the city you intend to cover.
- Open your food kiosk company with a party to capture the attention of residents who are your first targets
- Engage in roadshows in targeted communities from time to time to sell your foods and drinks and promote your food kiosk
- Advertise your food kiosk in community-based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List our business and products on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Leverage on the internet and mobile apps to promote your food kiosk brands
- Engage in direct marketing and sales
- Deliberately brand your food kiosk
- Encourage the use of word-of-mouth marketing (referrals)
a. How Much Should You Charge for your Product/Service?
Most food kiosk businesses charge based on the quantity of food or drink sold and it could range from $1 and above.
b. How Much Profit Do Food Kiosk Business Owners Make a Year?
It depends, but available reports show that on average, a food kiosk business should net more than $100,000 per year assuming it has a steady clientele.
c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
- The capacity of the food kiosk business (number of food kiosks owned)
- The location the food kiosk business is covering
- The management style of the food kiosk business
- The business approach of the food kiosk business
- The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the food kiosk business.
- The number of years the food kiosk is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Food Kiosk Business?
The profit margin of a food kiosk business is not fixed. It could range from 25 percent to 55 percent.
e. What is the Sales Forecast?
Below is the sales forecast for a food kiosk business. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in the United States;
- First Fiscal Year: $220,000
- Second Fiscal Year: $380,000
- Third Fiscal Year: $450,000
Set Up your Shop
a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Food Kiosk Business?
- The demography of the location
- The demand for the type of food and drinks offered by food kiosk businesses in the location
- The purchasing power of businesses and residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of food kiosk businesses, and food retailers in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What States and Cities are Best to Open a Food kiosk business?
- Palm Beach, Florida
- Washington, D.C.
- Scottsdale, Arizona
- Portland, Oregon
- Asheville, North Carolina
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Los Angeles, California
- New York City, New York
- San Francisco, California
- Washington DC
- Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Chicago, Illinois
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Food Kiosk Business?
You should be prepared to purchase gas cookers, ovens, deep freezer et al. You will also need computers or laptops, internet facility, telephone, and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard food kiosk business, you should make plans to hire a competent chief executive officer (you can occupy this position), manager, kitchen staff, attendants, drivers, and cleaners.
Launch the Business Proper
In recent times, no food kiosk business opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. You can choose to do a soft opening if you are operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party.
The bottom line is that with a proper launching of the food kiosk business, you will officially inform people in your city that your food kiosk is open for business.
a. What Makes a Food Kiosk Business Successful?
- Choose a good location, good menu, and well-branded kiosk to launch the business
- Hire only competent, hardworking, and trustworthy staff
- Throw a party before officially opening the food kiosk business
- Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
- Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your food kiosk business
- Leverage on all available online and offline platforms to promote your food kiosk business
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Food Kiosk Business?
- The business is open for the day’s work
- The food kiosks are cleaned and ready for business
- Food and drinks are prepared
- Customer’s requests are taken and they are attended to
- Marketing/website upkeep
- Supply ordering
- The business is closed for the day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Food Kiosk Business?
- Good culinary skills
- Customer services skills
- Interpersonal skill
- Business management skills
- Work experience in a QSR (quick-service restaurant) kiosk business environment
- Experience in managing people
- Experience in business administration
- Experience in handling relevant software.