Hi everyone, I need some advice on my planning in selling my flour/seasoning mix into a broader market. I have a catering business that did not operate well due to my full time job. My catering is specialized in foods from my home town and many of my friends are very good on that too except 2 dishes. And they all know that I am the best so far on one of the dish. My friends in my area asked me if I could sell the flour/seasoning mix so they can make it too (many recipes in google and youtube but don't work well).
I did some try out for non professional cooks prepares the dish with my seasoning and finally find the right recipe. I started by sending some free seasoning to friends that love the food but not a good cooks and they told me me the instruction clear and easy to make. I use the method the pancake mix where they just need to add 3 ingredient and they can create their own style and their favorite meat.
After sampling , I started to put it in a small ziplock bag and sell it to friends (we have cottage food law allowing me to do so ). At first I made a batch for promotion. It finished , then I started selling them with promotion price and also sold out and some of them sending this product to their friends out of state and even internationally. Eventhough the dish is famous in my hometown , we don't have it back there, so my seasoning is really the first flour mix for the dish that not made in my home town.
Now, I put them in a better package FDA approved plastic and I got people from my home town (and few people from different ethnicity ) from many places calling for that and asked me if my product available in their state or country too. So far, it reached many states and for international it goes as far as Canada, France,Sweden,UK and soon New Zealand and Middle East. ( people send it as a gift for their friends in those countries and I got their message how they love it even send me the picture of their creation)
Now the questions are ; I don't know if I should start patent the name and the products; I am considering changing my permit from catering permit to wholesale permit (or just use the cottage food law ); Should I start making website and promote them more or just wait till my sales reaches certain amount ( I don't know how much is that certain amount ). Is there any body who can share what is the "spices mix company do? " and how they charge ,etc. Is there a spices mix company in Tampa Bay (FL) area? I want this to be big because not much work ;-) but at the same time I don''t want to invest too much to start due to limited capital that I have . I Don't want to get a loan from the bank , that is why I am working full time to save more.
all advice and input are welcome
ps: Sorry if you find some incorrect grammar or difficulties in understanding the story ( But i really hope you get the story lol )