The struggles and triumphs of first-time food entrepreneurs

New entrepreneurs brim with energy and enthusiasm – buoyed by an idea for an innovative concept, they don’t let anything stand in the way of its implementation.

Aspiring food-business owners are no different – just ask the owners of Street Feast and Treat Dreams. These two enterprises couldn’t be more different, but they both faced existential challenges early in their life.

Local council fails to inform market food vendor of their legal obligations

After coming up with an idea to serve pulled pork and brisket at a market in the Melbourne area, the owners of Street Feast approached their local council so they could comply with all applicable laws.

To their surprise, they only had to sign up with Streatrader, an online registry of mobile food vendors in Victoria.

They forged ahead with their business, building up a loyal following over the following year. Everything was fine until the health inspector came knocking – he found they weren’t certified as a registered food premise, forcing the shutdown of their business.

Left scrambling for answers, they returned to their council. Fortunately, the bureaucrat who had advised them a year prior had been replaced by someone more competent.

Coordinating with the new EHO, they drafted a Food Safety Plan (FSP), obtained a Primesafe licence, and made dozens of needed adjustments to their operation.

Flabbergasted by this ordeal, the owners remarked, “(we had) many years of experience within kitchens and the hospitality industry, but setting up (a registered) food premises proved to be a completely different ball game.”

Packaging error almost puts popular vegan chocolatier out of business

Veganism and semi-vegetarian diets have risen in popularity as the public has become aware of the environmental impacts of animal consumption.

At the same time, they have also sought alternatives to their former favourite foods. Lis Armstrong launched Treat Dreams two and a half years ago to meet the demand for vegan-friendly chocolate products – however, a simple packaging error almost put an end to her business dreams.

Fifteen bars containing peanuts got incorrectly labelled – happily, a recall was issued, pulling all product from shelves.

In the wake of this, Lis realised the severity of the issue, so we shut down the business to overhaul it. They ended up hiring a production manager and came up with processes which would ensure such a mistake could never occur again.

Megna Murali, Founder, Start Your Food Business

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