How to Start a Cheese Shop
Are you passionate about cheese or are skilled at making it? Here are some tips on how to start a successful cheese business.
Starting a business isn’t always easy. However, if you’ve got a good idea and the motivation to make it happen your business can be up and running in no time. In this guide, we’ll provide the steps you should to start your own cheese shop.
What type of cheese shop is right for you?
Having a background in the cheese industry always helps. If you understand the ins and outs of inventory management, temperature control and gained exceptional industry knowledge from past experience. Then opening your own shop front is a more achievable option. However for those looking to get into the industry and build their inventory, market stalls are a great introduction for a first time seller.
A market stall at your local food and wine festival is only one phone call away. Getting in touch with event organisers once you have established your inventory and a good relationship with your suppliers is a perfect introduction to cheese selling. It introduces you to the type of customers you’ll be targeting, allows you to get familiar with a POS system and lets you feel out your customer base. Getting a few of these under your belt will allow you to gain a deeper understanding of how the industry works.
Finding a specific location for your cheese shop is a crucial first step. It’s important to keep in mind, the premise you select must be up to standard with Australian Food Premises and Equipment Code. Working closely with your real estate agent on this aspect is critical. This relationship will ensure you pick the right space that can house all the equipment needed for your cheese shop.
Potential sites within food and wine districts in your local area or city are usually prime locations. Having a cheese shop in an area that doesn’t suit one would be disastrous, this comes down to knowing where your target market is. Wine retailers and Artisan delis are great compliment stores for cheese so get yourself into the right environment. On that note, renting a commercial space for the first time can be a bit overwhelming. It’s wise to commit to a short term lease in order to feel out the area you have chosen to see if it’s the right fit.
Also as a shopfront it isn’t unwise to try bulk selling some of your inventory to local restaurants. Getting in contact with a few in your area could work to your advantage. It will help gain recurring sales and generate a name for your shop.
Starting your business
Picking the right type of business structure for you and your cheese business is vital. This will determine the licenses you require, the tax you will pay and how much control you have over the business. There are many types of business structures within Australia. Whether you’re by yourself as a sole trader or engaged in a partnership with a business partner. Talking to a business lawyer is a great way to ensure you pick the best structure that suits you and your cheese shop the best.
Before you can legally become a cheese retailer you will first need to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN). An ABN allows you to be identified by and interact with other businesses. It is also a necessary requirement by the government for tax and administration purposes before you start trading.
Understanding the costs
Once you’ve found a location, it’s time to fit out your store. Some of the equipment you will be installing will need recurring maintenance, so it’s better you know sooner rather than later the inherent costs that come with them.
Picking the right refrigeration system is important, this system will maintain the quality of your cheeses and make sure they remain sellable. Involving a commercial refrigerator engineer initially to inspect the space and provide guidance will eat into your start up costs, but it’ll make sure you get the right system from the very beginning. This system will need to be maintained so finding a fridge engineer who has worked with other cheese businesses could prove to be invaluable.
Shop display and lighting
The lighting in your store affects the quality of your cheese. High quality LED lights are a great initial investment to ensure your inventory isn’t spoiled.
POS system software
Point of Sales software will keep track of your inventory while you rack up sales. So do some research and pick the right one for you.
Inventory is a consistent outgoing cost for a cheese retailer. You’ll be constantly adding and finding new ways to improve your inventory quality throughout your business. A base selection and a variety of products is critical in having a good range for your customers, while also having available stock to sell.
One thing you need to decide on is whether you are going to source regionally from cheese makers or globally. Developing a relationship with regional cheesemakers in your state is a great way to establish a foundational inventory. Also taking the time to visit your suppliers allows you to understand the product and establish an in person relationship with those you plan on doing business with. The decision is yours sourcing cheese globally as well is a great way to differentiate yourself from other stores.
Storing your inventory is a big part of being a cheese retailer. You must ensure while displaying and storing your cheese you meet the Australian Food Safety Practices and General Requirements as well as storing the right cheeses at the right temperatures. Investing in a refrigerator temperature monitoring system is a cheap affordable way to track the temps within your cool room.
Opening your own store can sound like a daunting prospect, but the rewards are great. With careful planning and a strong dedication to turn your cheese ideas into a reality you’ll be on the right track to opening your very own cheese store.
Phillip is a legal Intern at Lawpath as part of the content team. Currently in his 4th year of a Bachelor of Laws at UTS, He is keen to learn more about how the legal industry is being shaped by the growth of legal technology.