10 Food Business Ideas that actually work in India

If you are thinking of ideas to get into the food business in India, you should start by considering a few things – The time and effort it takes, the capital and market dynamics.

And that there so many options for you to get into the food business world without having to set up a full scale restaurant.

Here’s a list of 25 Food business ideas that you should look at to pick the right one for you. Includes low investment ideas to full-scale restaurants.

  • 13 Conventional Food business Ideas
  • Basic necessities for your Food business
  • 12 Unconventional, low-cost food business ideas

Conventional Food business ideas

Fast Food (QSR) restaurant

The food is prepared in bulk and served fast. The restaurants also have minimum table service and there is usually provision for both eating at the outlet and take-home. Popular examples of global fast food brands are Subway, Mcdonalds, KFC.

Typically the cost of opening one is in the range of 10 – 20 lakhs in India. Besides the usual costs needed for rent, infrastructure, kitchen equipment, a lot of money needs to be set aside for promotions.

Cloud Kitchen/Ghost Kitchen

A Cloud Kitchen or ghost kitchen is one that operates on deliveries alone. You might’ve heard the success stories of Faasos, Lunchly – companies which have made it big in India. Average investment needed for a Cloud Kitchen would be around 5-10 lakhs. Cloud Kitchens are low investment ventures – again a substantial amount of money would be parked for the marketing.

Fine dining

Fine dine targets a very select audience who are in the lookout for the best dining experiences. Fine dines must have impeccable on-premise set-ups, great ambience, great seating arrangements and excellent table service. In short, the customer experience should be top notch. The typical cost for 2 of a fine-dining restaurant is upwards of 4000 rupees. Fine dines succeed on 3 counts – great food, excellent customer experience and a good marketing strategy.


A cafe is typically a place where snacks and beverages (such as coffee, tea and drinks) are served. The crowd it caters to might vary between corporate, college students, and locals. Typical cost for 2 here would be around 300-700 INR. The cost of setting up a cafe would be 10-15 lakhs the number varying from the area, to the kitchen equipment, type of decorations, quality of staff and more.

You could look to explore different kinds of cafes too – rooftop cafe and outdoor seating (alongside footpaths like the “Terraces” in the European streets).

Food truck

A Food truck is basically a mobile restaurant which can be set up by using your vehicle – a truck, car (or cart). This is a very cost-effective approach because you do not need a lot of capital to set one up, and you don’t really need to worry about the seating arrangements around or pay heavily on rental costs. However, you would need all the licenses and legal documents to start one (just as in the case of a traditional restaurant). You could open a food truck at a price point of 10 lakh. You would have to set aside a large part of that for marketing and promotions of the food truck as that is what will make your brand knows (at least to get you started). This would include a number of things – website and app, online order platforms, contact and affiliate building, digital and offline ads and so forth. On the revenue front, the typical cost for 2 can range from anywhere between 300 to 500 rupees in India. You should have a well-decorated truck, design a creative menu with using the menu maker app and of course, great food to reach out to a large audience.

Bars & Pubs

Bars and pubs are establishments where you’ll get a whole range of drinks – alcoholic and non-alcoholic, along with bar bites (finger food in smaller portions). Typically a bar or pub can cost anywhere between 1000-1500 per person hence the margins for the business owners are pretty high.

Breweries and beer-houses

Breweries and beer-houses as the names suggest largely serve beer and other alcohol. Depending upon the place and location, their costing would range from 60 – 70 lakh which is pretty comparable with that of a normal pub or bar.

Casual Dine/Fast casual

In a Casual Dine setup, your customers will expect a decent seating area, table service and a good ambience. Typically in a casual dining set up, the cost for 2 can be anywhere between Rs. 1000-1500. To start one you will have to choose a cuisine. Added to the investments on restaurant infrastructure, you might also want to add a delivery service, to multiply your revenue streams.

Cafe meets Beer

Cafe meets Beer setups or beer-coffee houses are the alternative to Bars serving a wider selection of non-alcoholic beverages. Imagine a cafe that also serves booze. Beer cafes are a more popular concept in Europe and are gradually starting to become more popular in India. The idea here is to provide an alternative to bars that are more daytime friendly.

Bakeries and Patisseries

A patisserie is an establishment that usually sells pastries whereas bakeries sell all sorts of baked items such as cookies, cakes, bread, pastries. The idea of bakeries and Patisseries originates from Europe and is slowly becoming popular in India as well. They usually have seating and also deliver at your home.

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By Michael Caine

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