Starting a food tour business

Update: January 2, 2024

By: Tom Macken

How to start a food tour business

The global market for culinary tourism is projected to witness substantial growth in the upcoming years, with an increase from $1.1 billion in 2019 to $1.8 billion by 2027. This growth is driven by the high demand for unique and immersive travel experiences that revolve around local cuisine. If you are interested in opening a food tour business, you can find comprehensive information and guidance on how to get started in this thriving industry.


What is a food tour business?
8 tips for opening a food tour business
Training needed to open a food tour business?
Regulations for opening a food tour business

What is a food tour business?

A food tour business offers curated guided experiences that center around discovering and savoring the local culinary delights and cultural heritage of a city or region. These tours typically involve visits to multiple dining establishments, food markets, street vendors, and other culinary destinations where participants can indulge in a diverse array of dishes while learning about their historical background, traditions, and cooking techniques.

Food tours can be conducted on various modes of transportation, including walking, cycling, bus, or even boat, depending on the location and the preferences of the tour company and its clientele. The tour guides are well-versed in the local food landscape and provide informative commentary about the various foods, beverages, and culinary customs encountered throughout the journey.

These tour businesses cater to a wide range of audiences, including tourists and travelers seeking an authentic cultural immersion as well as locals interested in exploring the vibrant food scene of their own city. They may also offer specialized tours tailored to specific cuisines or dietary preferences, such as vegan or gluten-free options.

Beyond offering a unique and immersive experience for customers, food tour businesses contribute to the growth of the local economy by showcasing and supporting small-scale enterprises and regional food producers.

8 tips for starting a food tour business

1. Form your Legal Business

When setting up a food tour business, you’ll need to think about what business structure will work best, including registering your company with the appropriate authorities, both locally and nationally. 

Many would-be company owners struggle to make sense of the differences among an LLC, a sole proprietorship, a partnership, and other business structures, much alone settling on one. 

A company incorporation service can help you determine the best business structure for your  company based on factors like the level of liability protection you require, the laws of the state in which your company will operate, tax filings requirements and the type of license you will need to legally sell your service and products. 

In the case of food tour businesses, we advise you to choose one of these legal forms:

  • An LLC might have a single owner or several owners.
  • A corporation

In the U.S, limited liability companies (LLCs) are favored over sole proprietorships because their owners are shielded from personal liability for corporate debts and obligations.

Naming your food tour business

The process of naming your food tour enterprise may be a lot of fun. Create a list of terms that best describe your company’s values and goals. Then, put those words to use in creating new, meaningful two-word and three-word combinations. 

Try mixing and matching words that signify the same thing to hear what you come up with. Last but not least, check online to see whether the company name you want to use has already been taken.

2. Setup your Business Bank Account 

Depending on your needs and the amount of money you want to deposit, there are different kinds of business accounts you can setup for your food tour business including:

  • Checking Accounts: The most typical form of business bank account. Opening a company checking account is simple and provides a number of advantages. Having a bank account means you may quickly and simply add or remove funds as your needs change. You may use your checking account to pay bills and vendors by writing checks.
  • Savings account: With the return you may receive on your savings, it’s a terrific way to build up a rainy-day fund for your food tour company. Savings accounts, on the other hand, may have withdrawal restrictions and provide lower interest rates than checking accounts.

Before deciding on a bank account, it’s a good idea to do a comparison of different business banks for features and fees, including FinTech banks with very competitive benefits of no monthly fees, no minimum balances and an unlimited number of transactions compared to traditional high street bank offerings. 

3. Organize Your Accounting, Taxes & Credit Card reader


Setting up a reliable accounting system will allow food tour business owners to keep tabs on all kinds of financial transactions from sales (income & invoicing), purchases (expenditure), liabilities (bank loan funding) to taxes due to the IRS or similar. 

The books for your food tour business can be organized in a few ways:

If you choose to handle things on your own, pick a system that is intuitive and simple to use. When your accounting system is ready, you can begin recording your earnings and spending. If you want to save money, you can now see exactly where it’s being spent meaning future budgeting is simplified as a result.

Spice business owners should be careful to maintain a consistent schedule of accounting maintenance. This calls for putting time in your calendar on a regular basis to check your books and make any necessary changes. While this may appear to be a lot of extra effort, it will ultimately save you time and energy.


Before you can start your own company, you have to get yourself registered for a number of different taxes, both federal and state, first. Your business has to submit an application for an EIN (Employer Identification Number), which is a simple process and is free of charge. Doing so will allow you to register for taxes.

Through the Internal Revenue Service’s website, you can obtain your EIN. There are certain taxes imposed by states that might be applicable to the operation of your firm. 

Credit card readers

Businesses will of course need to take payment for the services and products they provide. Having access to a low-cost POS card machine is essential to ensure your business can take payment from your customers in a quick and easy manner. 

A card reader such as the Payanywhere Smart Terminal offers a simple pricing model, next day funds in your bank account, integrates with your Quickbooks accounting software and can also provide valuable data insights into sales trends, inventory management and customer behavior.

4. Launch your food tour website & social media

A stunning site for your fresh food tour company can be created very easily via:

  • DIY building the business website yourself using a Page Builder or
  • Hiring a qualified web designer to build effective landing pages that can drive new leads for your business using high-quality photos, videos, and other visual components that are in keeping with your brand’s aesthetic.

Having a slick, mobile-optimized website has numerous benefits for any business including: 

  • Attracting new customers 24/7, showcasing your services and products at any time 
  • Credibility, making it easier to attract and retain customers 
  • Online presence for Google searches actively looking for food tour services in your area
  • Customer engagement by helping to engage with customers regarding business info, photos, videos, feedback forms as well as contact forms
  • Branding A website can help businesses establish and reinforce their brand identity, by incorporating their logo, color scheme, and other branding elements into the design.

Marketing & Social Media

Social media including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Twitter are powerful tools for a food tour business as they can increase your business visibility, ability to engage with customers, establish and reinforce brand identity, and gather valuable data insights to improve marketing strategies.

Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook alone have billions of active users, providing a  food tour business with an opportunity to increase its visibility and reach a wider audience.

Direct Marketing can also be used in the form of Facebook and Google online ads on these platforms to market services and products to potential customers. Backflow testing businesses can use targeted ads to reach specific demographics and interests and use the campaign data to make informed decisions about your next marketing campaigns to drive more sales.

5. Create a Brand Identity for your food tour

To differentiate your company from your competitors, you’ll need to take some time to prepare and concentrate on how you want your consumers to feel & develop a unique personality for your food tour business. From the logo’s design to the brand’s color scheme, there is a lot to think about. 

A unique and memorable logo for your business can be professionally created by a talented Graphic Designer from a Logo Design service. 

Hiring a logo design service can save a business time and money by eliminating the need to spend hours researching and creating a logo and a high-quality logo can be designed quickly and efficiently.

The steps to think about include: 

  • 1). Establish the vision and values that guide your food tour company. What are you hoping to accomplish with your company? When people consider your food tour brand, what do you want them to feel? 
  • 2). Go with a color palette that conveys who you are as a business. Colors say a lot regarding a product or service. If you’re stuck for inspiration, research competing products in your field to discover what colors they’re using.
  • 3). Create a distinctive logo for your food tour line. This is the first thing that customers will associate with your brand, therefore it has to be striking. Get in touch with an expert designer to develop a logo that captures the essence of your company while also looking great.
  • 4). Make sure your branding is the same across all platforms. This should include your website banners to your business cards, your logo and color palette are always consistent with your brand. As a result, your brand’s identity will be strengthened and your company’s name recognition will increase.

Making a name for your food tour company is unlikely to be as difficult as you would think. Creating a brand that sticks with consumers requires zeroing down on the company’s raison d’etre and core principles. A distinct identity for your food tour business may be developed with some forethought and imagination. 

6. Develop a Business Plan for your new food tour

A well-developed business plan is a crucial tool for any entrepreneur looking to start a successful business. The plan should include your food tour company’s mission and vision, target audience, product offerings, marketing and sales strategies, and financial projections. 

The business plan should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that the business is on track to meet its goals.

A business strategy should cover the following:

  • Market Analysis: An in-depth look at how the market for bricklayers is doing now and how it could grow.
  • Business Summary: A description of your new food tour business, including its purpose, goods or services, and target market.
  • Business Strategy: A thorough plan that explains how the business is going to reach its goals.
  • Financial Strategy: How much money you expect to make, spend, and need for cash.
  • Marketing Plan: How the business will sell itself and what strategies and methods will be used.
  • Operations: This is an account of the business’s working methods and practices.

7. Get Financing for your food tour business

For your food tour business, you can use personal savings or decide to use financing solutions for your new venture and you’ll have different options to consider which may work best: A bank loan, crowdfunding, investors or something different. 

A clear, detailed, and comprehensive business and financial strategy is usually expected by banks or other partners from whom you seek for funding. To launch a firm, you could require funding from a bank, credit union, or the Small firm Administration (SBA). 

The cost to start a food tour business can vary widely depending on the location, the size of the business, and the scope of the services offered. Some entrepreneurs may be able to start a small food tour operation with minimal startup costs, such as renting a van or designing a website. 

However, others may require significant upfront investments in areas such as marketing, staff hiring and training, equipment, and insurance. A food tour business owner may also need to obtain any necessary permits or licenses to operate in their chosen location. 

8. Business setup essentials

When establishing a food tour business, there are several important factors to consider:

Conducting Market Research

Thorough market research is crucial, especially for a food tour business. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Identify your target market: Define your ideal customer based on factors like age, income, and interests. This knowledge will help you tailor your tours and marketing efforts accordingly.
  • Assess the competition: Research other food tour businesses in your area to understand their offerings, marketing strategies, and find ways to differentiate your business.
  • Analyze market trends: Stay updated on the latest culinary trends and innovations, and explore how you can incorporate them into your tours to remain appealing to customers.
  • Determine pricing: Study the pricing structures of other food tour businesses and develop a competitive yet profitable pricing strategy.

Find Your Unique Selling Point

When starting a food tour business, it’s vital to identify your niche and distinguish your tours from others. Here are some tips to find your unique selling point:

  • Discover your passion: Determine your passion for a specific cuisine, culture, or dining experience. This will form the foundation for your niche and help you create distinctive and captivating tours.
  • Consider your location: Your location can also guide you in finding your niche. Explore the local food culture, dining trends, and exceptional culinary experiences unique to your area.
  • Specialize in a theme: Focus on a particular theme such as food and wine pairings, farm-to-table experiences, or street food tours.
  • Cater to specific groups: Consider catering to specific groups like families, food enthusiasts, or corporate clients. Tailor your tours to their interests and preferences.

Developing Your Marketing Strategy

A well-crafted marketing strategy is essential for the success of your food tour business. Here are some key aspects to consider:

  • Build a strong brand: Create a distinct brand that reflects your business’s personality and values. Consistently use this brand across all marketing channels.
  • Create a professional website: Design a professional website that showcases your tours, provides business information, and simplifies the booking process for customers.
  • Utilize social media: Leverage social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to promote your business, share customer reviews and captivating photos, and engage with potential clients.
  • Offer incentives: Consider providing discounts or incentives to customers who book multiple tours or refer others to your business.
  • Establish partnerships: Collaborate with hotels, tourism boards, and local businesses to increase your exposure and reach new customers.

Obtain the Necessary Permits and Licenses

Before commencing your food tour business, ensure you obtain the required permits and licenses in your chosen location. Consider the following:

  • Research local regulations: Understand the permits and licenses necessary to operate a food tour business in your city or region, ensuring compliance with all requirements.
  • Apply for permits and licenses: Once you’ve identified the necessary permits and licenses, promptly apply for them to avoid any delays in starting your business.
  • Renew permits and licenses: Stay aware of expiration dates and renew your permits and licenses on time to avoid disruptions in your business operations.

Develop Relationships with Local Food Vendors

The quality and variety of culinary experiences you offer are pivotal to a food tour business. Consider the following for fostering relationships with local food vendors:

  • Research local food vendors: Identify local food vendors, restaurants, and culinary businesses you want to include in your tours.
  • Establish partnerships: Reach out to local food vendors and restaurants to establish partnerships and negotiate deals for your tours.
  • Nurture strong relationships: Maintain strong connections with your partners and collaborate to create exceptional culinary experiences for your customers.
  • Ensure quality control: Regularly assess the quality of the culinary experiences you offer to ensure they meet your standards and customer expectations.

Procure or Rent Necessary Equipment

To operate a successful food tour business, you’ll need to invest in appropriate equipment. Consider the following essential items:

  • Transportation: Determine the transportation mode required for your tours and purchase or rent vehicles that align with your needs.
  • Audio equipment: Purchase audio equipment like microphones and speakers to ensure clear communication between guides and customers.
  • Safety gear: Invest in safety gear, such as first aid kits and emergency supplies, to prioritize the well-being of your customers and staff.

Hiring Staff

The success of a food tour business often relies on the expertise of guides and staff. Keep these considerations in mind when hiring new team members:

  • Prioritize experience: Seek candidates with culinary industry experience or backgrounds in hospitality or tourism.
  • Consider personality: Look for personable, knowledgeable, and engaging candidates who can connect with customers and provide exceptional experiences.
  • Provide comprehensive training: Offer extensive training to ensure that staff are well-versed in the culinary experiences you offer, safety protocols, and customer service best practices.
  • Offer competitive compensation: To attract and retain top talent, provide competitive compensation packages including benefits like health insurance and paid time off.

Develop Safety Protocols

Ensuring the safety of your customers and staff is paramount. Consider the following elements when developing safety protocols:

  • Train your staff: Provide thorough safety training to ensure staff understand emergency procedures and can ensure customer safety during tours.
  • Conduct regular safety audits: Routinely evaluate tour and equipment safety to maintain compliance with regulations.
  • Obtain necessary permits and insurance: Acquire any required permits and insurance for your business, ensuring they meet local regulations and remain up to date.
  • Establish clear safety policies: Develop and communicate transparent safety policies to staff and customers, ensuring everyone understands expectations and protocols.

Customer Feedback and Market Trends

Regularly seeking customer feedback and staying informed about market trends are vital for success. Consider the following:

  • Collect customer feedback: Regularly solicit feedback from customers to improve tour quality and customer service.
  • Stay updated on market trends: Stay informed about the latest culinary trends and innovations, incorporating them into your tours to remain relevant and enticing to customers.
  • Analyze data: Utilize data analytics to track customer behavior and preferences, adjusting tours and marketing strategies accordingly.
  • Adapt to changing customer needs: Be prepared to adapt tours and services to meet evolving customer preferences, staying ahead of competitors by offering unique and innovative culinary experiences.

Training needed to open a food tour business?

Starting a successful food tour business requires acquiring expertise and training in various crucial areas. Here are some essential areas that necessitate focused development:

  • Culinary Expertise: As a food tour operator, it’s vital to possess an extensive knowledge of local cuisine, food preparation techniques, and the historical and cultural significance of the culinary landscape. This expertise will enable you to curate captivating tours that offer customers a profound and informative culinary experience.
  • Business Administration: Running a food tour business demands proficient skills in business management. This encompasses financial planning and management, marketing and advertising, and delivering exceptional customer service. Engaging in courses related to business management, marketing, and accounting will equip you with the necessary training in these domains.
  • Tour Guiding: Mastering the art of tour guiding is paramount to ensuring a positive and delightful experience for your customers. This entails a comprehensive understanding of local attractions, historical insights, cultural nuances, and linguistic proficiency. Enrolling in courses focusing on tour guiding and customer service will equip you with the essential skills required in these aspects.
  • Safety Measures: Prioritizing safety is of utmost importance in any food tour business. Operators must guarantee the well-being of both their staff and customers at all times. Undertaking courses in food safety, first aid, and emergency response will provide the necessary training to ensure optimal safety standards.
  • Cultural Awareness: As a food tour operator, it is crucial to exhibit respect for cultural differences and remain mindful of potential sensitivities. Courses in cultural studies and diversity training will empower you with the knowledge and awareness necessary to navigate these aspects sensitively.

By acquiring comprehensive knowledge and training in these key areas, you can enhance your prospects of thriving in the fiercely competitive food tour industry.

Regulations for opening a food tour business?

When establishing a food tour business, it is essential to navigate various regulations and requirements to ensure a safe, lawful, and compliant operation in accordance with local legislation. Here are some guidelines to consider:

  • Acquire Permits and Licenses: Prior to commencing your food tour business, it is necessary to secure the appropriate permits and licenses from local and state authorities. These may include permits for food service, tour guiding, and business registration.
  • Food Safety Compliance: As a food tour operator, adherence to food safety regulations is imperative to ensure the provision of safe and uncontaminated food. This entails obtaining relevant food safety certifications, adhering to proper food storage and preparation practices, and complying with local health codes.
  • Insurance Coverage: Safeguarding your business against accidents, injuries, or property damage is crucial. It is advisable to explore general liability insurance, commercial property insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance to mitigate potential risks.
  • Labor Laws: As an employer, it is vital to uphold labor laws concerning minimum wage, overtime pay, worker safety, and non-discrimination practices.
  • Accessibility Standards: Ensuring accessibility for all individuals, including those with disabilities, is paramount. Ensure that your tours and facilities align with local accessibility standards and guidelines.

By meticulously adhering to these regulations and requirements, you can establish a food tour business that operates safely, lawfully, and in full compliance with local laws.


How do you make a foodie tour?

To create an exceptional culinary tour, it is important to conduct thorough research on local food vendors and restaurants. Design an itinerary that highlights a diverse range of cuisines and cultural encounters, and ensure that your team of guides is well-informed and skilled in engaging customers with their expertise.

Are food tour businesses profitable?

The profitability of a food tour business can differ, but it is commonly observed that profit margins typically range from 20% to 50%. This variation is influenced by factors such as the business’s location, size, and operational expenses.

How to start a food tour business

When venturing into the establishment of a food tour business, it is crucial to conduct thorough research on the local culinary landscape, craft a comprehensive business plan, acquire the required permits and licenses, foster strong partnerships with food vendors, and devise an effective marketing strategy.

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