Why Start a Food Tour?
Starting and operating a food tour is an exceptional opportunity for both your lifestyle and business. From a personal standpoint, operating a Food Tour allows you control over your day, a fun and engaging atmosphere which happens largely outdoors as well as the opportunity to work with and meet new people in a rewarding environment. From a business standpoint, starting a Food Tour has serious profit potential while maintaining a relatively low initial investment, low overhead and positive cash-flow. It is a self-sustaining "real" business which can even allow you to work seasonally - depending on your climate.
Beyond the personal and financial benefits, we like to call Food Tours a win-win-win for yourself, your customers and your community. Why? Because while your business thrives, you are also helping your customers have a wonderful experience while allowing stores / restaurants to reach new customers and make money as well.
Is the food tour business right for Me?
First and foremost, a tour operator must be passionate about what they do, work hard, and put in the time and effort to make their tour a success. This includes a certain "social intelligence", basically a genuine desire to show people a good time. Whether it be showing your participants your community or serving delicious food - enthusiasm, creativity and fun-loving attitude is always a must.
An ideal food tour operator also has what we call the "Entrepreneurial DNA" - a fictitious gene which allows you to take risks, see opportunities and create something of value as part of your very nature. The Food Tour Business also includes a great deal autonomy - so you'll have to be comfortable operating by your own rules and schedule!
Is training available only in Chicago?
We have found that our clients learn a great deal by experiencing a fully developed tour. That's why we use our Chicago training location, which leverages the ongoing success from the fully-operational Chicago Food Tours, as a case study for you to experience, question and observe during the course of your training. We supplement all offsite (Chicago) training with visits to your tour location so that we may customize our recommendations and training course to your specific city / tour environment.
What if I live in a Small City?
The ideal locations for Food Tours are urban in nature environments - defined by being relatively dense and walkable - while enjoying a variety of unique food options, historical traditions and cultural insight. We help our clients evaluate the potential within their city and food locations to help them determine whether a Food Tour is a viable business opportunity. To date, Food Tour Pros has seen success in all types of city environments, whether small-cap, mid-cap and large-cap cities. There are distinct advantages to any of these types of city environments. Contact us and we can explain in more detail what benefits you can expect to have based on the size and "urbanness" of your target area.
How should I approach Food Locations?
Approaching food locations is one of the most difficult tasks when building a Food Tour - What questions will they ask? What should I say? We help our clients develop the right approach, script and materials to help explain how a Food Tour can be of benefit to both the Food Tour Operator and the Tasting Location. Learn more about our Courses to find out what information is covered to help you better approach your Vendors.
What elements should be included in my Tour presentations?
Food tour presentations and scripts should be carefully crafted to highlight unique aspects of the food tasting, historical, cultural and architectural elements of your tour route. We help our clients define the most interesting and relevant information for their tour scripts so that participants experience the right balance of fun, background information - and of course, food!
Should I ask for a discount with Food Locations?
Discounts within food locations are a touchy subject, and one that must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Food Tour Pros helps our clients understand the implications of discounts, how to decide the discount amount (if at all) and the approach of requesting such discounts from Location Owners when appropriate.
How can I grow my business?
There are many ways to grow a food tour business - including the expansion of both quantity of tours, additional locations, hiring of additional staff and marketing. Each of these decisions requires a great deal of preparation, planning and knowledge to make sure the business growth process goes smoothly. We help our clients grow quickly and efficiently through strategic marketing techniques and milestone management whether brand new to Food Tour Business ownership or an already existing company looking to take your business to the next level.
How can I find the right tour guides?
Tour guides and leaders are the front face of your Food Tour Business - and your success or failure is often decided by the people you choose for the job. Food Tour Pros helps their clients source quality tour guide talent through accurate job descriptions, specialized search tactics, targeted job posting and a thorough tour guide Training process.
How do I price my tour?
Pricing within Food Tours depends on a variety of factors - including the tour location, quality / quantity of food and duration of tour. Food Tour Pros helps our clients develop a pricing strategy based on their particular offerings and competition to ensure both customer acceptance and profitability out of the gate.
Where should I sell my tickets?
There are two approaches to selling your Food Tour company tickets; an in-house solution or leveraging a third-party ticketing agent. We suggest ticketing through a third-party ticketing operator due to the expensive tools, support, investment and headaches required to sell your own tickets. We connect all of our clients to the industry's preferred third-party ticketing operator, allowing them to quickly and easily navigate the process while accessing sales tools, reviews and a 24 hour support team.
How long should my Food Tour be?
The length - both time and walking distance - greatly affect the enjoyability and perceived value of your tour. Too long? Participants may get restless or physically tired. Too short? Participants may think they have been ripped off. Through our extensive experience, we help our clients determine the optimal time and distance of their food tour to fit both the tastings and surrounding environment.
How can I market my new food tour?
Attracting a steady stream of participants is critical for your new Food Tour Business' success. We help our clients develop a strategic marketing plan to ensure they can gain exposure to potential participants - including website promotion, search engine optimization, social media, direct mail and referral programs.
What content should be on my Food Tour website?
Your website should be an easy-to-navigate and full of valuable information for your potential customer. We help our clients create the right content, layout and graphics to not only attract visitors, but also to convert them to ticket buyers. Your business website is the most important aspect of your company as it is the first point of entry for most of your potential customers. Careful consideration to SEO design, colors, graphics and the order pipeline can mean the difference between a successful campaign and failure. We offer to our Student the Food Tour Pros Website Solutions which ensures a quickly-assembled website which will ensure user-traffic immediately.
I want to start a second tour, where do I start?
Congratulations - starting a second tour route means you've been quite successful with the first! However, the greatest of care must be taken when building multiple tours in multiple locations starting at multiple times to ensure that your local market can absorb the new attraction while you maintain the correct supply & demand model. If a new tour is deemed viable, we work alongside our clients to help speculate new tour locations as well as develop additional materials / operational considerations to keep multiple locations running smoothly.
I already have a food tour company; can Food Tour Pros still help me?
Absolutely! We have a Course designed specifically for Current Business Owners looking for ways in which to grow and streamline their operations. We tailor the Course to meet your business needs while completing the Course entirely in your Food Tour city location.
What if a food tour tasting location closes?
The closure of a food tour location is a major inconvenience to both your operations and client experiences. We help our clients develop emergency backup plans to ensure that they are never left short-handed for tastings, as well as evaluate new tasting locations in a quick and painless manor.
How do I train a new tour guide/employee?
A new tour guide or employee is a direct representation of your company as a whole. It's essential that they not only understand their tasks and responsibilities, but also the underlying mission and purpose of their job as a Food Tour Guide. Food Tour Pros helps our clients develop robust training materials and schedules to ensure the best experience for your company, the participants and your guides.
I am not a chef or trained in culinary tourism; can I start a food tour?
Many of the most successful food tours both domestically and abroad are started by people without culinary backgrounds - so don't worry! However, a passion for both food and people is essential to the success of any business in the culinary tourism industry.
Should my food tour visit restaurants or food stores?
The selection of food tour locations - whether restaurants or stores - should show the best which your city or neighborhood has to offer. It's usually best to offer a variety of culinary, ethnic and/or retail experiences which keep the participant engaged and enthused throughout the duration of your tour. We work with our clients to develop the right mix of food tour tasting locations to create the best possible experience for your participants.
Do I need liability insurance?
Ensuring you are protected from any liabilities incurred during the course of your tour is a complicated but important issue. Food Tour Pros works with our clients to determine what liability coverage is best for their location and business environment while connecting them with the right resources.
Are food tours normally conducted by bus or on foot?
Food Tours can be conducted in either format; however it's usually best to conduct walking tours so that participants can absorb the full range of your cities experiences and history. However, rule of thumb varies widely depending on your city / neighborhood walk-ability to key tasting locations. We work with our clients to ensure the best experience possible is obtained to ensure profitability while maximizing their city areas.
How much do your services cost?
We are happy to share our Courses, Products and Services pricing information-- please contact us for more information and we'll provide you with all Pricing Information.
When are Courses available?
Please check our Course Calendar to see an up-to-date Calendar of Events. We offer Courses between March and November of each year. Contact us if you have any questions regarding the current Course Schedule.