How To Start An Empanada Business (2024) Step By Step

Do you want to start an empanada business and find a detailed guide to follow the right path? You’re in the right place.

Empanada business can be profitable; here are some advantages;

  • Demanding and popular food item
  • The low initial investment required
  • Growing market potential
  • You can be your own boss.
  • Start and create a brand identity.

Many enthusiasts want to turn their passion for empanadas into a thriving venture; if you are struggling to find the right path for starting, then our blog post can be helpful.

If you love empanadas and want to get started, in this guide, we’ve got you covered all the steps of this business; follow our guide to learn the process.

Are you ready? Let’s jump into the details. 

How to start an empanada business

empanada business

1. Plan your empanada business.

Before planning to open an empanada shop or restaurant, first of all, estimate the initial and ongoing startup budget.

You can set up the business depending on your budget.

Calculate the expenses before you make your financial decision better.

This business can be started (as a restaurant, food truck, and stall at a farmer’s market), as it requires a simple inventory setup and basic supplies (ingredients, cooking equipment, shop setup supplies, etc).

However, it is not possible to start all at the same time, so you need to choose any of the business models and prepare for it to get started.

How much does it cost to start an empanada business?

First up, figure out what you need for your empanada shop. Write it down in a notebook – think ingredients, kitchen staff, space rent, and more.

Once you’ve got your list, estimate how much it’ll all cost.

No matter whether you are opening a restaurant/shop or want to start a food truck, estimating the initial and ongoing expenses is a must.

If we estimate the initial startup cost to be at least $5,000-$15,000, it still depends on your business plan, location, facilities, size of the operation, and many other factors.

Here are some requirements that include:

  • Inventory (ingredients)
  • Rent/Lease (retail space or food truck)
  • Kitchen equipment and supplies
  • Point-of-Sale (POS) System
  • Licenses and Permits
  • Shop designing or renovation
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Professional fees (lawyer, accountant)

Ongoing operating expenses:

  • Rent/Lease
  • Utilities
  • Labor Costs
  • Ingredients and Supplies
  • Marketing
  • Insurance Premiums
  • Maintenance
  • POS System Fees
  • Taxes
  • Contingency Fund

Fund your business:

To start the business requires some initial capital to get started.

Once you’ve calculated the startup cost, next need to find the sources to get funding.

You can use your own savings (that’s self-funding), ask friends or family for help, check out what the government offers, or even explore loans, crowdfunding, or investors.

business loan
  • Personal sources: Personal savings, Home equity loan, etc.
  • Traditional financing sources: Small business loans from banks or credit unions and SBA loans
  • Government grants and programs
  • Alternative options: Crowdfunding, angel investors, venture capitalists, etc. 

2. Research on market competition

When you are planning to start an empanada business, the first and most important step is conducting market research; it helps to understand the target market competition, demand, and growth potential of the target market.

To understand your business, the best method is SWOT analysis.

SWOT analysis is used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a business; here is a SWOT analysis for the business:

  • Strengths: Unique products, versatility, low overhead costs
  • Weaknesses: Limited menu, limited customer base, food safety concerns
  • Opportunities: Diversify product offerings, expand locations, catering, and events
  • Threats: Competition, economic downturn, changing consumer preferences

Identify your target market:

Analyze the local area to better connect with potential customers. For selling empanadas, first of all, identify who will be your target customers (students, adults, children, youngsters, families, etc).

Your potential customers can be:

  • Busy professionals
  • Street food enthusiasts
  • Health-conscious consumers
  • Latin American communities
  • College students
  • Young professionals
  • Families with children
  • Tourists and travelers

You need to understand their need and preferences to make better service for them.

Also, it helps you decide what kind of empanadas you should sell.

You can study the market demographic to focus on potential customers (such as age, income, gender, location, lifestyle, interest, preferences, etc).

Research on your competitors:

Once you find your customers, next find out your competitors, their service, food quality, customers’ reviews on their service, and their pricing structure.

Don’t forget to create your unique selling point to provide better service than your competitors and come up with a special twist to stand out in the market.

So think about what you should focus on to do better than others:

  • Tasty empanada
  • House-made fillings
  • Creative flavors
  • Small batch
  • Healthy options
  • Fresh and quality ingredients
  • Varieties of menu options

3. Write your business plan.

business plan

To start the empanada business on the right path and to make it successful, need to create a well-thought, researched, and detailed business plan.

This business plan should cover all operational requirements and strategies of your business, including your goals, customer service, legalities, products, staffing, marketing plan, fundraising, branding, online ordering services, etc.

A business plan serves as a roadmap for achieving your objectives and outlines the steps required to make your idea a reality.

Writing a business plan is not as hard as you think, you can easily create, focus on primary business operation, and outline all the required points.

A business plan should include:

  • Executive summary
  • Business description
  • Market analysis
  • Creating a menu
  • Products and service
  • Staffing (employees/team)
  • Choosing a location
  • Legalities
  • Marketing Plan
  • Brand building (Name and logo)
  • Online ordering

By keeping those points in mind, write about them and how you get started or grow your business; hopefully the points are useful.

Resources for writing a business plan:

  • Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • Bplans is a website that provides templates, sample plans, and expert advice.
  • LivePlan: It is a popular business plan software (offers templates, financial tools, and other features).

4. Create a proper menu of empanadas.

Take a step and create a menu for your business, empanadas with their different texture, flavors, toppings, and ingredients for offering to your customers.

To attract potential customers, having a proper menu chart is important because every customer has their own preference to make a purchase.

If you offer only one variety of empanada flavors, tastes, and textures, your customers will lose interest in your shop after a few days.

But if you serve with different flavors, tastes, and ingredients, then you will be able to attract more customers and convert them to regular customers.

So, for creating a menu, focus on flavors filling (meat, vegetarian, vegan, sweet), pricing (depending on ingredients, market pricing, and customer), then take high-quality images to prepare a display board for your shop.

5. Decide your business location.

You need to select the perfect location for opening your empanada shop, where you will get more foot traffic, where there are more chances of getting potential customer and a pre-existing location where already many established restaurant or food shop are serving their services.

Before deciding on the location, check the foot traffic and analyze your target audience, competition, facilities, zoning regulations, and accessibility of suppliers.

To pick a prime spot, consider the points:

  • Foot traffic
  • Target audience
  • Competition
  • Facilities
  • Zoning regulations
  • Supplier accessibility
  • Cost (for buy or rent)
  • Future growth potential

You can set up your empanada shop near urban neighborhood areas, business districts, tourist places, schools, hospitals, colleges, malls, restaurants, etc.

6. Business registration and legalities

Considering the legalities (choosing a legal structure, registering a business, obtaining licenses and permits, getting EIN) are the most important for running a startup legally.

No matter your business size and operation, you need to follow your state, country, and local regulations to operate the business.

Choose a business structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation) that will affect your taxes, liability protection, and business operations.

Consult a legal attorney or accountant to select the suitable business structure, and they also help in understanding the ownership as well as legal requirements for the business.

  • Business License
  • Food service license
  • Tax registration
  • Business Insurance
  • Health and safety regulations
  • Zoning requirements

If you want to learn more about business legalities, check the U.S SBA (Small Business Administration) website.

7. Purchase the equipment and supplies.

To operate an empanada shop lot of equipment and supplies are required, such as making, serving, cutting, frying, storage, etc.

If you are going to use a commercial kitchen setup for large-scale empanada production, you may need to invest more money to buy those supplies.

Buy high-quality equipment from a reputed or established supplier; when buying, do proper research, compare the pricing, consider the best brand, and make your purchase.

  • Dough mixer.
  • Empanada Maker Machine
  • Dough roller.
  • Commercial oven or deep fryer.
  • Mixing bowls and utensils.
  • Cutting boards and knives.
  • Food storage containers.
  • Packaging materials (boxes, bags, labels, etc.).
  • Cleaning supplies (sanitizer, degreaser, towels, etc.).

You can buy a commercial empanada machine to save time and improve the productivity and efficiency of your empanada production.

Dough mixer

Commercial oven

Empanada maker

Buy equipment and kitchen supplies from the best places:

Retail suppliers: You can buy equipments and supplies for your shop from local brick and mortar store, as well wholesaler and reputed retailers.

Online retailer: For buying equipment or supplies online, you can consider Amazon, Walmart, Target, eBay, WebstaurantStore, and Restaurant Depot like platforms.

Factors that should be considered when buying:

  • Determine your business size and operation.
  • Find the best brand for buying equipment and supplies.
  • Check the product pricing, quality, and customer reviews.
  • Compare the prices in both local and online markets.
  • Understand the safety precautions and use of kitchen supplies.

Before making purchesing decision, consider the need, budget, quality, fetures, brand repuration, supplier reputation, return policy, warranty, energy efficiency, and maintenance.

Also, buy quality and fresh ingredients to make the dishes more tasty and healthy.

For the dough:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Butter
  • Egg

For the filling:

  • Meat (beef, chicken, pork, or seafood)
  • Vegetables (onions, carrots, peppers, potatoes, etc.)
  • Spices (cumin, chili powder, paprika, etc.)
  • Broth
  • Olive oil

Additional ingredients:

  • Egg wash (to seal the empanadas)
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)
  • Baking sheet (for baking)
  • Cheese, olives, hard-boiled eggs (optional)
  • Connect with local farmers to buy fresh and quality ingredients (for vegetables).
  • Connect with suppliers from farmer’s markets to buy (beef, chicken, pork) like ingredients.
  • Grocery store: you can buy basic ingredients such as (flour, butter, salt, sugar) from local grocery stores.

8. Hire staff and employees to manage

Staffing is essential for managing a business, so don’t forget to hire a skilled and good staff for your empanada shop. To provide good customer service, having a team is a must.

Hire employees and enroll them in their special roles (depending on their skills):

  • Cashier
  • Server
  • Busser
  • Cook
  • Dishwasher
  • Manager
  • Kitchen Assistant

Cooks:

You need to hire a cook to prepare professional & tasty food that helps to create your brand; also, your cooks will be responsible for preparing the best empanadas.

Making empanada require a few processes (mixing the dough, preparing the filling, and assembling the empanadas). In this case, you can also hire some employees to help the cooks with their work.

Servers:

For taking orders, serving food to customers, receiving payments, or managing that type of work, you need to hire a qualified person who has experience in providing good customer service with good communication skills.

Here are some steps for hiring staff or employees:

  • Identify your staffing needs.
  • Create a job description.
  • Advertise your open position.
  • Review applications of the candidates.
  • Conduct interviews with them.
  • Check their background history.
  • Hire and train your staff.

Find interested and passionate individuals who are eligible and have a passion for providing great customer service.

9. Market your business

Marketing and promotion is the primary part of business success and growth, so you need the right marketing strategy to create a good customer base for selling an empanada.

If you want to promote your business with the right marketing strategy and want to build a strong brand in the market, the first thing you have to do is;

  • Understand your target customer.
  • Know their preferences and need
  • Create a market plan to reach out to them.

First, you should Identify those customers; who are the people you want to reach? Research according to demographics such as age, gender, location, interests, and purchasing habits.

Having a strong online presence is essential; create a website for your business and use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to engage with customers and promote your products.

Choose a good name for branding:

Choose a good name for your business that should be a good representation of the product (empanadas); the name should be attractive and memorable for the customer.

With a short, attractive, and simple name, you can easily promote your service through word-of-mouth marketing, using local SEO techniques, and creating a network with local customers.

Create a professional website:

A professional website can help you in creating a strong online presence in the digital world, and also it can differentiate you from the market, and stand out from the crowd.

By creating a website, you can optimize service for targeting the local market and online market; it helps to engage your audience.

Target local customers from Search engines (like Google & Bing); in Google, you can get the option for listing local stores/shops on this platform.

Google My Business

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you grow an empanada business?

You can grow your business by expanding menu offerings, increasing marketing efforts, providing online ordering services, and improving your customer experience.

How long do empanadas last?

Empanadas typically last 2-3 days in a refrigerator; still, ingredients, preservatives, and storage conditions are dependent.

How long do empanadas last in the freezer?

Empanadas can last up to 6 months in the freezer, but it is not healthy for our health, so you make sure not to store empanadas for more days in the freezer.

How to sell empanadas from Home?

To sell empanadas from Home, you can partner with popular online ordering platforms like Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, etc. First of all, create a plan to start, buy proper ingredients and equipment, prepare the best quality ingredients, and market your service to reach out to customers.

How Much to sell empanadas for?

You can charge $1 to $2 for an empanada, depending on the ingredients and market price.

Conclusion

Empanadas are delicious and traditional food from Latin America and other countries.

They are usually filled with meat, cheese, vegetables, or seafood. If you want to start a business in your city and local area, then you must follow our given steps.

We’ve covered many steps that need to be considered; follow them and open your shop.

Proper research, planning, dedication, marketing plan, hard work, and preparing the right strategy are essential to being a successful entrepreneur.

Hopefully, the post is helpful; still, if you have any other questions, then comment below.

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Siddhant is the founder of this Guide Businesses blog. As a Founder and Lead Writer at GuideBusinesses, his insightful articles guide entrepreneurs toward success. Siddhant's passion for knowledge and dedication to building successful ventures and guiding beginners to provide the right path.

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Disclaimer: This guide is made to provide a general roadmap and guidance to get started a business, plush inspiration for you to start a business of your own. Our blog post is intended for general guidance. So, recommended to consult professionals for specific financial and legal advice. However, our contents are well researched and written by experts and professionals.

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