The first four things to consider when starting a mobile food business are:
These four questions help answer each other and it may feel like you’ll be working on answering them all at the same time! You need to know what you want to make before choosing your MFF, where you can prep/cook the food and then clean and store your MFF. For example, if you want a truck, but can’t get it approved where you’d like to sell, you may have to choose a cart instead. Understanding and getting your desired location approved can be tricky, so this is something you need to know BEFORE you purchase any equipment or start the entire permitting process.
For more information, click here to download the Food Hustle Guide: A Step-by-Step Instruction Booklet: How to Start a Mobile or Cottage Food Business in Oakland
Andrea Ozzuna, owner and baker of Wooden Table Baking Co., grew up in Buenos Aires and learned how to cook from her grandmother. Since there wasn’t much Argentinian food around when she moved to Oakland, that’s what she decided to make and sell. After several years of hard work, her alfajores are currently available online and at more than 30 retail locations.
Why did you decide to start your business?
I always wanted to have my own business since I was at least 18 years old. I’ve always had it in me, but I guess it was dormant. The opportunity came when I got laid off a geology job in 2010. I knew working in an office wasn’t for me, but that’s all I knew. That’s when life took me to explore. I realized having my own business was what I was meant to do. It makes me happy.
Describe the process of starting and growing your business.
I enrolled in the Women’s Initiative class to write my business plan. While taking the classes, I started making and selling alfajores made from my grandmother’s recipe. The business plan was for a coffee shop with alfajores sold in the cafe. I realized I needed a lot more money to start a coffee shop. I figured I had to start doing something until I got money for the coffee shop. I love making Argentinean food, so I started making alfajores and empanadas. After a little while, I realized I liked focusing more on one product so I picked the sweets! And that’s how everything started:)
I started selling to coffee shops in the San Francisco. I went to each coffee shop and left samples. From all the samples I left, some called me back and responded well to my product, so they were my first clients
I grew the business mostly by offering our alfajores to stores, giving samples, being persistent and respectful at the same time.
What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned along the way?
It is very important to get advice and to surround yourself with friends who love you and support you. Mistakes happen. We learn from them and move on.
Do you have any advice for small business owners who are just starting out?
Do what makes you happy. When things get hard, ask yourself: Would you do something else? If the answer is no, that’s a great sign you are on the right path. Work with integrity, be respectful of your clients and our helpers. Adapt to changes. Be open and listen. And most importantly, enjoy yourself.
What can you do now? Write a letter Send an email to or call Oakland Planning Commissioners Attend the Planning Commission Meeting on April 15th and let them know you support ! OFPC’s recommendation for … read more
All meetings are the 3rd Thursday!
4/16/2015: 5:00PM-7:00PM: 1000 Broadway Blvd, 5th fl, Rm B. 5:00PM-7:00PM
5/21/2015: 5:00PM-7:00PM: 1000 Broadway Blvd, 5th fl, Rm B. 5:00PM-7:00PM
6/18/2015: 5:00PM-7:00PM: 1000 Broadway Blvd, 5th fl, Rm B. 5:00PM-7:00PM
In the past year, the Oakland Food Policy Council celebrated our fifth anniversary and several significant accomplishments. Our wins are wins for all the people of Oakland and we look forward to another year of working with our community to … read more