Food Business Start-up Boot Camp

What are your food dreams?

To start a catering or food retail business, launch a new restaurant concept … or a retail brand?

You love food, you can cook and bake (maybe you’ve been professionally trained), make jam or charcuterie and friends are always telling you how delicious your food is.

Or perhaps you’re ‘a year in’ and the signs are promising, but you need help establishing whether your business is truly viable.

So setting up a food business  can’t be that hard, can it?

… but this is not just about creating, cooking or baking, owning a food business is about running a business.

How prepared are you for the challenges this will bring?

It’s what I understand really well and I would love to help YOU!

I’m passionate about good food, made and sold with integrity and imagination. I bring a practical business focused perspective on the niche food sector and start-up knowledge. As well as a helping hand because I know that starting a business can be a scary and lonely journey and you can spend a considerable time floundering.

This workshop is for people who love food and are serious about turning their passion into a viable business.

Delivered with fun and depth of knowledge over two days, this weekend workshop is a combination of inspired talks, exercises and informal discussions, giving you the chance to ask the questions that really matter to you.

Get the skinny on product and concept development, market research, start-up funding, how to get stocked, dealing with the competition, getting word out and much more.

Each weekend workshop is kept small and intimate – with a maximum of 15 delegates – so that everyone can benefit from my personal time and input.

You will take away tools and insights which form an invaluable resource in you first year of trading and beyond.

  • What skills, knowledge and personal qualities do you need?
  • Generating a business idea
  • An overview of the current issues, trends, opportunities and threats facing the food sector
  • Drafting a business plan
  • Working out how much money you will need and when you will need it: revenue forecasting and budgeting
  • Developing a marketing strategy: identifying and understanding your customers, how to use social media and PR
  • Deciding on the best legal structure for your business
  • How to control your business: records you need to keep, controlling overheads
  • Playing by the rules: food hygiene & safety, environmental health, insurance

Both days start at 10am and you can arrive any time from 9:30am. Teas, coffees, biscuits and cold drinks will be waiting for you! We aim to finish at 4:30pm each day.  Lunch featuring delicious local produce and afternoon tea with home-made cake are included.

Cost: £395

The Groucho Club in Soho, London on  8-9 November 2014

Book a place or register your interest here

I look forward to meeting you!

Read here what past delegates have said:

‘Fantastic course. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!’

‘Thanks again for the weekend – my head is now buzzing with ideas!’

‘Really really helpful. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in starting a food business’.

‘Monique is very knowledgeable and freely shares her expertise’.

‘Great course – thoroughly enjoyed it! It gave me an overview of what is needed.’

‘Very strong workshop’

‘Very helpful as it is focused on the food industry. I have taken other start-up courses before but this was more helpful as it was industry specific.’

‘Monique is fantastic. Incredibly knowledgeable and puts across useful and relevant information very clearly and succinctly. Very inspirational. It’s been a privilege to spend time with her!’

‘Meeting and speaking with people who have actually done this was really helpful and eye opening in terms of what they’ve been through’.

‘Loads of information and food for thought. It has helped me to start to re-think my ideas’.

‘Very useful: it has given me all the info on what I need to think about. Thank you’.

‘Really liked all of it. The venue really supported the experience’.

‘Monique is knowledgeable and very approachable’.

‘The way in which the topics were discussed was done in a interesting way that made it relevant to all food businesses’.

‘Guest speakers had some really insightful comments. Very interesting to learn from them’.

‘Monique: great style, really enjoyed it and would recommend you!’

‘The momentum of the course was very good, all of it very interesting and relevant’.

‘Key learning point: keep cash flow under control, split responsibilities and let those who know best do their best’.

‘Loved it!’









14 Responses to Food Business Start-up Boot Camp

  1. Liz knight says:

    I think I need your boot camp! I’m a year in and have lots of promising signs
    But need some help in that important business of a business plan! Would you consider running a boot camp in the Abergavenny area?many thanks, liz knight

    • admin says:

      Hi Liz,
      Thanks for your note and interest in my food business start-up boot camp.
      Yes, a business should be steered from the dashboard … and a business plan helps you to articulate + break down your business activities into measurable goals.
      I’d love to host the workshop in Abergavenny provided there is sufficient interest!
      Somerset and Suffolk are confirmed locations so far, with dates in London, Oxfordshire and somewhere up North (possibly Nottinghamshire) to follow.
      Please check the website for updates – and follow me on Twitter @Monique-Borst.
      Have a good week, best

  2. Jessica Darnell & Lucy Newell says:

    We are also a year in and going well, but need help with “where do wee go from here”? And how to progress?
    Would boot camp suit us or maybe have thoughts of doing a follow up.
    Would love to know your thoughts.

    Regards Jessica Darnell

    • admin says:

      Hi Jessica & Lucy, lovely to hear from you! The ‘boot camp’ is aimed at people who can cook, bake, pickle, preserve … and are wondering if they can their passion for food/hobby into a viable business. They may be holding down a day job and run a market stall at the weekend an are thinking about taking the plunge. As you will have noticed in your 1st year of trading, running and growing a business require different skills from starting a business! The ‘boot camp’ may suit you, depending on where you are in the development of the busines and how solid the business foundations are: I will e-mail you to find out a bit more. I am considering running a series of ‘How to Grow Your Business’ weekends later this year, to help people take their business to the next level. Covering business planning (getting ready to grow), growing your people + the right kind of customers, growing your finances. If that’s too far away, there is always to option of working with me 1-2-1 in the meantime. Like Sally above, you may wish to check out the Skills Funding Agency may be able to support you financially. Best, Monique

  3. Sally says:

    Hi Monique
    Love the look of your course & it would be very useful – problem our newly-formed co-op has is lack of funds! I noticed you have day rates for other 2 day courses – will that be the case with the april one? We have worked on initial drafts of business plan etc – we really need to know the bit about food hygiene certs etc
    In 3 years you will be able to host courses at our venue in an Essex barn, near Stansted airport!

    • admin says:

      Hi Sally, thank you for getting in touch! I’m pleased to hear you love the look of the ‘boot camp’ which I’m running at 3 different locations (so far): Somerset (March), Suffolk (April) and Nottinghamshire (May) all priced at £295 pp for the weekend. Suffolk, Food Safari’s fabulous new HQ ‘Brick Kiln Barn’ would be most convenient for where you are based The Skills Funding Agency are making grants available for support with organisational strategy + leadership skills. One of my consultancy clients recently successfully applied for a grant (£ for £ match-funding) to work with me. Not sure if the ‘boot camp’ would qualify? I’ll e-mail you the details and look forward to hearing more about your co-op venue in an Essex barn. Best, Monique

  4. Laura Washburn says:

    Hi Monique,

    We met at a few GFW events last year. I’m thinking of starting my own food business; I’ve already got a shop! And a ‘concept’. But other than that, not a clue how to go ahead. Is your boot camp the right thing, or do I need something else?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.


    • Monique says:

      Hi Laura,

      Is this ‘The French Country Table’ Laura?
      Great to hear from you!

      Thank you for getting in touch and your interest in my ‘boot camp’.
      With a shop AND a concept already in place, this weekend workshop can really help you to hit the ground running.

      The ethos of the ‘boot camp’ is to offer would-be entrepreneurs and those who’ve recently started up, the space and tools to develop their personal skills at the same time as developing and testing their food business idea.

      You will

      • Increase your awareness of your own business environment, including identifying opportunities and understanding your own attitudes and barriers to moving forward.

      • Find out how well you know your market. Learn that your customers really aren’t ‘everyone’ and how by developing your understanding of your customers and competitors to give your good idea the best chance of being seen and being heard.

      • Look at costing and pricing your product or service. How do you work out how much to charge? Whether you are selling a product or providing a service this session helps you to decide on a clear structure for your pricing policy.

      • How to work out if you’re business is financially viable: sources of finance, what is the business’ breakeven point, how much money do you need to survive, when will you make a profit.

      • How to stay on the right side of the law: the minimum standards for premises, personal hygiene and food safety, licensing, insurance.

      • Learn more about writing a realistic business plan and planning those all important next steps.

      Groups are small, 12 delegates maximum, so there is plenty of opportunity to ask the questions that really matter to you.

      I trust this answers your question, but feel free to drop me a note at

      With best wishes,


  5. Pingback: My 5 takeaways from yet another great Escape the City event

    • Monique says:

      Hello, thanks for having me yesterday! I enjoyed meeting so many would-be foodpreneurs. Judging by the waiting list, you’ve struck a real chord with this event. Best, Monique

  6. Sunita Patel says:

    Hi Monique,

    I have tried to look at the Skills funding Agency site with regards to possible match funding that you mentioned above, cant find any information so if you have some contact details I would be really grateful if you were able to send them to me.

    Best wishes,
    Sunita x

    • Monique says:

      Hello Sunita, thanks for your note. I will reply via email. Best, Monique PS: do I take it as read that your other half hasn’t taken the hint … ;)?

  7. Barry Honeycombe says:

    Monique – I saw you speak at the Start-up food event in London. I’m very interested in your course. My food business is based on no-added fat, whole-food, plant-based nutrition and is not exactly mainstream. Before I give up my well-paid job in analytic sales, I want to know if i have a viable business. I also probably need a kick to do something rather than planning and bloging – as i have yet to sell my food!

    Would your course be useful? From what i have seen it would appear so, but do not want to commit if it’s not a good match.

    • Monique says:

      Hi, your story is very familiar. I know from experience that would-be foodpreneurs can spend a long time floundering, caught up in analysis paralysis. The ‘food business start-up boot camp’ will give you that proverbial kick up the pants as well as the insights and tools to accelerate your progress. I’ve helped many people turn their passion for food into a business and would love to support you too. If you email me I will send you registration details for the forthcoming October workshop. Best, Monique

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