This article has been updated in June 2022 (originally published January 2015).
Opening a juice business seems pretty straight forward.
You make juice, and you sell it. Easy money.
Well, there are some things you need to figure out before everything can be open and operating. After working with hundreds of new juice companies, I have compiled a short list of tips and resources that will keep you from running into many common issues.
How to Start a Juice Business: 5 Tips
1. Know your local health laws concerning raw juice.
The laws concerning raw juice vary greatly by region.
For example, in the US, the FDA states that raw juice can be sold directly to consumers via retail or delivery, but not wholesale to third parties that are going to resell it. If you want to sell wholesale, you need to process the juice by either heat pasteurization or HPP.
There is a lot of debate about whether HPP juice is “raw” or not, but in my opinion it most certainly is not. The only people I’ve ever met that say it’s raw are companies that either use HPP on their products, or manufacture the HPP equipment. And by the way, there’s not necessarily anything wrong with HPP juice, it just isn’t raw and may have been made weeks ago instead of today or yesterday.
Pro tip: There isn’t any law or regulation that requires that juice companies actually tell you that the juice has been process with HPP or pasteurization. If you prefer raw juice, buy it from a place you trust, like your local juice bar!
You can, however, make the juice in a central location and sell it through multiple store locations if your company owns both the production facility and the stores. This is still considered direct to consumer. For example, you can make juice at Location 1, and sell it at both Location 1 and Location 2. (That is what the federal law says, but local / state laws may be different.)
Japan has the strictest laws I have seen. A business has to make raw juice at the same location it is sold, period. Compare this to countries like Australia and China where there is virtually no regulation on raw juice, and companies are free to wholesale as they wish. I expect some of the regions with the more relaxed laws will begin to shift towards stricter regulations in the near future as raw juice becomes more popular.
The easiest and best way to learn about health regulations is to contact your local health department. Don’t be scared, they are usually pretty nice people and very helpful.
2. Decide which business model you’re going to use.
There are 4 basic business models in a juice business:
- Delivery only, taking orders online
- Brick and mortar / juice bar, selling it direct to the end customer
- Wholesale, selling to grocery markets
Each business model has its pros and cons. Decide which type of business you want to run, and get together the funding you need. Regardless of which business model you choose, it’s important to choose so you know where to spend your energy.
In 2022, we are seeing many companies actually start their juice business from home. With modern technology like delivery apps and website builders like Shopify, it’s easier than ever getting up and running with a little home business.
Pro tip: Start with delivery or a juice bar, but aim for eventually offering the consumer several options for buying your product, also known as an omni-channel business.
3. Get the right equipment
Set yourself up for success. Invest in the right juice bar equipment for your business. It is absolutely essential to use a real commercial cold press juicer, and not a centrifugal or masticating juicer. Many brands market there equipment as “cold press” when there’s actually no press component at all. To learn more check out the the difference in types of juicers.
It may be tempting to save money on something cheaper, but remember that the juicer is the heart of your business and your success depends on it. It is the single most important investment you will make.
4. Have an expert on your team
If you’re getting into the juice industry for the first time, make sure you have someone on your team that is an expert. An expert can be someone that has managed a similar business to yours. It’s okay if it’s not exactly juice. If you’re starting a juice bar, you can hire a good restaurant / food and beverage manager. If you’re starting wholesale juice business, find someone with experience in managing a juice or other wholesale beverage business.
If you don’t have anyone on your team, you should at the very least have an advisor you can talk to regularly, whether it’s a friend, an investor, or a consultant.
A good consultant can help jumpstart your plans. She or he can help you develop recipes and train your staff on equipment. Check out our consulting packages for more info.
5. Know your numbers:
It may be tempting to throw every super-food known to man into every bottle, but unless you live in an area where people will pay $25 per bottle, a business isn’t sustainable that way.
The cost of the ingredients that you put into every bottle should be no more than 25%-30% of the final price of the product. For more information, read my article on calculating food costs for cold pressed juice.
In addition to food cost, you need to manage your labor costs, packaging costs, and overhead to be in line with your sales. You wither need to know these numbers yourself, or have someone on your team that can keep track and give you easy to understand reports.
6. (Bonus) Keep Your Menu Small
Start with a small menu, and expand from there. I recommend starting with no more than 7 juice recipes. Once you’ve been selling juice for a while, drop the worst sellers and experiment with new recipes.
If you need help coming up with unique recipes, pick up a copy of the Juicing Companion juicing book.
Resources to Help You Start Your Juice Bar or Business
Here are a handful of resources to help you on your juicing journey:
- Follow this blog. Add your email to our list using the form below.
- Attend JuiceCon, the only conference for juicing professionals.
- Read more about FDA laws concerning raw juice.
- For customized consulting services, contact Ari Sexner.
- For a quote on juice equipment and for a product demonstration, contact us.
And here are a few free articles that cover essential info for juice business operators: