How To Start a Sandwich Delivery Business

Discover how you can start making a good income through making and selling sandwiches. Currently a 2.8 Billion pound market, 20% of sandwiches are brought by workers. Top fillings contain chicken, fish and cheese. Find out much more below.

If you’re wondering how to start a sandwich delivery business please see below for a few facts to help you get started. Many of you know me from starting a mobile catering business, but before this, I also got involved in a sandwich delivery business.

What is a Sandwich Delivery Business?

A sandwich delivery business does exactly what it says on the tin so to speak. It involves the making of and the selling of sandwiches, by delivering them to workers in say office buildings, factories and industrial estates.

The aim is of course to capitalise on the sheer volume of workers in the work place, and the fact that everybody needs to eat lunch! A growing number of workers are now chained to their desks on a daily basis, and a sandwich delivery business may just be the solution for many people. Especially if there aren't any food facilities in the immediate area.

Please also see - interesting facts and figures concerning the UK sandwich industry for more research material This will open a new window, just close window when finished, this page will be still be here and you can continue reading.

How to Get Started?

If you wish to start a sandwich delivery business it’s not too difficult, and a very inexpensive, route to starting out in the food industry. It’s simply a case of making up the sandwiches and building a customer base to purchase the sandwiches.

When I first started down this route, we had a local company deliver fresh rolls/bread and french stick to the house. The only problem was that sometimes, the delivery didn't turn up on time, so we had to rush out to buy these items from the local supermarket, which is not the best solution.

how to start sandwich delivery business

Please note: Just make sure that you have a back up plan for when items don't turn up. Bread needs to be fresh so just make sure to find a reliable supplier.

Menu - Market Your Sandwich Business.

When I first started, we put together a basic menu, that listed the various sandwich fillings, salads, drinks, cakes and other items that were available. We then distributed the menu to local office buildings, factories, garages and industrial estates. This sort of breaks the ice, when you then go to contact those businesses, say a few days or a week later.This is a good way to gauge the market and register potential interest in your new sandwich delivery service.

It’s also worth considering creating a web site so that people can view your menu, contact you, or even make an order online. This may not be for everyone, but a lot of office workers have access to the Internet which could be a bonus and help increase sales.

What Do I Need?

Apart from the essential food items, you will require the following to start a sandwich delivery business:

  • Packaging Materials: Sandwiches will need to be sealed to keep them fresh for as long as possible, and carry the relevant labeling
  • Transport: Whether it be a car, jiffy truck, a van or even a bicycle, you will require to deliver the sandwiches to their final destination. The chosen method of transport will obviously require sufficient room to carry the food
  • Coolers: To keep the cold items cold
  • Large Baskets or Trays: To display your wares to potential customers
  • Office Equipment: To help you keep track of your orders
  • A Sign for Your Vehicle: To ensure you do not miss out on the opportunity to market your new sandwich delivery service to other potential customers.

What License Do I Need to Get Started?

This all depends on you and what you want to achieve. You can easily start a sandwich delivery business from home if you wish to go down this route, or hire a suitable commercial premises from which to make the sandwich/rolls. You will require to adhere to Food Safety Regulations as set out by the Environmental Health Service, contact council for full details if unsure.

Although this may sound somewhat daunting to any individual just starting out in the food industry, there is really nothing to cause undue concern. The vast majority of the regulations are simply common sense, and refer to food hygiene. You should register your premises with the Environmental Health Service at your Local Authority at least 28 days before you intend to start trading. In addition, you will require to gain a Food Hygiene Qualification.

Please Note: If you intend to make sandwiches at home in your own kitchen you need to  inform the Environmental Health Department and they will tell you what you need in terms of equipment or changes, mainly common sense things like covered bins, fridge temperatures, hand washing etc

It would also be a good idea to take out liability insurance when you start a sandwich deliver business to cover yourself in the unfortunate event that someone suffers from food poisoning as a result of consuming your food items.

What Sandwiches Sell the Best?

There are no best selling sandwiches, but we did a little research and found out that the top percentage of fillings that are sold in the UK contain: 1 chicken, 2  fish, tuna prawns, and 3. Cheese as such, as it is entirely dependent on your target audience. It is therefore essential that you conduct the necessary market research before you start a sandwich deliver business.

Some areas to cover include:

  • Are your potential customers likely to purchase lunch on a daily basis, or do they normally regard a sandwich delivery service as something they treat themselves to towards the end of a working week?

  • What is the typical spend likely to be?

  • Is there a market for different types of breads such as flat breads, wraps, ciabattas, paninis and bagels, or should you stick to plain and simple sandwiches and rolls?

  • Is there a gap in the market and an actual demand for say locally sourced organic produce? If so, are your potential customers likely to pay extra for such ingredients?

  • Is there a demand for other products? For example salads and fruit, salads should sell well in the summer months, and hot foods may be a winner during those blustery cold days.

  • Is there a demand for ancillary items such as hot and cold drinks, loose fruits, yogurts, danish pastries, cookies, confectionery, crisps and cereal bars?

How to Make the Sandwiches?

There is nothing worse than a soggy sandwich, or indeed a stale one! All sandwiches should therefore be prepared fresh that morning and delivered during the run up to lunchtime. Whether or not you wish to offer a made to order service or whether you wish to concentrate on selling pre packed sandwiches and rolls when you start a sandwich deliver business is entirely up to you.

Please Note: Food can only be out of a refrigerator for up to four hours which means your sandwich making and delivery procedures have to be as efficient as possible; otherwise you will need a refrigerated vehicle.

Other Business Matters To Consider

As is the case with any business it is of vital importance that you register the fact that you have started trading with HM Revenue and Customs. You may in the first instance wish to register as a self employed individual, and monitor as to whether or not you wish to change the business entity as your business grows.

When you start a sandwich delivery business it’s mainly going to be a cash business and you will have to ensure that you have the relevant administrative procedures in place to record all incoming and outgoings. The need for such procedures cannot be stressed enough.

If you require assistance with such matters you will be able to employ the services of an competent accountant. Or if you prefer, you can start off by doing your own accounts, HMRC have helpful packs that will help you to do this.

Tips and Advice

Although we have already established the basics, if you want to start a sandwich delivery business, below are additional tips and advice for you to take on board:

  1. Do not underestimate the time it will take to make up your sandwiches. You will need to be up and on the go, very early in the morning! You will of course be pleased to note that you will get quicker with experience and as a result of trial and error. If you are not a morning person, this may not be for you.

  2. It may be far easier and less time consuming to opt initially for making up a selection of pre packed sandwiches and rolls and taking them round the various establishments as opposed to jumping straight in with a made to order service.

  3. As a starting point it may be wise to stick to the more traditional fillings such as ham and cheese, and include a couple of supposedly more exotic options for fillings such as feta cheese and sun dried tomato. Cold drinks and loose fruits are also easy items to carry.

  4. Shop around for the best and tastiest ingredients. You may find that certain supermarkets have the best selection of meats and cheeses, whereas you prefer the bakery’s own bread and rolls. I would recommend that you try all of the products that you buy for quality and taste.

  5. If you are selling face to face it is only necessary to package the sandwiches and label them with a handwritten label. If you wish to consider pre selling to shops, garages and other establishments you will require to have proper food labeling in place.

  6. It is not essential that you go out and purchase a van in the first instance. Refrigerated vans are expensive, and you can look to make such a purchase as your business expands and warrants such expenditure.

  7. Try to plan your sandwich delivery route in the most time efficient manner, and always be on time.

  8. As a general rule you will want to make the acquaintance of receptionists who can announce your arrival at companies and office managers who can spread the word about your service.

  9. When parking at business premises try to ensure that you are parking in a public parking place which is in close proximity to your final destination. By using the business premises’ parking facilities you are effectively trespassing on private property.

  10. Remember that the competition may not be pleased with your arrival on the scene.

Pros and Cons

  • An easy and inexpensive route to getting started in the food industry.

  • Can be started from your own home.

  • The opportunity to meet a large number of people throughout the course of the day.

  • The monetary rewards can be quite substantial for a business into which many individuals can enter without any real experience

  • The potential for business growth as and when you decide. Ideas include buffet platters for business customers, a fleet of sandwich delivery vans or your very own sandwich shop.


  • There may be a significant amount of competition.
  • The need to adhere to Food Safety Regulations.
  • Organisation and time is of the essence. Your procedures have to be timed almost down to the last second.
  • You will experience some knock backs. Do not expect everyone to welcome you with open arms.
  • A early start is required as preparation can be time consuming.

I will end by saying that when I started this business, it was a sort of joint effort with a business partner, and it’s from here that I really got excited about starting a mobile catering business. But this little business was great, as you didn’t need that much start up capital. The only real outlay was the food itself and if you delivered it quick enough, a normal car/van will do the job just fine.

Let me know if you have any further questions or if you need further advice or help.

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