Stephen Hall

Stephen F. Hall Speaking at an Event.

Stephen F. Hall is a speaker, coach, and owner of, an online resource and forum dedicated to helping culinary entrepreneurs start a food product business. Hall also wrote a book on the subject titled Sell Your Specialty Food that has been described by O. (The Oprah Magazine) as “The go-to book for any food start up company.”  This morning, Hall joins the program to share his viewpoint on where the specialty food industry is going, the catalysts behind its continued growth, and how to capture a slice of this $83 billion dollar per year market.

There are two main reasons Hall expects continued growth in this category of food for the foreseeable future: 1.) Fickleness of the consumer and change in the national taste. 2.) The failure rate of existing food start-ups. Just because a small food start-up is touted as the next big thing doesn’t mean it will have the longevity to last for even 3 years.

Quotes From The Show

It’s doesn’t do any good if you had the best product at last year’s show… This year they’re going to come around and they’re not going to be satisfied with that. They’re going to ask, what’s new? – Stephen F. Hall on the fickleness of the consumer.

 The failure rate (of food startups) is judged to be about 95% over the first three years, which is horrendous. – Stephen F. Hall on the chances of success in the food industry. 


What You’ll Learn

  • Why gourmet foods and specialty foods mean pretty much the same thing.
  • A definition of specialty food: Food that is not generally available everywhere. Usually, but not always, they are more expensive than other foods in the category.
  • How the internet has transformed the distribution of specialty food items over the past 10 years.
  • The differences between visiting a grocery store chain and a specialty food store.
  • Why retailers might still have a fighting chance against online only food retailers, especially for first time purchases.
  • Discussion of some of the modern trends in eating like The Paleo Diet, Gluten Free, Local and Organic.
  • Advice for marketing your food product
  • Why trying to get your product into grocery store chains is probably unrealistic for your startup.
  • Reasons you might not want to start a specialty food business… Seriously!
  • Why you need to think strategically about launching a food business.
  • The reasons a one-product line usually doesn’t work as business.


Mentioned in This Episode – This is Hall’s website all about starting a specialty food business. You’ll find in-depth articles, an active forum, and even sign-up for his free monthly newsletter at the website. Purchase Hall’s book, Sell Your Specialty Food at

Specialty Food Association – This is a non-profit organization that helps promote the specialty food industry, including entrepreneurs and artisans alike. They have an upcoming event in San Francisco called the Winter Fancy Food Show that runs from January 11-13, 2015.

Mintel – Global market research firms that tracks shifts in consumer behavior. Part of their work includes tracking consumer trends in the food industry.

America’s Small Business Development Center –  Stephen Hall recently gave a 3-hour workshop for this organization on how to succeed in specialty food marketing. Hall shares some of the lessons from his workshop in today’s episode.

Veggie Brothers – Frozen line of vegan vegetarian food based out of New Jersey. Best of all these guys will deliver to your door. This was one of the success story examples Hall mentioned during the program.

Camels and Food Trucks – File this one under random and completely weird news. A new food truck court in Washington has camels. Check the link to read the full news story, including a video of Calypso the camel.

Cuban Pete Sandwiches – Thank you to Yvonne for sharing feedback about your builder at our directory! Check out Cuban Pete Sandwiches for some of the tastiest Cuban sandwiches you’ve ever had.

cuban petes sandwiches

Want to start your own food business?

Hey! 👋I’m Brett Lindenberg, the founder of Food Truck Empire.

We interview successful founders and share the stories behind their food trucks, restaurants, food and beverage brands. By sharing these stories, I want to help others get started.

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