A catering business entails preparing and the delivery of food prepared for the purpose of an event or to a client.
There is however a distinction between a catering business and a restaurant as a catering business does not have an establishment where a customer can come to eat.
It is a business you can be run from your home or you can have an office outside your home which would also include a meeting room or space where people can come and make their orders or enquiries.
Catering Business – Type Of Catering Business
When you want to start a catering business, it’s imperative to decide what type of services you plan to provide, and if you do or do not propose to concentrate in a particular aspect of the industry.
As there are various aspects in the catering industry. Therefore you can either provide a wide range of choices or concentrate on an area of specialty. You must however carve a niche for yourself
There is the special event catering which many successful catering businesses are involved in. This involves providing the catering for special events such as
- birthday parties,
- corporate events and
- all forms of large scale celebrations.
In this type of catering you must be prepared to work weekends as most events are fixed for weekend periods and you will need to hire workers that will help in making your catering service a smooth one. This is catering on a large scale basis.
Starting A Catering Business – Video Guide
Catering Business – Other Types Of Catering Business
The other type of catering service is the industrial catering service. Here you will be providing
catering services for :
- company meetings,
- training sessions and
- other work related events.
This is typically small scale when compared to the special event catering and it is mainly during the week that these services will be needed.
To make this a success however, you should make use of direct mail or telemarketing to make contact and also tell your friends and relations who work in companies that you offer catering services.
School Catering Business Services
There is also school catering which involves providing lunch to students on a daily basis. These kinds of schools do not have on-site cafeterias.
To however be involved in this form of catering you will need to go to various schools that lack on-site cafeterias and find out the requirements to be a vendor.
You will need to be aware of nutritional guidelines for providing meals for students in your vicinity.
The final type of catering service you can venture into is the ”meals to go” catering service for people who are somewhat busy or really do not like cooking.
This will involve cooking and serving them in ready made packs which they can just put in the microwave to warm.
This can either be done by taking orders and delivering or having a mobile van or truck designed to carry food which moves from place to another.
Examples of mobile caterers are vendors at festivals, fairs and farmers’ markets, meals-to-go services and parking-lot vendors.
If you are interested in mobile catering, you may want to learn more about concessions, since these two areas often overlap. You will however need to refrigerate the meals so that they can just put them in the microwave when ready and to preserve it.
Catering Business – What You Will Need To Start
You do not require a large initial investment to start a catering business. You can keep your costs low at first by starting small and later expanding. Note that a catering business is not influenced by decline in the economy.
In a recession or boom, there is always a market for catering as there will always be parties, business lunches and meetings, birthday parties, wedding receptions and more. However the number one benefit of a catering business is that you get paid for loving to cook and you get to be your own boss.
To start a catering business, you will need to choose a proper office if you want to start on a large scale but starting at home as a beginner is advisable so as to measure your success and readiness for the business.
Catering Business Equipments You Will need
You will also need to purchase basic equipments you need which includes
- plates of all sizes,
- serving utensils,
- display trays and
- canopies for outdoor events.
Determine if you want to use disposable items, like chafing dishes with liquid fuel burners, or if you will depend upon having an electrical outlet at the site for heating and cooling your offerings.
You should however note that you should only purchase the equipments that are applicable to you after which you have decided what specialty in the industry you want to go for.
Before starting your catering business, you’ll need to check state, zoning and local laws. Ensure you register you business and that you get all the necessary licenses needed to run a catering business.
It might not be fun or easy getting everything set up legally, but starting a catering business illegally is a terrible idea.
Decide on your brand, choose a name and then create your identity.
Don’t rush through the branding process as it is important step in determining a successful take-off and maintenance of your catering business. The point is to keep your name and service in front of your potential customers as much as possible.
You will also need a business plan for your catering business as this will help you focus. A business plan is an outline for a successful business start-up. However a good business plan is as a result of careful study and hard work.
Your business plan should explicitly explain how your catering business will operate, how it will be structured and managed, how you intend to finance it, and how much profit you will make.
If you need to borrow cash to start your catering business, your business plan is what potential investors and lenders will use to make their decision.
Though it may seem perfect for you to be a caterer because of your cookery skills, there’s one more characteristic that as a caterer you must possess which is the skill of servicing people.
A catering business is not only about making food as a chef can do that, it is about quality service.
This is why catering is different from owning a restaurant; In a restaurant business 70% of the business deals with the food and the other 30% is customer service.
In the catering industry, it’s quite the opposite; Service is extremely important. Of course, the food has to be good, but the service has to be better.
You can be the best chef in the world but you can’t be the best caterer if you don’t know how to get along with people as your catering business will inevitably fail.
Thorough planning and management will also make your business a successful one.
Note that learning on the job never ends; you should continually research and keep learning new ways to improve your business when you start.
Catering Business – What Next?
If you are really serious about starting up your own catering business… you will need to further educate yourself!
You can do this by reading books, attending start up seminars on catering business and checking out valuable sites
You will find below some more information and some recommended books on catering business that you might want to take a look at:
- Click here to see List of some of the best selling books on the catering business that has also been recommended by other readers
- Some videos posted in relation to the catering business
- Professional catering equipments For Sale
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