Starting a catering business can be a great way to work for yourself and earn a lot of money as a business owner, but there is a lot of work that goes into setting up any business and catering is no exception.
If you want to know how to start a catering business, the first step is creating a business plan as well as a plan of operation. Without a detailed and well designed plan for how you’re going to set up and run your catering business, there’s a good chance of failure or of losing a lot of money when all of it could have been prevented. By following the questions in this article and developing a business plan around the answers you come up with, you will be more likely to succeed.
How to start a catering business
Are you going to be niche or general?
This is one of the major questions you need to ask yourself before starting a catering business. There are many different niches available in the catering industry because there are so many different types of events or celebrations that require catering of some type. This can include weddings, graduation parties, business conferences, anniversary celebrations, or many other events. You can decide to be strictly high end, catering to the less common but much more elegant and high paying jobs, or you can specialize in the more common celebrations that will pop up frequently like birthdays and weddings. Depending on your location, you might even have a particular style that sets you apart, or provide bar services as well.
The “Jack of all trades” route also has its advantages or disadvantages. While you might be more open to providing catering for a wide array of celebrations, you’re probably going to be less likely to win bids on high end catering jobs, or you will need a lot of money for a wide number of employees and equipment which lets you do both types of work. However for smaller towns, being a “Jack of all trades” will probably get you a lot more work and might even help you to nail down an entire geographical area as being “your territory.” Whatever your decision, this is one that needs to be made early on.
How well do you manage?
This is a critical question to answer, and may determine if you need a second manager or assistant manager down the line. A catering business of any size is going to require several employees in order to be successful and the more types of events you cover, the more employees you will probably need and the more ability to manage them. The other issue that comes under management is logistics. Have you ever worked with catering before? Handling all the logistical issues that come with catering is difficult, and if you don’t have any experience in this field, you should volunteer to work for a few catering jobs before even considering opening your own catering business.
Financing and marketing
In a way these go hand in hand. You need to know how you’re going to finance your business, how much cash on hand you have, and how to market yourself to get early work. This will be critical to getting the early cash flow needed to pay for the loans and financing the business.
Many catering businesses also require half the money down for any job, which is always a good policy in case the job gets canceled by the employer at the last minute, and you’ll be stuck with all that food.
Putting together a staff
Another extremely important part of setting up a catering company is putting together a capable and experienced staff. You can’t run a catering company on your own, and you need individuals who have a lot of working experience when it comes to setting up an event, helping to coordinate all the little details of the event being catered, as well as cooks and food storage and movement. Sometimes you might find two or three workers who have a variety of skills which allow them to cover more than one necessary part of the catering set up, while at other times it’s much better to have more workers who each are more niche in their specialized jobs.
All in the menus
No catering company can prosper without having one, or multiple, menus. These should all have delicious food that you, or your cooks, specialize in and therefore which help guarantee that every meal prepared for catering will really stick out and help to build that reputation that you’re looking for in order to get more business. Many good catering companies will have three or four menus to choose from, which is also a plus with many consumers who like being able to think over options before deciding.
As you can tell by this article, a long and detailed business plan goes a long way to making sure that you are ready and prepared. Knowing how to start a catering business often starts with setting up a great plan and putting it into action.
The Demand For Catering
The demand for caterers has been on a constantly increasing and steady rise.
There have been multiple reports released stating that caterers are one for the fastest growing segments of the restaurant industry.
The huge increase in demand for caterers and careering businesses has left a hole in the supply. The rise in the number of weddings, social events, charities, cocktail parties, birthday parties, corporate events and fundraisers are a great indicator that the catering industry will continue to grow in both size and profits.
However, an even more exciting development on the horizon is the emergence of catering companies that are selling individually packaged meals out of their homes and store fronts. This new trend is exploding in popularity and it is pushing the catering industry to a whole new level.
Another contributing factor to the incredible demand for for caters is due to peoples present lifestyles. Instead of sweating over a hot stove for hours on end struggling to prepare a meal for family and friends many people are opting for the simpler tastier and more satisfying option of having there gathering catered.
The increased number of working mothers has also helped push the demand for catering. When it comes down to it the time, energy, and planing is simply to much for them to handle. The better and simpler option is to have their events catered.
Simply put… Caterers are in high demand and the need is only going to continue to grow.