A mixture of apprehension, hope and expectation are what you experience when you are starting a new business. However, this feeling is multiplied many times more when you want to start a catering business. You need permits, but above all, you need to get ready. This is food! People consume them directly. Your food must meet and even exceed the set standards.
When chefs work in restaurants for some time, they may decide to open their restaurants. This is because they have cooking experience and they can manage a professional kitchen. So ask yourself what experience you have. How much do you know about a catering business?
You can never run a business successfully when you do not have the requisite experience. Before you start working on the dynamics of business, you have to know that you will be the greatest asset to your business. The value that you bring to the business matters quite a lot.
Finding a market niche
When you start a catering business and start selling food, you should know that this business is much more than just food. People buy you, the company and the service. While it may look as if the market, especially in the large cities is saturated with catering businesses, the truth is that there is always an underserved segment of the market. You just need to do the footwork to find out what this is so that you can design your products towards that.
You have to understand everything about this business. Why do people go to caterers? Is it because of the food alone? The answer is no. Usually, people are looking for convenience, a means to save money and for the best service. If you are ready to offer them that, they will come.
Some of the niches that you may want to research into include:
- Parties – both children and adults
- Corporate events
- Festivals and related sports
As you identify the market niche, you will also identify underserved customers. For example, you may find that the vegan customer is underserved and therefore decide to include a lot of vegan food in your menu.
Know the health codes you are supposed to meet in your state
There is no need to establish your commercial kitchen only to have it fail to meet the health codes. Visit your county health department to ask for the codebook, so that you can know what standards you have to meet. That way, when the health officers come to inspect your joint, it will pass. You can also ask about all the permits that you are required to have and their cost too.
Make a list of vendors that you are going to work with
You will need to work with vendors. The catering business is more about food. It is like bringing the whole hospitality service right where the customer wants it. Thus, when you are catering for a corporate event, you may even have to bring tablecloths, flowers and centerpieces. It would be a bit hard to provide all these, plus the food on your own. You will need to work with vendors so that they can supply you with China and silverware.
Business plan and funding
You need to create a business plan. If you are borrowing money or you will look for financing partners, you will need a convincing and actionable business plan. You need to know where the money to run the business will come from for the first three to six months. All of these things will be included in the business plan. It is a good idea to save some money to open a catering business, but you can always borrow more to boost your capital.
Marketing the business Establishing a business and failing to market it is like lighting a lamp and then covering it up. Today, marketing has become easy since you can do it on the internet. You need to create a website like https://warmchef.com to reach as many customers as possible. Thankfully, more than 70 percent of catering customers start their search for the best service online. You will need local SEO services to rank your website easily. You may also run a few adverts on the local radio, perhaps even give out fliers to reach as many local people as possible.