If you want to start a business right now whose lucrativeness is certain then the food industry is the place to be. There is a whole chain of fields in the food industry in which you can set up booming businesses. This starts from the actual farming from which various food items are produced. Then the booming aspect is reproduced all along the way to the point food is ingested by a customer under infinite circumstances. So it is interesting to note that anything pertaining to food tends to flourish as a business. Today we are specifically looking at starting a catering business. There is no doubt about the regular holding of different types of events all across the world. It is usually the norm that the majority of these events outsource catering services. So it is definitely a money move to start a catering business and this article will help you start out.
There are obviously numerous approaches you can employ in starting this business. There are two broad categories of markets from which you can choose your area of specialization. These categories further split into endless possible niches and these categories are corporate events and social events. Many events are organized in the corporate world and you can opt to serve that market. Then we have social events which is a huge pool laden with tremendous business prospects. Even better, you can incorporate the two together to become a holistic catering business service provider. You will notice that despite specializing; say on corporate events, you might find yourself diversifying into social events. This is because once you have made a name for your business virtually any client might approach you. Some of the popular types of events are parties, weddings, dinners and so on. By the way, the two broad categories mentioned are inclusive of all possible types of events – remember the types of events are so diverse. Approaches are not only limited to events only though; think outside the box and you will discover interesting and unique markets requiring catering services.
Due to the colossal size of the catering industry it becomes even more critically important to conduct research than other types of businesses. You need to get abreast with how the catering industry works, its trends and characteristic details that are central to business planning. Find out and closely study how existing catering business players are doing it. We are talking about things like services provided, food packages, markets served, pricing regimes and marketing strategies amongst other things. In this age of the internet and social media this can be easily done by looking them up online. Alternatively you visit such service providers to learn about their business structures and models. Even when you attend events or are being served as a customer by a catering business service provider you can always find a way to draw insights on how they operate. If you do this diligently you are rest assured to note ways in which you can build your own catering business with a strong value proposition. You also require a detailed catering business plan.
Make Sure You Have A Comprehensive Catering Business Plan
The failure to plan is the beginning of business failure. The catering business plan must be clear and succinct enough to give your potential partners, clients and investors an overview of what your objectives are. At the same time, it must be detailed enough to explain the operations of the business that you propose. At the very minimum you need to have the following included in your catering business plan:
- The mission, vision and operational strategy
- Market Analysis And Customer Segmentation
- A business case showing that the business is financial viable and sustainable
- A marketing and customer care plan
- An organizational chart and human resource policy
- A three-year expansion outlook
- A risk and rewards Analysis
Location And Premises
Under this aspect we shall discuss some things that essentially stem from how you approach your catering business. There are basically 2 ways in which you can prepare the food that you will serve to your clients. You will either prepare it onsite or offsite. Preparing it offsite implies you will need a working space and that branches off into basically 3 possible options. You can set up a working area at home, you can set up a working area somewhere other than home or your pay to use an already established working space. Operating from home might somehow be cheap but it is not recommended unless you build a professional working area. Bear in mind that catering businesses can be inspected by local or health authorities so it is important to have a standard working area. Generally, preparing offsite requires excellent logistical management to avoid inconveniences for the clients. Preparing the food onsite might be the best considering the elimination of other costs plus providing the food whilst still fresh. At the end of the day you will have to assess and see which approach works best for you. The approaches might not be cast in stone since you might have to alternate amongst them according to the dictates of each new client or scenario you encounter. If you are to establish a fixed working area it must be visible, accessible, clean and distanced from any possible contaminant factors.
There are quite a number of equipment you will need for this business. Examples are working areas (fitted with necessary items such as tables, sinks, taps and so on), freezer units, stoves, ovens, fryers, grills and the like. It is important to acquire or use industrial-grade equipment rather than makeshift with domestic equipment. Especially when the business grows to medium or large scale you will see how important this is. You will also need utensils some of which are knives, spoons, graters, scales, chopping boards, bowls, pots and so on – the list is endless. Transportation vehicles might also be vital for delivery purposes.
Staff And Management
This is dependent on your scale of production and the nature of services and clients you serve. It is apparent that quite a number of people are needed if you are to provide excellent service. Your level of automation will also have a bearing on how many hands on deck you will require.
There is quite a substantial amount of competition in the catering industry. It is going to take an unparalleled level of excellence to outdo your competitors. Some of the ways in which you can make your catering business stand out is by competitive pricing, complementary services, timely and well-prepared menus plus hygiene and being presentable. It is also important to adhere to regulatory requirements which are particularly vital for food-related businesses such as this one.