If you are talented in the kitchen and enjoy cooking for others, you might have already considered a career in the hospitality and catering industry. Working as a professional chef can be exciting, but not everyone enjoys working in the traditional kitchen setting. If you also have ambitions to run a business, you might have thought about starting a catering company and utilizing your previous experience in this industry to make your business work.
Why a catering company and not a restaurant? While the latter can also be an exciting venture, starting as a catering company initially can help to keep overhead costs down and give your business more opportunities to flourish. Leasing a restaurant space can come at high costs, and with the additional expenses, it can be hard to get enough customers in to keep your restaurant up and running. Therefore, a catering business might be the best way to go if you want a more low-risk approach to your start-up in the culinary and hospitality industry.
If this sounds like something you are ready to take a chance on as a budding entrepreneur and a master cook, then here are some tips you might find useful to help you get started.
Who is Your Target Demographic?
A good place to start is to think about the core customer base you will want to cater to, such as corporate events, weddings, private parties, etc. You can cater to a variety of different clients, but having some idea of where you would like to start can help, and this could also make it easier to come up with suitable branding and marketing strategies for your business as well.
Do some research and consider your experience to determine which client base would be ideal for your catering company.
Writing a Business Plan
As with any new business venture, having a smart plan to work from is crucial. Take the time to carry out your market research, as well as consider what your start-up costs will be. This will include things such as costs of equipment, any space you might need for food prep before events, staff wages, and any relevant licenses and health and safety courses you might need to achieve to operate.
You will also need to look at your estimated profit margins based on the rates you will charge your customers against your overheads. This business plan will be necessary if you intend to apply for business loans from either a bank or private investor, so make sure you take the time to perfect it before you present it for financial support.
Finding a Suitable Place to Operate From
Catering companies tend to travel to different locations for their clients, but you will still need to find somewhere to prepare food to take to the event you are catering to. Some venues might have facilities you can use, but do look for a base your company can operate from.
This could be your home if you have a large enough kitchen or are willing to build a professional kitchen space on your property if you have the room on your land to do so. Alternatively, leasing an area that you can safely kit out with catering equipment and ovens is also an option.
The Right Equipment
You will need the right utensils to prepare food for the masses, including mixers, blenders, trays, cake tins, knives, whisks, and so forth. In addition to having all the necessary tools to cook with, you must have appropriate attire when cooking and serving your food to guests. You can check out a wide range of high-quality chef and serving staff uniforms, including personalized chef aprons from Chefworks.com.
As well as finding somewhere suitable to run your catering business, you will also need to find good transportation to carry everything you need from venue to venue. This will include trucks that can keep food refrigerated at safe temperatures and have space for any equipment you will need to take with you.
This includes things like tables and chairs if this will be part of the package you will offer clients. A fleet of vehicles may be necessary, depending on the size of your operations, and you might want to have them branded for a professional finish.
Food trucks are another thing to consider as part of your business, as these have increased in popularity in recent years. Many events might prefer having food trucks present as this can add a fun touch to festivities that guests will love. You could also use your food trucks to promote your business at other places like food markets and festivals, which will also be an additional source of income for you.
If you are interested in starting a catering company, consider the tips above and see if they can help you start shaping your business plan and help your venture be successful.