The catering business is just like any other business that requires careful planning to achieve long-term success. Whether you are running it from home, starting a mobile catering business, or planning to run your services from a fixed place, there are many things to consider and plan for so that you can make a profit from your new business venture. Wide range of social and business events are providing an opportunity for caterers to cook up tasty dishes and delicious profits.
Social catering has seen some of the strongest growth in the overall foodservice industry in recent years, and that trend is expected to continue. With catering business, you can get your inside operations down to the wire, but then you have to put it all in a truck and take it someplace to set it up and you could lose control. While you need a commercial location, you can start small and build your equipment inventory as you need to. Enough of my stories, let me go straight to the points.
Steps to Make a Business Plan for Your Catering Business
Choosing a business model that suits you
Each type of catering business model comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. To make sure your business is sustainable for the future, you need to choose the type that best suits your abilities. When it comes to starting or planning for business success your model is essentially your decision about how you intend to add value to the business which is another way of saying how you intend to make money.
The catering business is a pretty simple thing, but I think people planning to start one or even those engaged in running one can overthink it. A business can make and sell its own products and services. This is probably the most common approach. Products and services can be packaged and distributed through a multitude of channels and delivered in physical form, digital form and as one time purchases or ongoing subscriptions. Continue reading
Starting a Home catering business
As long as you have the necessary space, facilities and hygiene in your home, you can use it as a base for your catering business and save on costs. Buying or renting equipment can be a huge investment, so if you already have some of the things necessary for your catering business at home, you can reduce your expenditure when starting up.
But you need to be realistic, however, as you will need a significant amount of space to feed anyone of 50+ people. One small oven and 4 hobs might not be enough to handle your operations. And how about your freezer space? Are you able to keep things cool while storing your own daily food products? Some people opt to repurpose their garages to help with their home catering operations, with the addition of extra refrigeration units and preparation tables.
You need to start a Mobile catering
This is the business of selling prepared food from some sort of vehicle. It is a feature of urban culture in many countries. Mobile catering can be performed using food trucks, trailers, carts and food stand. Many types of foods may be prepared. Mobile catering is also used to provide food to people during times of emergency. Everyone loves street food today.
The growth in street food businesses has contributed to the growing popularity of mobile vans or ‘food trucks’, which are an excellent way to keep your catering business portable. All you need is a good mobile van and the necessary equipment and you can pretty much take jobs across the country, moving your van to various sites such as festivals or sports events. If you choose this option, remember that the space limitations of a mobile van will have an impact on how much you can prepare at any one time.
In addition to being operated as private businesses, mobile catering vehicles are also used after natural disasters to feed people in areas with damaged infrastructure. If you are looking at starting up in the mobile catering business, I will recommend getting a copy of the best selling book: “The Complete Guide to Profitable Catering“. The book is written from over 30 years of experience in the industry and covers everything you need to think about when starting up a business in the catering industry.
The Fixed site catering business
In order to run a successful catering business, you need to consider as much of the enterprise and what it will involve before you start spending your hard-earned money on equipment and food – when you don’t know if your idea will work. Many fine dining professional caterers operate from a specially rented or purchased site, which allows them to keep their work-life separate from their home life. It also offers more storage options and facilities.
If you are investing in some stylish food preparation counters too, it’s not a bad place to bring your clients and show them you are more than capable of turning out high-quality food. Some caterers simply rent out small spaces in business centres or storage facilities to keep all of their dry stock and cooking equipment, bringing it out to sites or events as and when they need it.
Create an Airtight Plan
Whichever type of catering business you have chosen, a business plan is the foundation of any successful catering operation. We’ve outlined some of the important things your plan should detail: Create a business profile for yourself and outline the relevant experience and qualifications you have to run the business. This will also help to win clients when you are pitching to them.
- Identify who will perform the important activities of the business – cooking, serving, marketing, sales etc.
- What is the mission of your catering business, and how is it different from your competitors?
- How will this business be financed? Savings? Loans?
- What equipment do you need? (Chafing trays, Euro containers (600×400) etc.)
- What niche or market will the business focus on? This will inform many other choices for your catering business.
- How does the market look? (Past, present and future)
You need to perform a SWOT analysis
This a strategic planning technique used to help a person or organization identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to business competition or project planning. SWOT analysis is designed for use in the preliminary stages of decision-making processes and can be used as a tool for evaluation of the strategic position of a city or organization.
The analysis is intended to specify the objectives of the business venture or project and identify the internal and external factors that are favourable and unfavourable to achieving those objectives. We always recommend that new business perform a SWOT analysis as part of their business plans. This includes the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats involved in running the operation. This should highlight things like the ways your catering business is better than the competition? And the potential disadvantages that come with running it.
Take a Critical look at your finances
Do not underestimate the impact that an accurate review of your start-up costs and sales forecasts for the year ahead will have on your catering business. Do not just guesstimate, actually outline every single thing that is likely to impact your profitability. If things are simply too tight, it’s better to know now rather than realise a few months into an agreement with a client that you cannot deliver because you do not have enough cash flow.
For food packaging, you can contact Caterbox, a leading supplier of catering boxes and racks, including Euro Containers (600×400). In total, the company stocks over 1,000 different designs and models so there is bound to be the right box or rack for your catering business.