If you love food and fancy setting up your own catering company, it’s essential to come up with a unique and realistic business plan that will help get your idea off the ground. Starting a new empire from scratch isn’t easy, but it can be done, so whether you want to cater for large corporate events or small dinner parties, here’s how to get started.
Write down what you’ll need
Before diving headfirst into the catering industry you must first make sure you’ve all the necessary equipment to get your company off the ground. This will include utensils such as wooden spoons, whisks, silverware, pots and pans and other basic kitchen items as well as health and safety essentials such as cleaning/hand care equipment. This is all readily available from the likes of Brosch Direct. Your inventory list might be bigger than you think but once you’ve noted down what you need you can start thinking of how much it’s all going to cost you and set a realistic budget.
It’s worth bearing in mind that small businesses such as mobile caterers will probably need less equipment than larger-scale firms specialising in weddings, birthday parties and other big celebrations, so this might influence what route you want to go down.
Choose a niche market and do your research
All good businesses start with an idea, but for your company to be successful you should know exactly who you want to target. Finding a niche market, for instance, is a great way to stand out from the crowd and will help you excel in an area that your competition might have overlooked – but you’ll have to do your research to find your place in the industry. Don’t be afraid to talk to people in the business already to discover what works (and what doesn’t) and perhaps use one of the many online survey tools to find out what people in your area/region like to eat on a regular basis – or what they are looking for in terms of catering services.
Determine a menu
As a catering company, you’ll need a menu that satisfies your target market. If, for instance, you feel there’s a need for a mobile Italian catering service, it’s important to prepare a list of dishes in advance based on your specialities and market research. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, however. Stick with what you know, do it well and your customers should be happy. Don’t forget to keep your prices competitive, but always work out how much you need to charge per event/dish in order to make a profit. Careful calculations are required, so spend a good amount of time working out the figures. There are many pricing tips online that should give you a better idea of what to do.
Get the right license
In order to carry out any ‘food operations’ including selling food, cooking food, storing/handling food, preparing food and distributing food, you’ll need to contact the council to register your business. You must register all premises where you carry out food operations, including your home, and mobile or temporary premises such as stalls and vans. What’s more, your premises may need to be inspected before you’re legally allowed to start your business.
There are many things to consider before starting a catering company but with the right frame of mind and dedication you can make a success out of it.