So many people dream of one day owning their own restaurant. It’s the perfect cocktail for those that love food, enjoy providing a service and have a business brain cell ticking away. But, if you are one of these big dreamers, you may find starting out in the catering business is a far better option to explore. You get to grow your brand in the same way, just with fewer overheads, employees hired on an event by event basis and a much higher success rate as a result.
Now, the secret ingredients to running a successful catering business are talent, determination and perseverance. They can increase the odds of anyone wanting to be a success story. But these alone won’t cut the mustard, so to speak, which is why we have pulled together a few tips and tricks to help you get started.
1. Excel With Experience
Going into the catering game without first-hand experience spells disaster. Experience is absolutely essential. It is getting an understanding of what is required, what makes an event a success, what people like, where stresses arise and, most importantly, whether it is something you really want to do. Long hours on your feet isn’t for everyone.
2. The Art of Pricing
Businesses only succeed if they turn a profit, which is why you need to be on top of your finances. You need to know what your costs are when it comes to renting equipment, renting a commercial space, logistics, ingredients, staff and everything, and then price your food and service accordingly. Success doesn’t make a loss.
3. Appear Professional
No matter how you market yourself, you need to look professional. In every sense, you need to look professional. That could mean getting branded chef jackets from Crooked Brook, it could mean taking website inspiration from other caterers, such as Katering, and only hiring staff that have waiting and serving experience so that you don’t look inexperienced or unprofessional – even if it is your first gig. Perception is reality, remember that.
4. Obtain Approval
All those venues that host events – corporate, weddings, parties, functions etc. – will have an approved list of vendors, especially catering businesses. Most of the time, only services that are on this list are allowed to use their facilities. You need to get on that list. It is the best way to start building up a client base maintain your business. When someone books a venue, 90% of the time they will ask for recommendations, which is when that list sings.
5. Never Stop Networking
Event planners are hired for a reason; they make the organizers job infinitely easier to do. They pull the strings. As we said above, it could be weddings, events, functions or anything. A great way to launch your business is to start working with these planners, and a great way to be their chosen caterer is to a) wow them with your service and b) give them a discount. Think of this as their commission for bringing you onboard.