Catering business seems always like a good business to start. Food is a basic need. People will always celebrate birthdays. Companies will always host business meetings. The food business is always a good one.
Are you good at customer service?
To start a catering business, you have to ask yourself if you are a patient, humble, reliable, honest and trustworthy person. This business requires reliability, professionalism and great customer service. Without the above attributes, it is difficult to excel in this business. If you are not on time or the food is not good, the unhappy client will tell everyone about it.
Do you have a market?
If you are in a city or municipality with a sizable population, then you have a market. If you live in a place where the population is not so much, maybe this is not the right business for your locality.
Do you have access to fresh produce?
It goes without saying, the freshest ingredients produce the tastiest food. So you must be close to a farmers’ market or grocery to be able to have quick access to fresh vegetables and meat and herbs and spices.
Do you have a kitchen?
Whether the kitchen required by local laws need to be certified or not, you must have a kitchen. This is the center of your catering business operations. And you must have cooks and kitchen staff.
To start a catering business and succeed requires some capital. But the investment is a lot smaller than running a restaurant. You must have a refrigerator, multiple stove tops, LPG tanks and oven. You must have utensils, plates, chafing dish, trolleys, tables and chairs. These must be brand new if you can afford them. Don’t forget pots, pans, ladles and knives.
Invest in a delivery vehicle
A van is usually the best choice for a delivery vehicle. Because of its higher headspace, a van can load a trolley that contains multiple food trays or chafing dish, as they are called. It doesn’t have to be brand new. Always do regular maintenance on your vehicle.
Handle sales and delivery logistics
The work required from getting a sales order to delivery is huge. To succeed in the catering business, one must be reliable. You must be accurate and on time. To minimize mistakes, a good caterer will almost always need technology, like a catering software. The software can do in a couple of minutes what would normally take several hours of manual work, like order recording, invoicing, scheduling, grocery list generation, etc.
Develop your menu
To create a menu is as simple as hitting YouTube. There are very notable experienced chefs that you can learn from. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Shamelessly copying is alright. But always ask your customers if they like the menu. Write down the formula, err, the recipe. This is important to recreate the dish exactly the same, every time. A good catering software can keep the recipe information.
Marketing on social media
To drive sales, you must be willing to advertise. A Facebook page is necessary for your catering business. You can advertise on Facebook and target people in your city or municipality. Or you can go the old fashion way which is to advertise on local radio and/or television.
A website seems necessary as well these days. Connect your website and your Facebook page. Place your phone number and email on your website so potential customers can readily contact you.
You can’t do all of these, so sometimes you need to outsource some. For website building, you can outsource that on sites like Fiverr or GigzPh IT Solutions. For software, a home based catering business will definitely need a catering software that will run on your laptop or desktop.
Thus, to start a catering business and succeed, one has to be good at customer service, one must have a sizable market, one must invest in kitchen and delivery equipment, one must have access to fresh ingredients. Also one has to leverage technology like YouTube to research for menu and recipes, Facebook for advertising, and use a catering software for smooth catering operations.