Catering business is one of the businesses that I encourage people to go into, especially those who are skilled in preparing good meals.
According to Wikipedia, Catering is the business of providing food service at a remote site or a site such as a hotel, hospital, pub, aircraft, cruise ship, park, filming site or studio, entertainment site, or event venue and a caterer is someone who provides this service.
The need for caterers will continue to increase as people become busier and as people look for easier and better ways of doing things. Caterers are contracted in companies to provide staff lunch every working day, caterers are contracted to provide meals, cakes, and a variety of dishes at thousands of events, parties, business meetings, clubs and even weddings and occasions , caterers are contracted to provide many indoor and outdoor services that you can think about when it has to do with food and professional caterers take the stress and burden of preparing and serving meals at events off the shoulders of the organizers of the events.
You can do your catering services part-time while keeping your day job. This can serve as a way of providing additional income to you. I know a lady who was struggling financially working as a high school teacher but when she trained to be a caterer, she was at first combining her teaching job and her catering services. But at some point, as her catering business grew, she had to resign from her teaching job to focus on her catering services business and she is doing just fine financially today.
This article explains the steps to take for all those interested in opening catering services business.
1. Write your business plan for the business.
This is always the first step before starting any business. The catering business is vast, therefore in your business plan you should identify your chosen niche and how you wish to meet the needs of your clients, the financial estimates of the materials and other costs you will need, how you will realize the funds and your marketing strategy for business.
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2. Get trained.
I always recommend this step as it is very important. Catering services is a professional service and has to be done professionally if you want to really do well in the business. Go to a catering school and enroll for a 6 or 1-year course in catering. An alternative is to look for a good caterer around your locality that you can pay to work with so that you can learn the business. Even if you follow option B, I usually recommend that you periodically attend crash courses on catering as this will help you to get updated with modern trends in the business. Also, it will also help you to be addressed as a professional. I know a skilled caterer, who missed a catering contract with a state government just because she had no professional catering certificate to present during the bid for the contract.
3. Get the basic materials
This is a flexible business and so you can rent your materials when you are starting out in the business if you don’t have the required capital to purchase your own materials. However, work towards procuring you own materials as this is cheaper in the long run. The basic materials needed in this business include: cooking pots, plates, spoons, trays, bowls, knifes, catering trays and food boxes, coolers, chopping boards, oven, serving utensils, catering plate and glass racks, table decorations, table top accessories, linens and table coverings, uniforms for cooks and waitresses, hand gloves, refrigerator, garbage bags for dirty linen, micro wave, Deep freezers, mixers, delivery van, blender, cooling van, rolling carts, dispensers, foil etc.
4. Get an office space
You can start this business from home initially, but you should work towards having your own office where your clients can come to book for your services and from where you would prepare your products. Having your catering business office will advertise your business, make it more accessible to customers and make the business more professional.
The office space should well spacious so as to enable you to keep your materials and also prepare your products. It should also be accessible to your customers. A good office place should have good toilet and running water and sanitary equipment, so as to ensure good hygiene.
5. Make your product menu
Make a list of all the meals that you can prepare and the prices that you will offer them to your clients. This will help you to know your current capacity which will give room for continuous improvement. It will also help you to be focused on delivering what you can do best and also help your customers to see at a glance what your products, service and prices are without much explanation.
6. Choose a name for your catering business & register it.
Choosing a business name distinguishes your business from others and helps you to build and grow your brand. Register the business name with the corporate affairs commission so that name won’t be used by another business.
7. Advertise your services.
Spread the word about what you do, your services, products and your business location. No matter how good your product is, without good marketing, you will hardly succeed. Print business cards, flyers and banners, and if you have the resources, you can also advertise in magazines, TV, radio etc. Whatever you do, just bear in mind that good advertisement is key and should be deliberately embarked upon to grow your business.
8. Recruit competent personnel
You can begin this business alone. However, as you grow and as the demand for your product increases, you will need the help of others. Choose staff that are experienced and are well cultured. Also, as time goes on, try to train your staff periodically so that they can be well updated on the modern trends in the business. Ensure that you staff are aware of your business mission and ethics and seek their commitment to your business goals and vision.
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