If you are a great cook and you want to become financially independent, you should consider launching your catering business. Here are 10 tips on how to become a catering business owner and how serviis.com can help you.
- Develop a business plan. Before launching any business, you should build a business plan. Your business plan should describe what type of caterer you would like to be, how you are planning to price your service, how you are planning to market your service, how to distribute, and how to operate. The key would be also to build some financials to understand the funding requirements and your future returns. Having a proper planning is key to launch a business. As an entrepreneur, you should consider having a long term plan, your vision, and a daily plan for your operations.
- Gain some catering experience. Three options you should consider: working for an established caterer for at least a year, recruiting someone that has worked for a caterer, or getting some training from specialised company/expert. Learning the tricks and shortcuts of a catering business is important to realise the complexity being a caterer.
- Get all licenses and approvals required. Before launching, you need to be aware of all regulatory requirements, safety and health requirements. You should make sure you get all the required licenses.
- Find a licensed kitchen and rent catering equipment. Now if you are ready to start, you should find a licensed kitchen in your area, and ask about renting a kitchen space by the hour or by the day. Try to keep this cost variable at the start of your business. An alternative is to start small and use your kitchen. It is also important that you rent all the catering equipment, track, tables, chairs, etc that you need for events or your food delivery. You may need at this stage to update your business plan with the actual costs of renting of the kitchen and equipment.
- Define your menu and prices. As any other business, you should define your service offerings in detail, and in the case of caterer, you should define your menu. As a start-up, you should consider having a simple menu with a limited number of variations and to focus on specific clients. For example, if you know that the Indian population in your area is large, you should consider focusing on Indian food and having very few variations for all the different courses. Another important step is to define your price. You should make sure that the number of hours that you put in each event or service, the renting of the kitchen and equipment and the raw materials are fully covered by your price.
- Market your catering service. This is a very crucial step to make sure you get the business running. Start to promote your services to family and friends. Those will be a good tester for your new business.Then you should start to promote your business to event venues, event planners and wedding planners. Most of the event professionals recommend to their clients their own network of caterers. You should provide to those people incentives to recommend you instead of any other caterer in their portfolio. So give them discounts or commissions to bring you more business.You should also promote the business on social channels. E.g., facebook, twitter and Instagram. However, you should not talk about your business but position yourself as an expert in catering providing tips on how to cook, how to prepare some courses and key tips on health and safety.
Be part of an association of caterer, it also helps.
- Innovate. This is your core skill. Food should be considered a piece of art for you. You should always be innovative in the way you prepare and present your product. Presenting a dish is becoming also very crucial in a catering business.You should also pay a lot of attention on the raw materials you buy. If the raw materials are poor, the quality of your dishes will be poor. Observe all health and food safety procedures in preparing your dishes. It may be useful to get some food safety and health training to learn what to do and what not to.
- Protect yourself. You should protect your business by having insurance covering all people and assets that can be affected by your service. This can be an unwanted cost but will allow you to work without thinking about the potential issues.
- Manage your financials closely. It is important that you manage your profit and loss for each service you provide. It is also important to control your cash flow. One of the tips is to pay your suppliers at 30 days and collect cash from your customers in advance before delivering the service. Catering is a business as any other business and you need to keep track of your revenues, expenses and paperwork. There are very simple financial software you can buy for 10 USD per month.
- Grow at your own pace. Finally, you should consider starting small and gradually growing your business. Becoming an entrepreneur is not an easy journey, but it is very rewarding. At serviis.com we are here to support you in this journey in multiple ways: providing tips, providing our online platform to market your business, building an online presence and supporting you in identifying the professionals required to support you.