If you have a genuine interest in all things food, buying products, preparing, cooking, presenting what customers can get, and serving group activities, then catering is undoubtedly a good career choice for you. You can also work from home if you want. Many people started their catering business at home before expanding it on a larger scale and building an impressive business.
When you want to learn more about catering, there are lots of online resources, books, TV shows, courses, and more advanced training. But no formal schooling is necessary.
However, to succeed in catering, you must master all the different steps in the business. Below we share some of our best tips on how to start a catering company, set yourself apart from the crowd, and thrive.
Write a Thorough Business Plan
Having an elaborate business plan is extremely important when starting a catering business. Without proper planning, you won’t be able to be successful in this industry. As a first step, you should get a better understanding of the food service landscape, your ideal target market, the latest trends, and the competitors.
Whether you want to establish a private event catering company or a wedding catering company, you must draft a coherent business plan and include customer and competitor research, a financial plan, and cost estimates, and think about your competitive advantages, as well as your core mission and vision.
Create Your Menu
If you plan on opening a catering business and want it to become popular among customers, then you need a well-thought-out concept. Delicious food is not all that counts. You have to look at the whole picture and offer potential guests a holistic gastronomic experience.
Your menu isn’t just a simple price list but one of the most important pillars of advertising. It’s about creating a menu that makes a good first impression and convinces your customers that your business can produce culinary delicacies.
Before starting a catering business, you need to select several dishes to serve. Remember not to offer your customers too many dishes. It will only be troublesome for the customer and can also cause you to lose track of your offer.
Invest time in developing the menu. It can be a good idea to update it according to the season. Customers always want their favorites, but they also like new options.
Another piece of advice is not to forget the nutrition declaration. Certain ingredients must be clearly marked on the menu. To make it practical for yourself and at the same time easier for your customers, you can use symbols with explanations in the fine print.
Obtaining the right business insurance can be a safety net for caterers in case an accident occurs. Even if the state you operate in doesn’t require insurance, obtain as many insurance policies as you will need to protect your assets and avoid getting sued.
The most important type of insurance for a catering business is general liability insurance which will have you covered in case someone claims bodily injuries or property damages as a result of your products, services, or operations.
Have a Good Marketing Strategy
When planning your catering business, include ways to make it popular among new prospects. You can use newspaper ads or visual media as a marketing tool along with the internet. In these days of fierce competition, the right marketing can do wonders for your catering business.
However, today, it takes more than a well-designed website to stand out. Spend time on social media to highlight menus, news, and offers. Studies show that 93% of potential customers check social media and reviews before making a decision.
Appreciate Your Staff
A successful catering business must function well at all levels. This is achieved by making everyone on the staff feel that they’re appreciated and that their work is important. Make sure they know you value their hard work. Set up bonus systems, and incentives and organize fun activities outside of work from time to time. Let them know that your door is always open, both for their concerns and new ideas.
Value Your Customers
Whether your menu includes mini burgers or foie gras, customers deserve the best. Keep your catering business spotless, the staff well-trained, and stick to high quality. Remember, your customers have endless choices, so you have to win them over every time. Do it by earning their loyalty with exceptional service and quality.
Running a catering business means working in a very competitive industry. Your particular business must have a special place in the minds of your customers, and stand out among your competitors. The tips above can help you make your catering business successful, especially if you’re new to the catering world.