STARTING A CATERING BUSINESS
Adding Catering Services to a Restaurant, Bar, Club or Hotel is Easy and Profitably Lucrative!
Whether you plan to cater out of your parent’s kitchen or out of a five star steak and lobster house, startup costs are relatively minimal. An existing restaurant, bar, hotel or motel does not need a separate office to sell catering or separate phone lines; not at the beginning. Just use your same phone numbers add a page and some blurbs to your existing website and use the office printer to print off your first menus and literature. Post some signs around the restaurant or club put a few flyers on every customer’s windshield wipers in your parking lot and up and down both sides of the nearby streets and WALLA!…You are a CATERER!
*Use the money you make from the first orders to upgrade.
Home Based Catering Services
If you are planning to cater out of your own house or apartment kitchen, start-up costs are minimal too. Just pick an out of the way corner like in the basement or you could even make room for a desk and a file cabinet in your bedroom. Set up computer and a printer and you got your first office. You will need to buy some equipment and supplies so clean out part of the garage to make room for a large freezer and you might want to add a separate refrigerator from your household refrig.
If you do not have the extra room at home, there are plenty of local restaurants, bars, clubs and hotels who would love to make some extra money renting you some space and the use of part of their kitchen until you grow your business to the next stage. Of course your goal will be to eventually lease or buy your own kitchen with your profits but sometimes you have to start with baby steps which is not a bad thing. Slow and steady wins the race! Do not laugh, I know plenty of people who started catering businesses from their homes who have grown into multi-million dollar food service operations of varied types. There is money in them there hills!
Many of you reading this are managers, chefs bartenders and even waitresses who dream of opening your own restaurants and clubs someday. Catering is the easiest and least expensive food service startup operation there is. Starting a catering service from your home can be your big break into self-employed independence. You can begin slowly, only working on your days and time off and you do not even have to quit your regular day job until the company is off the ground and running strong enough to carry your full salary and expenses.
That being said, you can also spend thousands of dollars on fancy kitchen and serving equipment right out of the gate, if you want to, but why? With a catering biz you should never plan too far ahead because you cannot predict when your company is going to a take a decisive turn in its operation of business. Once you begin to get a few orders under your belt your customer base and their needs will decide a big part the direction in which your company grows. You may land a big account like a school or government program that needs meals delivered a couple times a week, for a six month or year contract. That is when you will want to have the money to invest in the equipment that will help you handle that account easier or more profitably.
Now of course I am not suggesting you should place all your eggs in one basket. You leave yourself vulnerable if you rely on only one or two accounts for all your business. Just start slow, take advantage of the fact that a catering company can be started up on a shoe string. Try to spend as little as possible and use assets and stuff you already have until money is coming in then you will have a better idea of what to invest in purchasing.
So as new caterers, we will need to order some business cards and print up some catering menus that we can start giving out.
Paper work and book keeping should be done by hand at first. Later we can invest in the correct catering software program that best fits our type of clients and catering gigs. For now we make do.
Remember there are rental services for renting all the equipment you cannot afford to purchase out right in the beginning. Add the rent fee to your price bids and get at least half of your money as a deposit, if not all up of the money upfront and you’ll have all the funds on hand you need to handle any catering gig that comes your way. Insisting on getting your money upfront allows you to compete with the big boy caterers using your clients’ funds. If paying in advance is an issue for a client and it seems like it is going to be a deal breaker, it is better to sweeten the deal by throwing in a few extra free services to entice the client with a better reason to pay in advance, rather than you risking being stiffed for the bill after throwing a huge shindig. Always getting at least half upfront to cover your expenses is not a rule of thumb it is MANDATORY!
*Catering Sales Tips would be happy to mentor you or your organization on how to start up your catering company, find more and more catering clients, set up a cutting edge marketing strategy and tutor you on how to utilizing innovative low cost catering business promotional methods to spur revenues. Check out our consulting page to see all the services we offer. To learn how we can help you grow a profitable catering business fast. Contact us for a free consultation: firstname.lastname@example.org