You have a dream of starting and managing your own catering company. You have the drive and a flair for cooking delicious food that is to die for! Now you are doing research about how to run a catering business and you are thinking about if you really have what it takes to manage your own catering business.
As a small business owner, you will have more responsibility and work longer hours than you did as an employee. It’s almost impossible to truly separate your personal life from you business life. Running a small business is a lot of hard work and far more than just a full time job — it’s a lifestyle.
One part of your job will be getting clients and then the second aspect is preparing for and managing the catering job itself. Once the job is booked, there are a lot of details and organizational skills required in order to complete any catered event.
First you will need to get the event basics from your client: What type of event is it? How many people are expected? How formal or casual is the meal? Does the client have a theme in mind and know exactly what type of food they would like to have served? If not, you will be expected provide appropriate menu suggestions based on the event and the client’s budget.
For larger or more formal events, clients usually request a “tasting” to sample the items from the proposed menu. The client is expecting to not only sample the food, but to see the caterer’s presentation skills.
If you and your client are in agreement about the menu, this will be a wonderful experience for both of you. However, some times the food or menu does not match the client’s expectations or perhaps the client has simply changed their mind. Either way, having a few alternative suggestions is always a great idea, plus your client will feel secure in both your abilities as a caterer and the success of her event.
The number of people attending and the formality of an event will help you determine the amount of catering staff will be required for the event. Many catering companies use freelance staff, so it is a good idea to have a list of recommended people you are comfortable working with that you also know are professional and reliable.
For many people, when they think about how to run a catering business, they focus on the food preparation and cooking responsibilities. In fact, many people start catering businesses simply because they love to cook and do not mind doing all the cooking themselves.
As your business grows and you book larger events or multiple events in a short period of time, it is definitely much better to hire additional cooks and also servers who you have trained to make sure the level of serve offered meets your standards.
In addition to meeting with clients, food preparation and staffing, there are a few other details ever caterer must take into consideration. For example, how will you transport the food and equipment to event? Is you current vehicle large enough to handle the job or will you need to consider alternatives?
Prior to the event, you will need to order the ingredients, cooking and serving utensils. The amount of time required to shop for and prepare the food needs to be taken into consideration and you will need to create a schedule to properly manage all of these details. Most caterers are also responsible for at least minimal cleaning after an event, so keep this in mind when deciding upon your staffing requirements.
Now you have a better idea about how to run a catering business. Running a catering business is not difficult, but it does excellent organizational skills and a realistic time line for each event. Creating and managing your own catering business will give you amply opportunity to be both creative and a strong entrepreneurial manager.