If you enjoy cooking, baking or hosting parties, starting a catering business could be the ideal way to derive an income from doing something you love. The trouble most people have is decided on where to start as there are several things you need to consider before jumping in.
If you’ve been waiting for a gentle nudge in the right direction, hopefully this guide will provide it.
Dinner or Dessert?
If you don’t have a business idea in mind, you should start by deciding on a type of food. This could be a meal served at a particular time of day, such as lunch, or it could be baking cakes. The theme or idea you choose is going to form the basis of your business.
Your next step is finding out whether there is a significant demand for your services in your area. Starting with friends and relatives, compose a brief questionnaire or survey and share it with them to collate their ideas. They may have been looking for the exact services you intend to offer in the past but couldn’t find anything suitable.
This process will help you decide whether your business idea is a strong one. It’s a good idea to go one step further and conduct research with members of the public who live locally as they will make up the bulk of your custom.
Create a Menu and Trial It
Now it’s time to put your idea to the test by conducting a trial run. We suggest catering for no more than 10 – 15 for your first attempt, making the process far easier to manage. Your trial subjects could again be friends and family as you might have the opportunity to supply the catering for an upcoming birthday party.
Secure a Location
Now you know your idea is in demand and people enjoy your food, it’s time to find a business premises. Operating out of your home is more than acceptable initially but you may quickly find yourself at the stage where you need to upsize and rent commercial premises. Costs will vary but a suitable location should be achievable for a few hundred pounds a month.
Buy Your Catering Supplies and Equipment
As your business grows, so will the requirements for your inventory of equipment. It is at this point that you will need to consider purchasing the type of machinery that will assist you in automating or speeding up the cooking process. Hardware can be purchased from online catering equipment suppliers who will be able to deliver to any location you desire, nationwide. If you’re a baker, a commercial cake mixer is going to make your job much easier.
Once you’ve reached this stage you can continue to grow your business at a pace that is suitable for you. You might decide to enter into new markets such as catering for large corporate events. You could even diversify to the extent that you could cater for a wedding and a children’s birthday party on the same day.