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Here’s How You Can Start Your Own Catering Business

My Life And Passions By June 12, 2017 No Comments

Love to cook? Do your family and friends go crazy over your food creations? Then perhaps this joy of cooking that you have can be turned into something that can also bring you good money. If you are interested in sharing your food creations with more than just family and friends, here’s how you can start your own catering business.

 

Catering doesn’t just mean that you have to be providing lunches for a large group of business people for some big corporate event. It also doesn’t mean that it requires creating buffets for a huge wedding. Sometimes it’s easier to just go smaller with small intimate dinner parties, desserts with coffee bars, small celebrations and so on. Thinking too big could scare you off when trying to open up your own catering service. So, here’s how you can start your own catering business on a smaller scale.

 

Write Down Everything You Think You’ll Need to Start

Make an inventory of equipment you may already have and then add the items that you think you will need to buy. For example, you may have to buy a separate freezer to freeze food items in or even a bigger dishwasher to handle larger loads. You will need containers that you can transport your food in, serving dishes, something to keep food hot and something to keep them cold when in transport. You also may need to include items such as linens, glassware, china, utensils, and maybe even tables and chairs for some of your events. So, make sure you do your research.

Find a Market Your Competition Has Overlooked

Here’s how you can start your own catering business and make it unique and successful, go after the market niche that seems to have been forgotten or overlooked by your competition. Consider catering for baby showers, wedding showers, engagement parties, birthday parties, small anniversary parties and so on. You also might want to include smaller businesses instead of large corporate organizations that some competitors may have overlooked because of their size. You’d be surprised at how many different people are overlooked by bigger catering companies.

Create Your Menu

Here’s how you can start your own catering business and make it unique, do your research on what your competition is offering on their menus and find out what people really like by simply going around and asking. Then come up with a menu that includes items that other competitors don’t offer on their menus. You will want to base your core menu on what your own specialties are but include what may be missing from others as well as what your local market niche prefers. Also, make sure to price your items to stay competitive and still be able to make a profit from it. Pricing can be tough and you need to base it on where you live, how long it takes to make it, and how much the ingredients cost you in order to figure out your profit margin.

Find Your Vendors

You will need to find just the right vendors that will provide you good prices for the items that you need to run your business. Your vendors are an important part of your business so they need to be trustworthy and reliable. It’s important that you find the right vendors you’ll need for food ingredients, supplies, and even equipment in advance prior to opening up your business.

Figure Out If You Will Need Additional Investments

If you discover that you will not have enough of your own money to start your business here’s how you can start your own catering business with the help of an outside investment. You can go to a bank or a loan company to see if you can get a loan to invest in starting up your catering business. However, you will need to go to them with a business plan.

How to Write Your Business Plan

Your business plan will need to have four to five sections in it and needs to include information on your vision of your business, your estimated start up cost, licensing and your marketing strategy. Here’s how you can start your own catering business with the help of a good business plan.

  1. Start off in the first section of your business plan by describing the kind of food you plan to serve. What type of set-ups you plan to provide such as buffets or serving people at tables. You should also list the types of food like American, German, Italian, etc. Indicate if your service also provides the chairs, tables, table settings and other items.
  2. The second part of your business plan should include how much space you will need to run your catering business. Note whether you will be running it from your home or if you’ll need to rent a commercial space to conduct your business.
  3. The third section needs to include all of the equipment that you are going to need to be able to operate your catering business. This should include counter space, storage space, ovens, freezers, refrigerators, small kitchen items like food processors, pots, pans, utensils, and so on.
  4. The third section can also include all of the permits and/or licenses you will need in order to serve your food to the public. So, it’s important that you’ve done your research on this.
  5. In the fourth section of your business plan you can list all additional start up costs like your insurance, phone, Internet and transportation costs. It’s important that you get in touch with your insurance company in order to get a list of your insurance needs and include this with your business plan.
  6. Finally, in the last section of your business plan you should show your marketing strategy. Make a list of all the ways you you plan to meet potential customers. List the different types of marketing materials that you intend to use such as fliers, business cards, brochures and where you plan to hand these out, such as grocery stores, parks, small businesses, community centers, family restaurants, and others that you might come up with.

Final Note

Once you have done all of this, you will actually need to go out and obtain all the permits and licenses that you will be required to have to open up your business. Once you have finished with that you will want to promote your business through the manner in which you have shown on your business plan.

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My Exciting News

My Life And Passions By December 11, 2014 No Comments

Now, I’ve been waiting all afternoon to tell you this story. It’s a true story on love and I’m so excited about what’s been happening in our lives lately. Yes, I’m including my loving and understanding husband and our little daughter in this inspirational story on how entrepreneurs at home, or not, take good care of themselves. You know, once upon a time, we both had our fill with workplace socializing but enough is enough.

Even with the most stringent discipline in place, it’s not always easy for the workplace supervisor to separate the wheat from the chaff. Also, it’s not always easy for employees to focus on their work when they are surrounded by colleagues they either love or hate. I was quite glad to settle in to my new work from home environment, but let me just tell you as a warning. It can get quite lonely over here sometimes.

I spend most of my working time working from my desk. But not caterers. In the successful catering business, the entrepreneur is going to be surrounded with people she both loves and hates, but mostly that she loves, I would hope. Invariably, she’s going to have helpers in her kitchen. She’s going to be doing a great deal of shopping, visiting her regular meat suppliers and confectioners and fruit and vegetable suppliers, hopefully all organic.

They are all happy to see her and can’t stop thanking her enough for her business. If she is anything like me, then the main reason that she keeps on going back to these regular suppliers is that the quality that they are delivering to her at any one time is premium. Let’s put things to you another way. My desktop work is quite a lonely one by comparison. When anything significant happens on the PC, it’s like talking to a bot.

I’d much rather have a dear little puppy to chat to. So imagine my surprise when in walked Sally with my husband and daughter. Sally is a cross-bred little canine orphan that my husband picked up from the animal welfare center and boy, was she glad to be home free at last. She’s no longer a puppy but she’s still young and artful enough to be taught a few tricks on matters related to discipline and effective communicating with her new miss.

So, by the time my husband has left for work in the morning with our girl, first to drop her off at school, then to head off to work, I would normally have the house to myself. Not anymore. By nature and habit, I am an earlier riser than most human beings, except those who have to prep for the early morning radio shows. Sometimes I miss driving into town when it is still so dark and going for my early morning workout before starting with work proper.

My early morning walkout is with Sally. I need to take a break from my desk every few hours, so this little darling is being spoiled with not one, but three walks. She’s been blessed, I tell you, after being abandoned at the welfare center. Why anyone would want to give her up, I have no idea. I mean, look at her, she’s so cute. Well, she sees enough of me as it is. While I’m typing away furiously at my desktop, she just sits there quietly watching me.

Training this little dude has been a lot easier than we thought. But my husband was thinking of me, knowing full well that I needed some company while sitting at home working all by myself.

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Let Me Tell You A Bit More About Myself

My Life And Passions By October 17, 2014 No Comments

My husband and I once had an interesting debate when we were just getting to know one another. By the time we were happily married for a few years and had our little girl all happily packed off to junior school, we returned to this debate once more. At that time, my husband was well on his way towards starting up his own business at home. Today, he runs his own studio downtown. I was still enjoying my false sense of security that comes from working for a big firm for a great number of years.

While I was sitting cozily behind my desk all those years, my husband was building his first website. He made time to build one for me as well, but unfortunately, I did not have time, heart or desire to spend promoting myself this way. I have since learned that it is necessary to have a rigorous and well-organized program in place whereby you utilize the best online marketing skills being taught to work from home internet-based girls like me.

I am a modest designer of sorts. I purposely down-scaled my work schedules so that I need not wear myself out any longer. This was how it used to be at the agency where I used to work. There were always last-minute deadlines, overtime work, many times over weekends where I would miss my husband and child terribly. I have the advantage that our household is benefiting from two, freelance income streams.

While my husband remains the main breadwinner at this stage, I can focus more on creating more quality in my work as a graphic designer. This has pleasingly led to a few, high-paying projects where I get to spend more time on creating commercial works of art than is usually allowed on average. One of our dearest ex-colleague is now catering for a living. She always loved to cook and after her divorce and spell in rehab, she gave up her job as well, she turned all her attention to making a fulltime living from the catering business.

Before I forget, I need to return to that interesting debate we had on more than one occasion. I argued that we should keep our personal and business lives separate. I must admit that I am rather reserved and value my privacy. But my husband had a different view of this. He wanted his clients to know the personal him. After all, he wanted clients to know and appreciate how artists think and what they endure, even at the best of times.

I’m not a show-boater and neither is my husband. Quite frankly, I hate to be telling my husband that I told you so. His personal touch doesn’t seem to have worked the way he wanted. He hasn’t managed to attract the niche business he has been after for many moons. But he’s a patient man. If I’m not mistaken, he’s already tweaking his next set of moves on his PC. His workstation at home is directly adjacent to mine.

We love spending time together and it can be heartbreaking when we are forced to spend many hours apart from each other due to client and work commitments. Oh, alright, Jon, I’m heart-felt in asking you to forgive me for my abrasiveness in the warm approach you wanted to take with your business. When I think a little longer about this, I think he really is on to something. Let me round this post off by expanding on this theorem.

It is all about improving the quality of one’s life. I already made inroads to doing just that myself. I work shorter hours than I ever did at the agency. The very small basket of clients I am dealing with are an absolute pleasure to service. While they are knowledgeable and discerning in their views, they have the utmost patience when they hear the proverbial words of the erratic and sometimes eccentric artist begging; please give me more time.

And invariably, because they enjoy the work that I deliver, not always happy to do it, they give me more time to work on their projects, even paying me in advance for it.

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Great Motivations For Your Personal And Commercial Kitchen

My Life And Passions By August 11, 2014 No Comments

Both me and my husband, and especially our two little girls, if I can call them both that, are quite lucky. We both love to cook. Over the years, however, we’ve learned to economize and are both strong adherents of sustainable living and doing all things around the house, including the things that help us to pay our bills, as organically as possible. This is something that I believe you should be doing all the time if you are doing catering for a living.

Your commercial kitchen use needs to be optimized to the hilt. This means that all operations are proactively carried out and they are streamlined. Effective use of your commercial kitchen means that you are saving both time and money. How you save time is obvious. You need to innovate and improvise all of the time so that you are able to meet all of your deadlines. You need to manage your production and source/supply time very well indeed.

For instance, if you’re going to be preparing roasts for a formal banquet, you’re going to need your reliable and tried and trusted butcher who is supplying you with premium cuts to be fully on board where time management is concerned. The meat must be fresh to retain its inherent goodness and good communications between caterer and butcher ensures that butcher is able to obtain his preferred carcasses from the hygienically-cleared meat wholesalers that double up as organic mini abattoirs, if that’s making sense to you.

I had to wonder whether we could have got into the catering business, but on the smallest scale possible, if you don’t mind. I wouldn’t have been able to take all of the heat. But perhaps, like in my desktop design business, we could have downscaled and focused on delivering quality. But then again, perhaps not. The catering trade is miles apart from the sanctity of my cozy little nook. Now, why did I think we could have made excellent partners in the catering trade?

Let me see. Well, for starters, as husband and wife, we’ve done well as a team. We’ve shared the workload whenever it became necessary to do so. If one was busy with work, the other would prepare the evening meal, and vice versa. We’ve also got our own organic vegetable garden. A curious waist level garden at that. It saves on old me having to bend over to pick fresh ingredients. It’s also good for being able to spot quality pickings with the naked eye.

If that is not good motivation for you to go green then let me try a little harder. You are working from home, right. You are saving phenomenally well on all cost overheads and you needn’t run, or should I say, drive around wasting valuable carbon footprints. You don’t need to scrounge around frustratingly looking for the freshest organic produce possible because, guess what, it’s already outside of your window.

Yes, that’s quite right. I can see our almost eye-level vegetables growing from my kitchen window. I’ve got an old lemon tree growing back yonder as well. It’s an old tree that just keeps on giving and giving. And until such time as I’ve managed to clear my desk and motivate my own self, I’ll keep on giving and giving lemons to the neighbors and family so the lemons don’t go to waste. You have to be asking yourself right now; just think of all the things this old lady could be doing with these lemons.

You are so very right. My sentiments exactly. But wait, there’s still more to come. How about this. Imagine my surprise when my husband imported a few olive trees for our backyard. This guy let me tell you, he did his research very well. The temperate climate that our neighborhood offered these trees allowed them to grow quite nicely, and quite quickly too. And now there are olives. Just think what a catering business we could have had with all this fresh produce right in our own backyard.

My husband has big plans with these olive trees. He is already researching how he is going to cultivate and produce his own olive oil. Don’t look at me like that. Yes, it can be done. You too can produce such goods at home. To round all good things off, oh my gosh, my mouth is watering now; all things are possible for you at home if you’re in the right imaginative and entrepreneurial frame of mind. It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking stuff but it does your business no harm to tell others that all your hard work has come from the heart and soul of your kitchen and garden.

It does not have to be catering or desktop design. It could be carpentry or horticultural projects, two things my husband has already dabbled in, in his own sweet time, it could be so many things. The sky is the limit. The world is your oyster. The accolades to the things you could do in and around your kitchen will never end.

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Nice To Meet You

My Life And Passions By July 27, 2014 No Comments

Nice of you to all join me. I have very exciting news for you. I would normally say that I can’t wait to tell you this story but I have managed to discipline myself and will be saving that story for my next blog post which I’m sure you will all like. It worked for me, so by the time you read that post, call it then a welcome relief from your normal drudgeries of work. Oh, look at me, what am I saying. Talking about drudgery.

That is not a word in my vocabulary. I mean, you should be enjoying what you do in life. If you are into the catering business or working with knitting needles or clay from which you are making things for the kitchen or for decoration, then, as far as I am concerned, you should be enjoying every moment of your work life.  I read and experienced also that, particularly when there are clashes or conflicts in the work environment, the perceived offender means nothing personal or bears no grudge against the perceived victim.

I mean really, guys. I don’t care what they say about this, business to me is personal. As far as I am concerned, and clients love this about you if you can give it to them, the personal touch works best for me. It should work well for you too. So, enjoy your work and personal life. It will rub off positively on your clients. Say, you are baking cookies and savory snacks for a school function. Apart from your eats being absolutely delicious, what gets you back for another function is your warm and sincere smile.

I was going to tell you a bit about my background and what brought me here to this personal blog, with a touch of business, of course, but have decided to reserve that for a later post. I’m working with other projects as we speak and I never really gave much thought to how I wanted to introduce myself to you all. But consider this opening post to be a bit unique. There is no standard About Me or About Emily Page here.

We get right down to business. And my business is to put a happy smile on your face while coaxing, motivating and encouraging you to get down to business in your first forays of small business development and strategizing how you are going to make good use of your time while working from home. Part of my line of work is, indeed, motivating others to be successful in their lives. Other times, yes, I do that too, I am promoting myself.

This is essential and there’s nothing overly and crassly commercial about doing this. Oops, what have I been saying? Its business as usual. I almost said that it wasn’t meant to be personal, but it is, you see. Okay, so while I’m wrapping up this post, let me briefly introduce you to the next lot. The next post will contain the exciting news. It deals with companionship in the work from home space. The post after that, well, there I’ll be talking about myself.

Then after that, I’m going to motivate you with some ideas for your personal and commercial kitchen.

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