It’s one thing to know how to cook and it’s a whole other story to love cooking. If creating savoury meals is something that inspires you, you might have what it takes to start a business in the food industry.
Starting a catering business is usually the thing people go for because it is the least complicated to organize and setup. Still, while it may not be rocket science, there are more than a few things that you need to take care of before you can start distributing your tasty treats and making money. We are here to discuss these essentials and help you get your business up and running with as few mistakes as possible.
1. Finding your niche and establishing a menu
While you may have the skills to tap into any food niche, it is much more effective to focus on the one that you are best at and the one that’s on top in terms of demand. After you have decided on which one you are going to go for, you need to establish a menu which you are going to offer to your customers. Being original counts, but if you go all out and only put your own special recipes on the menu, you are not going to get many customers. Stick to the standards and spice it up with some of your best innovations that are going to make your menu unique.
2. Space and equipment
Make sure you find a space that is clean, has enough space and isn’t a safety hazard. Rent it out or, in case you are intending to work from home, set it up for use. Be realistic with your assessment of the space that you require as well as the equipment you might need. The “we’ll make due” approach isn’t going to cut it, since it can create a production choke point when work starts picking up and this usually leads to poor service and loss of customers.
Word of mouth that your friends and family are going to spread can only get your so far. Marketing is a necessity for any business but luckily, digital marketing is quite affordable for small businesses these days and works quite well for catering businesses. Social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are a foodie’s heaven and all you need to do is some research to tap into the social circles that interest you.
You can share photos of your menu, food samples and even videos where you explain how you prepare your food. Make sure you get a professional to take the photos, at least in the beginning, to ensure that they get the attention of all social media users. You will also need a professional website, preferably with an option to place orders online.
4. Payment options
While some people will have no problem with paying in person and with cash, a lot of them will want to do that with a credit card. This is due to the overall convenience and the fact that a lot of your orders will be placed online. This is why you will need to be able to process the most popular credit cards and you will need to rely on a credit card processor to ensure maximum safety. This is where online reviews with a comparison of credit card processors can help you make the right choice.
Having an adequate delivery vehicle which runs well and also looks decent is also something you need to consider as an essential investment. You might think that a regular van will be enough, but if you want to build up your reputation and tap into high end events, you will need to think about your presentation when you arrive at the location with your food. The way the caterer looks also reflects on the customer and they will surely want to avoid serving their guest food from a shabby looking van.
Take your time and strive to handle everything before you open for business, because it can be a real handful to attempt to juggle preparing food and business management at the same time. Make sure you manage all organizational distraction so that you can worry about the most important thing, pleasing the customers.