Taking the plunge into the business world is a choice that many individuals make, and the food arena is one with a number of avenues to explore. From sharpening up your skills to buying furniture, you’ll need to take certain steps to ensure the business is a lasting success.
Without professionalism in the catering field, you’re likely to have a lot of trouble getting noticed. Before you attend to the financial end of opening a business, make sure you have professionals on your team. For example, if you are in-charge of the business marketing and sales, then you need to hire a team of excellent chefs. On the other hand, when you are on the one making food in the kitchen, you, or someone involved with your company, must be on the business end of things. These elements will help to make you a credible business from the start.
Receive Financial Backing
Most people do not have the money to open up a business out of their pockets, and as a result, you may need to take out a loan. In the time leading up to your application, work to establish a positive financial situation for yourself. Individuals who have low credit scores may have a difficult time getting approved for a loan. Be careful about the amount of loan you take. When you are unsure about the future of your business, opting to start out with smaller operations might be a wise idea so that you are not underwater on a loan.
Find a Niche
Chances are, other catering companies exist in your area, so you want to start figuring out what sets you apart from them at the very beginning. For example, you might offer a certain type of ethnic cuisine or maybe you specialize in preparing foods for people of certain religious backgrounds. You could also offer all types of catering to expand your audience, but craft special packages with food and drinks that set you apart from the rest. Finding your space in the catering world is important in standing out from the competition.
Define Your Target Audience
As you are determining where you fit in with catering businesses in the area, you’ll start to clearly see the people who will make up your target audience. You might be catering toward a more upscale clientele, or you might specialize in affordable choices for children’s birthday parties. Whatever the case may be, know who the members of your target audience are. Then, you can create marketing campaigns that speak to their specific catering concerns. Through the use of colors, images and words, you can create marketing campaigns that really address the needs of your target audience.
Set Your Price Points
The prices for which your food will be available are closely tied in with your target audience. If the food is going to be on the lower end, then you can market to a wider range of people. On the other hand, catering companies geared toward higher budgets might have fewer clients and jobs, but make the same amount of money. Look at price comparisons in your area and try to avoid going to the extreme on either side unless you have a specific reason and purpose for doing so.
Consider Your Ability to Address Dietary Needs
Many people have different dietary needs than individuals did in the past. For example, food allergies seem to have a major prevalence in society, and a number of individuals are entirely steering away from gluten. Some eat only organic products, and others will avoid white bread at all costs. Still others have become vegetarian or vegan. As you are defining who your customers are, you need to decide if you are going to cater to all of these individuals or just to some specific dietary needs. You should make known what the alternative options are for food, if any, on your menus and in your advertisements.
Procure a Physical Space
When you are in the early stages of your business, you might be tempted to work out of your home. This method is one for procuring a few base clients, but it will not do in the long run. Just imagine trying to cook food for hundreds of people with your home kitchenware, refrigerators and water purifiers. Not only might the equipment break from excessive usage, but you won’t have enough space to adequately keep up with the demands. During the nascent parts of your business, you should find a property to rent or buy.
Stock The Space
Once you have really started working toward opening the doors, you want to make sure your space has all of the right furniture and supplies. Some items that you’ll need to buy include microwave ovens, toasters, frying pans and other home appliances at a commercial scale. Creating your menu in-advance lets you know what types of food to purchase. However, the operations do not end in the kitchen. If you are going to have client meetings or host events where the food is served, then you need to have the appropriate furniture and decor for doing so.
Be a Smart Shopper
The ultimate goal of the business is for you to make money, not for you to spend it all before you have even had your first few customers. Looking at microwaves for sales, ovens at discounted prices and cooking utensils at lower rates is a smart idea. Do not compromise the quality of your products though. You can generally achieve lower price with a high quality if you’re willing to shop in bulk. For catering companies with a lot of business, this idea tends to be the smart one. You can also look for non-perishable food items in bulk.
Host a Grand Opening
Making clear that you have every intention of establishing a presence in the community is important, and you can do that by hosting a grand opening event. You could have an event where people interested in hosting parties come to speak with representatives and to check out the menus. Offering up samples of food is another option. You might also look for events showcasing service providers that you could attend. For example, setting up a booth at a bridal showcase and offering samples of your food is sure to generate some interest.
Advertise and Market
The marketing efforts will continue all the days of your business, and now is the time to establish some major avenues for doing so. Actually meeting with potential clients is a great way to secure business transactions, but you also want to extend beyond that scope. Look into taking out a newspaper advertisement or magazine spread, but also turn to the Internet to help with your marketing endeavors. Establishing a reputable website is crucial to success, and you should also promote your company through various social media platforms.
The world of catering is an exciting one to join because you’ll have the chance to bring joy to clients through the wonderful world of food, and these tips will help you to get started on your new business endeavor the right way.