Event planners can be one of your most valuable assets as a caterer. If you know one, or a few be sure to treat them right because they can not only help you get your business off the ground, but they can help you thrive in your local community well before and even after you have made a name for yourself.
Caterers can be called on by event planners for any number of events, from business get-togethers to weddings, and anniversaries. It is always important to have someone take the lead for a specific event when an event planner is involved. This can be you, or if you are large enough to have an employee or two it could also be one of your managers. Be sure that it’s someone that is competent and can help with suggestions and along the decision-making process.
Here are a couple of tips that are good for you to know when you are speaking to the event planners:
One of the greatest parts about opening a catering business over a restaurant is the lack of overhead. This leads to a much higher success rate than the restaurant business, and this rate can go up for you exponentially if you continue to provide great food and service to your biggest repeat clients: Event planners.
If you are a lover of the kitchen and are thinking about making a little extra money on the side, starting a catering business may be a great venture for you. You don’t always have to start with a huge company catering to hundreds of people at a time, although that would be a great way to get going! I started cooking for 20-50 person parties on the side, mostly a weekend gig, but that blossomed into a full time, fully staffed successful business. It was a great experience and I definitely recommend giving it a shot if you have a love for the art of food. Owning your own business is the best, even if it’s a pool cleaning company!
Even if cooking for 20-50 people sounds intimidating you could always start out offering a coffee and dessert bar. Many people take advantage of this for evening dinner parties. This can be especially successful in larger cities, or with any corporate event. Click here to see some great catering menu ideas.
The biggest hurdle you will find in the beginning is simply attracting clients. Word of mouth is always the cheapest and easiest way to start off so I highly recommend getting some great business cards made as soon as possible. Try to find a niche that the larger competition has overlooked, like the coffee and desert parties, or engagement/bachelore(ette) parties. Be sure to tell your extensive network of friends and family, and ask them to actively promote your services. You can even offer a commision to give them a little incentive, just make sure that you have the commsion price included in your profit margins. Then, reach out to local business owners and see if they will let you leave a stack of your cards at their checkout counters or somewhere their clients may be able to see your business. You can even partner with restaurants that don’t offer the service. First see if they will promote your services for free, and if not, give them a commission of the profit. It’s hard to say no to passive income like that. Once you have exhausted all of these options and you’re ready to start growing you can have a website made and even just pay for leads. There are a couple of incredible companies that can help with this, www.pbseopros.com is my favorite.
The first step you will need to take towards your new venture is to figure out what you will be offerening, and what equipment you will need to offer these things. I’m a very big proponent of a lean startup, so I would wait to purchase any big items, or anything in bulk until you have your first customer and you know what they want/need. As long as you know where to purchase or rent the items and a timeframe for the delivery you will be fine. It can’t hurt to have a backup either, even if it’s a little more expensive. Think of it as paying a little more for a product to have little less risk involved. Continue reading “Step 1: Starting a Catering Business”
Hey there foodies! My name is Chef Gus and I have a catering business that I’m excited to share with the world. I am really happy that you are here, and hope you enjoy the ride. If you have any questions for me please take a look at the Contact page and give me a shout!