If you have a passion for anything, the chances are you can turn it into a business. Cooking is no different. Although you might need to consider if your pies really are that good. Running a successful catering company takes a lot of preparation, but once the foundations are laid, you are ready to roll.
Much like any other business, you are going to need to research the market place. Is there a call for what you create? Is the local area in need of a catering company? You can take a look at all of the other similar companies in the area and check out what their main clientele seems to be. You will most often be able to find their USP simply by looking at their website. When thinking about your own USP, think about what makes your food special.
This is more research but more specifically about your own potential customers. Talk to people you know and see if you can talk your way to finding people who are hosting events. You can make a cold call to a couple of events companies and wedding planners too. Make sure that you know the style of business they are so you know if your food will meet their needs. Even if you get told no, you can use the ‘no’ to build up more of an audience profile.
With all of the information you have gathered so far, you will be able to work out where your niche is. Do you make terrific mini food suitable for kid’s parties? Or do you do huge cook-outs that would be ideal for significant summer events? Your niche is going to be the workhorse of your income. So finding it early is going to be a critical process. Here are a few niche options:
- Children’s Parties
- Boxed Lunches
- Adult Parties
You are going to need to gather some business skills. Budgeting, meal planning, client meetings, and health and safety are going to be top of your list. Some states and countries require specific licenses and certificates – so make sure you have them ready. You will also need to store your food safely. This might require you to hire a cold storage facility, learn about proper storage, temperatures, latching push button switch, commercial refrigeration units, dry ovens, and more.
Once you know what you are going to do, and you have worked out all of the essential equipment, it is time to move on to writing a business plan. While some people claim that a business plan is outdated, it is wise to have. You can use this to show investors, the bank and generally keep you on track to creating the catering company that you want.
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth marketing. Many people who host events will recommend companies that have worked with you on a few occasions, and you will be contacted and hired that way. So try to build a rapport with clients as quickly as possible.