If you’re like an ever-growing number of small business entrepreneurs today, perhaps you’ve considered the benefits of starting a catering business. Even folks who don’t consider themselves to have a knack for cooking have been drawn to the freedom and flexibility of catering. For those who do like to cook, this could be a match made in Heaven.
In any event, a catering business can help you break free from the monotony of a desk job, or any other 9-5 for that matter, but you need to get your hands on some solid catering business information. The good news is that catering services are actually in growing demand. More and more people, businesses, and government establishments have recognized the benefits of having their events catered.
Catering for organizations is a win-win situation. Outsourcing the food allows organizations to focus on the event itself. And it presents a great opportunity for you and your new catering business. The forums are numerous and diverse. The event could be a conference, wedding, retirement celebration, or graduation party. You name it, and food is an integral part.
A common misconception is that it takes a certain type of person to run a catering business. There’s no question that it helps to be an extrovert. And a little business background couldn’t hurt. But the truth is that anybody can learn to be a caterer, and this exemplifies why you need to get your hands on solid catering business information before you begin.
Perhaps the best attribute you could possess as the head of a catering business is simply flexibility. Consider that one day you might be sponsoring a business meeting with executives in three piece suits. The tone would be more formal and “professional,” however defined. The very next day you could find yourself at a party of sorts, where perhaps someone is celebrating the end of high school, the completion of college, or perhaps the culmination of a forty year work career. Juxtaposed against all of that joy and exuberance could be the sadness that typifies the funeral you cater the following weekend.
As the breadth of catering opportunities grows, caterers find that they are dealing with folks in an increasingly broad range of circumstances. All told, simply being adaptable to adjust to the sentiments of a variety of clients can go a long way. Ply your trade with a sensitivity to the reason for the event and you’ll meet your customer’s needs better than if you simply showed up with great food without an appreciation for these “unspoken” factors.
Your business will live and die in accordance with your ability to bring aboard new customers. The best place to start is simply by creating a network of folks who know what you have to offer and are willing to spread the word. Remember that there are other people in the services industry who serve the same clients you’ll be seeking. You may want to introduce and align yourself with wedding planners, florists, bakers, card shops, and wedding stores. If you have some of your basic catering business information, such as promotional material, you can leave with them. This will help them remember you. But, rather than counting on them to refer you or use your services, you can make it a point to stay in touch, whether in person or by phone (or both).
If you really want to impress, consider the impact you’d make if you whipped up some samples of your best dishes and dropped by for a visit with a sampler plate. If you drop by to visit these folks after making a few contacts, actually sharing some of what you’d be providing to your common clients might just be what it takes for them to have faith in your abilities and to tip them over the edge and cause them to “roll the dice” on your catering business. Especially after doing something impressionable such as this, be sure to follow up with a phone call to “button up the sale.” When all else fails, simply ask them to use your services at their next event.