Are you considering starting your own catering business?
Many food lovers transition from working in a restaurant to working for a catering business. In working for a catering business, you can continue to toast to your love for food but with a few added perks. Not only does a catering business often allow for better hours, but it can also be more financially stable and financially rewarding.
If you've always dreamt of having a catering business but don't know where to start, you're going to want to read this. We're uncovering our nine essential tips for how to run a successful catering business.
Let's get started!
1. Start with the Best Equipment
First and foremost, it's essential to ensure that you have high-quality catering equipment.
If you're serious about running a catering business, you have to be working with the best equipment. After all, a chef is only as good as his or her kitchen.
Remember, this doesn't mean that you have to own all of this equipment outright. Instead, you can look into renting certain kitchen equipment as well.
2. Discover Your Dream Kitchen
Next, it's time to locate where you're going to be spending all of your time creating: your new kitchen!
While some caterers successfully operate out of their own kitchen, this isn't the case for all. This is especially if your company has a number of employees who require more physical space to work.
In this event, it's best to look into renting a commercial catering kitchen. This way, you can ensure that you will be equipped with everything that you need to run your business.
You can also rest assured that these kitchens have some of the best equipment. This is anything from cooking equipment and storage to refrigeration and freezing equipment. Most commercial kitchens will allow you to rent out by the hour or by the day.
3. Be Active on Social Media
As with any business today, it's incredibly important to be active on social media.
This means have a dedicated Facebook page as well as a dedicated Instagram page for your business. Once you have created your profiles, don't be shy in inviting anyone and everyone to "like" your page or to connect.
Remember, this is where you are going to get plenty of organic leads. This can be as simple as someone stumbling upon your page, choosing to follow you and eventually hiring your services.
Fortunately, Facebook and Instagram make it incredibly easy for your followers to connect with you. In one simple click, your follows can choose to message you and open the line of communication.
4. Build a Website
Sure, social media profiles are likely to generate more traffic than a company website.
However, it's still absolutely essential for each and every business to have a dedicated website. While consumers love to peruse social media profiles for photos and videos, it's generally the website that is used as a more concrete informational source.
For example, if a consumer is looking to find a menu, prices or availability for a caterer, they are more likely to search for this information on the company website.
5. Generate Testimonials
In today's day and age, we are living in a world that is consumed by online testimonials.
The fact of the matter is this: consumers look to generate trust in a business through their past reviews. In fact, 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before utilizing or visiting a business.
When a consumer reads a series of positive reviews, this consumer is able to feel more comfortable in putting their trust into your business. With this, the thought of hiring a company in which they have never utilized before is suddenly less intimidating.
Do your absolute best to generate a series of testimonials. You can even offer your consumers an incentive to post their opinion online. If one of your clients is happy with your services, they're not going to mind taking a few extra minutes to document their experience.
6. Obtain Insurance
As with any business, you have to ensure that you have the correct insurance.
While this insurance may feel like a financial burden, it's going to provide you with the peace of mind that you need. It also means that in the event of anything unfavorable happening, you're equipped with the right insurance to handle these situations.
This means that you have certain financial protections against faults that may happen to yourself, your employees or even your clients.
7. Network with Event Planners
If you're operating your own catering business, networking is an essential part of the business.
After all, this is where you're going to be putting your name out there and interacting with likeminded people. Let's consider that approximately 70 percent of not actually listed for hire online. This means that connecting with others face-to-face is absolutely essential to learning about potential opportunities.
You're especially going to want to direct your attention to event planners. Remember, these people are constantly running a number of events from weddings and parties to corporate functions and sport's events. As such, you can rest assured that they're always interested in connecting with those in the food industry.
8. Join a Catering Association
If you live in a big city, there are going to be a large number of catering associations present in your area.
In joining these associations, you're automatically expanding your network of potential clients. It also allows you to connect with other likeminded people and become aware of community events that may be in need of your services.
Even if you live in a small town or a rural area, you can search for local catering associations online.
9. Ask For Business
At the end of the day, you have to become comfortable in asking for business.
This includes both friends and family as well as strangers. Remember, if you don't ask for someone's business, they may be unaware that you're available to help. Far too often, people are afraid to hire family and friends because they don't want to trouble that person.
If you're worried that you're going to appear too forward, there are certain ways to make your approach more friendly and casual. One of the most simple means of doing so is to make your immediate network aware that you're always looking for more business and happy to offer a "friends and family" rate.
How to Start a Successful Catering Business
There's no denying that operating a successful catering business isn't exactly a walk in the park.
But, with the right tips and tricks, you're all the more likely to find success and happiness in your business. This is anything from creating a website and generating testimonials to joining an association and asking your network for business.
So, if you're interested in starting a catering business, be sure to allow this guide to help you. If you're in need of some serious catering kitchen inspiration, be sure to browse our new arrivals!