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5 Useful Tips for Catering Startups

by Olufisayo

The demand for private and corporate catering has rapidly increased in the past few years, which means it’s a promising and profitable industry. If you are passionate about preparing delicious meals and curating menus, you should consider opening a catering business. However, the food and beverage industry is a competitive field. And if you don’t do things right from the start, you could fail. Therefore, you need to research well and learn from the experts.

Here are some useful tips for catering startups.

Find a Good Location

Location is an essential factor in the overall success of your catering business. Unless you are some world-famous chef, you cannot expect customers to flock to your business from far and wide. Even for those opening up a mobile catering business, you must research the best area to pitch your business. Get to know the area and look for a commercial agent who may be able to help you scout the best location.

Look for a location that can attract customers. The best choice is somewhere in the middle of a town centre full of pedestrians. A strip mall beside a busy road is also a great idea. People passing by will notice your store sign as they go about their business in the mall or when passing through. However, prominent locations can come with a hefty price tag. If you’re short on budget, you can set up somewhere remote, but that could mean you need to work harder to spread the word about your business. So, although a prominent location is expensive, you’ll spend less on marketing since customers will easily find you.

When looking for a potential location, consider your target market. Can you reach your ideal customers in the area you have chosen? For instance, if your catering business focuses on healthy menus, you may want to set up close to the gym or fitness centre.

Hire a Payroll Tutor

Since you are only starting, you probably think of assuming the role of payroll personnel yourself instead of hiring a third-party company. Unfortunately, many startup companies underestimate the value of having a payroll specialist. But remember that payroll work does not come easy. It can take up plenty of time and may prevent you from focusing on the more essential tasks of running your catering business.

The task of a payroll specialist is not only to calculate the payroll of employees. They are also knowledgeable of the local regulations and business compliance laws, which can help you when setting up your catering business. Furthermore, payroll specialists are experts in employee benefits, taxes, and allowances. They are meticulous in computing the employee’s salary and benefits. Miscalculated pay is something that startup companies should avoid, as it could affect business reputation.

Having a payroll specialist ensures you can focus on the more essential aspects of growing your business. You can focus on marketing, improving your products and services, and business strategies to bring more customers.

Get the Right Equipment 

One of the most important investments you’ll make when setting up a catering business is the equipment, such as the crockery, cutlery, glassware, linen, etc. The type of equipment you choose can make or break your business, so you’ve got to dedicate enough time to research. Without the proper equipment, your business can’t function well.

When running a catering business, you can expect the kitchen to be super busy. Therefore, you need to invest in high-quality equipment that can handle the rigours of daily kitchen use. Familiarise yourself with the different brands and models. If you plan on buying second-hand equipment for a start, verify the present condition, age, and past use. Always choose those made from authentic commercial-grade materials that can offer extended service life. Before buying, carefully inspect the equipment for any defects or flaws.

Choose kitchen equipment that’s easy for your staff to use and maintain. Consider factors like ease of cleaning, ergonomics, and storage options. They should be user-friendly and easier to operate. You also need to understand the procedures required for maintaining and cleaning the equipment to adhere to the sanitary standards in your kitchen and food preparation area.

Know your Food Hygiene

Proper food hygiene is essential to ensure that the food you prepare in your catering business is safe to consume. In fact, it’s worth considering taking a food hygiene course, where you will gain an overview of the essential elements of food hygiene and preventive control measures for food production and manufacturing.

When starting your catering business, you must introduce ways of working to help ensure that good hygiene is followed right from the start. Make sure you store food safely to keep it safe for a long time and protect it from harmful bacteria and other objects that could contaminate the food. When transporting the food from your kitchen to the venue, it’s essential to store them in sealed containers or packaging. In addition, frozen and chilled foods must have the right temperature.

Have your staff undergo appropriate food hygiene courses, where they will learn the proper handling and processing of food safely. Make sure to choose the training course that’s in line with the area that the staff is assigned.

Do your Research

When setting up a new business, you must do your research well, especially in catering, which involves a lot of planning. Thankfully, you’ll now find plenty of resources online to help those aspiring to open their own catering business. You’ll find information on YouTube, podcasts, books, or even a simple Google search.

Do not limit your research online. Talk to other caterers if you can. Better yet, reach out to customers who have used catering services in your area. Doing this will allow you to get a scoop on how your competitors are doing, which will help you come up with strategies to stand out in the industry.

Consider looking at the reports and statistics about the catering business nationwide, which allows you to get a bigger picture of how the industry is doing and help you decide whether it’s worth opening up your own catering business.

Photo by Andra C Taylor Jr on Unsplash

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