Being good at cooking isn’t enough to do a successful catering business. Every business has its unique challenges, and being unprepared to handle catering’s issues can define how good you are. You need to have an excellent grasp of the business end of things to be excel at catering.
One thing to remember is that catering is not a restaurant.
Most people think that all food service industry businesses are alike. This is not the case. The game is different for a restaurant and a catering business. Some areas run aligned or parallel to each other, but the details are not always the same.
For example, a restaurant doesn’t need to keep the contact info for mobilemechanicperth.com.au handy. This is because diners come to the restaurant, while the caterer has to go where the client needs them. The vehicle is of greater importance to the latter.
However, there are areas where things do align. The details might differ, but that just means you get to pause and adapt to the circumstances.
First, there’s the matter of planning and contingencies.
A caterer doesn’t have the luxury of keeping a lot of extra ingredients frozen for extended periods. You need to figure out the number of people and how much food needs to be prepared. While you can get the numbers from the client, everything else is up to you.
Connected to the preparation and planning, you also need to figure out how many people you need. It isn’t just the team making the food since you have to factor in the serving crew too.
If the event is outdoors, do you have a contingency if you have to move indoors due to rain? Your client might not, but it helps build your reputation if you do.
Speaking of people, you also need to consider your staff.
Most of your employees will need to multitask or perform multiple roles. At the same time, you need to pay them well enough and earn their loyalty, so they don’t switch to greener pastures at the first opportunity. This is a delicate balance that is not easy to attain.
Restaurants clean up after themselves. Caterers need to leave no trace of their presence.
It is an unspoken requirement that catering teams need to show up, set up, and get the job done. After that, they need to leave no indication they were ever there. You need to prepare the food and serve it, and then at the end of the day, you need to be prepared to move the equivalent of a small restaurant.
Moving around is one of those details that new caterers don’t always realise. It can catch them off-guard and be troubling at the start.
Finally, there is the matter of competition. There’s always a new challenge on the horizon.
To remain able to compete, you have to keep an edge. You need to offer a variety of plates and designs. You need to have an excellent menu and be flexible in your cooking. You need to use the best ingredients and offer everything at a price that isn’t too low or too high.
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