Have you ever dreamed of having a home based catering business? If you have a love of cooking this would be a great career.
In many homes nowadays both parents are working. Economic pressures require a double income. Schedules are hectic and it is very difficult to prepare wholesome, nutritious meals.
A catering business can be very lucrative in providing daily meals for these families (singles or couples). You would not only be preparing delicious meals but eliminating the stress that these people feel when they under the pressure of shopping and cooking. They would have more time to enjoy each other and do the things they enjoy most.
Before you jump into your apron, here are some things you want to consider:
1. What will be the name of your business?
2. Are you doing this by yourself or will you have a partner? If you have a partner will you both be responsible for the cooking, or will one take care of the administrative duties? In the future you may find the need to hire a cook. Dependability is a required.
3. Create a business plan that you can use if you need to get financing.
4. Check with your local food administration authorities about the laws governing your type of business. Find out the appropriate licenses and permits you will need. Check into these details first so you will not have problems in the future.
5. Decide on what types of meals you are going to provide. You will want to include two or three choices daily. Once you establish your clientele you can give them an order form of the various meals available on certain days. You can establish the time frame you want to maintain. A week or two ahead have the forms returned to you. You can come up with a computerized form that you can email your clients and they can email you their choices. Do whatever you can to automate your business and eliminate unnecessary legwork. You will have to decide what works best for you. You will want a week’s notice for shopping and preparation purposes.
If you want to specialize utilizing your specific cooking/baking talents, your catering service could be for special soups, desserts or birthday cakes. This is your choice.
6. Pricing your meals will be more of a challenge. You will want to keep your costs as low as possible in order to have a desirable profit. Call other catering businesses to get an idea of what your completion is charging. You do not want to price your meals so high that you will price yourself out of the market. Allow for a fluctuation margin in market prices.
7. You will want to buy in bulk. Get a membership at your local wholesale club. This will save you quite a bit. You still want to be a savvy shopper as there are times when your local supermarket’s prices are lower than the wholesale club.
8. Bulk shopping will necessitate your knowledge of the shelf life of the foods you are storing. When in doubt of how to, and how long to store food items, the internet holds a wealth of information at your fingertips.
9. How are you going to advertise your business? Of course, word of mouth continues to be one of the best forms of advertisement. You should consider flyers, or posters that you can leave at various businesses in your area. You will be able to create and print these on your computer. This will cut printing costs. Newspapers and mail coupon services can get the word out to many, but will be more costly.
You may want to consider designing a web page so that you can create an internet presence. Print up business cards including your web address. Get permission to leave this in places such as the doctor’s office, dentist, or hairdresser. Design your website so you have your weekly choices listed and your contact information.
10. If you go this route, you will want to find a web hosting company that also provides you internet marketing tools. I know of one company that has a bulk emailing program, with an auto responder where you can set up various campaigns. It also provides a video producer with templates that you can create for your specific business. The best part of this company is that they have training by professionals in the industry. If you are a cook, more than likely, you are not overly versed in computers!
11. How are you going to get the meals to your customers? They can pick them up from your home or you could deliver to their place for a set fee. You will need to put great thought into planning your cooking and delivery schedule. As a suggestion, allow yourself about one hour to an hour and a half.
12. What type of containers are you going to use to pack your meals? As there is a possibility that the food may need to be reheated, you will have to take this into consideration when purchasing containers. Look into microwavable items. A wholesale club usually has great prices on food containers.
13. Be a good planner. The internet will provide you with an endless supply of recipes and ideas for different meals. If you are cooking for a family with children, take this into consideration. Spicy does not always work with little ones!
14. When you purchase your fresh produce make sure it is cleaned properly and when possible cut and ready for use.
15. Keep a cautious eye on your costs.
16. You want to develop a good relationship with your clients. When possible, satisfy special requests. Always be the type of person that you would want to work with.
17. As suppliers are an important element in your business you want to develop a good relationship in this area. This will go a long way in getting better service.
It is up to you to decide on how large of a business you want to create. A small business will be easier to handle. Once it grows it will necessitate hiring additional staff members. But then again this would translate into greater revenue.
As an added suggestion, be sure to keep your recipes either on the computer or in a binder in protective sheets. Who know, someday you can add to your business profits by publishing a cookbook of your catering recipes.
I hope that your love of cooking will be the first step to initiating a profitable home based catering business. I wish you all the best and a kitchen filled with aromas of happiness and success!
Judy Conway is retired. She has a passion for writing and uses her blogs and articles to reach out to encourage and help others sharing her life’s experiences. In addition to spending time with her family, she enjoys learning all she can about internet marketing. She feels a day without learning something new, is a day wasted. To learn more about Judy and what she does visit [http://judyconway.com] and [http://fullservicemarketingtools.com].
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