Starting a catering business can be a unique venture into the food service world. For one thing, you aren’t planting your roots in one location – you may have one commercial kitchen, but you won’t be seating people for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Plus, you don’t need to worry about foot traffic, because your business will mainly come from referrals. A catering business can be a great way to enter the hospitality world without having all the stress that comes along with opening a restaurant. All you have to worry about is making your hors d’oeuvres delicious and you have to make sure your wait staff is polite and patient. Here are some of the pros and cons of starting and running a catering business.
One of the biggest pros of starting and running a catering business is that it is a growing sector of the restaurant industry. As the economy comes back around, more and more people are finding themselves in a financially secure enough place to get married, have a big anniversary party or some other big event that requires the services of a catering business. So, you could stand to find a lot of success by entering this industry right now.
Another big pro of starting a catering business is that you don’t need a lot of money to start. All you really need is a commercial kitchen and maybe an assistant. You can usually rent commercial kitchens by the day or hour and they are very inexpensive. Opening a restaurant, on the other hand, can be very expensive and the startup costs are enormous. Not only are start up costs more manageable, but it is a lot easier to set up a catering business – mostly because there is much less of an infrastructure involved.
Yet, one big con of starting a catering business is the struggle involved in getting your footing in the marketplace. While you may want to join forces with My National Grocers and the Restaurant Association, which are two incredibly powerful organizations to have on your side, you also need to hit the pavement looking for clients. Usually, it will all start with one big job and the references will roll in from there. However, to get that first job, you will have to do a lot of networking. You may even have to offer your services for free to build a name for yourself.
Lastly, another big con is that it can be hard for clients to make the decision to go with a caterer instead of simply ordering food to go from a restaurant. Sometimes, it can be hard for people to grasp the concept of a caterer, but once you explain to a client why a catering service may be a better a choice over a restaurant, they should be able to get the hint. Plus, a catering service is usually much classier. In the end, though, if your food and service is great, you’ll have plenty of clients clamoring for your services.