Business Planning
Essentials Of A Catering Business Plan

Essentials Of A Catering Business Plan

‘Food’ can never run out of business. People are experimenting with their taste buds now more than ever. If you think you can feed the famished, then this could be your chance to put on the business man’s hat. Do you make a great biryani or create an especially awesome buffet? Others might think so too – to the point that you’re considering opening your own catering business. You have the talent of a baker or chef however before starting a food business there are many tasks to do. A business plan is a document that will navigate the journey to starting your own business. You can determine in advance what you have to do to make your passion your own business. With a catering business plan, you will have a clear vision of what should or should not be your future steps in your business. 

However, writing a business plan can seem like a daunting task. This article will guide you step by step through the process of writing a business plan suitable for your business.



Catering Business Plan

catering business plan

What is an executive business summary?

An executive summary is an overview of a larger document and is the first thing your reader will see. It is expected to be written in a more succinct fashion yet which is enticing for the reader.  Often times, executive summaries are the only place decision-makers will go to see if you have all the bases covered. Executive summaries will analyse a problem, draw conclusions and recommend a solution in a brief synopsis. It should be a compilation of all the important action plans of your business. The people who are reading the executive summary might not have the time to go through the entire catering business plan, so make sure you write the summary in a way that grabs attention and entices the reader to read through the more in-depth document.

What services will your business provide?

Before you start your business, you must figure out what services your business will provide. Even in the catering business, there are many different niche areas you can work with. You would want to decide your target audience before stepping into the business. Here are a few options for your consideration – 

  • Corporate events ( banquets, luncheons, parties)
  • Weddings
  • Children’s parties
  • Parties (birthdays, anniversaries, dinner parties)
  • Festivals
  • Boxed Meals

You can choose one or more of these areas. Make sure to do comprehensive research about what you choose to so and that it aligns with your expertise as well. Try and gain clients which will be for a longer period. After the first initial delivery of the orders, it is important that you take a feedback before you proceed with further orders.

What kind of market can you target?

After you decide what your business will sell, it is important to know what your target demographic is. Research the market around you and what the catering business around you are providing. Your demographic can be:

  • Corporate workers
  • Working Mothers
  • Children and teens
  • Young couples

Each of the categories will be needing a different menu and services. Write down the age group you will be targeting, their behaviour and the risks. It is important that you target long term clients. This will save you the time of looking for clients every other day.

Where will the finance for your business come from?

To determine what it will cost to start a catering business and what it will cost to run it once you are open for business, create a budget. A well-planned budget will give you a clear idea of the requirement of funds. Make sure you have paperwork in order for when you do consultations, tastings, and cater events.  Make a basic budget taking into consideration all these things. Either hire an accountant or do your own bookkeeping to keep track of your expenses, invoices and income. After this, it is important to find funding for your business. You can opt for a bank loan or government grants. The other option is to finance the business yourself or with friends and family that are willing to invest money into your business.

What infrastructure is required for the business?

It would be difficult to accommodate your Catering business in a regular kitchen. A Catering business requires a hi-tech kitchen. Catering work requires industrial equipment that is usually more expensive than the equipment you would use in your home kitchen. Create a budget and figure out exactly what you’ll need to run your business efficiently. Base your equipment purchases on your menu. You may want to install multiple sinks to make your prep work more efficient, especially if you are hiring people. Multiple refrigerators and a walk-in freezer might be necessary to store dishes you prepare ahead of time. Heated and non-heated holding areas are important for holding temperature and storing prepared items. Obtain all the pots, pans, and other kitchen equipment you need to make the items on your menu. Consider buying linens, napkins, table decorations and centrepieces. Some catering businesses also offer tent canopies for outdoor events.

Another important feature of the infrastructure is that it should be very well ventilated. Do not forget that you will be dealing with a lot of tadkas and smoke. Good ventilation along with a chimney should be on your ‘things to install’ list. Think of this as a long term investment for a healthy and airy kitchen. 

What will be your Target Audience?

 Your business will be running haywire if you do not settle on a target audience. Keep in mind the size of your business before you choose a target audience. You need to check how much of catering orders can your business support. Aim for long term clients to whom you will have to provide catering service on a contract basis. Your long term potential target audience could be:

  1. School canteen
  2. Corporate canteen
  3. Tiffin services 

How much Man-Power is needed for a business?

A catering business is definitely not a one-man job. Catering does not involve just a qualified chef, but also helping hands for other aspects of your business like delivery men, men who will assist the chef, cleaners, etc. Skill is the one thing that will flourish your catering business. You need to hire a skilled staff that will not only cope up with the required speed but also won’t compromise with the quality of your catering business. Hiring the right kind of people who have the patience to work at any given hour or day of the week, to those who can listen to and understand the client’s demands is important. For your kitchen, you will need kitchen assistants and chefs.

What are the appliances and equipment you will be needing for a catering business?

We are lucky to be in a technologically advanced era. With all the new equipment and appliances, cooking has been made easy. It will save a lot of time and increase productivity if you make these advanced appliances a part of your kitchen. Obtain all the pots, pans, and other kitchen equipment you need to make the items on your menu. The regular spoons and ladle won’t help you in your catering business. The utensils for a catering business have to be of the size that suits your catering business. Base your equipment purchases on your menu.  You will need to think of what appliances you will be needing for your business For eg: a microwave oven, a food processor, a huge cooking stove, a grill and appliances like these which will make your daily tasks easier.

What is your marketing strategy?

It’s important to have a plan for your marketing beforehand. With the boom in social media, you can reach a bigger audience. You must make a marketing plan that includes social media and mainstream marketing as well. You can even click pictures of your signature dishes to advertise and promote them on the menu, on fliers and via social media platforms as well. You can design business cards, personalize the stationery and create a brochure listing all the services you have to offer.

You can also try giving free tasting samples. Free samples will definitely boost your ‘word of mouth’ publicity. Submit your business information to wedding sites and ask for banquet halls and popular local wedding venues to refer potential clients to you. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get new catering business.  Your plan should include how you intend to show your target market that you’ve got something they’re looking for.

These are the basic things that need to be planned when considering how to start a catering business in India and writing a well-designed catering business plan, your business is sure to grow. There are many things that go into a business and these may work for you. You must find what is the correct path for you. You can go through your business plan checklist and understand the problems you might you have and how to solve them.

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