If your dream has been to open an outdoor catering business, now is the time to do it. More and more people are choosing outdoor venues for their events, so the market has a low point of entry. There are many things to consider when pursuing this type of business.
However, if you have a passion for food and outdoor entertainment, everything else is just workable details. You can start by getting mentors and supporters who believe in you and will encourage you along the way. Here are five tips to get you started opening an outdoor catering company.
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1. Create a business plan.
Every successful business starts with a business plan. The business plan is the blueprint for your business and includes all of the research you did on the industry, your idea, and the specifics you want for your business. The specifics for your business will include a thorough analysis of the finances, including start-up funds needed and projected profits, and budgets for specifics aspects of the business, including staff and marketing. The business plan will also include information about potential vendors and supplies and estimates from contractors you will need to get your business started. If your business includes a physical location, the plan will include information about that location.
The more detailed your business plan is, the more helpful it will be as you start your business. You will already have all of the research you need prepared, and on paper, so you don’t need to second-guess yourself as you move forward. The business plan will also help you secure funding, whether it is through a lender or an investor. Business plans detail your financial plan while also demonstrating your level of dedication and professionalism.
2. Get needed licenses and certificates.
Part of your business research will be what licenses or certificates you need to operate the intended business in your area. For example, with a catering business, you should have ServeSafe certification. You may also need to register your business with local municipalities. Everything you will need for your business will depend on where you are opening and operating your business and the extent of the catering services. For example, if you plan to provide alcohol, that will be an additional license for your business.
3. Decide how to differentiate your business.
Business can be highly competitive, and the best way to stand out from the competition is to find a way to differentiate your business from your competition. For example, if you are a landowner, you can get help from forestry services to create a majestic landscaping haven among the plants and trees on the property. Using natural resources, you can create a beautiful outdoor venue for your catering services.
While you can still offer catering services at other outdoor locations, adding your own location as an option will diversify your income streams and provide a location to meet with prospective customers. It can also be a fun addition and allow you to explore your own love for a woodland setting. If you live in an area with moderate year-round temperatures, this can be a significant income stream for your new business.
4. Staff your business.
Once you start getting parties booked, you will quickly need adequate, trained staff to make each event successful, so you will need to get staff trained before officially opening your business. While hiring and training staff before having any paid jobs may seem like an unneeded expense, if you wait too long, you may disappoint your early customers, and that can be disastrous. As a new business, you are going to need positive online reviews and word-of-mouth advertising. The best way to get that is with exceptional customer service across the board.
5. Implement your marketing plan.
Your marketing plan will be critical to the long-term success of the business. You need to make your company name the first one that comes up locally when people talk about needing a caterer for an outdoor event. You can use companies like Mines Press for all of your printing needs, from marketing brochures and postcards to tax envelopes and serve contracts. Having everything professionally printed and consistent in branding will help you promote your brand and demonstrate your professionalism.