Four Golden Rules for Cooking Up a Successful Restaurant Catering Business
Nov 27, 2018

With the ever-increasing frequency of family dining out and group parties, restaurant owners are now more focused on improving their restaurant guest dining experience. One most spectacular way to delight an array of new patrons and regulars, both on-premise and off-premise, is by offering catering services.

The concept of restaurant catering is a timeless business proposition that not only helps venues recognize and meet their guests’ expectation but also attains high profits with low overheads. As a result, more and more restaurateurs now are progressively deciding to nurture their establishment with a fully managed catering functionality.

While starting and running your very own restaurant catering business seems a profitable venture, it also entails the list of difficult hurdles that one needs to surmount before putting the entire catering operation into the place. Well, catering is not only about preparing and serving meals, but it also offers an accurate definition of hospitality, social relationships, event experiences, and excellent business opportunities.

This blog post discusses the critical factors and rules that are important to get succeeded with your catering business, which in the end will boost your ROI and bring in more clientele, all without drastically intensifying your expenditures.

Rule #1: Organize and Plan

Like every other business, a long-term strategy must be drawn up comprising various aspects of your startup, such as catering concepts and planning, analytics and market Research, management, finance, human resources, menu, marketing, etc. Crafting a business plan will help restaurants:

  • Identify their niche and marketplace;
  • Conduct a thorough market research;
  • Understand Infrastructure requirements;
  • Determine a catering equipment checklist;
  • Write down a seasonal, rotational catering menu;
  • Evaluate and set up reasonable prices or fees;
  • Develop an effective marketing strategy; and so on.

From an elegant, spacious banquet hall and classy, sophisticated décor to delectable food options, your venue must include all amenities and services to cater both small and large events meritoriously.

Having prior hands-on experience is always a great benefit. Combining your expertise with the latest trends and an entrepreneurial working approach will give you an ace up your sleeve.

Rule #2: Licenses, Permits, and Insurance

To start a catering business in your establishment, you will need to acquire at least a few legitimate licenses and permits from your respective state, rather than just one. Some of these are:

  • Business license
  • Catering license
  • Fire permit
  • Liquor serving permit
  • State food safety certification
  • Occupational health and safety permit
  • Air and water pollution control permit
  • Alcohol server training certificates
  • Insurance policy
  • Business tax certificate
  • Food-handling licenses

You may be asked to provide various types of legal documents and information, such as a copy of your menu, business plan, contract forms, investment and funding, and health and policy documents, based on your operations. Additionally, you and your staff must comply with various food production & food safety regulations, thereby ensuring your catering business is in compliance with your state’s jurisprudence.

Rule #3: Head Count

Between close family members, co-workers, friends, and other invitees, there’s no denying that the host’s invitation list will probably be pretty long. Not counting the modern “plus one” protocol that has generated a lot of buzz in almost every party. Well, not extending a plus-one to someone who is married, engaged, or is in a serious, long-term relationship will be a dense move. Think about it – would you like to attend a wedding ceremony without your spouse? Certainly not!

No host wants to end up with a confined banquet hall that doesn’t provide an intimate space and can’t accommodate their attendees comfortably. For this reason, caterers must take a plausible headcount of the invitees that will be attending the event. Since the number of meals, seat planning for guests, quantity of parting gifts, and overall event budget significantly depend on it, venues should ask for a headcount about a month preceding the occasion and then confirm the total number of visitors with the host again at least a few days before the final event.

For a quick understanding: If a client confirms that 150 guests will be arriving at their anniversary reception, then the establishment charges them for space arrangement, guests’ meals, and other amenities based on 150 people. And, if only 100 people attend the event, the customer still needs to pay all for 150 attendees, because the preparations are made based on that figure.

Rule #4: Time Limit

Boisterous parties, such as Quinceañera, Christmas, Halloween, and Wedding, can carry on for hours and hours endlessly, especially if alcohol or cocktails are being served. Regardless of the type of menu or drinks, whether platted or buffet, there has to be far greater coordination and cooperation between the Front of the House (FOH), Back of the House (BOH), venue manager, and other team members. Before guests start showing up, communicate with your staff, and go over the menu items. Make sure to set a time frame for starters, entrée, desserts, games, and other activities. Five to seven hours is ample time for most events.