Starting a business in the food and beverage industry can be a tricky venture to run. However, taking the right steps can help you improve your chances of success. The best part about this industry is that it attracts a wide range of entrepreneurs, from excellent cooks to people who are interested in event planning.
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur with a fresh and exciting business idea and you’re wondering how to start a catering business, it is important to understand the whole process behind it. It’s a great opportunity to make money while enjoying the benefits of working for yourself.
Read on to learn a few important steps you need to take to get started on building your own food business.
Choose the type of business and make a business plan
Before you start planning your business, you should identify the type of company you want to launch. Whether you want it to be a wedding catering company, a restaurant, or maybe a private event catering company. The next step is to make a solid and coherent business plan. Before making any investments you need to research the food industry market.
Get a deeper understating of the foodservice landscape, latest trends, your customer base, and competitors. Start writing a business plan for your investors and think of it as exploring the 4C’s- consumer, customer, channel, and context. To achieve this, you’ll need to define your target market and customers, your restaurant style, and brand, and select your menu offering.
Secure the finances
After you make a good business plan, it’s time to think about sorting your finances. Keep in mind that not everyone who wants to open this type of business has the personal funding to do so. In fact, most people don’t. However, there are plenty of ways that you can find funding for your business including getting a business loan, turning to family or friends, finding outside investors or bringing a partner, or getting government aid.
Bear in mind that money will be tight at first and it may take years before you turn your first profit. You can start your business small and make sure you choose the right business partners since they’ll be around for a long time.
Finding the right location is important whether you want to buy a property to live in or start a business. However, depending on the type of business, that’s not always the case. The location you choose will depend on a few factors, and you don’t necessarily need to be in the hottest location. Make sure you consider the cost, accessibility to potential customers, proximity to other businesses, restrictive ordinances, and plans for the future.
If you want to start a catering business, you’ll need to be aware that you’ll be working with several different suppliers from bar equipment and kitchen appliances to the most important one-food. You can make a wish list and scope out your short- and long-term budget, and go hunting for partners. Remember, you don’t want over-priced suppliers to run your business into the ground, so make sure you negotiate. Look for trustworthy suppliers who have a good record of accomplishment in providing quality products and many successful partnerships.
Licenses and permits
You can’t open a business in the food industry without licenses and permits, the best being CFT’s Food Handling Certificate. However, every state and city is different. So, make sure you check in with your local regulatory office and think about getting legal counsel to ensure you adhere to all of your local health and safety codes as well as food regulations. In addition, you need to ensure that you start acquiring appropriate documentation for your business on time, because some licenses can take months to acquire.
The next step is to start hiring staff. Based on the type of business, this may include HR managers, accountants, purchasing experts, marketing and sales managers, chefs, sommeliers, waiters, hosts, bartenders, cleaning staff, and dishwashers. Make sure you hire enough staff for each job and plan shifts and back-ups in case of illnesses and vacations. Look for candidates with sufficient experience, who are quick on their feet, can multi-task, and are efficient.
Opening a business in the food industry may not be easy, but knowing the right tactics can help you do it with more ease. If you want to have customers the moment you open your business, you need to do a fair amount of advertising to alert the local community. Make sure you build a great website, use social media, follow trends, and host a soft opening. Additionally, think about offering promotions to new guests and putting an ad on online news platforms.