Before you start a catering business it is wise to put together a comprehensive business plan. It is important to set out clearly what you hope to achieve in business and to set measurable goals. Having a business plan will give you direction and keep you on a course for success.
A plan may be essential in order to prove that your concept is viable when it comes to talking to investors or seeking funding from other sources. However, even if you are independently funded and have nothing to prove to anyone a plan will still be useful. It will help you to confirm that your plans are indeed possible and it will give you a place to compile all the data that you collect from your research.
What are you Selling?
Before you can start your marketing plan you must first be able to clearly define exactly what products and services you are selling. Before you can plan your menus and services you need to understand what the people in your target market want.
There are many different catering niche markets such as wedding receptions, seated dinner events, corporate functions, barbecues, boxed lunches and picnics to name a few.
When choosing the kind of food that you would like your catering service to specialize in you should try to choose an area that is currently being under served. Or you could specialize in area that is so popular that there is plenty of space in the market for a new player. If you do your research and talk to enough people you will be able to reveal what these areas are
Sales - Closing the Deal
When going along to meet with prospective clients always take a few small samples of your food, even if it is just a few hors d'oeuvre's for them to try. Learn how to sell your services to a customer and how to encourage them in a polite way to spend a little more than what they originally planned.
Work out a consultation and sales process that can be refined over time until perfected. Some caterers prefer to communicate naturally while others work predominantly off a sales script. Find out what works best for you.