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Starting My Dream

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have been in this bussiness starting when I was 12 years old as a prep cook and have worked my way up to Executive Chef by the time I was 19 years old and have held a Executive Chef position for the past 16 year..A total of 23 years in this field, and have done very well for myself and my family....I have never had any form of schooling, being a father/dad at 19 years old....


I have decided to start my dream, my own catering company....

I am 35 years old and extreamely dedicated in making this dream come true......

I would love to recieve some instruction on anything to do with starting a catering bussiness...I need owners/chefs personal experiences on starting from scratch..

Marketing, Licenses, Permits, and anything else I may need to run real a bussiness..It will be helpfull, anything.....I would love some links to catering web sites, for ideas...

I would like to end with, this is for real not just to waiste yours or my time...If anyone who has opened a catering bussiness and can help me, it will be extreamelly appreciated.........


All I have is the name of the company, the slogan, and menus which are just on paper for now, they change every ten minutes, lol.....Any new ideas are more than welcome on menus as well...I will be based out of the Boston area, focusing on high end food new and of course the classics.....

Plain and simple I am asking for help, my cup is empty on this matter...

Thank you for your time....

Chef.ESG.73
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #2 of 11
First let me say congratulations on all your succeses so far and I wish you all the very best in this new adventure!!

I opened my own small bakery many years ago and did a little bit of catering from that.

You probably already know your local health inspector, but if not make it a point to meet with that person. They can provide you with a wealth of information that is more impoptant than many people realize. Much of what they can provide will be info specifically about catering on site or off site.

Next, if you will be doing any building or modifying of a building you will eventually will have to deal with state plumbing inspectors which will also mean dealing with a master plumber for plans and if that person doesn't do the work then you will need a licensed plumber for that. Electrical work will get similar attention as well. Disagreement over an item in the plumbing code between the state plumbing inspector, the master plumber and the licensed plumber that did my work delayed my opening 8 weeks and cost me prime business from Christmas through Valentines day. My advice is to track down these people early and get all the information you can.

Lighting in the work space has to be at certain levels which are tested, or at least for me they were.

All of these things will require permits which will cost some money but if you follow the rules and do things right it can be a real benefit to you if there are ever any food safety/sanitation issues later on.

The local city office can provide you with information about zoning and other permits.

Accountants can provide info on business/tax permits and any business structure papers you may need to file with the state. Incorporation can provide some sheilding of personal financial liability should a lawsuit arise. Accountants and lawyers can answer these questions.

Pay very close attention to all the non food, non cooking issues like this as they are generally the kinds of things that kill a business.

Try to go into business with as little debt or even no debt if you can. Additionally, the more debt you have going in the money you need squirreled away to live on during the lean times. Debt is a big killer of small businesses. Having a solid financial plan is a good idea.

Buy as much used equipment as you can. It makes the start up money go further.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
JBD, Thank you for your reply, Good info
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #4 of 11
Small Bakery/
some carering, also work with lots of carterers.
paninicakes.com
better with specific questions.
Jeff
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #5 of 11

Panini - WOW WOW

Thank you for adding your link to this post. Your work is amazing!!
post #6 of 11
Hi there,
I just replied to a reply that you posted re food costs etc on another thread. I happened to see this thread and wondered how far along you have got in setting up your business. I just legalized my catering business last Nov and found the health dept and licensing aspects REALLY simple. Was scared to try to make it legal in case it got shut down. It was SO easy once you start. I can help in more detail but wondered if it was already taken care of at this point.

Most important, do you have approved premises from which to work? I use a church kitchen and exchange usage for "church suppers" a six week sessions twice a year.-get paid cost plus a little extra- I am happy to use kitchen when I need and they are thrilled to have someone to provide very basic but still well done dinners for their groups. Not what I like to cook..but hey, I am doing well out of this!

Anyway, good luck and let me know what I can assist with. Even tho I have worked in catering for 20 years and have worked with top notch companies on Marthas Vineyard and Colorado resorts I found Denise Vivaldo's book "How to start a home based catering business" a good base of info re the legal side. She has very good organizational tips if you don't have so much off-premise experience.

Good Luck
TSC
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well for a a while I was just a word of mouth service, through alot of help I am now a full personal chef service/catering company, and i have to admit business is real good.

I ended up hiring a business coach, marketing director, financial advisor, accountants and lawyers. they actually did all the work, it did cost.. I did the website myself, well maybe not myself I had the marketing lady edit for me.

I found the craziest thing of this all was exactly what you said, the fear of it all.. To think we worked so hard for all these years to make others this kind of money?
PS, i sent you those things, thanks for offering help.

best wishes
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #8 of 11

Congrats

First of all, congrats on starting your business! I remember going through the same thing. The most helpful thing for me was advertising help... where, when, and how to get my name out so I could start up a client base. I've had the most luck so far with Caterers - Catering
and it's free, so you might want to get started with that. Really, just don't be afraid to put your name out there on everything you can. Get friends and family talking about you to their friends. And do some events for free/cheap just to build up a reputation. Hope that helps you!
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
thank you :smiles: so much
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #10 of 11
if you are open to sharing your website it'd be great to see what you've done.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #11 of 11
Chef,

all I have to say is "Good Luck"

I am 34 next month and started my own business (catering) about 6 months ago.

When times are hard and my competition is crying, looking to cut cost and stay above the floating line, I am hiring 3 full time people.
JUST 1 MORE THING:


THERE IS PLENTY OF BUSINESS OUT THERE, GO GET IT.
DO NOT WAIT BY THE PHONE, HOPING THAT CLIENTS WILL JUST CALL YOU; YOU ARE BETTER OFF PUTTING A LOCK ON THE DOOR AND GO HOME, IT'LL SAVE U CASH.

I spent $5k last month and a little over $14k in the last 3 months on online advertising. Does it pay?

YES, IT DOED. IT DID ALREADY, I GET AN AVERAGE OF 5 INQUIRIES A DAY.



Again, the best of luck in your new venture
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