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Where'd you get your start?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Ok guys...
I would like to start my own small catering company eventually and was wondering where you all got your start. I have done small parties for friends but nothing big. I have tried to get jobs with caterers but since I have no formal culinary training or experience. It's really disappointing since I think that would be the best way to learn the business. If you all have any advice I would appreciate it. Besides going back to school for a culinary certificate I don't know what else I can do (I have a bachelor's in accounting now).

-Sarah in WI
"Success is 99% failure."
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"Success is 99% failure."
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post #2 of 9
If you want to start a catering business, you will need a commercially licensed kitchen. You will need a business license. I would also recommend a business phone, yellow page ad, and website. Business cards would allow you to share your name, business address, and all contact information with your clients.

Depending upon where you live, you may also be required to have a food handler's certificate. When I worked in Harrisburg, PA, I was required to take (and pass) a one week ServSafe course to qualify for a county food handler's certificate. Here in Graham County, Arizona, I am NOT required to have any ServSafe training.
post #3 of 9
If I were you and had a BA in accounting I would aim for a food and bev managers position, or controller. Try and get yourself into a half way decent hotel to learn the basics of catering. :blush:
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #4 of 9

Re:Question Where'd you get your start?

Hi,
I am working in restaurant from last one year as a chef.My planning to start own restaurant but i need support.
Cookie recipes
" It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time…"
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Cookie recipes
" It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time…"
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Well, unfortunately I got a call back on a resume I submitted that I was not qualified enought to be a F&B manager which is what they were looking for. He said I should get a job as a waitress...I have a degree...c'mon. Any more suggestions?
"Success is 99% failure."
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"Success is 99% failure."
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post #6 of 9
-Take short courses of baking, cooking, food safety, patisserie & desserts, etc.
-Then associate with an experienced cook
post #7 of 9
Having a degree is admirable but in this particular instance, it's not serving you well because it's no substitute for hands-on experience.

Sadly, there are no shortcuts to success in the food service industry.

If you want to launch a catering company, you'll need to identify and develop a variety of skills. Learning how to serve tables would not be such a bad thing. I've been a server and I have a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

Working as a server will help you develop customer service skills. You'll learn how to take orders, how to use suggestive selling techniques, how to communicate with the kitchen staff, how to tray your meals, and how to serve meals without auctioning off food items i.e. "Okay ... who had the sirloin steak?"

If you think serving is easy, try serving lunch during a busy day when three tables in your section have been simultaneously seated, when a customer at a 4th table requires customer problem resolution because of a hair in his soup, and when customers at the 5th table need their beverages refilled and want to ask you questions about dessert.

Learning how to keep your table service smoothly flowing without keeping any single table waiting overly long is a useful multitasking skill.

If you plan to open a catering company, don't you think you'll need servers at some point? Knowing how to serve will give you valuable insights with regards to the time needed to accomplish specific serving tasks. You'll have a much better understanding with regards to how many servers you'll need for a given number of people and tables.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks D.C.
I never meant that I was "too good" to be a server its just annoying that my hard earned degree (I graduated with honors last year) means nothing in this buiness and that basically I chose the wrong major...I will see if I can find a part time or weekend serving position since I can't quit my full time job. I also am looking into getting my F&B certificate from the local community college which includes courses in basic cooking skills, sanitation and menu planning. I'm sure glad I wasted 4 years of my life in college for accounting...thanks again all!

-Sarah
"Success is 99% failure."
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"Success is 99% failure."
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post #9 of 9
Your accounting background will be very useful when you launch your company. You'll be able to do your own books and taxes. If you have employees and you can manage your time, you'll be able to take care of payroll yourself without having to outsource this work to an accountant.

In the meanwhile, you need to develop additional skills. Have you considered the possibility of going to culinary school? Culinary school will give you the basics of what you need to know. If you extern with a catering company, you'd also develop valuable hands on experience.
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