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Full-Service??

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm looking to start a catering business but i'm not interested in doing the full-service like renting tables, linens, servers, etc. I just want to cook my food and drop it off am i going to short change myself and miss out on some good clients. I live in South Jersey and any incites would be helpful.
post #2 of 9
Hey Chef, When I catered I never brought the tables and chairs. Let them worry about that stuff. I feel the food is enough to worry about............Bill
post #3 of 9
Your best bet is to put together a business plan and see if it will work. Figure out how many orders you'll need to get on a monthly basis, how much revenue is expected and how much profit you'll make. I don't think it is the tables and chairs that will make you a big profit and probably not even the linens. The biggest profit is in the full service catering. It's a lot more work and takes a larger capital outlay to start up the business, but will pay off larger in the long run. If you are just selling the food as "drop off," then you'll need to do more volume in order to make up the difference.

-Kevin
post #4 of 9
many around here develop a relationship with equipment rental companies. charge a % over the company's rate 10%-20% from the client, then get a nominal % back from the company. It can be lucrative.....
PLUS knowing that all the equipment you need is coming in makes it easier to concentrate on the food/decorations.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #5 of 9
You can't just said that you are not interested on it. It will hunt you soon. If your business will be successful enough, then later by later you are going to need one of those. But first you can't just jump into conclusion. First is you must concentrate on the food and decoration as what they've just said. But the most important is proper discipline and planning.

nichole :chef:
post #6 of 9
The "Business Plan" idea is a good one -- if only to get you to start thinking through what how much many costs are incurred putting two hot dogs, buns, potato salad and cole slaw on a paper plate. Start by imagining the process. You get a phone call from a client -- now pay for the phone bill. You go to the store -- pay for the gas, insurance, wear and tear on the van, and a decent salary for your own time. So it goes -- there's just way more than you imagine.

Food isn't the least of it in the totality of catering. But it's not the be all end all either. And most certainly, "good" food by itself is not nearly enough. You're in a service business, and service -- not food -- is what you MUST supply in order to survice. Your current idea describes "personal chef," more than "caterer." It's as though you've decided to open a shoe store which only sells size 8-1/2, left shoes.

Furthermore, as shroomgirl said, the "ancillaries" of rentals, disposables, flowers, beverages and staff are a huge source of revenue.

You specifically asked,
Well, no one can say for sure... but the answer is almost certainly YES. Unless you've got a bunch of clients already locked in AND are a world class cook, your self-imposed limitations are a quick death sentence.

If you are such an incredibly good cook that the world will beat a path to your door for one or two of your specialties, you should be thinking retail instead of catering. And if you're such a good all-round cook that the world wants you to cater their important events -- they won't hire you unless you do all the other things or associate yourself with a planner.

You might want to think about working with a successful caterer and/or planner before starting your own business.

BDL
________________________
Ex owner/operator Predominantly French catering; ex cook at a couple of decent joints
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http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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post #7 of 9
I didnt buy tables till i needed them for bbqs. Generally, I've found the client has these. I started out providing crockery etc. But by year 2 I was using high quality disposables. You have to consider, if you're doing drop offs that the crockery A) needs picking up and washing - What do you charge for that. And B) Clients steal your stuff on a regular basis.

When I told my clients we'd be using disposables from now on, Some said ok thats fine. Others said. Well we have our own crockery you can use that. I never knew.

ChefStef, You're going to find that once folk get to know and like you, that the big jobs will come in. Then you have to decide whether to fork out on tables, linen etc or rent it. For now, Give the punters what they want and see how it goes.

I wish you all the very best for a succesful business
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #8 of 9
The first year we rented all that schtuff. The following year we started to buy stuff, coffee service, dinnerware service, glassware.... by the end of 10 years we could fully supply everything for a top-notch 120 person sit-down---excluding chairs .
Banquet tables come in very handy for buffets and prep work, probably one of the first things I'd get.

We charged the same rates as the rental companies, and we made good money from it, usually paid for all the stuff after the first 3 uses

If you only supply the food and take off, that's what you're market will be, not a lot of gravy in there
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #9 of 9

Renting with an upcharge is the way to go! (for me)

I have a very small kitchen, so I don't have room for a dishwasher, or storing stuff like tables, chairs, dinnerware, etc.

However, I have a great relationship with several rental companies, and I always order the rentals myself -- I don't allow the client to do it -- they get to pick the patterns, but not order. This way, I can get exactly what I need in terms of numbers of plates, glasses, etc. and equipment, and I charge 20% above the rental prices...I also get a discount from the rental company.

Rentals take a certain amount of time to order, but I always make money on them. I like being able to rent because we can leave the dirty dishes behind and know that someone else will deal with them!

Chef Andrea
Chef Andrea
Catering by Dinner is Served
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Chef Andrea
Catering by Dinner is Served
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