catering questions
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09-11-2012, 10:42 AM
catering questions
I decided, that I would like to start a catering business.

A while ago, I worked in an Italian restaurant in the kitchen. I learnt a lot there and since then I have been thinking about opening a food business. While there are some disadvantages, I love cooking and I love baking and I don't mind working on holidays (obviously) or weekends. I am also a night owl so even an order on short notice wouldn't be a disaster.

Now I would like to make a first little poll, if you want to participate just chose the questions that best fit you and let me know what you think. If nothing fits you, I am open for any kind of feedback, hints, experiences or whatever else you have to say about the topic:

Questions for everyone:
If you were at a party that is being catered for (at work, at a club, etc) what are the kinds of snacks there, that you like most:
* What do you like about your favourite catering snack.
* How much of this snack would you eat on average.
* How much of this snack would you eat if you could have as much as you wanted?

Questions for company owners (defined, for this thread, by being more that 2 people):
If you were to order from a caterer
* What would you be willing to pay (keeping open on purpose, so you can tell me more if you like)
* Would you go for the snacks on the menu or have a lot of special wishes when something is not on the menu?
* What experience did you make with caterers in the past?

Questions for people who work(ed) for a catering service or restaurant in the kitchen or similar:
* What are special questions or orders you got a lot?
* How many days in advance would you like to have orders in?
* Anything else you find important?

"Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4" - George Orwell (in 1984)
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09-11-2012, 11:17 AM
RE: catering questions
(09-11-2012 10:42 AM)Leela Wrote:  I decided, that I would like to start a catering business.

A while ago, I worked in an Italian restaurant in the kitchen. I learnt a lot there and since then I have been thinking about opening a food business. While there are some disadvantages, I love cooking and I love baking and I don't mind working on holidays (obviously) or weekends. I am also a night owl so even an order on short notice wouldn't be a disaster.

Now I would like to make a first little poll, if you want to participate just chose the questions that best fit you and let me know what you think. If nothing fits you, I am open for any kind of feedback, hints, experiences or whatever else you have to say about the topic:

Questions for everyone:
If you were at a party that is being catered for (at work, at a club, etc) what are the kinds of snacks there, that you like most:
* What do you like about your favourite catering snack.

We had these bbq meatballs at our wedding. I wish I had a bucket full of them. THEY WERE SO TASTY AND MESSY!

Quote:* How much of this snack would you eat on average.
Well. We had cheese dishes too, those were good. Cheese and meatballs. How much? Probably way more than is healthy for me. Still. TASTY.

Quote:* How much of this snack would you eat if you could have as much as you wanted?
WAY TOO MUCH! BBQ MEATBALLS! What isn't to love! Honestly I think I chowed down on 10 of those things or more.
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09-11-2012, 12:58 PM
RE: catering questions
I have worked for a caterer and my suggestion is that you should consider doing so for a few months.

Besides food preparation and pricing, there is a large labor component - servers, bartender, delivery, set up and clean up.

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09-11-2012, 01:02 PM
RE: catering questions
(09-11-2012 11:17 AM)Logisch Wrote:  
(09-11-2012 10:42 AM)Leela Wrote:  I decided, that I would like to start a catering business.

A while ago, I worked in an Italian restaurant in the kitchen. I learnt a lot there and since then I have been thinking about opening a food business. While there are some disadvantages, I love cooking and I love baking and I don't mind working on holidays (obviously) or weekends. I am also a night owl so even an order on short notice wouldn't be a disaster.

Now I would like to make a first little poll, if you want to participate just chose the questions that best fit you and let me know what you think. If nothing fits you, I am open for any kind of feedback, hints, experiences or whatever else you have to say about the topic:

Questions for everyone:
If you were at a party that is being catered for (at work, at a club, etc) what are the kinds of snacks there, that you like most:
* What do you like about your favourite catering snack.

We had these bbq meatballs at our wedding. I wish I had a bucket full of them. THEY WERE SO TASTY AND MESSY!

Quote:* How much of this snack would you eat on average.
Well. We had cheese dishes too, those were good. Cheese and meatballs. How much? Probably way more than is healthy for me. Still. TASTY.

Quote:* How much of this snack would you eat if you could have as much as you wanted?
WAY TOO MUCH! BBQ MEATBALLS! What isn't to love! Honestly I think I chowed down on 10 of those things or more.
+1000 ON THE BBQ MEATBALLS!

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
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09-11-2012, 04:21 PM
RE: catering questions
Yay @ meatballs haha Big Grin, but they were in the plans anyway heh. very popular around here

@ Chas: I will only offer the food. They need someone to serve, they will have to find someone else. I will also not offer rooms. My service will reall only be a delivery service. Sure if a customer wants to talk stuff through, they can come to my house and we talk. But apart from that, they have to organize their own rooms. I don't think that I will hire someone.
As far as I get the local market, the really big things like weddings, babtisms, etc are being done in a restaurant that has a big ball room or so, therefore such parties might not be in my range.
Basically I target this towards private households (richer people) and towards businesses that celabrate something in their own rooms (birthdays, landing a deal, etc...)

One idea that my hubby had, was to include a lunch menu, so businesses can order a regular lunch. Which is a wonderful idea because around here, an employer must either feed the employee or give them a food stamp. And if I can offer a lunch with a price lower than a food stamp, that might boost business)

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09-11-2012, 04:31 PM
RE: catering questions
(09-11-2012 04:21 PM)Leela Wrote:  Yay @ meatballs haha Big Grin, but they were in the plans anyway heh. very popular around here

@ Chas: I will only offer the food. They need someone to serve, they will have to find someone else. I will also not offer rooms. My service will reall only be a delivery service. Sure if a customer wants to talk stuff through, they can come to my house and we talk. But apart from that, they have to organize their own rooms. I don't think that I will hire someone.
As far as I get the local market, the really big things like weddings, babtisms, etc are being done in a restaurant that has a big ball room or so, therefore such parties might not be in my range.
Basically I target this towards private households (richer people) and towards businesses that celabrate something in their own rooms (birthdays, landing a deal, etc...)

One idea that my hubby had, was to include a lunch menu, so businesses can order a regular lunch. Which is a wonderful idea because around here, an employer must either feed the employee or give them a food stamp. And if I can offer a lunch with a price lower than a food stamp, that might boost business)
I don't think that is a realistic business idea. People who want the food generally want you to prepare and serve it, as well.

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09-11-2012, 04:50 PM
catering questions
(09-11-2012 04:31 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(09-11-2012 04:21 PM)Leela Wrote:  Yay @ meatballs haha Big Grin, but they were in the plans anyway heh. very popular around here

@ Chas: I will only offer the food. They need someone to serve, they will have to find someone else. I will also not offer rooms. My service will reall only be a delivery service. Sure if a customer wants to talk stuff through, they can come to my house and we talk. But apart from that, they have to organize their own rooms. I don't think that I will hire someone.
As far as I get the local market, the really big things like weddings, babtisms, etc are being done in a restaurant that has a big ball room or so, therefore such parties might not be in my range.
Basically I target this towards private households (richer people) and towards businesses that celabrate something in their own rooms (birthdays, landing a deal, etc...)

One idea that my hubby had, was to include a lunch menu, so businesses can order a regular lunch. Which is a wonderful idea because around here, an employer must either feed the employee or give them a food stamp. And if I can offer a lunch with a price lower than a food stamp, that might boost business)
I don't think that is a realistic business idea. People who want the food generally want you to prepare and serve it, as well.

As much as I hate agreeing with Chas, the people I've known who do catering or events I've gone to with catering, almost always do the serving too. You might be able to not have to do that in your area, though. But typically, a customer wants a one-stop shopping experience. They want the caterer to handle all the food details. They don't want to have to make multiple calls to find servers, etc. You might want to at least have people you can recommend.
But certainly if you do the idea of delivering lunches to businesses, that would definitely be an easier way to go without needing servers.

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
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09-11-2012, 05:01 PM
RE: catering questions
My #1 priority when ordering from a caterer is good food. I want choices, and I want a caterer with flexibility (if I want perogies on the menu, and you don't normally make them, will you go outside your usual menu to satisfy my needs).

Priority #2 is that I have to do as little as possible. I am hosting an event, and when I hire a caterer, I do so with the expectation that on the day of the event, I don't have to worry about food at all. So hot foods need to be kept hot (by the caterer), some foods need to be served (by the caterer), and so on and so forth. Basically, to me, a caterer is someone who takes care of the food so I don't have to. As soon as they tell me, "you'll have to take care of that yourself" I thank them for their time and move on to another caterer.

Um, ya, I've hired a caterer or two in my day. Wink

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09-11-2012, 05:23 PM
RE: catering questions
Stark: yes, I will of course fulfill special wished unless it is absolutely not possible, like customer wants a fruit that is just out of season and not obtainable at that point.

Now about the waiters, bar tenders etc... Probably I have to rethink the whole concept
Something like a lunch service for the whole area. Probably simply offering lunches for businesses, day care centeres, etc. For special customers I could do special offers... Like Weekend deliveries, or Dinner....

Tomorrow I am going to check other caterers around, see what they offer and where my market gap is. Also need to know whole sales with stuff I would need for the delivery... (yeah a lunch delivery service actually sound pretty good!)

"Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4" - George Orwell (in 1984)
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10-11-2012, 05:45 AM
RE: catering questions
(09-11-2012 05:23 PM)Leela Wrote:  Stark: yes, I will of course fulfill special wished unless it is absolutely not possible, like customer wants a fruit that is just out of season and not obtainable at that point.

Now about the waiters, bar tenders etc... Probably I have to rethink the whole concept
Something like a lunch service for the whole area. Probably simply offering lunches for businesses, day care centeres, etc. For special customers I could do special offers... Like Weekend deliveries, or Dinner....

Tomorrow I am going to check other caterers around, see what they offer and where my market gap is. Also need to know whole sales with stuff I would need for the delivery... (yeah a lunch delivery service actually sound pretty good!)


You need to do this research locally, we are spread all over the world here and different cultures look at food differently.

You could specialize and do buffet only. That way you could set it up yourself and leave, come back later and pick up YOUR (plain white so they fit any theme) dishes. That's convenient for everyone.

I think you do need to think about hiring people as you go, it's the way to grow.

Buffets work for parties of all types and would work for business lunches too. Otherwise, people will want to order sandwiches and stuff and you have to wrap them and have containers for soup and whatnot.

Maybe you should include a diet section - low cal, low carb, vegetarian, gluten free, what have you. People on diets always are unhappy at food events.

What about the department of health? Are there requirements?

How about a service for working moms - you do all the prep work for dinner and deliver it, they can just throw it in the oven or micro or whatever and serve actual dinners to the family.

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