Whether you are considering going into the catering business or are looking to expand your current restaurant with a bit of catering on the side, it helps if you have a few tricks up your sleeve. Many of us look at the caterer at an event and maybe think, I could do that! But be warned, the job is the end result of hard work, great planning skills and most of all the ability to think on your feet.
It is far from glamorous and involves long hours. But if that description doesn’t make you run for the hills, you may have what it takes. Stay tuned, as we are going to share with you a few tips and tricks that the pros were willing to share with us. Here are some secrets that successful catering companies all know, and use to keep the money rolling in while rolling the dough.
Tip#1 – Keep Your Cool
If there is anything you can count on in the catering business, it is that you can’t count on everything going off like clockwork. You can plan until the cows come home, but events have a way of making their own schedule. The smart established catering specialist knows this and takes it into account.
Being able to pivot with grace and ease when things go wrong is what separates the professionals from the amateurs in this business. When the central dish goes up in smoke, the tablecloths don’t get delivered in time or the delivery truck springs a leak, plan around it. Keep your cool, asses the situation and make a decision based on what is in front of you, not on a panicked feeling in your gut.
Tip #2 – Have the Right Tools
Nothing gives away a non-professional in the game as fast as pulling out what is obviously a substitute for the right tool. Just as you wouldn’t hire a carpenter that does his hammering with his shoe, tools like a commercial vacuum sealer for keeping everything sealed and ready is a must. While you can get by with leased serving tools, the right cooking and preparation tools should be your own.
This may mean a bit of an investment in them when you start, but you can also work on this slowly. Acquire what you need a few at a time and in the end, you will find you have a fully stocked very professional kitchen, ready to take on everything from a preschooler’s birthday party to a full-blown wedding.
Tip #3 – Price is Key
You are going to find potential clients who will balk at your prices, thinking how much cheaper it would be to just buy what they need directly. But you are providing more than the food, you are providing true handmade bounty and that costs more than that bargain freezer package at the store.
So, when they begin to protest about the prices, don’t cave in. Take pride in what you do, insist on your servers getting a living wage and your business making a profit. Even friends and family pricing should still allow you to make something for your time and effort.