The Caterers Corner
Probably too late now but... Caterers Corner: Probably too late now but...
By Jazz2336 (Jazz2336) on Wednesday, March 16, 2005 - 07:08 am: Edit

The business I bought is a little 10 seat restaurant (not currently operating - yet), a small wine inventory and an established clientele of pharmaceutical reps who order catered lunches for doctors from me. Right now, working by myself, I can handle two lunches 25-40 people per day. If I start getting more I will need a delivery person. These lunches will pay my bills, but the evening caterings and possibly the restaurant will be the gravy. However, I didn't get any training before buying the business (foolish, I know, but I'm going through a divorce and after 21 years co-owning a construction company couldn't go work for someone else). This is my dream.

So my question - if I take the time and find the money, what is the best thing I can do for myself and the business as far as school, crash course, anything to give me a little edge and some self confidence. Is there a great 1 week course out there. I know most of you will think I don't have a chance because I didn't have the experience, but it's too late for that now. I am 47 and this is my future, my retirement. So all suggestions are welcome - even the snide ones.

I need to find a niche here in Ormond Beach - it's an upscale area and I need to make a mark. There really isn't much competition, so I have a good shot at success if I load up with all the ammo I can.

Thanks again - Deb

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Wednesday, March 16, 2005 - 09:32 am: Edit

Crash course or information overload? No real cooking classes that last only a week. Do like 007 and spy--check out all the local caterer's websites, menus, pricing, and services offered. See what kind of suppliers you can get, the more the better. Don't rely on only one who can supply everything from toilet paper to IQF porkchops, or you won't have anything unique to offer and you will have to compete by pricing only.

The "ammo" you need is a catering menu, one that fits you, your style of catering, and a price range you're comfortable with. With that you can start to advertise--because no matter how good you are nobody will use you if they don't know you exist. Ask permission from "regulars" if you can e-mail or fax broadcast your specials to them on a weekly basis, maybe later you can get a flyer printed up and distributed. Decide if you want to offer incentives with regulars who refer you to new customers. You will need staff, eventually, because there's only one of you and only 24 hours in a day. Choose wisely.

If you were in the construction biz, you know the importance of a contract. Every contracter I've met (myself included) has a sob story about a customer who didn't pay, or who complained they didn't get what they asked for. There's no way I can stress how important a contract is--even for a small events.

Don't work too hard...

By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Wednesday, March 16, 2005 - 09:39 am: Edit

Definately you should try the 1 week catering bootcamp.

June 7, 2005 Pompano Beach Fl. (Miami area)
US Foodservice building
2800 N. Andrews Ave.
Pompano Beach, FL. 33064

By Anna (Anna) on Wednesday, March 16, 2005 - 09:48 am: Edit

Hi Deb, keep going!!!!, I trully believe that attitude is some time more important than other things.. even if you do not have the experience I am sure you can find help and excelent advise. that makes a good manager, to be able to hear what other have to say..........
this is an old book I found in a garage sale, and I found it very useful, at least to start
A guide to excellence on the purveting of public victuals
Daniel Miller
ISBN 0-916782-11-S

Good luck!!

By Jazz2336 (Jazz2336) on Thursday, March 17, 2005 - 03:12 pm: Edit

Thanks for all the help everyone. I am traveling to Washington DC for my boot camp in April - that's a start. As for the rest - well I keep all my info from this board in a binder - very helpful people - very generous. Thanks so much all!


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