Re: The OBSTACLES of Catering Business

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Posted by ADIXON on September 12, 19100 at 13:50:21 :

In Reply to: The OBSTACLES of Catering Business posted by Carl Jones on May 13, 19100 at 09:56:05 :

: THE ANSWER:Thank you, gave me encourage to go on and attend classes.

: Hi,

: Thanks for the favorable comments. Many people misunderstand my messages and take them as being pompous, aloof and down right rude. Maybe they are. Sometimes I just get so frustrated. I see so many people jump into this without training, business knowledge, but with a lot of heart. And they get eaten alive. If it were not for places like Costco and Sam's, the foodservice distributors would screw them so badly. Most never even know what happened.

: The ONLY way is to have a plan. Start small and stick to the plan. Here are some of the obstacles :

: Foodservice Distributors: you have to watch them like a hawk. From the Salesman to the Delivery person they can be thieves! I have caught so many ERRORS. I assure you that most were not ERRORS until I caught them. Don't believe me? Hang out at a rest area(not that I do) and see how much extra food you can buy from the drivers. It's not DISTRUST you should have, but rather a policy of not Trusting anyone... there is a difference.

: EMPLOYEES: Fact, 1/3 of all will steal if given the opportunity. It starts small and gets big. Usually by the time you catch it, it is big. You must have checks and balances. They steal food, supplies, coffee packs, condiments, silverware, dishes and TIME. Amazing how much money I have lost based upon employees not doing what they are being PAID for. I could have retired when I was 40 if I had that money.

: CLIENTS: Many are wonderful. They call you, they trust you, they let you do your thing and then pay you. OTHERS. They call, call, call, call, call, bug the stew out of you. They intimidate you into lowering your price. (which is you throwing away the money). They are high maintenance and love servitude, and will take months to pay you, if ever.

: You have to stick to your standards. Let them go to someone else. Let them be your competition's problem. Require a 300.00 to 1000.00 deposit. Require full payment 3 days prior to the event. No exceptions, especially friends. (most corporate accounts are good risks, but I have heard of some having a HUGE party knowing they were filing bankruptcy the next week.) So do credit checks on them, and roll the dice.

: FRIENDS: since I mentioned them above. Everyone is your friend. They expect discounts, don't start! Sometimes they don't pay. (I currently am owed 5000.00 from about 3 different FRIENDS that I allowed to pay me later... and hey, they just don't have it and your not going to sue a FRIEND????) Lesson learned. I give PERCEIVED discounts to my FRIENDS. Like I said, everyone is my friend. The biitchy mother of the bride doesn't get those DISCOUNTS. :)

: How I got started? I started as an assistant manager in a franchise steak house (my father owned 2 here in TN, but he was living in GA) after graduating from College with a degree in business and economics. I also have a father who was a terrific business man. So call it genetic, environment or constant bombardment of business acumen from my father while growing up. I started a pretty keen businessman, away from my father. I quickly turned them into gold mines and was running both in 2 years. I got rich, quick. I became very materialistic and arrogant. I played hard. But I learned from the VERY hard knocks.

: I fell HARD after trying to do too much. Catering came out of the need for extra money to pay bills to keep my restaurants afloat. I saved one. It does well and the other was turned into a beautiful private event facility. (Lemons into lemonade.) But NOT until I had a big change of heart and attitude did the success start coming back to me.

: Now I appreciate not being in debt. Having some time off. Being with true friends. Advising people on the internet. Consulting with struggling businesses in my area for free. And the money just flows in steadily, but not too much. I give more, instead of taking.

: There are no guarantees that culinary school or business school will help someone make it. It is still a big risk. I will say that all the knowledge you can give yourself will be well worth it. You will either learn in class or by getting your butt kicked a few times. I would rather go to class.

: You HAVE to have the common sense. You have to be on your toes at all times. And then you are still facing a long road in catering. When you have a restaurant, the people come immediately. (sometimes before you are ready, which is another subject) When you open a catering company, it takes years to build a clientele and reputation. You will literally put EVERYTHING back into it for about 5 years, if your money holds out. Usually it doesnt. Remember, I had two restaurants and could take my time building the catering division, then splitting it off. It took years.

: My advice. Gain knowledge. Go to school. Go to work for a medium sized caterer and work your butt off. If you still want to do this after about 5 years, maybe he will sell it to you. Otherwise, look to spend another 5 years before you are where he is.

: Blessings!

: Carl Jones
: Premier Place Catering

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