Starting a catering business can be very exciting, but it can also be overwhelming if you don’t know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. However, by starting your business with a plan in place, you can help alleviate some of the stress and put yourself in a position to be successful for many years to come. That said, starting your business is just half of the battle. Once your business is up and running, you’ll also need to market it in order to ensure that you’re bringing in as many customers as possible.
If you’re ready to turn your catering dreams into reality, keep reading to learn how to start and market your catering business.
How To Start Your Catering Business
Choose A Name For Your Business
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably been thinking of potential names for your catering business for the last several years. While a name may seem like a minor detail, it’s actually anything but. What you end up naming your business will be one of the biggest parts of its legacy so it’s important to go with something that you really like and that suits your business.
Write A Business Plan
A business plan is an essential part of starting a business, but it’s a step that many people try to skip. However, in order to start your business off on the right foot, you should take the time to draft a thorough business plan. To put it simply, a business plan is a document that describes every detail of how the business will operate and how it will grow in the future. As your business grows you might have plans to provide additional services to complement your food. For instance, you may decide to give people the option to hire security guards for the events you’re catering. In that case, you’ll want to include something in your business plan to note that you may eventually need to invest in the best security guard training in Toronto.
While the amount of money needed to start a catering business can vary, you should know that it’s going to cost you something and you may not be able to cover all of the costs yourself. If you have extra, it is better to hire expert in accounting like borggalea.com to assist you to come up with a concrete plan to secure the funding you’ll need. After all, food and ingredients aren’t the only things you’re going to need money for. Depending on your situation, you may be able to ask friends and/or family to invest in your business. Or, you might have to take out a loan. Either way, you should take the time to research your options so you can do what makes the most sense for you. Having a solid business plan can also help when trying to gain funding.
Find A Supplier
As a caterer, you are going to need to buy food in large quantities. While going to a local grocery store may work in the beginning, that won’t be an option once your business reaches a certain size. In order to assure that you have consistent access to the food you need, you’ll want to find a supplier who allows you to purchase things like meat, vegetables, and seafood in bulk.
Set Your Prices
Having a set pricing structure in place will make things easier for both you and your customers. For starters, establishing your pricing allows you to also get a good idea of your profit margins which will be essential for the longevity of your business. On top of that, being upfront and consistent with your pricing is necessary in order for potential customers to spend money with your business.
How To Market Your Catering Business
Get A Website
These days, the majority of people research a business online before making any purchase decisions. Needless to say, having a website is a must. Your website is the first impression many people will have of your business, so it should be professional looking and easy to navigate. The site should include important information about your business such as the best way to contact you. Without a website, people may start to question the legitimacy of your business.
Focus On Search Engine Optimization
Having a website is important, but what good is a website if no one knows it exists? This is why search engine optimization (SEO) is important. SEO is a series of techniques that help your website rank higher in search engine results. One of the best things about SEO is that it will help attract people who are already interested in what you have to offer. For example, if someone Googles something like “best catering in Toronto” SEO can help ensure that your website appears in the results. It’s important to note, however, that seeing results from SEO can take several months.
Be Active On Social Media
Social media has become a very powerful tool over the last 20 years. While some people may see social media as nothing more than fun and games, it can actually be an amazing way to market your business. Having a presence on social media allows you to connect with your audience while sharing content related to your business. Catering content can work especially well on a visual platform such as Instagram. Social media can be especially beneficial because it is free and allows you to reach people all over the world.
Highlight Positive Reviews From Customers
Even though technology has changed a lot of things in the business world, word of mouth is still one of the best ways to attract new business. However, word of mouth is now often spread via online reviews and testimonials. By putting your positive reviews on display, you can let potential customers see how satisfied other people have been with your business. Once people start to see that you have a good track record they’ll be more likely to trust your business with their catering needs. On the flip side, having mostly negative reviews or no reviews at all can hurt your marketing efforts.