What does it take to be a great caterer? Going to culinary school is a great first step. Once you’ve mastered your culinary skills, you also need an array of administrative skills. Like any other business, administrative tasks such accounting, customer relations, marketing and others always suffice. What then should you bear in mind in your quest to run a successful catering business?
- Quality Food
Cooking and delicious food are at the core of any catering service. You just can’t run away from it. Customers want good, delicious food at any given time, on any given day. Don’t ever compromise on the taste of your food. No matter how classy the event is, how good the décor is or how great your customer service is, if your food doesn’t taste great, you’re as good as out of business. Quality also encompasses food safety. Get fresh produce from reputable sources and remember, cook it well. Additionally, adhere to all the set regulations within the food and health sector.
If your business is not clean, you’ll most likely be shut down by the health department. Clients are also scared away by dirty businesses. You don’t want a bad reputation as the firm that does not invest in cleanliness. Such a reputation will make you lose out on good business. A clean working environment is, therefore, essential. Additionally, ensure that your employees always look clean and presentable when serving and handling clients.
- Competitive Pricing
Like any other business, chances are if your pricing is way higher than that of your competitors, you are most likely to lose out on valuable business. The easiest way to go about setting your prices is to shop around. Research on how much everyone else is charging and set your prices accordingly. This pricing should, of course, tally with your profit and loss statements. Tally up the numbers according to the hours you put in.
- Customer Service
No business can afford to compromise on customer service. Clients want to feel valued and appreciated. They also want their input taken into consideration. Diplomacy, excellent communication and people skills are vital in helping you build a customer base. You don’t only want to have clients hire you once; great catering businesses thrive on repeat customers. Guess what? The best recommendation and marketing tool in the catering industry to date is still word of mouth. Excellent customer service is vital.
- Business Management
A catering business is a business nonetheless. As with any other business, good business management is necessary if the firm is going to survive this tough industry and remain profitable. The business has to properly handle administrative tasks such as accounting, taxes, employee management, procurement, budgets and marketing. There are no shortcuts in good business management. You just have to see everything through and commit to what is needed of you.
- Marketing and Attention to Detail
Even if your food is delicious but you have no clients, your business is going to collapse before it even starts. Getting noticed is a must if you are to thrive. A good network of contacts (florists, event planners, venue organizers, among others), also act as your referrals. Despite all this marketing, attention to detail is a must. Clients want their needs met fully, and if as a caterer you’re also doubling up in décor, attention to detail cannot be skipped.
Coordinated attire for staff at any catering business always exudes that further look of professionalism. You should always ensure your employees wear coordinated attire for clients to have more confidence in you. If you’ve just set up shop and don’t have a uniform yet, always ensure that your staff’s clothing is neat and clean. Above all, practice the highest standards of professionalism in everyday dealings.
The difference between success and failure in the catering sector is closely tied up to the areas discussed above. Get them right, and you’re set for a long and exciting career in the catering industry.
Written by bleu events, one of the top caterers Columbia, MO has to offer.