When you already know how to run a successful commercial kitchen, developing an outside catering business can be very rewarding. Catering for social events such as weddings and balls, or prestigious corporate events such as awards ceremonies and product launches can initially seem quite daunting, but word soon spreads. With good planning and an attractive range of menus you could find your services in great demand sooner than you think. As an extra resource look at getting some Cheap Shelving Units Ireland products from companies including Rackzone to store all your cook utensils, plates, cutlery and glasses on so when your cooking outside you have everything you need ready at hand.
Your preparation kitchen
Of course you need a dedicated preparation kitchen equipped with everything necessary to prepare most of the food you offer ready to transport it to the venue just before it needs to be served. With today’s commercial refrigeration equipment you will be able to store the prepared dishes at a safe temperature to be delivered to the event in peak condition.
Since August 2014 it has been a legal requirement for food businesses to provide information about possible allergens in the food they produce so that people with food allergies or intolerance are able to identify them. Further information is available from the Foods Standards Agency to ensure you comply with the new legislation.
It makes sense for an outside catering organisation to hold its own Drinks Licence so that bar facilities can be provided along with the food at events such as weddings and parties. The Institute of Alcohol Studies gives information about the different types of licences needed.
Providing a range of menus for different events and price ranges is the key to success. Perhaps around five or six different menus for wedding breakfasts would be ideal, with two or three formal sit-down meals and the same number of buffet options to offer something for everyone.
Cold buffets are very popular at corporate events, and if you include one or two options for an impressive centrepiece to the buffet it can make the table really memorable. Themed menus for both buffets and formal dinners are often popular. You could consider offering Mexican, Chinese or Indian finger or fork buffet menus and fine dining menus, for example.
Make it clear how many courses are included and whether your price includes beverages such as tea and coffee as well as options such as mints at the end of a meal. Customers will also need to know whether you provide tablecloths and napkins. Depending on the venue, you may need to provide crockery, cutlery and glassware – this will need to be discussed with each customer before quoting a price for the event.
Decide on the maximum and minimum covers you wish to provide. Some customers may request your service for a private intimate dinner, so if this is something you offer, make sure that it features in your advertising.
Success often comes through word of mouth but this does not need you can neglect marketing your business and today, social media such as Facebook and Twitter are at least as important in attracting new clients as printed material.