You’ll have seen it time and time again. Those empty premises in town are suddenly a hive of activity, as workmen come and go, creating a new café, bar or restaurant – seemingly with no expense spared. Within a short space of time, trendy new décor is in place along with chic furniture and an impressively large menu is posted at the window. To a fanfare of publicity the new business is opened – only to close abruptly within the space of a few months.
Many people believe – wrongly, as it turns out – that they could run a successful catering business. Just because friends and family praise their culinary skills it doesn’t necessarily follow that a person has the necessary skills to make a success of a business venture. And catering businesses are more likely to fail than most other startups, according to SmallBusiness.co.uk.
Research your market and expand it
A lack of preparation is one of the principal reasons for such a high failure rate. Catering seems to be an area in which talented chefs, cooks and hosts simply fail to undertake the necessary research and plan ahead. High street and out-of-town retail parks are awash with cafés, restaurants, sandwich bars and mobile catering enterprises all eager for business. Is your proposed venture offering something different? Is it something that people will want? There is nothing worse than having carefully planned a special event only to have it ruined by unwanted guests, bad behaviour and chaotic scenes. Why not consider ensuring that events that are private can be arranged for people who don’t want the uninvited guests. If you wanted to have an event that would stay exclusive to the people invited why not use a Hen Party Bus Cheltenham for a great night out. You could have your own party bus with food and alcohol to have the perfect hen night or for any other event. There is a growing demand for private parties that still many Caterers are unaware of. This could be costing them a lot of business.
Customer service is key
Marketing Restaurant has produced a helpful guide outlining some of the most common pitfalls in the catering industry. Heading their list of reasons why caterers fail is the failure to provide excellent customer service. Not average, not good, but excellent service. A happy customer is likely to give good word of mouth reviews and, most importantly, will come back. Never forget that the customer is king.
Upselling is one of the key components in many catering businesses. When your customers have enjoyed a great meal they are more likely to linger over coffee and drinks, which gives you a chance to increase their total spend. Look for inventive ways to persuade your customers to spend more than they initially intended.
A good example is an artfully lit chilled display cabinet of refreshing drinks to tempt them into ordering extra drinks.
Constantly overhaul your budgets
Caterers should know better than anyone not to put all their eggs in one basket! Yet time and again a degree of complacency creeps in when it comes to sourcing ingredients. A great supplier last year may not still be such a competitive player this year, so never stop checking for alternatives.
Don’t stop assessing the exact cost of each item on your menu. You should know to the penny how much a plate of food, or sandwich, or snack has cost to produce, and how much profit you make from it. Failure to keep check of spiralling costs will cost you dearly in the long run, so a regular budgetary overhaul should be at the top of your monthly checklist.