Starting up a catering business is one of the best ways to add flavor to one’s professional life. Catering is the only business that never runs out. There is a constant demand for this type of business opportunity in every nook and corner of the globe. It is a rapidly increasing business type that begins from a simple location like home.
Caterers are sought in almost every working sector. With the IT sector proliferating in recent times, the busy work schedule pushes professionals, both young and old, to seek for quality food from outside that does not make them feel homesick.
Passion and developing the required skills within oneself can ensure definite success and make the entrepreneur reach greater heights in the catering business. Beginning with a well-structured business plan in-hand and adding further innovations once the business heats up are few essentialities to make the business reach out far.
How to Start a Catering Business in India
Where to start from?
Every budding entrepreneur will require proper guidance regarding the setting up of a business and the pre-requisites for the same. Having a pre-launch business plan and implementing the necessary steps at respective stages will guide the entrepreneur in the journey of the catering business.
Know Your Market
It is highly pivotal to know the market scenario that we are entering into. An entrepreneur must thoroughly analyze competitors, their Unique Selling Prices (USP), the kind of edge they possess in the market, their customer bases, and many more. A survey will lend a helping hand in getting to know about the present demand for caterers in the market and the expectations to be met by the caterer for the needs of their customers. This will help the entrepreneur in knowing the needs of the business and plan the business accordingly.
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Stick on to a Niche
After the business is all set to be run in the market, it is essential to decide and fix upon what kind of cuisines that your restaurant will offer and for what occasions that you serve i.e. for weddings, parties, corporate events, or boxed meals.
It would be a great idea to get feedback from various customers and work on negative ones. Your competitors’ negatives will add to your plus point if they are rectified and rendered properly.
This also helps in attracting a customer base and pre-orders even before your restaurant is launched.
After fixing upon the niche of the venture and obtaining all-the-round knowledge of the demands that your business will have to face after launch, it would be high time that you draft the business plan for your venture. Beginning a catering venture with a structured plan will be a kick start to the business.
Work on Numbers
All ideas and plans would eventually narrow down to funds. It is vital to create a budget that will meet the business’s start-up cost and working expenses. You should create a budget in such a way that it would efficiently manage the following costs:
- On-site equipment
- Monthly expenses
- Advertising costs
- Raw materials
- Decorations (if necessary)
You need not depend completely upon your equity i.e. on the cash-in-hand. You can seek a catering business loan from a bank. All you need to do is to convince the banker to lend you a loan by proving that your business model will emerge to be a profitable one.
The credibility of your business plan will play a significant role in the sanctioning of loans for your venture. The extent to which your business plan seems practical in the current market scenario is vital.
Once the funds are all ready to be invested and spent on various business activities, it is time to get your venture equipped with the required manpower and inventories.
Apart from culinary skills, there are many other things to be considered to run a catering business. It is essential to hire the right kind of people for the job and to employ technologically as well as cost-effective machinery.
To begin with, jot down the types and numbers of machines that you will require depending upon the type of cuisine that you offer. For instance, look at the table below:
|BUSINESS TYPE||INVENTORY REQUIREMENT|
|Specialized in desserts||More number of ovens|
|To take up large scale orders||More number of stoves|
|Boxed Meals||Extra cutlery|
|Specialized in Beverages||More number of Glasses and straws|
Source your sources
When you are all set and equipped, you can proceed to look for vendors who will provide you the raw materials required. You can source it from local markets or a supply distribution chain.
In the initial stage of your venture, it would be a good choice to source raw materials from a wholesaler so that planned expenses do not go over the budget.
You can move on to better vendors and supply agencies once you start getting a greater number of orders so that the venture booms.
Permits and Licenses
It is a highly essential factor to proceed with a start-up. Catering business in India will require a license from FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India). It includes parameters such as:
- Pollution-free location
- Utmost hygienic condition possible
- Contamination-free food
- Properly maintained and clean stalls and counters (if any)
- Staff who maintain proper conduct of personal hygiene
- Dust-free container, cutlery, and utensils
- Proper disposal of waste
Other such licenses will be the food permit licenses, liquor license, quality assurance, and health insurance, sewage licenses and permits, food and water license, and permits to ensure and assure that the manpower that you hire are above the legal age 18.
In the present era of automation, it is highly essential to automate your venture. Use technology to manage your stock and contact people in your business such as suppliers and customers.
Orders can also be streamlined so that they are free of human error or overlapping. Having a detailed analysis of the consumption and wastage will help you to manage your inventory better and avoid future discrepancies.
Reach out, Voice out
Once you have got a considerable number of eyes fixed onto your business as a prosperous caterer, it is time you reach out and connect with few more millions out there. Use the following tips to make the world hear your voice:
- Word of mouth
- Own website
- Become a food blogger
- Utilize the power hidden within social media handles
- Constantly keep surprising your customers with offers, campaigns, and contests
- Personal email marketing
Now, you are all done with a few of the essentials required to own a catering business in India. Make use of the mentioned tips and ideas to establish a start-up, become an entrepreneur, and bring about a major change in the food, beverage, and catering industry.
Begin and prove to be a flourishing thereby turning to be a trademark in the market.