PDA

View Full Version : Starting a Drop off catering buisness


warren.miller
10-09-2013, 09:52 AM
Hello,


I am Starting a Drop off catering buisness. That could possibly turn into something more. Catering, Food truck ect...


However, I want to build it with a strong foundation. I have been scanning the board for a few years. Which has helped alot. I was curious if you could give me some helpful hints when starting out. Or some possible pitfalls I could hope to avoid. Or even somethings that might seem like a no brainer to you guys but I might have over looked.

I have did a few small jobs however, I am working on a website to try and get my name out there.

Thank You
Warren Miller

Bbq Bubba
10-09-2013, 04:06 PM
Why drop-off?
Why not on-site?
Drop off means your cooking out of a licensed kitchen?
Either endeavor requires you to be legal just the same.

RangerJ
10-09-2013, 04:58 PM
Hello,


I am Starting a Drop off catering buisness. That could possibly turn into something more. Catering, Food truck ect...


However, I want to build it with a strong foundation. I have been scanning the board for a few years. Which has helped alot. I was curious if you could give me some helpful hints when starting out. Or some possible pitfalls I could hope to avoid. Or even somethings that might seem like a no brainer to you guys but I might have over looked.

I have did a few small jobs however, I am working on a website to try and get my name out there.

Thank You
Warren Miller

Well, I'm about 45 days into a Que business, drop off, pick up, catering on site, basically whatever pays me money until I can find a brick and mortar site.

Be prepared to work very hard, blow through giant wads of cash and wonder if you'll ever get to reach for the brass ring. It seems soooooo far over there.

Probably no help, just sayin'...

HBMTN
10-09-2013, 05:05 PM
Like BBQ Bubba said it costs the same to be legal to do drop off or full catering as well as concessions. Those are all things that are going to put you out in front of people to help get your name out there.

bizznessman
10-09-2013, 05:20 PM
Are you operating out of a licensed kitchen? Do you have a food license? Do you have liability insurance? Do you have a business license (if your city, county, state requires it)? Are you remitting sales tax to your state department of revenue?

If you have sold food then governing agencies consider you as a business and some or all of the above apply. These points must be addressed first if you want to be legal and continue to be legal.

These are just some of the costs of starting a business.

warren.miller
10-10-2013, 10:20 AM
Guys,

Thank you for the quick response. I am in the infancy stage of this. I am working on a website and acutally trying to figure out a name. My competition name is AddcitionBBQ. Which seems to abrasive for a catering business. Any IDEAS??? I honestly did not know you had to cook out of a licensed kitchen!?!? How do you do this rent one or build one ect???? Can you run one out of your home??

I was aware of all this:
Do you have a food license? Do you have liability insurance? Do you have a business license (if your city, county, state requires it)? Are you remitting sales tax to your state department of revenue?

But I could use all help I can get with the red tape part of it.

Thank You,
Warren Miller

warren.miller
10-10-2013, 10:23 AM
Guys,

Also that made sense of why not just be on site instead of drop off. Those of you who do Drop off. How does it work for you??

What are some ways to get your phone ringing??


Thank You,
Warren Miller

RangerJ
10-10-2013, 11:41 AM
It works great. I get to cook out of my trailer, load everything up and drop it off. Must have clear comms with the customer on what your bringing, plastic wear, paper plates, condiments etc.

Cooking on site, is not really cooking on site, I'll start a fire and get smoke in the air but most of the big meats I cook the day prior, they are being reheated on site. Ribs and chicken a bit different.

Network, Network, Network... Feed the neighbors, friends and family and have them tell two friends and so on and so on. Social Media helps, website is a must.

Bbq Bubba
10-10-2013, 01:18 PM
What are some ways to get your phone ringing??


Thank You,
Warren Miller

If you cook good BBQ, they will come.

HBMTN
10-10-2013, 06:25 PM
Guys,
I honestly did not know you had to cook out of a licensed kitchen!?!? How do you do this rent one or build one ect???? Can you run one out of your home??


www.extremebbqtrailers.com - I have heard nothing but great things about these guys and I'll probably call them for my next trailer.

You can run one out of your home in Virginia but it can not be the kitchen of your home, you have to build a second kitchen that has been pre approved by the health dept first. Make much more sense to me to get a trailer where you can vend or use on a catering job though.

bizznessman
10-10-2013, 09:50 PM
Guys,

Thank you for the quick response. I am in the infancy stage of this. I am working on a website and acutally trying to figure out a name. My competition name is AddcitionBBQ. Which seems to abrasive for a catering business. Any IDEAS??? I honestly did not know you had to cook out of a licensed kitchen!?!? How do you do this rent one or build one ect???? Can you run one out of your home??

I was aware of all this:
Do you have a food license? Do you have liability insurance? Do you have a business license (if your city, county, state requires it)? Are you remitting sales tax to your state department of revenue?

But I could use all help I can get with the red tape part of it.

Thank You,
Warren Miller


My advice for starting a new BBQ biz is always as follows:

The very first thing you should do is contact your local Health Department. They should inform you of all the requirement to meet code to run this type of business. Most if not all States do not allow you to use your home kitchen. In KS if you use your home your "business kitchen" and any other "business space" must not be accessible from your home. They can be attached but must have separate entrances.

Work up a detailed business plan. Topics in the plan should contain Capital Investment costs, Initial Setup costs, Operational costs (labor, insurance, utilities, licenses, etc), Projected Sales, etc. This will guide you through the rest of the process and help you to decide if the prospect is profitable.

Once you have decided to go ahead then get all of your business requirements setup. If you operate as a Sole Proprietorship all of your personal assets are at risk. An LLC will help to protect you. Obtain business/tax licenses, etc.

Just remember that you are entering into business and not a hobby. Be prepared for red tape.

warren.miller
10-12-2013, 11:35 AM
I really appreciate it guys. Any mistakes you do not want to make again.

warren.miller
10-14-2013, 10:07 AM
Well This kitchen requirement has me wondering what you guys do:

Did you make a kitchen at home for use?
Do you use a churches kitchen?
Do you rent one??

Warren

bizznessman
10-14-2013, 08:26 PM
We currently rent kitchen time in a local restaurant. We tried the church kitchen option but in KS the license granted to most churches is not a full fledged commercial kitchen license so that won't work for us. We are considering doing an add-on structure to the residence but that will require a large capital outlay, and possible zoning issues, so we are staying with the kitchen rental for now.

A check of your local licensing and zoning requirements will give you an idea of your own options.

mikeleonard81
10-14-2013, 11:19 PM
You can have what they call a tear down kitchen. Then the hd has to come out every time you cook. In Ohio you are allowed this 10 times per county per year. This might be your cheapest bet to get started and still follow all the rules.

warren.miller
10-15-2013, 09:05 AM
What exacty is a tear down kitchen?


This commercial kitchen is obviously a big hurdle.

I Googled commercial kitchen rentals and nothing came up in Evansville Indiana??

What do you pay for a kitchen rental. It seems like a hassel to take all your stuff somewhere then cooking or preparing??

Would it be smarter to just invest in a food truck?

Warren

BigBellyBBQ
10-16-2013, 05:26 AM
you best go talk in person to the health dept...

mikeleonard81
10-16-2013, 10:40 PM
Your hd will tell you if a tear down kitchen will work for you. You need a 3 bay sink and a hand wash station with hot water and refrigeration( not just coolers). It's not as complicated as it seems though. You can get by with 3 tubs for your sink but I wouldn't suggest that. I've seen people with this set up and tubs labeled "xmas Decorations" on the side and I wouldn't want to eat food that the utinsels they are using to serve you with were washed in that! Hot water can be obtained by buying an on demand water heater. (mine runs off of propane) For refrigeration I used a chest freezer and put a thermostat on it not allowing it to go to freezing. You can set it at what ever you choose. This is all for the state of Ohio so as suggested before go see the healt department. Let us know what you find out please!

warren.miller
10-17-2013, 10:31 AM
I called the HD...

They pretty much said I would have to buy or build a brick and morter. I asked about food trucks and he said they are not making it in our area.

My only option would be to make my garage or a temperorary kitchen.

He was taling about ceiling tiles smooth wall ect.. ALL heard was cha ching cha ching...

He also stated my smoker has to be under roof.


There has to be a way to get this done.

Jacked UP BBQ
10-17-2013, 10:42 AM
There is a way to get it done, but it costs money. Looking for shortcuts wont get you anywhere. So many people out there trying to beat the system and running illegal operations and guys like myself and others doing it right getting screwed. It's going to cost you money to do it right, but that is the only way to do it. There are too many scabs in this business, be a real success, do it right. Good Luck

warren.miller
10-17-2013, 11:24 AM
Jacked up,

Do you cook at your restaurant or a temperary site or a something you have done at your house?

Jacked UP BBQ
10-17-2013, 11:56 AM
Jacked up,

Do you cook at your restaurant or a temperary site or a something you have done at your house?

I started with a kitchen I rented, also cooked on site at a lot of festivals for vending. I now cook in my restaurant.

pwa
10-17-2013, 02:43 PM
I called the HD...

They pretty much said I would have to buy or build a brick and morter. I asked about food trucks and he said they are not making it in our area.

My only option would be to make my garage or a temperorary kitchen.

He was taling about ceiling tiles smooth wall ect.. ALL heard was cha ching cha ching...

He also stated my smoker has to be under roof.


There has to be a way to get this done.

Turning your garage or even building a small commercial kitchen isn't as bad as it sounds, Alot depends on your HD. But normally its 5 sinks ( 3 for dishes, hand wash and mop) designated prep area, hot water with a flow rate high enough to handle your sink size Refrigerator and storage area. There are a coupled of threads in Q talk of conversion/starting shacks and restaurants. Not everything will apply to you and your goals but it can give you an idea of whats involved with starting a BBQ business.

Here is mine involving a shack (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=157607&highlight=pulled+trigger)

Or marubozo on a restaurant (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=161123)

But I'm sure there is more.

Clint

landarc
10-17-2013, 02:52 PM
That all varies. In California, and many other places...

The floor sink, and the mop sink must be a floor sink, there must be an air gap for the drain, so that water cannot backup into the sink. Same is true for the prep sinks. They cannot be hard plumbed.

All floors must be covered and single surface, all corners must be solid surfaced.

All refrigeration must be powered and have thermometers. No passive cooling, or passive hot holding for that matter.

Cold preparation, hot preparation, cold service/pantry must all be separated.

It does cost money, anyone cooking out of their kitchen is doing so illegally. Food trucks, especially NSF rated food trucks are a great way to have a mobile kitchen, and you can even park them at home, and work out of them. But, they are not cheap, a trailer or food truck will still set you back at least $20,000.

ButtBurner
10-17-2013, 02:59 PM
how about using/renting a church or hall (like a VFW) kithcen to get started?

Diesel Dave
10-17-2013, 04:50 PM
^^^^ good suggestion there

bizznessman
10-17-2013, 05:48 PM
I called the HD...

They pretty much said I would have to buy or build a brick and morter. I asked about food trucks and he said they are not making it in our area.

My only option would be to make my garage or a temperorary kitchen.

He was taling about ceiling tiles smooth wall ect.. ALL heard was cha ching cha ching...

He also stated my smoker has to be under roof.


There has to be a way to get this done.


There is, follow your HD's regulations. The food service industry is highly regulated and those that try to skirt these regulations almost always end up "out of business".

If they do not allow any type of mobile kitchen then you will be forced to find/build a brick & mortar. Before choosing the "home site" kitchen option be sure to research city/county zoning laws, commercial kitchen plumbing/wiring codes, insurance, etc as well as HD regs. A "temporary" kitchen in your garage probably won't fly. Due to the regs it will probably need to meet commercial codes for electrical, plumbing, etc. We considered this route at first and found that the costs of converting our garage would have been about as much as buying/building a new structure on a commercially zoned site. Hence our renting of kitchen space.

I understand the desire/dream to go into the "BBQ" business but please understand that you will be going into "business" and that means following all the laws & regulations and expenses that come with it. I am not trying to dissuade you or anyone else. I am just saying that the way to go into "business" is to do it right or you will face consequences down the road. And some of those can be severe.

landarc
10-17-2013, 07:42 PM
how about using/renting a church or hall (like a VFW) kithcen to get started?
Some places like churches and VFW halls do have commercial grade kitchens, and they often rent them out. More and more, these places realize the value of the asset and do not rent them out cheap. Also, there are usually conditions, such as time of use and food storage that can be an issue. Most churches have not kept their kitchens up to code, and that is a problem, unless you are serving on site. A commissary kitchen is a totally different standard than a church kitchen serving food on site.

Pay particular attention to food storage when renting a place. Unless you intend to be very careful with supplies and buying, you are going to want dedicated food and equipment storage at your rented kitchen site. Nothing like knowing you have a gallon of cider vinegar at the kitchen, and arriving at 10pm to prep for Saturday and finding there is no vinegar, as someone borrowed it and was going to return it Sunday.

mikeleonard81
10-17-2013, 11:01 PM
Miller,
Is cooking on site not going to be an option?

BigBellyBBQ
10-18-2013, 01:37 AM
Question, what type of budget are you planning to start with?

RangerJ
10-18-2013, 08:18 AM
Of course there is another layer of bureaucrats to escape as well, the HOA, if you have one. They typically don't like 20 ft trailers or trucks parked in the 'hood for extended periods of time.

also, you might have zoning regulations against creating a kitchen in your house. All things that have to be considered. I can have my trailer at my house for the weekend, but long term, it's frowned upon. Which means I'm paying for storage and smoking lots of meat at the storage lot.

Lots of good advice here and just know its going to cost money, everyone has to get their share and at the end of the day, the majority of it helps keep people from getting sick. I'll give an example of what I'm dealing with currently.

I live in Ft. Bend county just out side of Houston. Here is the trailer with pits mounted.

http://i591.photobucket.com/albums/ss352/jurenax4/TrailerwithPits_zps82b5f5ea.jpg (http://s591.photobucket.com/user/jurenax4/media/TrailerwithPits_zps82b5f5ea.jpg.html)

The back is being screened in as we speak. You see that circle, just to the lower left of the facebook logo? That's my atmospheric vent.

It's above the waste water tank as it should be. This passes all the inspections around here , except.. the city of Houston. What does this mean? Means I can't vend festivals within the city, or ever park on rented land, lets say within the city, or daily go to the two new food parks which are within city limits. there are 4M people within the city limits.....

So, I'm taking bids to have it moved. I don't have to, and I could go park for a day or two within the city at various locales I've already contacted, however, in today's social media age, if I was to ever get shut down, it would kill the current momentum I've created.

Not an expense I had budgeted for and, had I paid more attention to the requirements one I could have fixed before I paid for the expensive wrap. But like the others have said, I believe the survivors are the ones who do it right and can survive the short term pains. I'm trying to do it right, but the short term is very painful...

Now, I'm all in at this Texas Hold 'Em table so its what I have to do. What I can tell you also is people, want good Barbeque, period. So if your product is good and you want to pursue this, know its going to cost some cash and follow what needs to be done.

Good luck!

warren.miller
10-21-2013, 09:36 AM
Thank you everyone for the information.

The Cosmic Pig
10-21-2013, 10:35 AM
What about a concession trailer with a rented commissary? In my county (Blount, TN), at least, you have to have all the necessary equipment, but you can have part of it at a commissary, and that can be any licensed, inspected food establishment, best I can tell. For example, if the commissary has a 3-compartment sink, you don't need one in your trailer, etc. They said food trucks "don't make it?" Does that mean they're not legal, or that they don't stay in business? Never heard of a place where food trucks were illegal.

warren.miller
10-25-2013, 10:23 AM
He was stating the food trucks don't do well in evansville.

bizznessman
10-25-2013, 08:23 PM
I called the HD...

They pretty much said I would have to buy or build a brick and morter. I asked about food trucks and he said they are not making it in our area.

My only option would be to make my garage or a temperorary kitchen.

He was taling about ceiling tiles smooth wall ect.. ALL heard was cha ching cha ching...

He also stated my smoker has to be under roof.


There has to be a way to get this done.


Can you explain the HD's statement regarding "food trucks"? Are they saying that they are not profitable or that they are not passing their inspections?

If they are saying that they are not profitable then I would ask them how they know this and I would not necessarily take their word on that. I would do some research with actual operators to see what they say regarding profitability. It could be the HD's way of discouraging food trucks. Food trucks cause the HD inspectors more work, due to the manner in which they need to inspect them, so they may not like having them in their area. Off the cuff statements like "food trucks don't make it in this area" is a convenient way to ease their work load.

If they are saying that they do not pass their inspections then I would ask what the specifics are regarding the inspection failures. Once you know this you can build/operate in a manner which "passes".

Personally I believe a licensed mobile kitchen is your best bet for what you are wanting to do.

JimmyDAL
10-26-2013, 04:52 AM
I agree! Don't overload the expenses when you have the opportunity to reduce it out of the gate, JMO.

cds9333
10-26-2013, 01:48 PM
Never heard of a place where food trucks were illegal.

I know I haven't been a part of this discussion, and not trying to hijack, but here in Manhattan, KS, food trucks are illegal. Including ice cream trucks. I believe a local lawyer started a hot dog push cart and had to fight in court to keep it. The city had to enact special legislation to allow the Food Networks "Great Food Truck Race" to stop and film an episode here several years back.

JazzyBadger
10-26-2013, 03:56 PM
Of course there is another layer of bureaucrats to escape as well, the HOA, if you have one. They typically don't like 20 ft trailers or trucks parked in the 'hood for extended periods of time.

also, you might have zoning regulations against creating a kitchen in your house. All things that have to be considered. I can have my trailer at my house for the weekend, but long term, it's frowned upon. Which means I'm paying for storage and smoking lots of meat at the storage lot.

Lots of good advice here and just know its going to cost money, everyone has to get their share and at the end of the day, the majority of it helps keep people from getting sick. I'll give an example of what I'm dealing with currently.

I live in Ft. Bend county just out side of Houston. Here is the trailer with pits mounted.

http://i591.photobucket.com/albums/ss352/jurenax4/TrailerwithPits_zps82b5f5ea.jpg (http://s591.photobucket.com/user/jurenax4/media/TrailerwithPits_zps82b5f5ea.jpg.html)

The back is being screened in as we speak. You see that circle, just to the lower left of the facebook logo? That's my atmospheric vent.

It's above the waste water tank as it should be. This passes all the inspections around here , except.. the city of Houston. What does this mean? Means I can't vend festivals within the city, or ever park on rented land, lets say within the city, or daily go to the two new food parks which are within city limits. there are 4M people within the city limits.....

So, I'm taking bids to have it moved. I don't have to, and I could go park for a day or two within the city at various locales I've already contacted, however, in today's social media age, if I was to ever get shut down, it would kill the current momentum I've created.

Not an expense I had budgeted for and, had I paid more attention to the requirements one I could have fixed before I paid for the expensive wrap. But like the others have said, I believe the survivors are the ones who do it right and can survive the short term pains. I'm trying to do it right, but the short term is very painful...

Now, I'm all in at this Texas Hold 'Em table so its what I have to do. What I can tell you also is people, want good Barbeque, period. So if your product is good and you want to pursue this, know its going to cost some cash and follow what needs to be done.

Good luck!

Haha, Fort Bend County. That's my county too. I'll keep my peepers peeled for your trailer.

bizznessman
10-26-2013, 11:42 PM
I know I haven't been a part of this discussion, and not trying to hijack, but here in Manhattan, KS, food trucks are illegal. Including ice cream trucks. I believe a local lawyer started a hot dog push cart and had to fight in court to keep it. The city had to enact special legislation to allow the Food Networks "Great Food Truck Race" to stop and film an episode here several years back.


Makes a person wonder if Cox Bros did a little lobbying to cut down on BBQ competition in the area?? :biggrin1: (not saying that happened but it is known to occur).

I have never understood when communities enact ordinances that keep business away. All too often it is done for reasons of protectionism and in so doing actually hurts the community imho.

But that is definitely something to check into when doing due diligence for a business plan.

BulloftheWoods
10-27-2013, 09:45 PM
Of course there is another layer of bureaucrats to escape as well, the HOA, if you have one. They typically don't like 20 ft trailers or trucks parked in the 'hood for extended periods of time.

also, you might have zoning regulations against creating a kitchen in your house. All things that have to be considered. I can have my trailer at my house for the weekend, but long term, it's frowned upon. Which means I'm paying for storage and smoking lots of meat at the storage lot.

Lots of good advice here and just know its going to cost money, everyone has to get their share and at the end of the day, the majority of it helps keep people from getting sick. I'll give an example of what I'm dealing with currently.

I live in Ft. Bend county just out side of Houston. Here is the trailer with pits mounted.

http://i591.photobucket.com/albums/ss352/jurenax4/TrailerwithPits_zps82b5f5ea.jpg (http://s591.photobucket.com/user/jurenax4/media/TrailerwithPits_zps82b5f5ea.jpg.html)

The back is being screened in as we speak. You see that circle, just to the lower left of the facebook logo? That's my atmospheric vent.

It's above the waste water tank as it should be. This passes all the inspections around here , except.. the city of Houston. What does this mean? Means I can't vend festivals within the city, or ever park on rented land, lets say within the city, or daily go to the two new food parks which are within city limits. there are 4M people within the city limits.....

So, I'm taking bids to have it moved. I don't have to, and I could go park for a day or two within the city at various locales I've already contacted, however, in today's social media age, if I was to ever get shut down, it would kill the current momentum I've created.

Not an expense I had budgeted for and, had I paid more attention to the requirements one I could have fixed before I paid for the expensive wrap. But like the others have said, I believe the survivors are the ones who do it right and can survive the short term pains. I'm trying to do it right, but the short term is very painful...

Now, I'm all in at this Texas Hold 'Em table so its what I have to do. What I can tell you also is people, want good Barbeque, period. So if your product is good and you want to pursue this, know its going to cost some cash and follow what needs to be done.

Good luck!


What's with the atmospheric vent. Is it required ?

cds9333
10-27-2013, 10:22 PM
Bizznessman,

The hot dog push cart was not illegal at first, but the local restaurants in Aggieville and/or downtown (where he sold) said it was taking business away from them. Says a lot about a business IMO if a hot dog cart can make such a large difference.

RangerJ
10-28-2013, 09:06 AM
@bullofthewoods

In the city of Houston, yes. Not mentioned in the other counties I've looked at.

3 new ( the only ones currently) food truck / trailer parks opened in Houston this year all within the city limits. Without my city Medallion I can't park on their properties to vend and they have been packed now that the weather has turned.

@jazzybadger - what part of Ft. Bend.? big A@@ county as you know. I'll let you know when I'm all legal and where I land. You can check out the facebook page or follow me on twitter as well.

bizznessman
10-28-2013, 09:41 AM
Bizznessman,

The hot dog push cart was not illegal at first, but the local restaurants in Aggieville and/or downtown (where he sold) said it was taking business away from them. Says a lot about a business IMO if a hot dog cart can make such a large difference.

Yes it does. Protectionism never works. It stifles business and leads to limited services/options for customers. I am sad to hear that the business community there chooses to take this approach. A free market has a tough time existing when monopolies are created by governments.

Okay, I am stepping down off the soap box now. :wink:

We have some friends that ran into this type of situation where they live in Colorado. The city enacted a similar ordinance. But the County has nothing against food trucks. :shock: So they set up 100 feet outside the city limits on leased private property. Problem solved. And the city has been losing out on city sales tax revenue ever since. And they do a banner business. :grin:

There is often more than one way to "skin a cat". :mrgreen: