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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Unread 02-07-2013, 08:52 PM   #1
MariettaSmoker
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OK...i want to start cooking for people. How did you guys get started catering? How did you get your name out there so people would notice? I really wanna do this...maybe for weddings, events, etc. What to do, what to do?
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Unread 02-08-2013, 01:50 AM   #2
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depends on your background and...........cash!
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Unread 02-08-2013, 07:49 AM   #3
Mad About Que
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MariettaSmoker View Post
OK...i want to start cooking for people. How did you guys get started catering? How did you get your name out there so people would notice? I really wanna do this...maybe for weddings, events, etc. What to do, what to do?
we set up a website (www.madaboutque.com) and got a stack of biz cards from vistaprint. then it was all word of mouth. didn't get to carried away as i didn't want the HD buggin me. I also came from many years of kitchen and catering deals, so the time, equipment setup, and all the not so fun part of it i was used to from the chef world. i got out of the food biz and stopped catering unless it's big stuff $1000 or better. it's the little $200 ones that kill you for $40 or less profit.

Number one advice tip here.. know what everything costs you.. i mean everything. spices, meat, foil pans, etc... nothing is free. i factered in all that and then i compared my target prices with local bbq places that do a good mix of in house and catering biz. when meat costs got so high, i walked away. couldn't charge folks the same mark up and sleep at night. if you have tons of volume, then it doesn't affect you so much.

will you be serving? will you just do drop and go's? whats your deposit/refund policy?

Start with a couple small ones.. don't just jump into a wedding. screw that up and get sued. office parties, stuff like that to start. get the feel for what you need to buy or find out where to rent stuff. it's a lot of trial and error.

Good luck
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Unread 02-08-2013, 09:56 PM   #4
MariettaSmoker
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Hmmm...Im gonna have to look into the way that you set yours up. Think I may start out the same way, MadaboutQ.
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Unread 02-09-2013, 11:22 AM   #5
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Take a ServSafe class. It's a great investment and very educational.
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Unread 02-10-2013, 06:01 AM   #6
Mad About Que
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Take a ServSafe class. It's a great investment and very educational.

Tru dat Toad. every stinking serve safe class that i had to sit thru seemed to be geared moreso to off sight caterings or vending anyway.. great info for this path.

I have in the past also done an on site temp check and had the client sign off if i wasn't going to be there. but i also left HOT food in heated coolers to pick those up later. sometimes the 12:00 meeting wrap up doesn't happen and the food wont be as hot at 1:00 if so.. if someone got sick, i'd lose the house.. bad side of the "on the side" and under the HD radar part.

ALso, if you get a regular corporate based deal, one where they mail you a check from Accounts Payable, watch out for the W-9 at the end of the year. had my taxes all done and ready to go and was happy. checked the mail and.... BAM.. $7200 in tax forms from Napa and no taxes.. wasn't so happy. But i kept all receipts, copies of memberships (RD, SAMS, etc..), anything. i think by the time i was done, i only had about $750 taxable. but still, watch out.
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Unread 02-13-2013, 11:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
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ALso, if you get a regular corporate based deal, one where they mail you a check from Accounts Payable, watch out for the W-9 at the end of the year. had my taxes all done and ready to go and was happy. checked the mail and.... BAM.. $7200 in tax forms from Napa and no taxes.. wasn't so happy. But i kept all receipts, copies of memberships (RD, SAMS, etc..), anything. i think by the time i was done, i only had about $750 taxable. but still, watch out.

NAPA put you on their payroll?
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Unread 02-13-2013, 01:20 PM   #8
landarc
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W-9 is not payroll, W-9 is issued when you hire an outside agency, be it consultant, service business, contractor et al...In theory, anytime you do a cash transaction, and you are a business entity, you are supposed to file a W-9 that you paid a person for services.
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Unread 02-13-2013, 03:03 PM   #9
erandolph
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If you want to start you have to be committed to the business. If not the costs from doing it a couple times will break you. First and foremost contact your department of health to see what the requirements are. Second set up a LLC to protect you from losing the house if someone gets sick, get the necessary business insurances in place. All but certain that your dept of health is going to tell you that you need a commercial kitchen, find a local deli who might let you rent some space to prep food after hours. By the time it is said and done to set up the business and get the necessary equipment you are looking in the neighborhood of $25k invested. Or try it part time from your home without anyone knowing. Taking a risk but more importantly you will probably not land weddings and will not be doing community events as most require business docs and certificate of insurance. Some areas require a servsafe certification also. Started mine full time last year. Have been hitting home runs ever since, dept of health praises us and uses our business as an example for others at events. Also plan on sleeping about 4-5 hours a night nothing more.
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