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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.


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Unread 01-22-2013, 06:24 PM   #16
Smoke House Moe
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Thanks Smoldering and everyone else. A lot of great nuggets in here.
I just sent in my catering license app today. Getting anxious to start cooking.

I am starting out in an hourly rental kitchen and can't install a smoker. Any suggestions? I will probably have to cook on my WSM's under the nose of the law.
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Unread 01-23-2013, 02:47 AM   #17
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good point on dropped prices...bad idea...insist on quaility products and hold your price line, give a fair amount of product at a profitable price....remember the cost of insurance...taxes...help...permits...replace / repair of equipment...lost product...no one makes deliveries unless you pay them...
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Unread 01-23-2013, 02:55 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoke House Moe View Post
Thanks Smoldering and everyone else. A lot of great nuggets in here.
I just sent in my catering license app today. Getting anxious to start cooking.

I am starting out in an hourly rental kitchen and can't install a smoker. Any suggestions? I will probably have to cook on my WSM's under the nose of the law.
I do not know the details, however how would you cook 10 or 20 pork butts to feed a cattering party?? Or, 20 racks of ribs?? If you want to go to the next level, I dont want to sound rude, but you need to be at the first level..Think about feeding a party of 1oo, 2 meats and two sides..you will need cambros, smoker area..going to be very hard working out of a rented kitchen..do you have cooler space? HD will look at that also..
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Unread 01-23-2013, 10:00 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBellyBBQ View Post
I do not know the details, however how would you cook 10 or 20 pork butts to feed a cattering party?? Or, 20 racks of ribs?? If you want to go to the next level, I dont want to sound rude, but you need to be at the first level..Think about feeding a party of 1oo, 2 meats and two sides..you will need cambros, smoker area..going to be very hard working out of a rented kitchen..do you have cooler space? HD will look at that also..
I am not sure that with only two WSM's you can cook enough to make any money. ServSafe, Insurance, cambro's, chafers, tables, table cloth's, spices, rubs, sauces, time management for shopping, cooking, serving and cleaning up after, accounting, wood, charcoal, propane, gas and time for picking up product as well as going to venue and the most important thing is marketing. Website, Adwords, SEO all cost money and have to be calculated in your costs. Before you do anything, sit down and write a business plan, there is a reason most small businesses go out of business and BBQ is one of the worst because people who think they cook great BBQ figure they can make a buck but don't have any business experience, don't know how to read a financial statement and don't know anything about marketing. Local junior colleges usually have classes at night where you can learn how to run a business.
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Unread 01-23-2013, 01:22 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smolderingbbq View Post
Any other ideas on how to do some low cost marketing? Should I call business's or show up in person with samples in hand? Also I have recently got my hands on a list of pharmaceutical reps that provide catered lunches for doctors, any idea on how to approach the phone conversation? Thanks!

Get in good with the admin. Offer her a free lunch for herself with every order over $50. Usually when we have a lunch we just tell our admin to order for X number of people and she takes care of the rest. If she has to choose between a free BBQ lunch and the bologna sandwich that she brought from the house, it's a no brainer.
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Unread 01-23-2013, 02:43 PM   #21
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If you are having to cook out of a rented kitchen the that will probably put a quash on using your WSM's. Generally speaking, all things used in the food prep/cook/storage/serving has to be NFS approved, and the webbers aren't. Since you are also working under the kitchens HD permit, they probably aren't going to allow you to use a process that will put their facility HD permit in jeopardy. Your county MIGH have some kind of variance the will let the health official make a variance for you since BBQ isn't done in an oven

Here in Riverside County where I am at, the seem to have the most restrictive HD laws in So Cal. and they sound like they might be on par with yours. I have kicked around the idea of catering but it is going to be tough and expensive. Best I got it figured, I can cook at public events like a fair or charity event under a blanket permit from the event organizer. I still have to have my setup of fresh/gray water, triple sink, hot water, cold storage, the whole 9 yards. If I do a private event such as a wedding or BD party, then no on-site food prep. have to use a rented kitchen, all food, ingredients, and utensils have to be stored and used there. Absolutely nothing prepared or stored at home. Basically cook at the kitchen, deliver and serve at the event. Gotta be a way around it but I havent found it yet, so I plan on meeting face to face with the HD to see what we can work out. No onsite cooking takes the atmosphere out of a catered BBQ. Oh, and even with a rig permitted for on-site public events, I can not take the smoker home, it has to be stored at a county approved commissary facility, again more $$.

My wife runs dogs in AKC agility trials and 3 years ago I looked at getting a simple hot dog cart to sell hot dogs at the meets. Pretty much the same stringent rules with something so simple. We did a breakdown of just food costs: Buns, franks, serving boats, forks, napkins, salt and pepper packets, mustard, etc. Everything it would take to put a basic dog in the customers mouth. About $1.75 a dog that you might could sell for $2.75-$3.00. That didn't include commissary rental, travel, ice, equipment, insurance, permits, etc. Not a lot of profit there. From what I see out here, the successful caters also have their own restaurant to back them up. Now that I think about it, owning a BBQ shack might not be a bad idea...
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Unread 01-23-2013, 04:37 PM   #22
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Thanks for the replies Midnite, PorkQPine, and Bib Belly.
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Unread 01-23-2013, 07:18 PM   #23
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I have zero experience in catering or the restaurant biz but I will say this regarding Internet and social media. You want to use them all Facebook, FourSquare, Tumblr, Pinterest and every other site that comes out.

A good website will work wonders if people can find it. Regarding yelp I would ask people to post what they thought of the food/experience.

It's kind of hard to offer freebies like a restaurant when people check in (4Square) but I would tell the host if X amount of people check in to my catered event on FB or FourSquare I'll take off X%the bill.

You want people liking your biz on FB and have then tweet pictures via twitter.

I would perhaps offer a small size of your secret rub to anyone at your event that posts it on a social media site.

Also what I would do is get a smartphone and do a search for social media apps. Then install one at a time and register your biz on it.

And have those SM sites icons printed on your biz cards.

Hope this helps and best of luck!


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Unread 01-24-2013, 12:21 AM   #24
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Due to a death of the property owner I had to close my restuarant, I had a GREAT spot, however if I dont own it I am not going to rent it...SO, I built my mobile kitchen....I do catering on the spot..fridge, freezer, spices, hot plates and even BEER are always on board..Cooker on the back, but the biggest thing I have is cooking space, I can time my cooks in my southern pride, so everything gets done...meats a few hours before, chciken right on, sides before or right on..cooolers or cambros will hold for several hours...hell I had briskets done at 8 am, wraped put in cooler and sliced at 5 pm and I still could not hold on to them with gloves...but cooking space is you problem the way I see it with what you have...then you have to be prepared to delay diner a few hours, as customers also have delays, even if they are suppose to pick up at 2, and dont show up till 5....and you have the stuff ready at 1 30...
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Unread 01-24-2013, 06:32 AM   #25
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If you need a website set up I can help you out, looking to build up my portfolio with some bbq sites so I'll hook ya up with a great price, pm me. Check out my personal site, tailgatejoe.com. I get great exposure, pulling people all over the world to my parties every week.

Not trying to spam the thread, just trying to help out a member here.
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Unread 01-25-2013, 10:40 AM   #26
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Trust Joe..he knows the biz
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Unread 01-25-2013, 09:46 PM   #27
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Smolderin,
I'm new to this also. When you say road side what do you mean?
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Unread 01-28-2013, 04:38 AM   #28
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Thanks for all the information everybody. This will definitely help me out!!
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Unread 02-10-2013, 09:24 AM   #29
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[QUOTE=smolderingbbq;2329883]Hi my name is Blake and I just joined this community. I started my bbq catering business last year. I have had some success but I am looking to take my business to the next level. Any ideas on how to get more customers or any other insight into starting this type of business?

Thanks,
Blake[/QUOTE

Start here if a brethren was looking to hire you how would they reach you?
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Unread 02-11-2013, 09:09 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smolderingbbq View Post
Thanks for all the information everybody. This will definitely help me out!!
Smolderingbbq, I'm just a simple 'ol backyard BBQ guy, but for 20+ years I've worked in the marketing and PR industry. Feel free to email me (michael@headlineinc.com) some questions/thoughts, and I'd be happy to respond to them.
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