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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 08-10-2011, 06:12 PM   #1
BoneDaddy's
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Hey folks, just wanted to ask around and see if any of the Brethren have recently started a BBQ catering business. I am not looking to get rich, just want to make a bit of side cash and cook some more. We have been competing for years and want to bring the great BBQ we make to the general public :-) Looking for general start-up information, marketing ideas, etc. We plan on getting a Bubba Grill or similar in the early spring. We would like to do parties of 25-250 at corporate events, backyard BBQ's, maybe a fair or two later on...etc. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

-Frank
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Unread 08-10-2011, 07:17 PM   #2
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I'm in my third year of BBQ catering. First stop should be the health department to learn about the regulations in your area and see what you will need to do in order to get legal. Best of luck!
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Unread 08-11-2011, 08:06 AM   #3
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new mexico - one of the toughest states for HD. They are the first people you talk to after deciding what you want to do. Then talk to an accountant/tax guy, insurance agent.

Now decide what you are going to do. There's a big difference between catering and vending in rules, etc. If you just cater it's more lax but that means you can not sell individual meals only a package.

Also take a servsafe course ASAP.

Marketing - work of mouth is what works, especially for catering. For vending it's signage and for fairs, etc it's knowing what fair will make money and won't. That's a huge thing to understand. It usually takes a year of research going to all these fairs and talking with vendors when they have time. For rib fests it's 20' high signs and the ability to do 200 slabs in a day.
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Unread 08-11-2011, 10:02 AM   #4
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I have nothing to add to this topic. I just wanted to drop in and tell Ford "hey". Good to see you on the board I hope all is going well with you.
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Unread 08-11-2011, 10:32 AM   #5
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As Ford stated, start at the HD. Do you have a kitchen to operate out of? They aren't always easy to find. And also I'd advise checking into how the HD feels about your pit; in our area the pit is supposed to be only used on site or inside the kitchen (?), so we do all our catering smoking on site for now.
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Unread 08-11-2011, 04:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Knife View Post
As Ford stated, start at the HD. Do you have a kitchen to operate out of? They aren't always easy to find. And also I'd advise checking into how the HD feels about your pit; in our area the pit is supposed to be only used on site or inside the kitchen (?), so we do all our catering smoking on site for now.
A very good point. my HD just approved my cooker for use out back of my Kitchen so long as the fire dept and building management have no problem with it.
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Unread 08-12-2011, 09:25 AM   #7
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Focus on marketing once you get all the details worked out with the HD, without that you are lost. You need a presence on the web so get a website and use google ads so you show up on searches. 25-250 is too broad, decide what you min. is and 25 will be too small to make any money, find your sweet spot and stick with it. Know what your competitors are doing, what their prices are and make sure you know how to figure food costs and be able to cost each job not only for food but also for travel to and from the event plus travel to the supply house, commissary etc. Operate as a business not a hobby and you will be successful, most business fail because they don't know anything about running a business, accounting and marketing. Check out some of the catering seminars by Old Hickory and others.
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Unread 08-13-2011, 05:35 PM   #8
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Excellent advice, 100 ppl should be your start, more than most home cooks feel comfortable with, & easy to scale up-the restaurant/catering business is one of the hardest to get started with, you have to constantly adjust to trends, you can't keep inventory, & there are a lot of regulations which involve food safety-try to learn on someone else's dime, if you can...
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Unread 08-13-2011, 05:43 PM   #9
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All good advice but i'll tell you that you wont feed more than 30 with a Bubba Grill.
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Unread 08-17-2011, 08:00 AM   #10
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So is anyone catering 4-5 events and making it legal! I want to do this as an extension of competing, but insurance, HD costs, rental kitchen, etc. seem to make it tough to start for only a few catering events...thoughts?
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Unread 08-17-2011, 11:40 AM   #11
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What are you using for your competition rig? Depending on what you have, you may be closer to an HD approved kitchen than you think. Best of luck!
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Unread 08-19-2011, 11:41 AM   #12
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We use Green Eggs for comps, but i want to hook up with a Bubba Grill (R-250) which would cater a large event. I am curious what rentals would be for a kitchen, then add in Insurance, taxes, permits....semes tough to make a buck!
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Unread 08-19-2011, 01:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
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All good advice but i'll tell you that you wont feed more than 30 with a Bubba Grill.
I apologize. I was thinking of a Bubba Keg. The Bubba grilles are nice units.
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Unread 08-19-2011, 01:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoneDaddy's View Post
So is anyone catering 4-5 events and making it legal! I want to do this as an extension of competing, but insurance, HD costs, rental kitchen, etc. seem to make it tough to start for only a few catering events...thoughts?
We did our first 8 events on "Temporary Foodstand License". $10 per event in our county and easy to pass!
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Unread 08-19-2011, 01:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrink01 View Post
We did our first 8 events on "Temporary Foodstand License". $10 per event in our county and easy to pass!

Sheeesh, a TFS license here is out of whack. $115 to the state, $25 to the county. Though it's only a concern until we got out Mobile food service approval.
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