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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 11-29-2006, 12:55 PM   #1
boberosabbq
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Default Catering Business Questions

I would love to start up a catering business. Just don't have any ideas on how to start. As far a what is needed to start one up.

What kind of rig is best, how too keep food warm, how to price, you guys supply tables tents all the utensils.

Any and all help would be great.

As far as a rig goes would the Spicewine trailer be big enough to start out with. I have talked with Jay and I really want one of his rigs but will it work for catering. Or is it smarter to buy the smaller ones and trailer in and enclosed trailer and haul them that way with everyting you need in it.

Lots of questions plenty of time
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Unread 11-29-2006, 01:58 PM   #2
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Google the small business administration and then find the office in your area. There office is usually at a community college in the area.Thats how I started. They will help you with the business plan and get you started. This is all they do, helping people go into business for themselves and the best part this is a FREE service. They work on a Goverment Grant. This is the little unknown secret that alot of business owners dont know about, but wish they had. If it wasnt for these guys and the the help and advice fromt he Brothern here I would still be at square one.
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Unread 11-29-2006, 05:57 PM   #3
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Having recently started a catering business, I think the following are important:

1. Assess the need and market
2. insurance
3. food handling class
4. Catering rig (Spice has several sizes and they will work)
5. Van/ Truck to haul
6. website
7. brochures/menus (professional looking)
8. contract
9. business license/health permit (if necessary)

Additionally, I suggest the following equipment.

chafing dishes, hot boxes, quality serving/slicing utensils, ez - up tents, linen, food station tables, temp probes, thermometers, etc.

This should get you going. PM me if you have questions.
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Unread 11-29-2006, 08:32 PM   #4
chad
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Check with your local or state health department and find out WHAT is REQUIRED in your area.

Build your rig to match the health department requirements.

Also, you will almost assuredly need a "commissary" - ie. a certifed kitchen as part of your health department application. You CANNOT cater out of your home IN MOST AREAS. Some are different and allow it, especially if you are cooking on-site. In most areas you can find a church, VFW, Legion Post, Moose/Elk/etc. lodge that has a certified kitchen and will rent you time or space...some restaurants or other catering companies do too.

Do the research FIRST!! It'll save you lots of headaches (though it will cause some during the time your learning what's needed). Ask licensed caterers what's up...ask most "caterers" and you'll find they are clueless and are working with their ASSets exposed.

Is it a hassle? You bet! But, it's just like starting up any other business. If you haven't worked food service in the past you are definately in for an education!!

Good luck!!

A good place for some additional infomation and discussion is the cookshack forum - down the list - I think it's call "Professional" -- many guys that are doing catering/vending/concessions and many that are starting hang out there. I know a few of them and they give good hints, tips, info, and encouragement.
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Unread 11-29-2006, 08:34 PM   #5
chad
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I forgot a couple of things:

hit the bookstore or library and read a couple of How to books on catering, starting a restaurant, starting a small business, etc.

You cannot, by any stretch of your imagination, over educate yourself. Also, learn to figure food costs, think about cash flow, etc.

Again, good luck!!
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Unread 11-30-2006, 07:25 AM   #6
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Thanks for the help guys it gives me somewhere to start
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