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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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Old 09-09-2009, 08:27 PM   #1
is One Chatty Farker
Join Date: 10-16-08
Location: Virginia
Default Thoughts on my plan, thanks

Hey everyone,

After a lot of thought and planning I have decided to open a part time catering/vending business which may one day turn into a full time business. I'd like to run my thoughts and idea's by some of you seasoned pros's if I could. I live in an area that I have very little BBQ catering/vending businesses to compete with and no BBQ restaurants. I BBQ all the time and compete on the KCBS Circuit several time a year. I have checked into a catering/vending trailer and can buy a new 7'x16' trailer with side 3'x6' and back 3'x4' vending windows, tandem axle, 18' base aluminum cabinets, 11' upper aluminum cabinets and many other bells and whistles with my logo's put on all sides of the trailer complete for $10,500. I called my attorney and he said to figure $500 to start an LLC. The additional fees for getting legal with the HD and county will cost me another $400-$600. My insurance man wants to move my pick up truck over to a business policy along with the trailer and liability & property damage coverage will cost another $1000 per year ( of which I already pay $650 for the truck so $350 really ). I figure I'll spend another $3000 in misc supplies like refrigerator, hot dog steamer, small utensils,storage containers and such... I figure I'll have about a $15,000 investment above things that I already have. My pit has the capacity to cook 24 butts or 5 briskets and 12 butts to give you an idea what size pit I will be using. In 2010 I plan to set up at one of a few locations in or around town that I have access to on Saturdays and Sundays for a minimum of six weekends where I would hope to sell 100 -150 meals per day at a cost of $7-$8 for a pulled pork sammy with two sides. I would also like to cater a minimum of 6-8 gigs for 50-75 people per event. I plan on offering pulled pork, brisket, chicken, ribs, hot dogs and maybe some sausages to start out with,

My thought process is that this would give me a good idea of how much I want to do this and if I love it as much as I believe I will then my next step in probably 2011 would be to add an Ol' Hickory Pit to be able to increase the amount I can sell along with being able to get more sleep at night instead of watching a temp gauge and then trying to vend or cater the next day. Thinking a few years ahead I would like to maybe have a business location with a headquarters for the catering business and also have a BBQ Take Out of sorts. The next thoughts I have is that i have an 8 year old son and a 6 year old daughter and I may not want to spend every weekend gone catering/vending and never have time for my kids, but also I think maybe I could make a good business of this give up my full time job as an auto tech and a $30-40k per year income and have even more time to spend with them. I should also add that I am burnt out on the auto repair industry and after 23 years of it I want out.

So I figure that if I spend this $15,000 and do this and find out I hate it then I have a really nice enclosed kitch to take to competitions and I only spent half the money most people blow on a car only to decide later they did not need it and it is only worth half. What do you all think? I could use some advice and wisdom.


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Old 09-09-2009, 10:04 PM   #2
is one Smokin' Farker
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Join Date: 07-13-09
Location: Cape Coma, Fl.

I would go for it if I could afford it and my health was better. I used to work for a Lg Traveling Carnival as the Midway Super. I was in charge of all the Rides and help. We had a guy that traveled with us with a Q stand. and most spots he always had a line. some spots better then others. so he told me it balanced out. People always have to eat. Give them good Q for there money and they'll be back and tell there friends....
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:29 AM   #3
is One Chatty Farker
Join Date: 07-05-09
Location: Aurora, Colo.

As a suggestion.....before you spend any to the Health
Department and find out what all the laws and requirements are for where
you live.
You don't want to buy something and find out that it wont pass inspection
from the Health Department....and then you have to spend more money
buying the right thing.

The best of luck to you and your business dreams.
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Old 09-10-2009, 08:59 AM   #4
is One Chatty Farker
Join Date: 10-16-08
Location: Virginia

I have talked with the HD already have the forms to turn back in, already have the trailer specs nailed down. I just have to get clearance from the HD to order the trailer. They say it will take 6-8 weeks to build the trailer, then I have to put the sinks and water tanks in it, I elected to do this as it was cheaper and I can do it no problems. I feel like I hace dotted all I's and crossed all T's and figured I would run my plans by people with experience. My business plan I came up with has me pretty much paying for the investment in the first year, but not making a profit and that is good with me.
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:33 AM   #5
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somebody shut me the fark up.

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Join Date: 05-03-06
Location: Ventura, CA

Sounds like you have a gameplan, just expect to pay more as always with business ventures. Best to you in this endeavor and keep us posted.
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Old 10-03-2009, 11:07 PM   #6
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Location: Northwest Louisiana

I love to see a picture and layout of your trailer.
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Old 10-03-2009, 11:41 PM   #7
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Join Date: 08-19-07
Location: Wichita, Ks.

I am not in the business yet...soon...??, but want to wish you the best of luck.
I like the sounds of your planning. As for the kids, could you take them with you and have little helpers to break in to the "business" too?
Not all the time, mind you, but some of the weekends...
Justa thought.
Keep us posted, bro.
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:20 AM   #8
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Join Date: 04-14-07
Location: Lakeland Florida

refrigeration - need a commercail NSF fridge (min of $1k) and maybe freezer or is that in your trailer build. Don't think an HD will pass a trailer without this. Steel tables for counters? Do you know there's a 6" requirement for floor clearance on all storage? And the list goes on. Are you putting in AC? If so your power requirement went up. What type of generator are you using. I expect you'll have a need for at least 30 amp service and 50 if you do air. How about hot water heater and sinks. Need 4 sinks and need to supply the HD with the size of the sinks so they can calculate the size of the water heater. If using real restaurant 3 tub sinks will probably ned at least a 10 gallon water heater.

You say you have all the specs for the HD but you may want to revisit this before ordering a trailer. If you supplied a site plan with all the specs on fridge, water heater, sinks, etc and got an OK then you can ignore this. Otherwise you probably need to revisit.

Plumbing system - did you include a mop sink? How about air breaks, etc? The specs are endless and you need to get htem to the builder before you start or it's a redo on plumbing. Water tanks - usually grey is 50% bigger then fresh.
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