You’d see a lot of restaurants offering catering services for weddings, parties, and other events. Catering is a way of not only buffering sales, but also help spread the restaurant’s brand, and could be its marketing campaign raking in new potential customers. There’s a wider market out there for caterers, but you need to consider if your restaurant and you, the owner, are ready to expand operations and offer catering service and if its advantages are worth the investment and effort.
Having adequate workforce and the right commercial catering equipment aren’t enough, so here are things you’d want to consider first before expanding your restaurant’s operation to catering:
CATERING, BE DEFINITION
Before you start offering catering services, it’s best to know what exactly catering is and its scope. So catering is providing food service off-premise (away from the restaurant), and usually covers events such as weddings, birthdays, and other celebrations. Catering entails bringing already cooked (or precooked and ready to heat) food, drinks, food display, serving dishes, silverware, linens, and servers. Others may even include preparing the dining area (i.e. table arrangement and decoration). As such, a considerable amount of investment is needed when expanding.
Space and Size. A restaurateur has to remember that the food will be prepared (and stored) in the restaurant’s kitchen. Additionally, it’s probable that the food will be prepared while the restaurant is operating, so you need to consider if you have enough space to operate the restaurant and complete the dishes for catering. The restaurant should not suffer to give space to catering. One could opt to expand their kitchen by renting out or adding more space for catering dishes and storage.
Workforce and Equipment. There should be a dedicated staff and equipment for catering. A restaurant with catering services should have enough staff to cook, deliver, and serve. Servers and delivery vehicle could simply be employed short-term, but the cook needs to be experienced or already is a part of the restaurant; one has to maintain the level of quality with the restaurant’s food. Not only that, you need commercial catering equipment, silverware, other dining tools, and decorations (linens, centrepieces, etc.), for the client.
Capacity. The restaurateur-caterer should also set their serving capacity. Would your resources and space allow for large parties such as wedding receptions and reunions, or medium-sized events? Although it’s possible to rent out additional equipment and staff, and a temporary kitchen, you have to make a standard capacity for your catering service.
Profitability. The owner should be able to offer reasonable, competitive pricing, but also be able to profit. One does not only consider the physical investments and cost, but the time and effort put into the catering service.
What can you offer?
Apart from food and display, see if you can add value to your service. What more can you offer that would make you more enticing for clients? Do you have customised centrepieces? Do you take special requests and orders? One should consider these when planning their catering framework, marketing, and resources.
Is it something you want to offer?
Ask yourself. Is it what you want? Perhaps your restaurant is already more than enough. The most important thing to consider is whether or not you’re committed to this expansion of operations, and if you’re able to do it regularly.
So, equipped with these points, you’ll be able to decide whether or not you’re ready to go into the catering business. If not, try and make the necessary arrangements to do so. There’s a vast market out there for catering services, and you wouldn’t want to miss out.