How to Start a Catering Business in Nigeria – Catering Business Plan
Start a Catering Business in Nigeria – The job of a caterer is to make sure that food and drinks are perfect for a client’s event. In other words, a catering business handles the preparation of meals, preservation and the service at a client’s event (e.g. birthdays, conferences, weddings, anniversaries etc). The Catering business is a huge money making investment but it requires hard work.
How would you rate your cooking skills? Is your food knowledge up to date, can you improvise when something goes wrong? Do you know what goes together, what works and doesn’t? Do you want to learn how to make money with your culinary skills? Keep reading as I share with you in-depth details on how to start a catering business from the comfort of your home.
Let me say this now: creativity, time management, people skills and the ability to work under pressure are qualities that you must have if you want to be a big player in the catering business.
That said, we are going to do this chapter in a question and answer session. Let’s go there!
Q: Do I need training?
A: Chances are that you already have a natural talent for cooking however I advise that before you start your own catering business, you should take some cooking classes or work for with a reputable catering agency for a while. Working and learning from an experienced caterer will be beneficial and will save you a lot of stress when you finally start your own business. For instance, preparing a meal for 4 people at home is not the same with catering for a party of 500 persons. The proportion at which you use your ingredients varies from event to event. The ability to cook for different sizes of people is the most important skill to learn in this business. So do not be in a hurry. Take your time and learn. Remember that the depth of your knowledge determines how far you will go.
Q: Who will be my targeted market?
A: There are so many events to cater for, e.g. wedding, business meetings, birthday parties, family celebrations etc. It is impossible to cater for all types of events at the beginning stage of your business, therefor it is wise you focus on targeted market and then decide on your advertising medium to reach them. For example, let us say you are interested in catering for weddings; you will have to determine what types of dishes your catering business is going to offer. You will also have to form alliances with other important service providers in that industry (e.g. event planners, decorators, musical groups, hotels/event centers etc). These service providers will help bring clients and still advertise your business.
Q: How much capital do I need to start?
A: Catering business is one of the businesses you can start without a kobo. You do not have to set money aside anywhere for the business. At the beginning stages, you can run your business like this: once you have a job, you do the costing and the client provides the money. From the money you buy the items and ingredients you would require, pay the casual workers (you can’t afford to employ permanent staff at the beginning stages),the little profit left you can rent utensils to do the job. You will not be making much profit in the beginning because most of it will be going into renting utensils. From the profit you make, you can now start buying the basic items that needed in the business. These include: cooking pots, spoons, food warmers and coolers, serving dishes, plates, glasses, utensils, table decoration, etc. You cannot afford to be renting these items from other cater because they are used often.
Set-up Supply Partnerships
For whatever category of events you choose to cater for, you should set up supply partnerships. Let me continue with our example. If you are catering for just weddings you should get into long term partnerships with Meat/fish sellers, tomato sellers, fruits and vegetable dealers etc. The importance is that in exchange of regular business you will bring to them, they will give you discounts. Thereby, helping to keep your expenses low. You get my point right?
Q: How do I advertise my catering business?
A: See, nobody is going to risk the humiliation by trying out an unknown caterer so a good way of marketing your catering business is to invest some of your capital in throwing a party. For this party, invite key service providers and decision makers in your niche industry; event planners, decorators, florists, musical groups, jewelers, hotels/event centers etc. Give them your business cards while they savour your delicacies. The fact is that these people will not risk their reputations by recommending you to their clients unless you show them you are really good at what you do. Other mediums of marketing include distributing flyers, brochures, etc. Word of mouth is the major means of advertising your catering business.
Q: How do I grow my Catering Business?
- Start small – At the beginning stages, hire staff on part time basis. Do not have any permanent staff until you have stabilized in the business. You can multi task at the early stages of the business.
- Time management – Be on time! Always on time! Your ability to deliver at deadlines will stand you out from other caterers.
- The Nigerian Factor – Put the ethnicity of your clients into consideration while preparing their meals.
- People Skills – You will have to convince your potential clients that you will not only provide an unforgettable feast but it will be there on time, presented appealingly and served quickly too.
- Be creative – Make every event a party to remember. Go that extra mile!
All the best of luck as you set out to create a unique catering business in Nigeria.
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