1. Introduction
2. Market Categories
3. Introduction
4. Basics
5. Market Research
6. Are You Ready?
7. Legal
8. Basics
9. Day-to-Day
10. Competition
11. Listing on

3. SETTING UP - Introduction

To start a catering business, it is helpful to understand how the industry works, this will make your planning more effective.

In a competitive industry such as catering good research will help you make better business decisions. You will need a clear understanding of who your customers are and what services they are prepaid to pay for. You should also know why your customers are going to choose your service. But remember, there is always room in a market for innovation - as Henry Ford (founder of the Ford Motor Co.) once said, If Id asked my customers what they want, theyd have asked for faster horses!

What sort of Catering?
The market for catering services can be roughly divided into two main categories: Private and Corporate events, although you may target both.

Corporate catering services are usually for things like board meetings, functions and award ceremonies; mostly serving Government or other large institutions and businesses.

Although they require higher start-up costs Corporate catering services can be a good source of regular, repeat business providing a steady income and lessening marketing costs.

Private catering services are usually for things like family occasions such as weddings, parties and funerals or even dinner parties for two or more.

Offering Private catering services usually require lower start-up costs. Also, there is much more scope for carving out your market niche through being innovative with the products you supply and the way you market them or by specialising in a particular type of food or event.

You will also need to think about complementary services such as, providing crockery, cutlery, servers, decorations and marquee hire, (all of which you can hire yourself) to add value to the service you are providing. But remember to factor in the additional time and costs involved.

How is your catering business different from other established businesses?

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