Tips on How to Create Catering Business (in the Philippines)
Catering is the business of providing food service at a remote site or a site such as a hotel, public house (pub), or other location (such as your home). Catering businesses are often offered in events, such as parties (especially debut parties), weddings, business meetings, feasts, or other gatherings.
Catering has evolved to become an artisanal affair. Caterers now create an experience that involves the senses.
Nowadays , catering became a prominent part of every Filipino occasion- may it be birthdays or weddings- it not only provides a lucrative business but also provides an easier approach for preparing meals for your visitors and guests.
Convenience is what makes this as a lucrative business, and in due time with identity, your business will boom to success, although the initial capital you will need for this business is quite steep (required is atleast 100,000 to 1 M php) surely, this business will stay as profitable for a long period of time.
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The term was originally coined by the Merchant Marines, who were among the first to employ catering officers for their vessels. These catering officers were responsible for purchasing goods, preparing food, and serving the meals and beverages to the other people on board the vessels. They also had to perform other ship-related tasks.
However the trade goes back much, much further than that. Catering dates back in the 4th millennium BC in China. The culture of grand eating and drinking was also present in old Egypt at that time. Most of the services were provided by slaves. The ancients Greeks are credited with making catering a trade by offering free services at their inns and hostels which continued into the Roman Empire. At this time the intent was primarily to serve soldiers. In the middle ages, catering centered around monasteries and the Christian pilgrimages in Europe. The trade spread during the reign of Charlemagne. By late middle ages, the new bourgeoises and a monetary economy helped the popularity of catering to flourish. When the industry drew the attention of German legislators in the 14th and 15th century, food and beer regulations began to take form. But much of the industry was still primarily seen in feasts and celebrations for kings and other noblemen. After the French revolution in the 18th century and the lack of an aristocracy, catering guilds were forced to find new ways to sell their talents and the first French restaurants were started.
In America, the catering industry is still very young. The earliest account of a major services being catered in the United States is a 1778 ball in Philadelphia catered by Caesar Cranshell to celebrate the departure of British General William Howe. Catering business began to form around 1820, centering in Philadelphia. Catering being a respectable and profitable business, the early catering industry was disproportionately founded by African-Americans.
The industry began to professionalize under the reigns of Robert Bogle who is recognized as “the originator of catering”. By 1840, a second generation of Philadelphia black caterers formed, who began to combine their catering businesses with restaurants they owned. As people wealthier and the economy grew, caterers found there was a demand for their services, which was previously been reserved for the very rich.
Now here in the Philippines, catering was established even before the Spanish came in. Much in a form of Boodle Fight but for some Hacienderos/ Haciendera- catering was the most prominent form of food preparation.
Kinds of Catering Services:
- Full Catering. In this type of service, the caterer serves the food, prepares and manages all details of the occasion. This includes the provision of equipment, utensils/wares that will be used, decoration of thevenue, table setting, serving and cleanup of the equipment used.
- Partial Catering. This is almost the same as the full catering. The only difference is that a partial catering serves only part of the entiremenu. Other dishes may be cooked or served by the client himself or by another caterer. The caterer only does the arrangement of the venue and food servicing.
- Service Only. The client is the one who prepares the food. The caterer only takes care of arranging thevenue and is in charge of the food service. This may include the provision of entertainment like song and dance numbers and games, giveaways or souvenirs for the guests.
Types of Catering:
- Mobile Catering – Mobile catering services refer to catering that uses a mobile van in order to render services to specific locations carrying with them the necessary food and equipment. This catering can be used at fairs, meals-to-go, festivals and others functions as well. Mobile catering usually requires low set-up costs due to its being small scale in nature.
- Take Home Orders – This type of catering service involves delivery of the food to the customer. Ideally, you can stock the ready-made food meals in the freezer and reheat them when an order is received. This catering may also provide party platters for any food choice combinations such as meals, finger food and other small menus. Customers may be given an option regarding the portion sizes of their orders. The market for take home orders is to cater to groups of people during holidays, parties or gatherings in which the food can be readily available for them.
- Door to Door – Door to door catering services supply outstanding combinations of food according to the menu choices along with personal service delivered at your door for you and your guests to enjoy. The customer may also opt just to have a drop-off service where the caterer will supply the food, but the customers will do their own serving. The heating equipment can be rented.
- Special Events Catering – This type of catering includes all the services required for the events. This means the caterer will take care of the food presentation that highlights a spectacular food menu. Special event catering may also involve doing the essential aspects of the event such as planning, venue decorations and other related event arrangements.
- Business Catering – Business catering service deals with the offering of food menus for business meetings, training sessions and other business functions. This type of catering has high demand and consistent catering opportunities. It is important for caterers serving this type of event to prepare popular dishes that the guests and attendees will enjoy.
- Industrial Catering – Industrial catering service generally involves serving food to larger group of people such as in airlines, schools, hospitals and other institutions. Most industrial caterers enter into agreement for semi-annual or annual contracts. These agreements provide a long-term and stable catering business. Actual serving of food may not be required to industrial caterers because serving is usually done locally.
- Create a business plan when starting a catering business to help guide you through each stage of business development. Because there is much to consider when starting a business, a business plan may help you stay focused and reduce stress. Business plans are commonly used when seeking financing from banks and other lending institutions. Your business plan should contain four or five sections and include information about your vision of the business, start-up costs, licensing and marketing strategies.
- Describe your catering service and the types of foods you want to prepare in the first section of your business plan. Some catering services serve guests at the table while others provide buffet-style meals where guests can choose from a variety of foods, beverages and desserts, and, in some cases, serve themselves. List specific types of food, such as Asian, Italian, German or American cuisine, as applicable and a sample menu if possible. Indicate whether you plan to provide tables, table settings, chairs and other items needed for an event if requested by the client or if you plan to outsource this work to an event rental company.
- Determine the amount of space needed to run your catering business in the second section of your business plan. Depending on your needs and budget, you can lease commercial kitchen space, rent space from a restaurant, share a commercial space with another caterer or work from home. Leasing commercial kitchen space can be expensive, so sharing a space with another caterer, using a restaurant’s kitchen after closing or working from home may be more cost effective. Contact local commercial real estate agents to inquire about available industrial kitchen space or contact local restaurants to ask if they rent out kitchen space during off-hours, which are usually late at night or early in the morning. Working from home typically provides limited space to work unless you have a large kitchen, so keep this in mind when determining the amount of space needed to work comfortably.
- Create a list of kitchen equipment needed to operate your business. Consider the amount of room needed to prepare and store food as well as the amount of room needed to use and store cooking equipment. Equipment may include industrial ovens, large refrigerators and freezers, counter space, food storage space, and storage for small kitchen gadgets such as food processors or pasta makers, knives and other utensils, pots, pans and mixing bowls. Visit restaurant supply stores, online vendors or cooking stores to estimate equipment costs.
- List all permits needed to legally operate a catering business in the third section of your business plan. Apply for a food dealer’s permit if you plan to sell food to the general public. Permits are provided by your local Health Bureau. You do not have to apply for a food dealer’s permit if your company will cater private parties or family events. Additional permits such as an FOG (to clean grease traps), frozen desserts retail establishment permit and temporary food dealer’s permit (if catering an outdoor public event) may be necessary depending on the catering services you plan to provide.
- List additional start-up costs such as phone, Internet, insurance and transportation costs in the fourth section of your business plan. You may need to purchase liability insurance to protect your business in the event of a lawsuit or settlement, workers’ compensation insurance if hiring employees, additional auto insurance or homeowners’ insurance if running your business from home. Contact your insurance company to determine your insurance needs. Include a copy of all insurance policies in your business plan.
- Create a marketing strategy for your business in the last section of your business plan. List ways in which to meet potential clients. For example, if you want to cater family events, hand out marketing materials such as brochures, flyers and business cards at local parks, family restaurants, day care centers and grocery stores. Contact local businesses if you are interested in catering corporate events to schedule an appointment to market your services. Meet with local wedding planners, photographers, public relations firms and other businesses that help plan events. Bring a sample of your food to showcase your talents and encourage referrals for your services.
Catering, as a food servicing business, has evolved throughout time. From Ancient China, to Egypt, to Rome, and then throughout the world. In the past, only the high people have the right to use catering services because they were the only ones who have the money to afford such services. In the Philippines, this business venture could provide a lucrative source of income that not only fulfills your successful financial stability, but also those hungry stomachs that yearn for food.
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