With the rapid increase in social activity among people, caterers have become a very essential part of the party circuit. They have gone beyond the earlier caterers who were just meant to provide food; now they also look after the crockery and cutlery, they provide assistance with table arrangements, and they also provide the waiters to serve the food. If you have any plans of entering the field of catering, then you have to be very clear on the options available on hand and must also plan all your steps carefully before taking the decisive plunge.
Types of Catering
Apart from catering for events and parties, as mentioned above, there are various other forms of catering businesses as well. Mobile food vendors are also a part of the catering sector, they supply food to the people on the street, and their specifications and requirements differ immensely from the caterers who deal with large events and organised gatherings. The sector of restaurants, cafes and snack bars also comes under the catering sector, the major difference being that they are more permanent and stationery, vis-à-vis the mobile food vendors.
Type of Food
Good quality caterers have now begun to specialise in various cuisines, so that they can satisfy the needs of various clienteles. The choice of cuisines that you are planning to specialise in depends not only upon the region where your business shall be based, but also upon your knowledge and expertise, and the expertise of your chefs. Initially focus on one or two cuisines, and as your business grows and you establish a good reputation, move into other sectors.
Type of Clientele
Your infrastructure and the equipment that you need to purchase are also dependent on the type of clientele you cater to. If you are only dealing with catering for events, then most of your equipment needs to be portable, so that you can work at the venue itself and serve food that is fresh and hot. You need a van to carry all the equipment. The caterers for events normally supply the tables and chairs, and also the table decorations. This is an inherent part of your inventory, and the quality of your service and overall ambience will be judged by the quality of these items. Whereas, if you are catering through a café or restaurant, then you will need to invest in equipment such as large stainless steel sinks , large ovens and cooking tops, in tables and chairs that match the overall décor, and crockery and cutlery that reflects your name and brand. With a mobile van, the emphasis is on space-saving equipments and on disposable crockery and cutlery.
The staff required for running a catering business is also dependent upon the type of business you are running. Good restaurants and cafes are renowned for the quality of their food, and here the expertise of the chef is of supreme importance. In mobile vans, the cooks usually take care of the food-serving aspect as well, and since the menus are limited, they need to be good only in those dishes. The waiters are the face of any catering business, and they should be clean and well-trained to serve well and deal with customers of all types. In many small catering businesses for events, the workers who set up the tables and the mobile kitchen also double up as waiters. The back-end staff consists of helpers, dishwashers, purchasers, and store-keepers. Most people working in the backend for caterers do not have any special qualifications. They learn on the job and multi-task quite easily.