Before you start a catering business it is wise to put together a comprehensive business plan. It is important to set out clearly what you hope to achieve in business and to set measurable goals. Having a business plan will give you direction and keep you on a course for success.
A plan may be essential in order to prove that your concept is viable when it comes to talking to investors or seeking funding from other sources. However, even if you are independently funded and have nothing to prove to anyone a plan will still be useful. It will help you to confirm that your plans are indeed possible and it will give you a place to compile all the data that you collect from your research.
Once you start your catering business it is important to continue to refer to your business plan to make sure that you remain on track to meet your goals. You can also make changes to it if necessary as your business develops.
There are many ways to set out a business plan. Below we offer a sample catering business plan template that is divided into twelve sections.
Cover and Table of Contents
Wrap the plan in a binder. On the cover you should give it a title and state clearly who the main contributors are and when it was prepared.
Then you can include a contents page that clearly divides the report into sections with page numbers so that interested parties can easily find the information that they are looking for.
This is basically an introduction where you can summarise the other sections of the report and give a very basic outline of what the proposed business is about.
Try to sum up what the business will be about in a few short sentences. A mission statement is similar to a slogan. It is a quick way of letting readers know about the ideals and standards that a company represents. Putting profits aside for a minute, try to think about the purpose of the business. How is your catering business making people’s lives better?
Include some information on the catering industry at both the national and local levels. Take note of industry trends and try to forecast future developments
Include a personal background. There are many good reasons to start a catering business and you should let readers know why you are drawn to this industry above all others. Outline your working history and attach any relevant reference letters as an appendix to the plan.
Outline any competitive advantages that you may have. Do you have any catering business qualifications or skills? Have you have experience in the hospitality industry? Do you have existing relationships with suppliers or prospective clients?
Set out some growth targets and other goals over the short and medium terms. Goals for a catering service could be the number clients, the number of events, total revenue or average profit margins on events. Refer to your business plan regularly and push yourself to keep up with the goals that you set.
Startup Costs and Considerations
List out startup costs and initial operating costs and then calculate the total amount of startup capital that is required before you can open your doors to clients.
Make a note of the sources of funding that are available to you and the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
Outline all of the other hurdles that must be overcome before you can start operating as a catering service. Depending on the requirements in your state or country you will have a number of licenses and permits to obtain. You may even have to do a short course to get certified in food management or hygiene. It is important to set out the costs involved as well as a time frame for compliance with these local regulations.