It is easy to see why people become interested in setting up a catering business or restaurant. If they love creating food almost as much as they love eating it, and enjoy hosting events at home, setting-up a catering business seems a logical step. Many people see entering the catering business as a challenging but exciting opportunity to earn a living. However, the market is highly competitive; many good intentions to set up a business that offers wholesome home cooking end-up folding.
A catering business isn’t just about food. You have to manage supplies, staff and any catering equipment repairs. That’s the thing about the food industry. Many people see the glamour of creating menus and cooking up a storm in the kitchen. They forget that running a business is about management, paying the bills, dealing with bureaucracy, maintenance and hygiene standards.
So, are you ready for the challenges of building your restaurant or catering business? Do you have what it takes to compete with other businesses in the industry? Is this the right career move for you?
In 2018, the UK’s catering industry was worth £1bn ($1.28bn), employing 28,000 people, and with an annual growth of one per cent since 2013. Contract catering is anticipated to grow by 1.9 per cent into next year. A survey by IBISWorld found that the increase is due to the constant demand from weddings and funerals, and other reasons to celebrate, like baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries and even divorce parties.
However, in Nisbets’ spring 2018 Pulse Survey catering professionals expressed concerns with increased business rates, the cost of raw materials and workers, and a reduction in customers if the increased costs were passed on to them. Also in 2018, two per cent of restaurants closed at an average of 10 per week.
Yet, the market offers gaps that are attractive to first-time entrepreneurs. The catering industry does not have major players, and no single business entity dominates. This isn’t like online retail, where Amazon holds a vast chunk of the market.
Learn About the Industry
How do you start in the catering industry? Seek employment first in an existing catering business. Perhaps, you can start as a protégé in a local restaurant. That will give you a glimpse of the real world of a service industry. Are you ready to invest your money, long hours and energy into making this business work?
Love Food With All Your Heart
Yes, the catering and restaurant industry is about service and entertainment. But of course, it’s also about food and your love of it. A lot of chefs get frustrated when they don’t get a dish right the first time they try. They love making food and have a passion for creating dishes. This is the core of success.
The food industry doesn’t offer sensible hours with a relaxed atmosphere. It has highs and lows, intense activity followed by downtime. It’s not something you can leave in the office and come back tomorrow. It stays with you wherever you go.