Now that so many of us are able to have a local Deliveroo or Uber Eats service that will bring restaurant food to our homes for us, the notion of a mobile catering business doesn’t seem like a particularly revolutionary idea. However, it is a wonderful opportunity for you, the caterer, to bring your food and business to a larger audience, while also getting in some cross-country travel for yourself.
If you do it right, you can travel the country, see new sights, meet new people, and build your business while sharing your love of catering with your clients. But if you do it wrong…well, best not to think about that. In fact, here are 3 tips to make sure that it does all go smoothly.
Work Out Your Menu
Might as well get the obvious stuff out of the way first. One of the worst mistakes that any chef, restaurant, or seller of food can make is to prioritise quantity over quality. Some food businesses are convinced that only an extensive menu will satisfy their customers. But it is better to offer the choice of 5 excellent dishes than 20 mediocre ones. Play to your strengths and provide something consistently good.
Work Out Your Costs
One of the great things about mobile catering from the perspective of entrepreneurs is that the start-up costs associated with such a business are relatively low. However, this will depend on the specifics of your business. For example, are you going to go totally mobile, or will you operate out of a static HQ?
If you’re going totally mobile, then you will need to work out how and where you are going to prepare your food. Vans can be fitted with ovens relatively easy but of course, there is a trade-off in terms of space. Even a big van isn’t very big when you put an oven in it.
If you are going to be operating out of static premises, you have much more room and freedom, but you will have to contend with the logistics of prepping food in one place and then transporting it somewhere else.
Whatever approach you take, you need to fully cost it and look for ways to keep the price as low as possible. For example, it might be more economical for you to have a bespoke cold room from a supplier like Fridge Freezer Direct installed in your premises than to purchase and run individual fridges and freezers.
Of course, you should have a social media presence, a website, and a marketing plan. But in catering, word of mouth is very important. A significant portion of your business will (hopefully) come from recommendations.
Networking and expanding your contacts list will be essential if you are hoping to achieve sustained growth. You never know when the people you meet are going to need catering, so always have some business cards on hand. Equally, you never know when they might be able to help you.
If you love food and love travelling, mobile catering is an obvious business choice. If you have previous experience, that will help. If this is new to you, make sure you have worked out all the legal requirements.