The food industry is not an easy one to operate in. There’s a lot of competition and many elements to perfect. Around 60% of catering businesses go out of the business in their first 12 months, so how do you ensure that you’re not one of them? Understanding the issues you’ll face and developing some coping strategies is a great place to start.
1. The Equipment
Having the right equipment is paramount in how efficiently and effectively you can turn around orders to a high standard. A catering business is only as good as its kitchen equipment, so make sure you are choosing the right kit for your needs and that it will evolve with you as your business grows.
Storage and catering fridges are the perfect choice for the modern commercial kitchen. Available with a range of options, there's a model for every size and type of operation. Whether you're looking for single door storage fridges suitable for positioning in areas with a maximum ambient temperature of 25°C, single door catering fridges ideal for situation in the heart of the action, where kitchen temperatures can reach up to 30°C or even 43°C or double door catering fridge alternatives for greater storage capacity, it's easy to find exactly what you need. Storage and catering freezers are also available when sub-zero temperatures are required for lengthier preservation.
2. The Menu
This is a big problem for many restaurant owners. Achieving a great menu is a true balancing act of the right number of choices, the right theme and the right pricing. A good rule of thumb is to offer a smaller menu but focus on making those dishes excellent. Stick with your theme, inspiration or a unique selling point and make sure your menu is aligned to it. A menu that’s too large will require more spending on ingredients and take far longer to order from. You also don’t want to be prepping and cooking too many dishes at the same time. You’ll need more equipment to cope with the large variety and your turn around times will be much slower.
3. Customer Service
Many owners underestimate the power of first impressions. You can serve the finest food in the land, but if your service is poor, customers will remember and punish you for it. What you want to achieve are customers who return time and again. Your whole staff must be singing from the same page and working in unison to provide the very best dining experience. At every contact point, your customers must be welcomed, accommodated and impressed. Online reviews are everything in this digital age, so your customer service must be exemplary.
4. Your USP
In a hugely competitive world, every business can benefit from having a clear and obvious ‘unique selling point’. What do you want to achieve? Are you a patisserie or a fast-food diner? Are you an exclusive eatery or a sandwich bar? You need to demonstrate why people should eat at your establishment and not someone else’s. You can have an incredible menu and customer service to die for but if you’re not original, unique and interesting – why would people visit? A USP gives people a reason to visit, remember and return.
This is a common problem in the catering industry. Owners fail to realise the importance of marketing their business. To be a success, it’s important to have a
clear brand standard which includes a logo, customised graphics and a mission statement. A prepared business will also have a marketing plan, even it’s only a small 6 monthly or annual project. Don’t neglect the importance of a website that is optimised for desktop and mobile use, is updated regularly and has great quality content. You could advertise on social media and start an email customer database.
By getting core areas right and giving them the attention that they deserve, you'll be in a position to serve your customers outstanding quality and deliver a truly outstanding experience that will see your business achieve its ultimate goals.