Do you want to build a successful catering business from scratch? If YES, here are 10 characteristics of successful catering business owners you can learn from. This article is a continuation of the series i started few days ago on how to start a catering business. For most of us who love reading books and journals researching business tips for success, there is one tip that we almost always come across and that is:

Do what you love, enjoy it while you are it and the money would come rolling in with ease.

This means that you should start a business on something you have a passion for and making money would become a fun experience. Things won’t seem so difficult and everything is just going to fall in place without you feeling like you are trying hard and most importantly, you will be having fun while at it and each challenge and difficulty you pass through in the course of your business would be borne with ease.

Catering is one of those businesses that provide you with the opportunity to invest in something you have a passion for; a hobby turned into a business. If you are someone who likes to cook and usually don’t mind being in the kitchen for several hours preparing family dinners, then you should consider starting a business in the catering industry if you are not already managing one. It’s about turning your hobby into a money spinner.

Another thing i personally love about the catering business is the huge profit margin. A caterer friend of mine recently confided in me that she makes up to 50% profit or more on each catering job she takes up and that it’s even possible to make up to a 100%. 50%? Wow! I doubt that there are a dozen businesses out there that offer a 50% profit margin.

Difference Between Being a Caterer and Owning a Restaurant

Wait a sec! I would like you to understand that there’s a difference between being a caterer and owning a restaurant. Restaurant owners offer a kind of Business model where people stop by to eat.

A restaurant owner might not necessarily be a caterer as it’s possible to hire a caterer to take charge of the cooking aspect of your restaurant business. Caterers on the other hand, are like contractors who plan the menu, cook sizzling dishes and serve it in the most appealing manner. They offer their services mostly at parties, meetings, weddings or any public function and pocket as much as 50% profit at the end of each job.

It is easy to succeed and fail in the catering business as there is literally a thin line between success and failure in catering business. One bad job may cost you your reputation and eventually, your business. There are people who have tried and failed in the business and there are some who continue to succeed and soar higher against all odds. So, this successful people, what do they do differently? What characteristics do they possess?

Without boring you, let me share with you some other coveted secrets of successful caterers which they probably don’t want you to know. Perhaps they worry that the business would become saturated and their profit margin would have to reduce drastically to 10%- fair enough, everyone likes to protect their business secrets but not today. Let’s dive into the world of caterers and see what they have got to hide.

Without wasting time, below are ten major characteristics of successful catering business owners-:

10 Characteristics of Successful Catering Business Owners

1. They are not discouraged by baby steps

To succeed as a caterer, you must be ready to start small and gradually grow your business to become a force to reckon with in the catering industry. Most of the successful caterers you see out there today, started really small. Mostly from their kitchens, preparing dishes for family and friends parties sometimes for free and at other times for a paltry sum.

Then some of those friends probably referred them to others or a guest at one of the parties who liked the food so much offered them a chance to cater at their own parties. That’s basically how caterers climb the ladder of success. In the beginning phase of your business, you must NOT be wary of offering free or discounted services as this might be the weapon that would be used to catapult you to success.

2. They understand the importance of planning

Every business requires proper planning, that is if you really want to succeed. You must know what you are getting into. You must have carried out a feasibility study and understand what obtains in the catering industry so that you can model your business to be better than that of your competitors. Successful caterers have business plans carefully drafted to provide a sense of direction for their business. Here is a sample catering business plan template you can use for FREE.

3. They train and get trained

Training is very important in the catering business and this is not just for you alone but for everyone that would be working with you in the business. Training should not be a one-off thing but a continuous process for as long as you remain in the business.

4. They understand that food is an art

As a caterer, you must understand that food is not just food. For you, food is a work of art and you must always be innovative in the way you prepare and present your dishes. In the USA, people pay several hundreds of dollars to eat gourmet dishes and that should tell you just how much people appreciate food when it is presented in the most artistic manner.

5. They invest in world class equipment

There were times when caterers used giant food warmers to preserve dishes for parties but any caterer who uses that method now would be considered archaic. That’s basically how the catering industry evolves in terms of equipment and you must be ready to embrace change and continually invest in the latest equipment.

6. They know more than just preparing delightful delicacies

Successful caterers do other things too. Some of them are into event planning, so that when a client comes to you and says he wants to employ your catering services, you can talk to him about an opportunity to plan the event and make more money for yourself. There are other things you can also do like event decorations, cake making and event ushering to mention few.

7. They are ready to sacrifice their holidays and weekends

If you are serious about being a caterer, then you must be ready to sacrifice your holidays and weekends because that’s when most parties hold. So when other people are traveling for holidays, you would be somewhere working your socks off but for me, I don’t think that’s much of a problem because you are making money and that means you can take your own vacation anytime you like. Don’t forget that night catering is sometimes part of the deal too *winks.

8. They create other streams of income within the catering industry too

As a caterer, you don’t have to be idle when there are no jobs. How about renting some of your equipment out to other caterers? Or teaching catering classes? There are so many other things you can do to bring you more money so that you are never idle.

9. They posses great networking skills

This is a very important skill you must posses. You must know how to network and advertise. You must be ready to meet people everyday, ask for referrals and advertise your business by any means possible.

10. When they fall, they look back and get up again

Lastly, if you ever go through a difficult time in your business, do not stay down. Businesses are meant to have down times. Look back at what you might have done wrongly, make corrections and get back on your feet again and you will see that this time, nothing can stop you. See you at the top!

Ajaero Tony Martins