Are you about starting a catering business from home and need a business plan? If YES, here is a sample template on how to write a perfect catering business plan.
I always hammer upon the issue of writing business plans whenever I am discussing any business opportunity because of how important it is. Business plans are like the souls of our businesses. They serve as both a guide and a control mechanism for us in running our business.
Have you ever wondered why the first thing any interested investor would ask for is your business plan? This is because of how important a business plan is. Even banks and finance houses would first ask to see your business plan before they can grant you any business loan.
The truth is that investors can see you in your business plans. Your business plan mirrors you to an extent. It shows your level of seriousness, your zeal for your business and what you plan to achieve. It also shows the viability of the business you are about to embark upon, whether it would be profitable or otherwise.
There would be less room for surprises when you have your business plan intact because you already know what it would cost you to set up the business and you would be aware of some of the challenges you are likely to face and would be better prepared for it.
You can reduce the costs of setting up your catering business by writing your business plan yourself. You can put the money you would have had to pay a professional into some other start-up expenses. I want to show you how to write your own catering business plan. This is a basic outline for a catering business plan but you can find a more detailed sample catering business plan template you can use for FREE.
A Basic Outline for a Catering Business Plan
- Executive summary
- Business summary
- Ownership structure
- Market analysis
- Implementation Strategy
- Management profile
- Financial plan
Before I go ahead to analyze each of the items listed, I would want you to understand that a business plan is not something you just sit down behind your computer to write, you have to conduct an extensive research about the business and the industry you are venturing into. Your findings are what would be used in preparing your business plan.
Writing a Perfect Catering Business Plan – A Sample Template
This section captures everything that is contained in your catering business plan and summarizes it into few words. It is usually the first item in your catering business plan but the last thing you will write. An investor reading your executive summary should be able to understand what the catering whole business is all about without reading other parts of the business plan.
As this is the first item in your business plan, you should write it carefully so as not to bore investors or discourage them before they even start reading the entire business plan. Elements that are usually contained in your executive summary include-:
- Your mission for setting up the catering business usually referred to as a mission statement.
- Brief information about the catering company, its owners and their roles, information about the employees, ownership structure of the business and location.
- Catering products and services you currently offer or intend to provide.
- Your future plans for the business.
- Growth and expansion opportunities (if it’s an existing catering business, you should provide an analysis of how your business has grown over the years).
- Financial information-: You should also include information on start-up costs or amount of money required for investment in your executive summary.
- Objectives of the business-: This would outline what you intend to achieve within the first few years of setting up your catering business.
- Keys to success-: This would also outline all the things that you would do to ensure that your catering business survives and grows.
2. Business summary
In this section, you would describe your business to your potential investors and give them a clear insight into what you are doing and what are trying to achieve with your new business. The elements of your business summary section include-:
- Nature of business.
- Gaps in the catering industry-: Why do you think you should start a catering business in Los Angeles? Don’t you think that there are enough caterers there already? What is not being done in the industry presently that you want to start doing? What needs do you want to meet?
- How will your catering business meet those needs and fill up those gaps you have identified?
- Who are those that would patronize your business? It is important that you make a list of at least three (3) clients or organizations that would be ready to patronize your business.
- Competitive advantage-: What is that special thing that you are bringing to the table that would make your business succeed over others? Is it the quality of employees that you have or plan to have? Or maybe it is your Pricing Strategy? This is where you are going to spill some of those business secrets that you have hidden under your sleeves.
This section is simple enough. You just have to make the reader understand the ownership structure of your business. Is it a sole proprietorship? Or a partnership between you and your friend? Or a Limited Liability Company?
This is what is going to be found in this section. It is also a good idea to include the curriculum vitae or a brief citation on the owner(s) of the business, so that their skills, experience at managing businesses in the past and all other information about the proprietor(s) of the business would be highlighted.
In this section, you would have to provide in-depth details about your catering business. What kind of catering services do you want to provide? Is it mobile catering? Or corporate catering? What are your methods of preparing some popular dishes?
Which recipes have you developed and what makes your food stand out from others? As a caterer, it is also advisable for you to include all your hygienic procedures and steps that you would take to ensure safe and healthy practices in your business.
Market analysis is very important and you must ensure that you take time to conduct careful research before writing this section. You cannot write this section based on guesswork. Whatever is contained in this section must be carefully researched. If you cannot conduct the research yourself; you can hire someone to do it for you and compile their findings. Items contained in the marketing analysis include-:
- Description of the industry-: You would analyze the growth of the catering industry over time and current trends in the industry.
- Target market-: You would also provide information about the customers you are targeting. For instance, if you want to venture into corporate catering, which companies would be willing to patronize you?
- Demographics-: What is the size of your potential customer base? Where are they currently located? What is their purchasing pattern? Are there seasonal changes or fluctuations?
- Market share-: What is the size of the current customer base that you think you can win over to your side?
- Pricing structure-: What strategy would you use in determining the prices for your catering services? Would you be giving out discounts? What is your gross margin level?
- Competitive analysis-: In business, your nose must literally be in your competitors business. You must understand your competitors and watch their moves so that you can make your business better than theirs.
- Regulatory Requirements-: You should also put down all the legal requirements of starting a catering business in your country and how you intend to comply with those regulations.
Other things to include in this section include;
- Analysis of business strengths and weaknesses.
- Barriers for entering the market.
- Technological changes.
6. Implementation strategy-: These are usually called milestones. It provides a time analysis of how you would set up and run your business.
- Month 0 -3: Business planning
- Month 3-6: Set-up and launching of business.
- Month 6-7: Marketing and advertising.
- Month 7-8: First catering contract.
- Month 9-12: Profitability
With these, you would have been able to tell your investor how you intend to organize things and when you intend to start raking in profit.
7. Management-: This would contain information about the people you would hire to manage your catering business for you. This section is required to show the level of competence of the people that would be in charge of running the business.
8. Financial plan-: How much does it cost to start a catering business? This section would contain all the vital information about the financial aspect of your business. You should pay great attention to this aspect of your business. The elements contained in this section include-:
- Projected cash flow
- Break even analysis
- Projected profit and loss statement
- Projected balance sheet
- Business ratios
- Start up costs summary
- Total funding required
In conclusion, if after reading this write up, you still find it difficult to write a good business plan, it is advisable for you to get someone to write it for you usually a professional accountant or business advisor.