Business plan for an outside catering business providing buffets

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In this section, please provide information in respect of your skills, qualifications and experience which have a direct bearing on your business and its chances of success. I have worked in local sandwich shops preparing food and serving customers for the past four years. Before this I had worked as a waitress in various restaurants. I have experience of cash handling through my work at the sandwich shops and have deputised for my last employer when he was not in the premises.

I have a current Food Handling & Hygiene certificate (expires in 12 months) and have just completed the Business Start training course with Trafford Business Ventures learning all aspects of planning and operating a business. Please provide a concise description of your Business Idea identifying clearly, the product or service you plan to supply. I will be opening an outside catering business providing buffets and hot or cold drinks to businesses and to the general public for social events. I will also be providing hot and cold food for sale through a local pub and using their kitchen for my food preparation.

I will be providing hot food at the pub at lunchtimes on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays and putting up sandwiches, salads, etc on the other days. Please describe your understanding of your target market, how you have researched it and with what results. You should pay particular attention to your target customers, who they are and why they buy the product or service, which you are offering. You should also explain your understanding of the competition you will face in the market. I am aiming to sell to a number of separate customer groups and will outline each separately in this plan:

Business Customers – most of my commercial work will come from the larger companies that are established in the area. They hold breakfast meetings, lunches and evening meetings that require catering. I have telephoned 70 local large businesses and found that 16 of them have their own catering facilities and are unlikely to use outside caterers. Another 21 have suppliers that they use regularly and are totally satisfied with. I have been to visit 28 of the remaining companies and had promises of work from 6 at this stage. All of these companies have had a sample buffet provided and one has agreed an order for lunches as a direct result.

General Public – I have spoken to organisations that rent our rooms for parties and agreed with three of them that I speak to customers of theirs. I have found that 30% of them planned to do their own catering. Another 51% had a caterer in mind to do the work and had sampled their food. The remaining 19% said that they would like to have sample menus offered at the venue and choose from that. As a result of this, I have arranged to leave samples of menus and have provided a sample buffet to the staff that take room bookings.

This should encourage them to keep the menu holder topped up and recommend my services to their customers. The Highwayman Public House – I have worked with the owner of this pub to research interest in food service at lunchtimes and found that there are many customers who would like to have hot food served. In exchange for hire of the kitchen for my business, I have agreed to provide the service and pay a commission on food sales to the owner. I have also researched my competitors, got sample menus, noted where caterers are making deliveries and have spoken to people who have used their services.

I now have a good picture of this competitive market and feel that the contacts I have already made and the future contacts I should have through my work with The Highwayman is likely to make my business successful. Describe the type, size and location of the business premises that you plan to use. Identify clearly the cost of the premises plus any special legal requirements (eg lease) which will be associated with them. I will operate my business from the kitchen of The Highwayman public house. This kitchen has not been in use for over six months since the pub changed ownership.

It does have excellent fittings of hob, ovens, microwave oven, fridge, freezers, storage and food preparation surfaces. The kitchen also has its own meter for electricity. I have worked with a legal advisor from Trafford Business Venture and drafted an agreement between me and the owner of The Highwayman which covers details of tenancy, responsibility, insurance, etc. I have taken this to a local solicitor and had witness of our signatures. As a result, I have sole occupancy of the kitchen at all times on an unpaid basis for as long as I provide food within the pub as agreed. If I wish to leave, I have to give one months notice in writing.

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