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Home based Catering & Tiffin services

The catering & tiffin service is one of the most lucrative and profitable home based businesses with a high potential for expansion and growth. It is both financially rewarding and fun. Each catered event - whether birthday parties for children, breakfast in bed and intimate candlelight dinners for two, company dinner parties for 50 and wedding receptions involving a hundred or more guests -- is a new experience and challenge with a new group of people.

In fact, you can specialize by doing only wedding catering and keep yourself busy and your catering service growing. You need to be creative and have a great deal of knowledge about food. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Catering can be hard work.

Successfully running a small catering business takes much more than a passion for cooking and a knack for preparing tasty dishes. You have to be a superb planner and manager as well. You need to be extremely organized, yet flexible enough to be able to deal with last minute changes. You also need a strong affinity for people and a kind of intuition as to what people enjoy in different environmental settings.

Present lifestyles have given way to increased demand for catered food service. Instead of laboring for hours, even days, in the kitchen preparing for parties or events, many homemakers now call on a caterer to provide sumptuous and unforgettable feasts for their guests. An increasing number of working mothers are paying to have catered birthday and graduation parties, as well as wedding receptions handled by caterers. The reasons are simple: if she is working outside the home, today's mother just does not have the time or the energy to do all the planning and staging of a memorable party.

If preparing food is what you are good at then maybe picking up a career in this field would be a good idea. And it need not be a chef at a restaurant or hotel, but something at home. With the constant influx of people migrating to the city, more so for work and without their families, they do miss home cooked food and one option for them is the homemade catering and tiffin service.

Whether you cater events on a full-time or part-time basis, the opportunities are excellent. However, catering is a demanding work, requiring stamina, ability to work under pressure, and excellent interpersonal skills. Your success will greatly depend on your reputation. To build a good reputation in the business, you should be willing to work hard and the ability to work under pressure. This kind of entrepreneurial business is definitely growing and becoming more popular with people of all income levels.

For setting up such a business, one does not need to make any additional investments, as all they need is a proper functioning kitchen and tiffin boxes for the diners. Most home made food services, ask their clients to invest in the tiffin boxes, as per their preference.

To keep your initial costs down, you can opt to start your catering business by renting items. You may rent the use of kitchen facilities, china, utensils, tables, tablecloths and linens, serving equipment and other staples. You can start buying your own equipment only when you have steady revenues. By renting equipment, facilities and supplies, you can use your first few months to build your reputation, develop some capital for investment and expansion and evaluate how much time and money you want to invest. You can also take the start-up period as the time to determine the impact that this business will have on your family.

Starting a Catering Business

  • Deciding what services to offer as a caterer:
    • Full-service catering
    • Corporate catering
    • Custom catering

  • Equipment and supplies you need for your catering business (dishes, silverware, glassware, linens, etc.) and whether to rent, buy or use disposables

  • Getting a deposit and arranging for final payment

  • How to do a client consultation

  • How to prepare a catering estimate (including how to deal with possible food price fluctuations)

  • Menu-planning for caterers

  • Preparing a catering contract (includes a sample)

  • Scheduling what needs to be done to prepare for a catered event

  • Setting your prices (including service charges and gratuities)

  • Tips on quantity cooking and cooking for children

  • Transporting prepared food

  • Types of events you can cater (buffet, formal dinner, cocktail party)

  • What to do about cancellations

  • Working with food suppliers

  • Helpful samples for your catering business, including:
    • Sample menus for dinners and receptions
    • Sample client consultation form
    • Sample estimate
    • Sample contract
    • Sample schedule
    • Sample invoice

However, one important thing to keep in mind is the quality of food. This must remain as consistent and the diners should feel that they are getting their money's worth. Avoid experimenting with the tiffin. However, if you wish to try out a new menu, mention in advance and probably provide the food free-to-taste, so that you get the approval or disapproval.

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