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How to Run a Catering Business in the UK

Find out various strategies to run a successful catering business.

Running a successful catering company involves more than delicious cuisine and a well-stocked inventory. It demands business management skills, organisation, and an ability to anticipate the unexpected.

These suggestions for catering success will help you lift your company to the next level, not just in terms of appearance, but also in terms of profit margins.

Catering draws a diverse spectrum of entrepreneurs. Perhaps you're an outstanding chef, like hosting parties, or are interested in event planning and want to start with catering. In essence, running a catering company may be challenging, but following the proper measures will increase your chances of success.

Several avenues to improve your catering business

While most caterers start their businesses out of love for the culinary arts, don't limit yourself to what you know. If your consumers want something fresh or unusual, consider expanding your menu.

If you cannot create the food they have asked, do not automatically say, "we do not provide that." Instead, work with the taste profile or give a similar dish. Additionally, make an effort to make the dish visually appealing. Occasionally, the "visual flavour" might be just as essential as the real taste.

Providing superior client service might be the key to having a more solid catering business. Your consumers expect to be "wined and dined," just like they would in a restaurant. Call one-week before an event to confirm the specifics.

Taking your catering business to another level

Moving forward, several approaches might enable you to reinvent your catering business. Scalability is one crucial aspect for those who are ready for a greater challenge, thus it is essential to develop your capacity for event organisation.

Moreover, your ability to keep organised will affect the eating experience and the whole ambience of the event. While forgetting certain elements might be disastrous, having a crew that is hasty, chaotic, or serves everyone at various times can make visitors impatient and uncomfortable and will make you seem inexperienced.

For a more effective catering experience, you must also establish a system for managing venue information, meals, pack lists, hiring, and timetables, among other things. Knowing where to refer back to to get the necessary information is paramount to assure a proper business flow.

Who is your competition?

Analysing your competition can provide a plethora of directions for your business. Market analysis assists in determining the market's major participants and it enables you to ascertain the shortcomings and opportunities of the things you offer.

Looking forward in 2022, business confidence is predicted to rise, creating an opportunity for industry operators. Business confidence fluctuations have a substantial impact on catering spending. When trust is low, budgets for events like product launches, meetings, and staff activities often decrease. Budgets and expenditures on non-essential activities are often evaluated during times of economic weakness.

Moreover, you'll learn about what clients prefer. Thus, it is paramount to know who your strongest competitors are. 

Consider subscribing to various industry reports or magazines so you can indentify trends, or conduct simple research through Google. 

Some statistics:

  • In 2020, there were an estimated 78,862 catering outlets in the UK according to Statista.
  • In 2021, the catering services industry had a market size of £403 million.

Ways to improve your marketing

There are many options to step up the marketing of your catering business. 

You could engage with different services in your area. Participate in neighbourhood businesses and volunteer organisations. Present your company as a loyal and trusted caterer. Contribute to the community by providing low-cost services or freebies to people in need.

Collaborate with other local companies to market your products to their clients, such as florists, local artists and performance venues, funeral homes, motels, wine shops, gardening centres, and jewellery boutiques.

Generate a checklist of everyone you can contact personally with a personalised pitch: wedding planners, local golf clubs, athletic clubs, art museums and galleries, exhibition spaces, legal offices, advertising agencies, coworking spaces, banks, bridal stores, and family (for their private events). Compose your pitch and conduct research to ensure the competitiveness of your idea.

Of course, nothing compares to attending events such as trade exhibitions, conferences, and fairs. Similar activities, such as neighbourhood meetings, farmer's markets, and festivals, are excellent venues for showcasing your business.

You may provide samples, menus, and booklets and provide an opportunity for your intended audience to pose questions. Investigate local events like as food fairs, wedding fairs, community cook-offs, and local fundraisers that allow you to target prospective clients with customised menus.

Exiting your business: what you need to know 

Consider the following when developing your exit plan:

  • The duration of your involvement with the firm
  • Your financial condition and financial objectives
  • Any investors or creditors who need compensation, and how they will be reimbursed
  • Prepare your business valuation
  • How you want to interact with the business after the exit
  • Uncertainties in the market – will the business have a bright future in the next years?

Developing an exit plan early on might assist you in making choices that will facilitate your ultimate leave. This ensures that the procedure is as straightforward and lucrative as possible. Additionally, it will enable you to effectively negotiate your company's worth.

Megan Kelly

About the author

Megan is the Content Manager for Dynamis and researches and writes for She is an expert writer and aspiring digital marketer.


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