It's the smell. That very distinctive smell of summer and of good times - it lures you in!
The classic BBQ or Hog Roast continues to be a firm favourite with the public, drawing in the crowds, and even attracting private event work such as weddings and private parties. A lot of caterers have this type of catering either as an add-on to their business, or alternatively as a part-time enterprise, mainly at weekends when most private functions take place.
The rise of the Street Food movement has seen an increasing amount of creative and unique offerings in both BBQ and Hog Roast. From American Smokers and flame grilled BBQ, to unusual cuts of meat and different breeds of animal; added to which are a dazzling array of flavours, sauces, toppings and sides, inspired by cuisines from every corner of the globe.
Hog Roasts and BBQs are firm favourites at all types of events and shows, from Private Parties to Farmers Markets and even Music Festivals. While each type of event should be approached differently, and have their own nuanced way of working, both BBQs and Hog Roasts remain very popular with the public and are potentially very profitable.
The entry level for setting up a BBQ or Hog Roast business can be very low indeed. You can start with a large BBQ costing as little as a few hundred pounds or spend several thousand on a package from a Hog Roast or BBQ specialist.
Three course meals for 50+ people are expensive, and a BBQ or Hog Roast offers a less formal and more cost effective way of feeding a lot of people quickly. The growth of the Hog Roast in the wedding market has been quite remarkable, and it is likely that the UK trend towards casual dining has led to a shift in perception on what people want from a wedding or party. People feel less obliged to throw money at a stuffy sit down meal, and both BBQ and Hog Roast businesses have benefited.
Everyone loves the smell of a BBQ or a Hog Roast, and they love to see the food cooking - it’s a sensory delight for many and this will encourage them to buy from you. The smoke, the smells, the sounds of meat crackling on a fire, it’s pure theatre, and it draws people in and helps you sell food. For this reason, the Hog Roast or BBQ should always be on display.
You can cook pretty much anything on a BBQ. This means that you can offer a varied menu and potentially upsell more food. You can offer different types, cuts and qualities of meat and different marinades, at different prices.
You don’t have to be the world’s greatest chef to run a Hog Roast business or a BBQ, you just need to ensure that everything is cooked through (so as not to cause food poisoning). Cooking meat on a BBQ or putting a pig on a spit does not require excessive culinary expertise, making it a great start up option for someone looking to run their own food business, without having to be a trained chef.
Food poisoning can, and does kill. BBQs are one of the worst offenders due to the meat often not being cooked properly. It's very important to have clear training on Food Safety and to stick to these principles, as well as a clear understanding of the risks, and a risk assessment which documents them.
Whether it is through under cooking, not washing hands regularly or effectively enough or cross contamination between raw and cooked, there are many ways a Hog Roast or BBQ can go wrong, causing illness to customers.
Every man and his dog thinks they can BBQ and everyone has had a go, leading to more competition. You will need make your product stand out or be prepared to compete on price.
This also means that you are competing with amateurs for the work, so you must be clear to your potential customers that you are a professional, that you know what you’re doing and that you know how to avoid making their guests ill.
The main disadvantage of a Hog Roast is scaling up and down. It can take half a day to cook a large pig on a spit, so you need to make sure that it’s ready when your potential customers are going to be hungry. If the hog isn’t ready in time you will end up with a lot of pig to take home or throw away.
Waste can also be a problem at events where the projected footfall isn’t realised. You can end up with large amounts of unsold stock, while other traders who are cooking to order, or perhaps from frozen, will not have nearly that level of waste.
Providing Caterers with the
Working and running a Mobile Catering business can be great, but it can also be very difficult. Don't go into it blind. Find out more about it by reading our articles looking at both sides of the coin: - 10 Reasons why Starting a Mobile Catering Business is a Great Idea > Click here - 10 Reasons why Starting a Mobile Catering Business might not be for you > Click here
What type of unit are you going to operate from? There are 4 main categories of units and each of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Find out more below:
If it hasn’t got the CE label, don’t buy it - no matter what anyone might say. You will not get a Gas Safety certificate for it, and therefore will be operating illegally.
Event Organisers will want to see your Gas Safety certificate and you won't be able to trade without it. Even if you find work at small private functions, you could have some real problems with insurance companies if you ever need to make a claim, let alone with the law if you are prosecuted.
Where you trade is obviously critical to the success of your business. There are a variety of different options that you can choose from, you might even operate from a variety of different locations. Below are some ideas as to where, and you can find more information in our Get Profitable section.
Shows & Events
From village Fetes to week long music Festivals > Read More
Street Food, Farmers Markets, Car Boot Sales > Read More
Lay-by's, Car Parks & Industrial Estates > Read More
What price are you going to charge for your food or drink? Obviously this will depend on what it is that you're selling and where it is that you are operating. Food and drink often costs a lot more at shows and events than it does on a roadside, but then you will probably have to pay more in fees at a show.
How to Operate Legally
Many people start in catering because they like to cook and maybe have hosted some larger house parties. The thought of becoming a professional caterer is very appealing, however bear in mind that when you provide food for others there are rules to follow.
As soon as you say yes, even if you're not getting paid, you are a professional caterer and you are responsible and can even go to prison if things go badly wrong. Therefore, you need to ensure that you comply with a variety of laws and standards to ensure that you are operating legally. Our Get Legal section has a lot of information to help you on this.
Have a look at our Start Up Legal Checklist to ensure that you have everything covered > Click here
Don't even think of operating without Liability Insurance. Not only is it a legal requirement, it's not expensive and will cover you against accidents and food poisoning. Have a look at our Insurance section to get more information as to what type of Insurance you need > Click here
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Research, research, research. You need to find out as much information as you can before you start, to know what to expect. What to sell, where to sell, how to sell it! This site should help you with lots of your research, but you might also want to consider buying The Complete Guide to Profitable Catering - it takes a lot of the information on this site and goes into more detail. You might also want to speak to some experts face to face. For more information > Click here
Where are you going to get answers to the many questions that you have? Where are you going to get the reassurance that you are doing the right thing or the confidence to change if things aren't going to plan? You might know someone else who has done it and therefore you can tap them up for information.
By being a member of NCASS you can call us with any questions or queries that you might have.
There's no doubting that in order to succeed in this industry you need to have a lot of determination to keep on going when the going gets tough. It's not an easy trade, especially in the depths of winter when you have to go out and trade in the cold weather but you'd rather be at home or in an office in the warm. That's the main difference between those who last 1 season and those that last 20.
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