Boasting a fleet of vehicles and options that means they can cover pretty much all of the bases catering wise, Wee Green Events have something for everyone. They offer a unique twist to event catering, including bringing the experience to you, and working up a customised menu to your preferences. We spoke with business owners Laura and Kurt to find out more about their operation:
What appealed to you about starting up your own catering business?
Kurt has 25+ years experience in catering and has always had a passion for creating crowd pleasing dishes.
I (Laura) had a business background, with a love for unique food experiences and had experienced the boom of food trucks while living in Texas in the states.
It was always an aspiration for us both to combine our skill sets and run our own catering business. With a few years of running our own bricks and mortar business we saw the real benefits of being a mobile business.
If you could go back now and give one piece of advice to yourself when starting up, what would it be?
Do not buy a 12 tonne army van! Our first vehicle that we purchased was an old Bedford RL and it wasn’t the most mobile of mobile catering units. We swiftly moved to smaller vintage vans and trailers.
Do your research; you can never know too much about your target markets and understanding the opportunities that are out there.
Also signage is everything. A clear display of products and pricing always gives you a good advantage.
What do you find most rewarding about running your own business?
The great bit about running your own business is you can carve your own direction. It’s a massive learning curve but is so rewarding when you start making the right decisions and put your business on the map. This business also allows you to go to so many different and interesting places and meet so many different people. No two days are ever the same!
We also love the fact we don’t just do one food type. We didn’t want to pigeon hole ourselves so always had it in our minds that we would offer a wide selection of menu options. This gives our clients lots to choose from when designing the perfect event.
While there is a lot of stressful situations there is a huge amount of satisfaction running your own business and watching it grow and evolve.
Alternately, what do you find most challenging?
The most challenging part is staying on top of all the business activities. As a small business owner you take on all of the business operations so on a day to day basis you are dealing with everything from logistics, staffing, client interactions, food preparation, cleaning, finance and everything in between; and that’s before you’ve done the catering job! It certainly makes you a good multitasker!
You have quite the fleet, how do you keep on top of operating multiple catering units?
We have to maintain a strong handle on our logistics and planning; that coupled with a great team to help us execute fantastic events.
It’s a lot of hard work but it’s worth it when we look back to see how we have grown and all we have achieved in our 2 years operating as mobile event caterers.
How did you get into film and TV catering?
Our first job came up by chance, from a venue we regularly cater for (Winton Castle, East Lothian). They were looking for catering services and we were excited by the new challenge. Word spreads quite quickly in that industry so doing a great job and keeping the crew happy and fuelled led to more work in that area.
What is the most important lesson that you’ve learnt whilst running your own business?
Cash flow is king. Not getting carried away on spending if you have a great month. Keeping a close eye on your profit and loss accounts and being consistent in approach to every job.
Providing a top quality service from first contact to the end of the job has been critical to our success so far.
Another element is having all your documentation in order and ease of sending this to future clients. Especially larger organisations who expect to receive this in an organised and timely fashion. It can be the difference between winning a contract or not. NCASS has provided an amazing platform for us to do this especially now we have multiple units.
What is the plan for the future?
We want to continue to look at how we can be more sustainable as a business. We feel there are still many things we can do to achieve this in areas of food sourcing, packaging and energy use. This will be one of our main areas of focus going forward.
We also want to explore long term contracts with venues and push business development in more corporate settings.
What led to you joining NCASS and how have you found your membership?
As mentioned above the clear document management and safety document templates are invaluable to our business. The discounts received on equipment and consumable purchases are also a great help!
What does success look like to you?
Success to us is managing and growing our business while maintaining a work life balance by training and developing a strong Wee Green Team!