Different types of events are suitable to different types of catering operations. Catering for private functions is a great way for Mobile Caterers to supplement their regular income or even specialise in, although specialist private party caterers are often known as function caterers. Private party arrangements can be as simple as a hot or cold buffet, or as formal as a multi-course sit down meal – and everything in between.
Types of Private Parties
- Funerals / Wakes
- Celebrations for family or friends
- Private Cheffing
- Corporate Gigs
- Product Launches
- Wrap Parties
- Christmas Parties
- Benefits / Fundraisers
- Themed Parties
Advantages of Private Party Work
1) You get paid up front
This removes a significant amount of the risk associated with catering businesses. Many event caterers have days when people just don’t buy their food, leading to wasted stock and unnecessary staffing costs, which is essentially all lost money. If you get paid up front for the food, you know exactly how much to bring and you do not end up wasting money.
2) Less Waste
If you know exactly how many people are eating and what they are eating, then you only need to bring that amount of food, significantly reducing the potential for waste. Even if the customers don’t eat the food, you still get paid.
3) You don’t have to compete for customers
Obviously, during the selection process you may well be competing with other catering companies on price, quality, offering and service, however once you have the job, there will be no other competition.
4) Staff don’t have to handle cash
As you should have been paid up front, you do not have to worry about staff handling money inappropriately.
5) Year round work
Unlike event or market trading, private parties go on throughout the year and are far less seasonal. This provides far greater opportunity for you to make money throughout the year, rather than relying on a short summer season to make your money.
Disdvantages of Private Party Work
1) Tendering for events can be problematic
The customer wants the best value for money and you want to maximise your profits, yet the temptation to drop your price to secure the work can remain. There is no winning formula for the tendering process – you need to know exactly what it will cost you to deliver and work out a fair profit for the work. If you undercut to provide the work, then you may find yourself working very hard for very little reward. Know what your product is worth and quote accordingly. Furthermore, the majority of customers consider a mix of quality, service and price not just the bottom line. If customers were only interested in price, everyone would shop at Lidl or Aldi and Waitrose would be out of business.
2) Work can be irregular & rely on word of mouth
Obviously it’s hard to plan for events when you don’t know what’s coming up. There are various ways to get ahead of the game and to get work; either tricks of the trade to start picking up work, or for NCASS Members, through our WorkOpps and CaterSearch functions.
Word of mouth can be the element that takes you from a start-up company to a successful catering business, but this takes time to develop as it relies on you successfully catering at other events. Companies with great reputations don’t tend to struggle for work and do not need to be so price competitive. Without positive word of mouth, or worse, with negative word of mouth, your business is likely to suffer.
3) Relying on suitable facilities & safe food transportation
Often you will have to use the onsite facilities to prepare or cook the food, or build your own onsite kitchen. Sometimes this requires a mix of offsite preparation at your home or commercial kitchen and then transporting to the site to finish off the prep and cooking before serving. You will therefore need to check the site and make sure that you have the necessary facilities that are safe and hygienic, or that you can build your own kitchen on site. There are issues surrounding the safe transportation and storage of food which will need to be taken into consideration and included in your HACCP analysis.