There are simply thousands of outdoor public events across the UK every year, and the vast majority of them require some form of catering for their customers, crew and artists. Events range from small community events like school fetes or village fairs, through to multi day music festivals and sporting events such as the following:

Types of events:

  • Air Shows
  • Art & Dance events
  • Carnivals, fun days and fairs
  • Crafts, Antiques Events
  • Farmers Markets
  • Fireworks displays
  • Flower shows & gardening events
  • Food festivals
  • Historical events
  • Hobbies & special interests
  • Motor Events
  • Music Festivals
  • Outdoor concerts
  • Pet & animal shows
  • Sports Events – Athletics, Cricket, Cycling, Football, Running, Horse shows, Motor sports, Regattas, Rugby etc.
  • Rallies
  • Street Food events
  • Theatrical events
  • Town, Country & Agicultural shows,
  • Trade shows
  • Wedding shows

This means that whatever the size and capacity of your business, with the planning, help and advice there should be plenty of opportunities for you to find profitable work.

Event caterers are the main beneficiaries of the Primary Authority Partnership and our Events Passport Scheme that comes with NCASS Connect.

ready, set, summer:

The Event Catering Guide

From researching and applying to planning and playing to your strengths - this guide will get you ready for the summer season.

Download Guide

The Golden Ticket?

We’ve all done it. We’ve seen the massive queues of people waiting to buy something that costs three times as much as it would elsewhere and thought, “they must be making a fortune!”. A lot of new comers to the industry have visions of operating at the major festivals such as Glastonbury, but be very aware that there are some caterers that make very good profits, however many do not.

This is down to several reasons:

  1. Expensive rent
  2. Too many Traders operating at the event
  3. Not enough visitors to the event (either due to bad publicity or bad weather)
  4. Taking too much stock
  5. Not selling enough products

It takes a lot of experience to be able to make a profit at a big show and it’s very easy to lose a lot of money. Before you start out, ensure you read our article on the Golden Rules for Tendering at Shows & Events.

Living The Dream

For some, Event Catering is living the dream, going to your favourite shows and spending the summer on the road (which if you’re successful should mean you have the winter off!). For others, this kind of lifestyle is a nightmare (you shouldn’t have time to actually see the events if you’re successful).

If you are free spirited, and want to run your own business, get out on the road, meet new people, travel the country and be part of great shows, then Event Catering might be for you.

There is definitely money in Event Catering if you get it right, but unfortunately many don’t get it right. Are you able to get work at shows & events? Have you picked the right event? Have you paid a reasonable price to be there? Do you have the right levels of stock and the staff to turn that into sell-able food at the right price? These are all questions that you need to ask and if you’re a member we can help you answer them.

If and when you get these variables right, you can make a very good living at event catering – as long as you’re prepared to put in some hard work.

A High Stakes Game

Are you a bit of a gambler? Do you like to take risks? A big part of running a successful catering business depends on your ability to understand and mitigate those risks. However, working in events is still a gamble. You are relying on the organiser giving you accurate information on attendance figures and how many other food traders you will be competing with. You will be gambling on how many people will turn up and want to buy your food, you are gambling on how much stock, how many staff, what price to sell at and many other factors. Any gambler will tell you that you need to hedge your bets, to understand the risks and to understand the odds and what can be done to change those odds in your favour.

The up side of this is that when you win, you can win big. With any high stakes game, the more you risk the greater the potential win and in some ways Event Catering can be like that. When things go well you can make very good money in a very short period of time, but when you lose it can be devastating.

Event Catering can be a gamble, sometimes with thousands of pounds at stake, but always remember, don’t bet what you can’t afford to lose! Successful Event Caterers do not take risks they can’t afford, and understand as many of the variables as possible before they commit.

By becoming a member of NCASS we can help you to ensure that you set your business up safely, that you understand the risks associated with producing your food, and that you have the processes in place to ensure that your customers are not at risk and the paperwork to back that up. We provide training to ensure that you and your staff handle the food properly, marketing opportunities, advice and guidance, and we’ll even send you work. However, it is up to you to take those tools and use them to build a successful business.

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