About this type of business

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.

The Main Advantages of a BBQ or Hog Roast Business:

1) Hugely Popular

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 unique way of working, both BBQs and Hog Roasts remain very popular with the public and are potentially very profitable.

2) Low Start Up Costs

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.

3) Good alternative for Weddings & Private Parties

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.

4) Great Theatre

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.

5) Versatile

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.

6) You don’t need to be a Chef

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.

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The Main Disadvantages of a BBQ or Hog Roast Business:

1) High Risk of Food Poisoning

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.

2) Everyone thinks they can do it

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.

3) Waste

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.

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