1. Do you get on well with people?
Both you and your staff will be dealing with the public at all hours of the day and night. You may be tired and harassed, and sometimes customers’ demands can be thoroughly irritating.
If your immediate reaction is to clobber anyone who annoys you, then we suggest you give up all thoughts of catering now! However, in our experience most customers are easy to get along with, provided they get good value and service.
2. How do you feel about the fact that you and your family will be working whilst other people are enjoying themselves?
Often it’s a 6-7 day a week business, and your day off may well be a Monday.
The hours will be long, unsociable and holidays may not happen for a long while. Some people thrive on being in the heart of busy social activities – the question is, do you?
3. Are you determined and prepared to work hard?
Be prepared for difficulties, they will come. If you intend to give up at the first hurdle, this job isn’t for you. The work is physically hard, the hours often grueling, and you will be on your feet most of the time.
4. Is being self-employed right for you?
You will be working on your own, and success will depend mainly on you. There is no boss to turn to or to blame if things go wrong. You will need to be self-motivated and positive in your approach to each job.
5. Can you get up in the morning with a smile?
Are you self-disciplined enough to get up at 5:00am on a freezing winter morning if the need arises, or arrive with a smile even if you feel down in the dumps?
6. Have you got what it takes to be a shrewd operator?
This is a very dog eat ‘hotdog’ kind of industry, and you will often need your wits about you to stay one step ahead of the competition. This means being able to adapt well to changing circumstances, knowing how to market yourself well, and knowing when an incoming opportunity could be good or bad for your business.
7. Do you have staying power?
People generally start out in this industry with loads of enthusiasm, but this can wear thin after a while and standards begin to drop. Unless you have the strength to maintain your professionalism, your reputation weakens and your profits will take a nosedive.
8. Do you have the drive, determination and confidence to make your own business a success?
Can you cope with the bad times as well as the good? Mobile and outside catering can be a real money-spinner if you can keep the repeat business coming whilst keeping your eyes and ears open for new opportunities should circumstances change.
9. Are you by nature a clean and tidy person?
Cleanliness is definitely next to godliness in a catering environment. There will be plenty of cleaning and washing up, so if that’s a chore to you, then maybe you should think again.
10. Will the family life be able to fit in?
If you are the sort of person who always wants the family to be together, this may not be the ideal industry for you. At some shows there will be an opportunity to take the family along. However the stress and demands on your time running your own business are not always harmonious with a family life, particularly a young family.