The catering business in Nigeria is one of the most lucrative and profitable businesses. Suffice to say, it is an indispensable business as it propagates one universal message; Food! Who doesn’t like food?
People love festivities ranging from birthday parties, weddings, convocation, naming ceremonies, coronation, house warming, etc. The list is endless! And all these events all share one thing in common; there must be something to eat or drink.
Do you have a passion for cooking or baking? Are you considering catering as a part-time or full-time business? Here are five important things to put in place before setting your business in motion:
1. Have a plan:
This is a prerequisite in building a reputable catering business in Nigeria. Having a plan helps you to create clearly spelt out goals that will guide the operations of your business.
A plan keeps you focused and prevents you from making random decisions that may thwart the growth of your business. These include: getting your business registered with the corporate affairs commission, funding for your business, salary structure for your employees, purchase of catering equipment, acquiring a space, transportation system that will convey your products to the event centers, branding options such as customized uniform that is unique to your business alone.
Brainstorm, create a plan, have a vision and work with it.
2. Knowledge or experience:
Or both! Catering business in Nigeria is NOT a casual business that you can saunter into without proper knowledge. It stems from being passionate and constant practice. The more you practice, the more you get better at what you do.
Experience is an important factor! Having knowledge of the catering industry helps you to stay abreast of the evolving trends and innovative ways to stay relevant as a caterer.
Do not be content with your limited knowledge. Constantly seek new ways of self-improvement. Take culinary lessons to broaden your horizons. Try out new meals. Learn from your competitors and create a lasting impression in the heart of your clients that will make them keep coming back to you.
3. Know your clients:
I know you are eager to dive right into the catering business and display your culinary skills for the world to see but you need to pause and ask yourself, ‘who are my potential customers?’ ‘What niche do I want to occupy?’
Create a menu list of what you love to prepare. Are you an expert in cocktails, snacks, desserts? That is an indicator that you need to target corporate organizations or events such as luncheons, award ceremonies and business conferences.
Are your meals common with weddings, birthdays and anniversaries? Then, you know who and what to target. Conduct mini research to identify the events that suit your menu list so that you can channel your marketing strategies to that angle.
Also, you need to be flexible with your menu list so that you can explore more grounds and increase your capacity in the catering industry.
Ever heard of the saying ‘a tree doesn’t make a forest?’ right! Catering business is not a one-man business. It requires having a team of two or more like-minded people who understands the rudiments of catering and is committed to the growth of your business as well.
This is an important aspect of your business and should be thoroughly monitored because your staff or team represents your business and any misconduct or incompetence they display may affect your business in ways you cannot imagine.
So, to prevent that from happening, you need to orientate your team about the vision and values of your company. Train them to act professionally and deliver excellent service to your esteemed customers. Develop a cordial relationship with them and give honest appraisals when necessary.
This is the essential tip of the whole list! Make some noise about yourself and what you do! Map out effective marketing strategies that will give your brand the needed exposure to generate new leads and attract customers.
Catering business in Nigeria is a highly competitive business and if you don’t know your onions, you may be ousted out of the market! Explore marketing tactics such as word of mouth, printing, and distribution of colorful posters or fliers that appeal to the eyes, unique business card, referral system.
In addition, get a website and read millions of people on the internet. Create business accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media apps at your disposal.
Flood your page with appetizing meals, organize contests or giveaways according to your budget, Liaise with influential event planners and reach an agreement. Above all, offer excellent and unique services. This alone will advertise your brand and grow your client list.
Lastly, choosing catering as a career or business option is not a child’s play as it involves a lot of trust. Your customers trust that you will deliver high-quality edibles that are prepared in a hygienic environment. Do not break that trust they have in you. Build an impeccable career and let excellence guide you. With these principles in place, your success is guaranteed.
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