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So I want to do this as a full time job, what now?
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BBQMAN
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Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 15470
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31 06 7:57 pm    Post subject: So I want to do this as a full time job, what now? Reply with quote

I had posted a list of "to do" item's for the aspiring new BBQ business owner before the site went down and all was lost. Here is another slice at it! Very Happy

1. Keep the health department happy. The rules vary widely depending on where you live, and how you choose to run your business. Schedule a sit down with your local health dept. rep (come prepared with a list of questions, a note pad, and a bottle of headache reliever! Shocked )

2. Take a food handlers course

3. Get the proper equipment for the size business you plan on having, and learn how to use it! Remember, it is easier to have too much room in an extra large smoker and not need it then to not have enough. They still dont make "smoker stretchers"! Very Happy Some areas do not allow open flame of any kind, so this may limit you on what type of equipment you can purchase. I also have a very large oven, and a gas grill on my rig.

4. Have great food and reasonable prices. If your food and service are not up to speed, your clients will know it! Numerous horror stories abound about catering companies that run out of food, provide lousy service, are late (or forget entirely). We are not the cheapest in town, and I refuse to compromise quality or service for the events we do. This has served our business well, and helped it grow!

5. Make sure you have good help. Smaller parties can be a "one man band" show, but you will need good help to make your business grow.

6. Start out small, and work your way up to bigger events. It really doesn't matter what your background or experience is. This business has a definite learning curve. Providing great BBQ has timing issues that need to be addressed. If you "fall down" because you just couldn't resist taking a job that was too big, word will spred fast. Most clients that are looking for larger events (over 200) will have two questions for you: How long have you been doing this?" and "how many parties this size have you done before?".

7. Get a good commercial liabilty insurance plan. Most county and state parks will require it, and most private companies will want it as well. In today's "sue happy society" you would be a fool not to have it!

8. Find a reliable local rental company that can provide extra grills, tables, chairs, etc. when you need items that you wouldnt normally carry yourself.

9. Make friends with your local Sam's Club (or Costco). Find a wholesaler that will provide "will call" service for larger event needs, and for items like whole pigs that many smaller meat markets will not carry (or have at a good price if they do).

10. Advertise your business!!!! Nobody will know about your business if you dont get the word out. Word-of-mouth is always best, but as a new business that will only come with time. We advertise in the Yellow Book, mail out brochures, e-mail and network, and work with other proffesionals like entertainment providers and wedding planners.

11. Develop a website that is easy to use and understand for your clients.

12. Participate in local fresh markets if you can. These are valuable both as advertisement and experience, and you can make a few bucks too! Very Happy

Please note: fresh markets are a community effort designed to bring local goods to the public and enhance the area. They are usually non-profit. I do VERY few "festival" type events. They are ALWAYS a crap-shoot, and generally not a money maker for us. Most of these festival promoters are only looking to sell you real-estate: thats how they make thier money! Shocked I do a few where I know the promoter, and where we are the only food vendor at a tried and true event.

13. Know your area, and what it will support! Here in Florida, my busy season is fall thru Spring. I have a number of corporate jobs in the summer, but this is our slow time. For you Northern types, what will you do to pay the bills while there is 3 inches (or more) of snow on the ground?! Shocked How many people want BBQ in the middle of the winter in Minnesota?

14. Have the proper funding to make it happen. Most small business' fail in the first year due to improper planning and funding. You will not make enough money to pay the mortgage and the new Corvette payment right out of the gate! I worked a "day" job while establishing the business for three years before going it on my own.

Of futher note: If you are looking for funding, the Small Business Association is generally of little to no use with this type of business. The exception to this MIGHT be if you are a minority or female business owner- sorry, that's just the way it is! Most bank's will only lend you money on an equity loan- they want thier money back (with interest of course!) and are well aware of the failure rate associated with small business loans.

I'm sure I left out a few things, and will update this list when I get some time later. Best of luck to all of those who want to turn thier hobby into a business! Obviously it can be done- it just takes time, money, experience, great food and a bit of luck to make it happen! Very Happy

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Last edited by BBQMAN on Wed Aug 08 07 7:21 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Ranucci's Big Butt
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Joined: 25 May 2006
Posts: 1219
Location: Charlotte, NC

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31 06 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Always good to read through that.

Thanks!
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Ranucci's Big Butt BBQ
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Jeff T
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Joined: 08 Mar 2005
Posts: 4207
Location: Norfolk, Nebraska

PostPosted: Fri Sep 01 06 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tips BBQMAN....
Body work has been in the crapper for a week and a half ..not much to do so a few days ago i get to thinking that maybe i could sell some Q on the streets, besides i want to start a small catering thing some day so why not look into it now. I called the local heath dept. and was told to get a application for a permit from the city and then she will inspect my set up.
Well i`m stuck some where between 0 & 1 on BBQMANS list:roll:
With work being slow still i decided to get more info on catering ang street vending again today so off to the city clerk`s office i go. They tell me i need to get a app for a permit from the police station so off i go to get a permit and a head full of info ( so i think) Evil or Very Mad When at the station they tell me i can get the permit form the city Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad but we have a copy here..... well i did get a couple of addy`s for more info also....
http://www.ci.norfolk.ne.us/citycode/Chapters/Chapter%2013.htm#Sec.%2013-111.
Sec. 13-113. Occupation taxes and permit fees. (c) Street vendor or temporary merchant.
$25 up front, then $15 every 3 months after that. ok i can set up any where in the city with permission from the land owners or store owners etc etc bla bla.... alot of info there but i want to talk to a human being about who-what-when and where. The secratary at the city office said that the city clerk will be out till tomarrow... Rolling Eyes Question "Here is the state website with more info that will help you Jeff" OK said Jeff (still feeling like a mushroom in the dark)
http://www.agr.state.ne.us/pub/daf/tempguide.htm
When i talked to the state inspector gal the first time, i was told that it would be concidered a "primative set up" and "some of these articles at the website would not apply" ok said Jeff
So tomarrow i will go back to the city office and maybe get to talk to a "real person" we will see Twisted Evil (again still feeling like a mushroom in the dark)
My question is.... "IS THIS NORMAL" Embarassed Sorry i shouted but man i`m getting a little frustated here. Rolling Eyes Sure is alot of BS to go through to..... "see if my BBQ would sell"
I did find out that i can sell Q to you as a "hired hand" as long as i don`t buy or handle the meat and its meat only. Mr. Green
What a bunch of "BS" to go through, no wonder so many people don`t make it.
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BBQMAN
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Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 15470
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Fri Sep 01 06 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dang Jeff, I thought I had it bad!!! Shocked Did you remember the headache reliever? Laughing I forgot the B.S. repellent on my list as well- sorry about that one!

Well, it sounds like you actually got a good start. Keep at it at the local level, until you get some straight foward answers. I found it helpful to actually make a list on paper, and to get the response in writing (or save the e-mail communications for future reference)

Your actually in luck, here in Florida you can't just set up anywhere on the "side of the road" without too much hassle. There are a few unincorporated areas that are ok, but not many.

Here in Florida they have temporary permits for 1-3 days, or up to 30 days (for fairs and the like).

Good luck, and hang in there! Very Happy
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Jeff T
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Joined: 08 Mar 2005
Posts: 4207
Location: Norfolk, Nebraska

PostPosted: Fri Sep 01 06 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks thats ok i just wanted to get more info from "real people'. Laughing Here in town. The city parks are contracted out, i can`t just set up at those, don`t know about state parks ...... yet. Wink Yup i`l hang in there till i get the straight poop so to speak. Like i`ve been telling everyone i`d hate to set up a cooker with 100 bucks worth of meat to get shut down before the meat is even done cookin. One thing that seems to impress everyone is when i tell em "i want to do this thing legal"
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Jeff T
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Joined: 08 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03 06 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a PDF file i was pointed to from the health people thought it might be helpful to this thread....
Link
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BBQMAN
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Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 15470
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03 06 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Jeff, a lot of good info in there! Very Happy
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"I Turned A Hobby Into A Business".
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Last edited by BBQMAN on Thu Oct 26 06 7:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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BBQMAN
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Joined: 13 Jun 2005
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Location: Florida

PostPosted: Thu Oct 26 06 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smokinwheels- here you go! Very Happy
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BBQMAN
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G's BBQ
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Joined: 13 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26 06 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great Info-Required reading
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smokinwheels
Newbie


Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Thu Oct 26 06 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you BBQMAN. I guess I missed this one in my search.


Thanks again
Keith
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BBQMAN
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Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 15470
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26 07 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lots of new inquires on this topic. I posted this to answer most (but not all) of the basic questions that most people have just starting out. We have some new catering members like Marvelous Marv that can also contribute from his perspective of working out West. The rules vary by location, so it's always good to check with what is actually required in your area of the country.
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marvsbbq
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Joined: 15 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27 07 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok BBQMAN,

Thanks for the lead in........
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BBQMAN
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Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 15470
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14 07 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some "food" for thought for our new aspiring BBQ business members! Very Happy
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Jeff T
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Joined: 08 Mar 2005
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Location: Norfolk, Nebraska

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14 07 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like some opinions on an idea i have for a way to start up a small catering thing here in hometown usa...
On-site full line BBQ catering just isn`t a big thing here and am finding it a little difficult to get things started. Plus to be honest start-up costs have me lugged down. I still need alot of "stuff" to do any kind of full line catering so to get the word out plus dodge some loop holes with the powers to be i thought of a meat only service and maybe running an add in the local newspapper and shopper which goes something like this......

Why`ld Fire BBQ..............
Slow cooked BBQ with a combination of lump charcoal and local hard
woods such as Ash, Hickory, Apple & Cherry in a traditional
Texas style off-set barbecue pit.
We cook on-site meats such as: Ribs, Chicken, Pulled Pork & Brats.
We are a barbecue smoking service and NOT a full line caterer.
You provide the meat, we smoke it.
Simply put, a "hired hand" for your BBQ needs.
Custom smoking/barbecueing, you provide the meat.
$2.50 per lb. on orders of 20 lbs or less.
$1.50 per lb. on orders of 20 lbs or more.
$20.00 additional charge for cooking fuels.
Call for details: ***-**** or e-mail at: whyldfire at hotmail dot com

Now my brother in-law and his brother own and run a little eat -in place that has been catering for years here in town and they are finding it tuffer to keep the catering thing going with all the local places offering catering also. Most of there prices are between $ 5 - 10 dollars a plate and people stil complain about his prices. They are the only BBQ service in town.
So for my area and the cheapness of the people do you all think these prices would be fair for a "smoking meat only" type of thing?
Of course i would have to coach the patrons on where and why to by certain cuts and quality of BBQ meat. Only four grocery stores in town, most have what i like to cook anyway. As long as i don`t buy the meat or transport it, i can pretty much do as i want, so said the health people. I`d ask the in-laws about this deal but well ya know i might end up making a family squabble of it so here i am again.
I gotta start some where, i just love to cook BBQ. So what about it, meat only on-site cooked for X amount per pound and see if i get any bites.
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BBQMAN
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Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 15470
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14 07 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there Jeff!

Best of luck with this-it sounds like you are not in an area that will support this as a business. You may get the occasional call, but your prices dont make this an option to make a fair wage.

1st off, I dont cook meats that someone else has provided. You have no way of knowing how and what was done to it.

Next- $2.50 a pound for orders of 20 pounds or less. That means that even if you have the full 20 pounds, you make $50.00 for a days work. Now I dont know what you make an hour at the day job, but I'm willing to bet it's more than minimum wage! Very Happy I'm not going to run my cooker all day long to cook up someones 8 pound pork but for $20.00..............

Also, you wont be making enough money to pay for the liability insurance, maintenance, and other expenses that come along.

I have a minimum 100 pounds at $2.00 per pound, plus expenses.

You may want to get started with some jobs as they come along and present themselves to you either thru word of mouth or by networking with friends and other proffesionals in the food industry. Very Happy
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kickassbbq
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Joined: 06 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15 07 8:38 pm    Post subject: BBQ Reply with quote

Jeff,
Print off or keep the posts the BBQ Man has about catering!!!!!
If 'n ya gonna learn 'bout Q'n fer da public, ya might as well learn from someone that knows the real deal!!!!!
Ah, free info on your new business project. It doesn't get any better than that.
Smoke On!!!!!!
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BBQMAN
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Joined: 13 Jun 2005
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Location: Florida

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16 07 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Ed, just tryin' to help out..................... Very Happy
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Jeff T
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Joined: 08 Mar 2005
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Location: Norfolk, Nebraska

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16 07 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BBQMAN wrote:
Hi there Jeff!

Best of luck with this-it sounds like you are not in an area that will support this as a business. You may get the occasional call, but your prices dont make this an option to make a fair wage.

1st off, I dont cook meats that someone else has provided. You have no way of knowing how and what was done to it.

Next- $2.50 a pound for orders of 20 pounds or less. That means that even if you have the full 20 pounds, you make $50.00 for a days work. Now I dont know what you make an hour at the day job, but I'm willing to bet it's more than minimum wage! Very Happy I'm not going to run my cooker all day long to cook up someones 8 pound pork but for $20.00..............

Also, you wont be making enough money to pay for the liability insurance, maintenance, and other expenses that come along.

I have a minimum 100 pounds at $2.00 per pound, plus expenses.

You may want to get started with some jobs as they come along and present themselves to you either thru word of mouth or by networking with friends and other proffesionals in the food industry. Very Happy


Your saying you would advise against any kind of meat only service?
Not looking for this to be full time work just some way of getting started. Very Happy
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BBQMAN
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Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 15470
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16 07 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeff, what i'm saying is that this wont bring you in a fair days wage the way you have it set up.............................I know as a tradesperson (I'm one too!) that your time is worth more than $50.00 for an all day smoke.

I would reccomend that you do some smaller private parties when available to get started.

Either way, the liabilty insurance is a must have.
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ipls3355
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PostPosted: Wed May 16 07 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For some crazy reason, I got this idea to try some small scale BBQ catering, this thread has been very helpful. I'm not sure if I could keep the health department happy and stay profitable with the scale I'm thinking about (at least to get started to get a feel for things)

Do you guys cook on site or at home and deliver the meals?
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