How To Establish A Mobile Catering Unit Of Your Own
If you take a look around you, it is not difficult to find a mobile catering unit of some kind or the other in almost any area in London. In UK and several other countries, this business has gained huge popularity over the years. The technology, the food as well as the quality of service of these mobile units have also improved dramatically in all these years.
The general global economic slowdown does not appear to have affected the mobile catering units in any adverse manner significantly. On the contrary, the business only seems to be growing and expanding at a rapid pace, particularly in countries such as the UK. At a time when the business of very high-end restaurants and fancy hotels is under pressure, with the customers not willing to loosen their purse strings for bigger expenses on food and entertainment, the void seems to be getting filled up by the smaller service providers, including the mobile caterers.
As more and more people are evaluating their potential self-employment and business opportunities, there is an increased level of interest in considering the mobile catering business as a serious option. For those who have a basic inclination towards cooking or food, it makes a very interesting option to be considered. However, even for other potential entrepreneurs, mobile catering makes a compelling business sense.
Establishing mobile catering units does not require very high or exceptional skills, and neither does it require a very large investment. Therefore, the entry barriers to the business are few and the market opportunity and future prospects are strong. The following is a list of the basic steps that are necessary to establish this business for a new entrepreneur:
Make A Sound Business Plan
The first and foremost requirement before you go ahead with this business is to create a detailed business plan. You need to clearly spell out what scale of business do you envision for yourself, and what is the expected level of risk in terms of financial investment that you are willing to take. The business plan must contain the expected fixed costs at the time of establishment, and an outline of the expected sources of funds that will finance this venture. Also, the business plan must include a cost-benefit analysis, estimated sales turnover, monthly overhead expenses to run the business, and the expected profits and profit margins at the end of the day. Therefore, the business plan will determine the real viability of starting the business and running it profitably on a sustainable basis.
Choose Between An Independent Mobile Catering Unit And A Franchise
An entrepreneur needs to carefully evaluate between the two options of starting out independently, or becoming a franchisee for an established brand already successful in this line of business. For a new entrepreneur with relatively no past experience or background in the catering business, a franchise may be a more practical route to start the business. The franchiser will provide the necessary training, support, readymade systems, and an already established brand. So the business can start functioning smoothly from day one. Whereas, independent mobile catering units may be more successful if the entrepreneur has a strong background and knowledge in the field already, to carve a niche for himself in a crowded marketplace.
Decide The Type Of Food That The Mobile Catering Unit Will Offer
One of the most important decisions for the business is to choose the right product mix. You need to acquire a thorough understanding of the market, and know what kind of food items are in regular demand in the market. It is important to know the pulse of the market, and what kind of new food trends are coming up. Once the right menu is finalized, it is equally important to estimate the right pricing. The success of the business will be influenced greatly by the combination of the right product and the right pricing. The financial investment profile must also be taken into account while deciding the product mix, because the scale of business and the equipment costs will vary in accordance with the product.
Conduct A Basic Market Research For The Choice Of Location
Once the menu and pricing issues are settled, it is important to finalize the right location for establishing the mobile catering unit. A basic market survey will provide information about the existing competition in a particular area, the scope for new entrants, and the potential growth of demand in that area. Secondly, the location must be suited to the kind of menu that has been decided for the business. Therefore, the decision of location may be taken in tandem with the decision on the menu. Both issues need to be resolved almost at the same time in order to get the right combination for the business.
Create A Marketing And Advertising Plan
In a highly competitive market environment, the mobile catering units also need to market themselves cleverly to establish a local market presence and reputation. The customer is inundated with too many options, and the businesses that present themselves more effectively before the customer tend to achieve the maximum market share. Therefore, ensuring high visibility for the business and coming out with innovative schemes to attract new customers is important for a catering business to grow and thrive in the face of tough competition.
Acquire The Necessary Licenses, Approvals And Insurance
Along with the investment in the mobile catering unit, it is critical to ensure that all the local laws and regulations are complied with. The kitchen for the unit must be approved for commercial cooking. Depending upon the local area, any license or other regulatory requirements must be fulfilled before going ahead with the business. Insurance for this business is another important aspect that cannot be ignored. Since the business involves cooking and food materials, there should be insurance against any anticipated risks of fire or product liability.
When all these steps have been covered systematically in detail, the entrepreneur is ready to launch his business with full vigour and enthusiasm. The success of the mobile catering units eventually depends upon the enterprise, vision and the customer centric approach of the entrepreneur.