Industry sector:

Outside caterer: Your menus


Getting your menus right is very important as you are likely to have a broad cross-section of customers with differing requirements, likes, dislikes and budgets. You'll probably find that customers will want to choose from hot and cold options as well as a vegetarian selection. You may decide to offer some vegan and 'free-from' (generally free from gluten, wheat and dairy) options as well as meal solutions for people with food allergies and intolerances. And you might decide to cater for particular religious dietary requirements - for example kosher or halal.

Buffet menus

Buffet menus will be popular with corporate clients, as well as private parties. You should offer a range of different buffet options to suit different tastes and budgets. A basic buffet may comprise sandwiches, crisps, sausage rolls and so on, while a mid-range buffet might include sandwiches, quiches, savouries, cheeses and chicken drumsticks. An expensive high-end buffet may comprise sandwiches, tarts, seafood, exotic savouries (Indian, Thai and so on) and other delicacies.

You may also offer knife and fork buffets in a range of prices. Knife and fork buffets will consist of prepared dishes rather than finger food, such as chicken portions, salads and so on.

Wedding menus

Again, you should offer a number of different menus in your wedding selection. You should provide at least a basic, mid range and expensive menu, though you should be prepared to mix and match from your menus so that the customer is satisfied.

Dinner party menus

You may decide to offer completely separate menus for private dinner parties. These will tend to be fairly small affairs in terms of numbers, but customers may want a gourmet menu so they may well be profitable for you.

Seasonality

If you focus predominantly on the weddings market, you will find that you are busiest during the spring and summer as more people get married at those times of the year. However, you should try to target a broad range of customers to aim to have a consistent level of income throughout the year.

You may have to take on extra staff during the busy times.