Having a catering business has many benefits but there are things that owners of a new trailer or vehicle conversion get to learn from experience. We have had a few stories of mishaps when people are starting out. To keep you from repeating the pattern, we have come up with a top five common mistakes within the industry so that you can avoid them when you are starting out.
A seasoned caterer will look back at some of the mistakes that have been made whilst starting out and laugh. Some people will think our number one mistake is really obvious, but honestly, even with a warning, this is one that we’ve heard of many times as people get excited on their first day on the job.
The list should help you avoid these pitfalls within the first year or trading.
Securing before towing/driving.
A very common issue is when owners pack up to drive to an event they arrive at their destination to find that their trailer or vehicle is a mess. This is because they have not securely stowed things away. When it comes to your conversion, we like to discuss storage space to avoid this! Cupboards and drawers are essential to ensure everything stays in one place when you are on the move.
Things like gas bottles and other loose heavy objects can be very dangerous and obviously be damaging to be moving around when driving/towing. Make sure you have a place for them and that they are strapped down, either to the floor or the wall of the catering unit before you travel.
You arrive at an event, you set everything up and then you get customers. With that, you realise that you have run out of gas so you are not able to use any of the equipment to cook your produce. This is a situation which is every mobile catering owners dread. To ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, make sure you check that you have enough before you leave for your event and have more than one bottle with you, just in case one of the bottles leak unexpectedly.
This has happened to traders as they get used to calculating how much stock to buy when starting out. It's not great for you to run out of stock such as food and drinks when you are trading or indeed if you have the food but you’ve run out of things to serve it on!! This does not look good for your business or your brand name.
Make sure you take a stock check regularly to ensure that you know what you have, so then when you are running out you know before it happens and you can top up supplies. Also, have a backup plan in mind if you have an unexpectedly busy day, who could you call and where can you get the extra supplies you need.
Don’t leave it too late to book a place at any festival, book it well in advance to ensure a slot. This is very important as if you don’t gain access to cater at an event or festival, it might impact your business financially.
Gas and Electricity Certificates
You need to make sure that your certificates are up to date. Not doing so can cause serious problems. If a Gas and Electricity safe inspector was to discover that your equipment was not passed, they can legally shut you down. Also, if there was a fire due to faulty equipment that was not certified, the insurance companies would not pay for the damages. We cannot stress enough how important this is to you and your businesses.
If you’ve got a trailer and you think we've missed something off the list get in touch and we can start compiling another list to help out those starting out.