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Catering Business Plan: Defining Your Market

This article provides tips on how to write a successful catering business plan. Specifically, it focuses on how to define your market.

The customer analysis within your catering business plan must be narrow enough to make it clear to readers that you have selected some specific target market or markets. If the customer section gives a laundry list of potential customer markets, readers will believe you have avoided making a strategic choice.

How to Define Your Customer Market

One way to define your customer market is to consider the geographic scope you can serve. At a certain distance away from your kitchen facility, delivery will become cost-prohibitive for you or lead to pricing which is no longer competitive with options the customer can find closer to their homes and businesses. Determine the distance in miles and then look more closely within that area to find the major customer groups.

Consider identifying three or four distinct customer groups at most within the geographic area you will serve. Examples include event spaces without in-house caterers, conference spaces, wealthy residents who entertain large parties at their homes, businesses that throw parties or hold conferences at their own spaces, schools or colleges, and churches and synagogues. Clearly, methods of marketing to any of these groups will be very different, and choosing more than a few will make your marketing extremely difficult to coordinate in reality and to explain on paper.

Benefits of Balancing Corporate and Private Customers

By serving both corporate clients and private customers you can effectively hedge against trends which impact the catering needs of either market. While businesses are attractive customers because of their potential loyalty, reducing the cost associated with bringing in each additional sale, the business catering market will be very susceptible to market cycles. When there is a recession, it will be too late to start developing your marketing to private customers for personal events and parties. You must start pursuing those sales earlier. Although expenditures on food at weddings, bar mitzvahs, and graduations may decrease a bit during recession, they will not disappear and you can therefore be assured of some steady work by balancing these target markets.

Want more tips? Here's a related article: Starting a Catering Business.

Finish Your Plan Today With Our Quick & Easy Template!

If you want to create your own business plan quickly and easily, we now offer a catering business plan template that allows you to develop a professional business plan in hours or days, not weeks or months.

Visit this link to learn more:

OR, We Can Develop Your Plan For You

Our professional business plan writers can create your entire business plan for you. We will make sure your business plan is sound and ready for investors so you can continue to focus on running your business. Over the past decade, we have created business plans for hundreds of catering businesses.

To speak with a Growthink business plan consultant, call 800-506-5728 or complete the form below.


Growthink helped birth my company. They got to know both me and my vision. They helped ‘smack me upside the head’ to help make sure I was realistic, about meeting expectations. As a result, they helped craft, draft and construct the right written presentation. As a result, I got my funding.

Jeffrey Ullman
Founder & CEO
Great Expectations

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