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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.
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