Food Catering Business: Franchise Your Own!

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food catering

If youíre passionate about cooking and customer service, starting a food catering business can be an affordable and enjoyable way to become your own boss.

It can be tough to build a reputation and customer base as there is plenty of competition in food catering so hard work and determination are essential.

Catering food

Producing mouth-watering and eye-catching meals for large groups of people under pressure is no mean feat particularly if youíre preparing food for demanding professionals. But the effort is often worth the rewards.

Research published by IBIS World in 2017 found that corporate functions represented the largest service segment of the UK's food catering services industry, accounting for just under 50% of the industry's revenue. This means that serving the business sector with lunches for business meetings and three-course meals for corporate events can be very lucrative.

A significant advantage of building up a base of corporate customers is the chance it offers for repeat business. Businesses prefer to use regular suppliers that they know they can rely upon. So as long as you provide them with excellent service at a reasonable price, youíll become invaluable to them.

Therefore, focusing on the corporate market can be one of the quickest ways to grow your food catering business. There is a lot of competition in this market, however, so you need to be prepared to work hard to make an impression.

Alternatively, you could consider investing in a food catering franchise. Jasperís is one such franchise opportunity, which serves bowl food, buffets, tapas, fruits, snacks, and hot food for businesses and corporate events. Not only will you get to be your own boss but youíll also benefit from being part of a reputable and recognised brand to help you stand out in a crowded marketplace.

If youíre interested in investing in a Jasperís franchise, youíll need to spend a minimum of £42,500 with the initial start-up costs totalling approximately £140,896. Youíll also require at least £25,000 working capital to fund your business until it starts making a profit. Although the initial costs are relatively significant, the ongoing low overheads combined with high demand means that the average Jasper's franchisee can generate a turnover of approximately £250,000 a year.

You donít need to have previous experience in the catering industry either. As a new franchisee, youíll attend a 16-week training programme so that you can learn about the Jasperís sales process, systems, and production methods. Once youíve launched your business, youíll continue to receive ongoing training to help you with sales conversion and customer retention.

Party food catering

If corporate food catering isnít for you, then you could look to serve the private sector. This will mostly be catering for large family occasions such as weddings, christenings, funerals and birthday parties. To run this type of business, you need to be flexible. Firstly to be able to cater to whatever culinary requests that the customer has and secondly to work the hours required to cater for such events, which will be predominately weekends and evenings.

To give your business a competitive advantage, give some thought to some other related services that you could provide to make your customersí lives easier. That could mean providing crockery that matches the colour scheme, decorating and dressing the function room or including a celebration cake as part of the catering package. The more you differentiate yourself from the competition, the more business youíll attract.

Food catering van

The rise in popularity of street food in the UK has led to an increase in the number of mobile food vans being used to cater for events.

A mobile catering business gives you the freedom to go wherever your prospective customers are. You can pitch your van up at any event from a music festival, to a wedding, or even find a spot near a busy tube or train station to attract passing trade from hungry commuters. You can also pick and choose your working hours to fit in with other commitments.

If the flexibility of operating a food catering van appeals to you, you may want to consider Cafe2U, which provides the freedom that a fixed location business canít give. Cafe2U is a mobile franchise that delivers aromatic coffee, delicious pastries, and hearty sandwiches directly to its customers. The van can also be hired out for private events to provide an additional income stream.

The franchise fee is just £26,650 plus VAT; however, youíll also need to buy your van too. Your Mercedes-Benz Vito van comes fully equipped with an espresso machine, pastry warmer, cash drawer, sink washing facility, refrigerator, and much more. It will be professionally branded and fitted out to comply with all relevant Local Government Environmental Health and Food Safety Regulations. Donít worry if you canít afford to buy the van outright, as youíll have the option to purchase it on finance.

Once youíre signed up as a Cafe2U franchisee, youíll be invited to attend a four-week training and support programme known as the Acceleration Package. Youíll receive a mix of classroom and hand on training as well as invaluable one to one coaching with a franchise development manager.

But Cafe2U understands that no matter how much training and support you receive, the first couple of weeks after you launch your business can be terrifying. This is why they provide an income guarantee for the first two weeks of business so you can be sure how of much youíll be making.


Whether you choose to open a more traditional food catering business or prefer the freedom of a mobile catering van, itís crucial that you do your due diligence before you invest. You need to ensure that you choose the franchise that works best for you and your family. Ask the franchisor plenty of questions and spend time with existing franchisees to get an idea of what itís like to be part of the business. Once youíre happy that youíve found the right franchise, it will only be a matter of time before you taste success in the world of catering.

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