Running a food catering franchise can be demanding and exciting in equal parts. If you’re interested in the variety that running this type of food service business can offer, here are the five key advantages that come with the territory.
Creativity, flexibility, variety. All things that a role in the food catering sector will offer in spades. If you’re passionate about food and about putting smiles on people’s faces, you might be a catering company’s perfect partner. Figure out if the sector is right for you by diving into the five biggest pros of running a food catering franchise.
What are the five advantages of running a catering business?
1. Affordable opportunities are available in the sector.
All franchising opportunities come with expenses and costs, and the average estimated cost of establishing a franchise in the UK is £42,200 [British Franchise Association]. This figure will vary greatly depending on the sector you’re operating in, the size of the operation you’re running, and the location in which you’re operating. Luckily, the food catering sector is one which has many different affordable investment options on offer.
The minimum investment fee is comparatively low for food catering franchises, especially for mobile catering businesses, which don't need an office or physical base. Yes, you’ll need to cover other costs, like the cost of an appropriate vehicle, but you’ll save substantially on the costs of leasing property.
If you don’t have the money upfront to make the investment needed, most UK banks will lend those with a good credit history of up to 70% of start-up costs. Alternatively, you might want to look into a 100% loan from the government, offered for investment costs up to £25,000.
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2. Catering franchises are adaptable and mobile.
Running a catering franchise comes with a lot of flexibility, especially if you’re mobile. You can go to your customers, rather than having to entice them to you. With a proactive approach and a willingness to travel, you can find success at a range of events, from festivals to private parties to weddings to carnivals.
3. The demand is always there.
No doubt about it, there’s a strong and clear demand for the food catering industry. In the last ten years, the amount of catering franchise units open and operational in the UK has risen by 55% [British Franchise Association].
In 2017, there were 242,842 marriages in England and Wales [Office for National Statistics], and as you can imagine, most of these needed and utilised food caterers, from burger vans to three-course meals. Combine this number with all the private parties and summer festivals that happen every year across the country, and you can see demand in action.
If you’re looking to make a sensible and evergreen franchising investment, a sector like food catering is a safe bet. People will always need to eat and people will always want to celebrate and gather.
4. You can create hours that work for your lifestyle.
One of the most important pros of running your own business is the flexibility that you have to set your own hours. The catering industry is known for its non-traditional hours, but for some these hours might be ideal. Especially when you have some freedom to pick and choose jobs.
Depending on the scale of your operation, and the amount that you’re looking to earn, you’ll be able to choose a schedule that works for you. For example, you might choose to only work weekends, the time at which demand is highest in the food catering sector.
If you love cooking, organising, helping with events and talking to customers, a role in the catering industry may be a great move for you. With so many different [...] opportunities to get involved, now is a great time to join a fast-growing industry that will continue for years to come.
—International Career Institute
5. You’ll receive all the training and support that you need.
All franchisees, regardless of industry, are entitled to a certain level of training and support from their franchisor when they invest in a franchising opportunity. When you’re running your own business, which you’ve started from scratch, you won’t have the same high level of support that you will as a franchisee. The risks of business ownership are mitigated by franchising, and franchisees additionally benefit from having an established business model to follow - a model already proven to lead to success.
Often, franchisors won’t even require any previous experience in the industry. They’ll be looking for passion, motivation and an ability to learn. A good franchisor will assist you with initial and ongoing training, with the set-up process and with advertising and marketing. They’ll help you to access the pre-existing customer base, communicate often and provide you with support whenever you need it.
If you’d love to be your own boss, but you don’t feel comfortable going it alone, franchising might be the right option. As a franchisee, you can experience all the flexibility and thrill of business ownership without the risk and isolation.
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The current state of the food service industry
The food service industry is thriving right now. In 2018, 96% of franchise units in the hotel and catering sector were profitable [British Franchise Association]. Since then, demand has shown no signs of decline, and the industry has continued to pull in a substantial amount.
Obviously, the impact of the pandemic has been felt in the food service sector, and among food caterers. Restrictions have prevented revenue from being generated for months at a time. As restrictions are lifted and we finally head in the right direction, the industry will be able to come back, but for some companies, it will take a lot of effort. If you’re a food service franchisor struggling in the current climate, discover valuable comeback insights from the hotel sector, the wedding planning sector and the live events sector.
Interested in starting a catering franchise?
By this point, you should have a clear sense of the biggest advantages that come with running a food catering franchise, and you should know if a catering sector investment is the right move for you. If you don’t think it is, but you’re still interested in franchising in a different area, browse Point Franchise’s UK franchise directory for other quality investment options.
Cara Squires, Point Franchise ©