Private Catering

Written by Shirley Parker
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Private catering falls into two categories, large event catering and small event catering. In theory, these categories do not compete with each other, only with other enterprises in their own category and only in communities large enough to support several large or several small caterers, as the case may be. However, the distinction blurs when you try to define large and small, since all things are relative.

To simplify things, we can state that a large event caterer would not take on dinner for two or 12, since there is little profit in it, considering the overhead. A small event caterer would not tackle a traditional corporate dinner, lacking the staff to do so in a manner that would keep its reputation for excellence intact. Each prefers to do what it does best.

Private catering in the San Francisco Bay area, as an example, runs the gamut from small to large events. Private caterers exist to handle all ethnic tastes, for a breakfast, brunch, BBQ or dinner, whether the customer has scheduled a religious occasion, a company picnic, or a dinner party in a tony neighborhood. On the other side of the continent, the Small Craft Gallery of The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia is available for after-hours events. Local caterers are well-acquainted with the rules and regulations associated with such a historic and colorful waterfront building.

Starting a Private Catering Business

When a chef decides to move into private catering, her skills and love of cooking are only the beginning. She also needs to be a highly efficient planner and comfortable directing other people. Being a savvy shopper is important, as is having a flair for table decoration. Then, too, at least one member of the staff needs to have marketing skills and familiarity with websites. That person can be a retired father-in-law or a college student.

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