Just recently, I had the opportunity to meet up with my college friends. After more than 8 years of not bumping into each other, it was a chance to get updated in what we all have been doing after graduation.
One of my closest friends in college was Anne Capitulo who is now into a home business: food catering. Back then she was already fond of cooking. She would prepare pasta and pizza recipes for us to enjoy whenever we spend out afternoons at her place. Little did she know that this simple hobby of hers would turn into a booming home business. I immediately bombarded her with questions.
Q: What made you decide to venture into the catering business?
A: Around 1998 I had this business with other friends. We were into events planning for weddings, debuts, and other affairs. That time, there were instances when some of our clients would order a particular dish from me. So I would do it a sideline. Then in 2000, I decided to subcontract for my other friends who were into catering. As I realized how profitable this was, I decided to go into full-time catering by 2003.
Q: How did you actually start this business? What’s your initial investment?
A: My initial investment was around P70,000, but I tell you, this was not enough. However, you could start with this amount since you really don’t need to buy everything. The amount is actually used for the ingredients, the dinnerware/silverware, shaffing dishes. Initially, I had to rent the chairs and tables from other caterers, even the waiters. That is why it is important that you build contacts.
In fact, I had to go to thrift shops in Divisoria and Quiapo to purchase what I needed. It is definitely much cheaper in these places. Shaffing dishes and dinnerwares are priced lower by around P1,000 compared to those sold in department stores. Just imagine how much you could save if you know where to buy. Be patient though and try to do some haggling.
Also, one has to have an enclosed vehicle for the delivery of food. Enclosed because you need to keep your food clean. Fortunately, my dad gave me a van for this business. Otherwise, I have to rent whenever I had to deliver my food.
Q: What does it take to be in the food catering business?
A: First, you must know how to cook. Starting out in this business, you do all the cooking. Also, you need to be resourceful in establishing contacts. You need to build contacts not only for your clients but as a source for your supplies—like your favorite mean vendor, vegetable dealer, table-chair rentals, cake, flowers, waiters and other details.
One also has to be outgoing and you have to love attending parties. In catering, your work doesn’t start and end with cooking. You have to be present during the event itself. You actually organize the event too. You talk to the visitors and get their feedbacks. You talk to a lot of people during the affair. That is also one way of building contacts.