Starting a Pizza Catering Business:
Catering wood-fired pizzas or wood-fired cuisine is a wonderful experience and terrific business opportunity that we want to share with you.
The food tastes so much better, provided you use fresh, quality ingredients, that your customers will quickly become addicted and tell their friends to visit you!
Imagine serving 600 pizzas a day at a popular festival (you need to pick up the right one!). Talking numbers, this means about $6,000 a day ( roughly a $4,000 a day profit!). Finding this business opportunity is not easy and managing it can be a challenge but it is very possible– we did it. So why not you?
Our catering consulting is based on 15 years of experience in catering in France and in the U.S and our desire to help anyone interested in providing high quality food! We will advise you on finding the best business opportunities, e.g., festivals, private or corporate parties, farmers markets, street fairs, etc. and also guide you through the steps to get established such as: working with your local health department office , locating a commissary kitchen if necessary, finding and perfecting your recipes, recruiting and training your team.
Here are some basic guidelines that will help you starting your pizza catering business :
For thousands of years around the world, we can find some street food vendors, with small carts selling any kind of food such as vegetables, meat, fish, fried food,… Each country has its food culture and some people are able to find some business opportunities to sell their food.
Fairs, farmers markets have always been a good example where you could find some food carts.
Europe has a long history of food carts and in France for example, the pizza vendors are very popular for the last 15 years. Due to weather conditions, most of them are set up in pizza trucks. Also, most of them work few months during the summer, they go to the touristic places of France and sell pizzas. The rest of the year they go vacations themselves or have other activities. They are entrepreneurs and decide when they want to work. Some chose to work everyday. They stay in commercial or residential areas and can get a lot of regulars.
2. Why a portable pizza catering business? Freedom, Money and Fun!
- Freedom: as a pizza caterer, you are an entrepreneur. You chose when and how you want to work. Thus, you choose your opportunities and you chose the money you want to make. That’s a privilege.
Money: Our clients have sold 600 pizzas a day at an active festival. Talking business, that means about $5,000 to 6,000 a day, roughly a $4,000 profit. Provided you can manage being busy, opportunities like this are very possible and we experienced it. So why not you?
- Best return of investment: this business has an amazing return of investment. Let’s take few realistic examples:
1) Your initial investment is $22,000. It includes your pizza trailer (that can carry your table), your preparation table, 2 folding tables, a sneeze guard, hot water station and hand washing station, a tent with graphics, some utensils, your health department license. For the next 3 months you choose to do 4 festivals (10 days total), your local farmers’ market twice a week (24 days total) and 3 private parties. On a festival day you do 200 pizzas on average (low average), on a farmers market day you do 80 pizzas in few hours, on private parties you do $1,000 each on average.
Here are your benefits:
– festivals: 200 x $8 x 10 days = $16,000 income. Expenses: food, registration fees, taxes, payroll = $4,000. Benefits: $12,000
– farmers’ market: 24 x 80 x $8 = $15,360. Expenses: $4,000. Benefit: $11,360
– private parties: 3 x 1,000 = $3,000. Expenses: $1,000. Benefits: $2,000.
In the end, you make $25,360 benefits. So after 3 months of activity, you reimbursed your initial investment and you make $3,360 benefits.
2) You buy a pizza enclosed trailer because you want to work all year long and the weather is not really favorable during few months (cold winters or hot summers). You work 5 days a week from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm in a good commercial or residential area with a employee. You make 45 pizzas and 25 drinks a day (that’s a minimum realistic when you start, depending on the location).
– investment: $32,500 for the enclosed trailer, all equipped with a wood-fire oven, preparation table,…
– daily benefits: (45 x $9) – (45 x $1.65) = $330.75
Numbers of working days to amortize your investment: 30,000/330.75 = 90.75 days, or 3.6 months.
- Fun: Owning you own business, preparing delicious food and gaining customer after customer is great fun.
3. Business opportunities :
- Festivals: festivals are certainly the best way to make a lot of money in a short period of time, at certain conditions:
– Audience: you need to check how many people attend the festival each year on average. A small festival does not mean it is a bad festival. It can still be very beneficial. It depends how many food vendors are there at the same time and how you control your cost. These small festivals have also much lower fees than big ones.
– paying festival for the audience: in our experiences we noticed that the best festivals are the ones where attendants have to pay an entrance fee. When the festival is free, people are more cheap and are not willing to pay for the food offered there. When people paid for the entrance and thus have to stay in the festival area, they don’t have any other solution than buying food from the vendors there who don’t hesitate to charge a lot of money for their food. Festivals organizers are aware of it and charge a lot of money the vendors.
– Weather: weather conditions can be a major reason of festival failure. In case of strong wind and if you are not in pizza enclosed trailer or truck, you won’t be able to make any pizza. It might happens many times you have to stop your activity because of too much wind. Too bad…specially if you paid for your booth! Rain, very hot heat, cold can affect your business as well. Check the weather before your festival.
– Festival fees: you really want to check the fees the festival organizers ask. It can be a fixed fee (i.e 1,200), a fixed fee and a percentage on sales or only a percentage on sales. Some big festivals don’t hesitate to charge a huge fee to their food vendors. You might need to be careful with those and be sure that you sell enough to make benefits.
– Your prices: depends on the nature of the festival you will need to adapt your prices. For example if you do a (closed) music festival you might charge $8, $9 or $10 for a 12″ margharita pizza. For a street festival or a student festival you might need to keep your prices lower.
4. Step by step:
– work with your local health department office
– find business opportunities
– find your commissary kitchen if you need to
– find your recipes
– find and train your team
… – HAVE FUN!!
More details coming soon…
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