Produce from your garden cooked in your kitchen for maximum profit catering for functions in your country enterprise
Food prepared in your kitchen for guests, outside catering for functions, weddings, funerals, parties, pubs, and for sale in shops
cooking for Paying Guests
cooking for functions
cooking for Pubs
cooking for sale in shops or Retail
The possibilities of production using domestic appliances — a
food-mixer, a cooker and a fridge — are considerable.
To change home-produced soft fruit into jams and chutneys takes you into a
different market and means, of course, that your product has a
longer shelf life. To change pork into pies and cheese into cheese-
cakes opens other areas. Prepared foods can be sold into several
markets. The very simplest to cater for is the direct public. The
public can be fed in your home (a bed-and-breakfast type of
venture), or you can take the food to them (catering for weddings
and so on). These ventures are often catered for entirely from a
domestic kitchen. If you intend to produce goods for sale into the
retail trade, you will legally have to produce in a totally different
kitchen from the one in which you cater for the family. In theory
this applies to making cakes for sale from the 'farm gate' and other
similar produce. In practice, very few people comply with this.
Within a small radius of our own enterprise there are several
houses displaying boards advertising not only vegetables and eggs
for sale but also obviously home-produced cakes.
Let us start with the concept of actually feeding people in your
This often offers one of the biggest percentage profits in
the food production area. People in a large number of areas can
obtain passing guests using the Tourist Board lists. It is often
worth asking local pubs and hotels, if they have any overflow, to
pass them on to you. If you can provide a comfortable bedroom,
and if possible a separate bathroom, the venture can be simplicity
itself. You can put together home-produced eggs, fried potatoes
and bacon to produce a breakfast your visitors will remember. If
you also produce home-baked bread, home-made marmalade and
jam, you will probably wind up with repeat business from your
clients and their friends. To make the enterprise more profitable,
offer evening meals as well. A well cooked meal based on home
produce is economical for you and delicious for your guests. If
your house has an unused granny annexe or something similar,
you could take in self-catering guests. This is the most sought-
after holiday accommodation today. Then you can offer
vegetables, possibly home-produced eggs and meat to your guests.
All these 'guests' are of course of the 'paying' variety. Even if the
area you live in may not seem instantly recognisable for tourism
there are other kinds of business to attract. People travel for
business and to see family. If you advertise, you may well tap a
market that will bring in much repeat business.
To cater for functions requires a different style of cooking.
The arrangement of food is all-important. You may also find that it is
necessary to provide dishes and plates. We have provided this kind
of food for several people who did not feel able to produce the
kind of food required but wanted to do the rest of the venture.
This meant that they advertised for the business, made the
arrangements and organised any china and cutlery needed, and
staff as required. They ordered the food they required from us and
collected it on the way to the event. This kind of sharing of
responsibility can work very well in allowing people of different
talents to make use of one market. It is always essential to
remember that for the people for whom you are catering this is a
very special event. When you are producing the fourth dressed
turkey and sixth veal and ham pie on a hectic pre-Christmas
Saturday this is easy to forget. It is always worth aiming for repeat
business. Families that have weddings also have christenings,
businesses that celebrate Christmas one year will do so again the
next. If you have produced a really good table and the party was a
success, the repeat business will be yours.
The biggest annoyance to many people employing caterers is when they see that you have
overcatered for the event. Although nobody wants to run out of
food, it is always horrifying to see great quantities being
removed after the event. Although the customer will already know
what he is paying, this clear evidence of waste loses many people
repeat business. If you are new to catering for numbers, you may
find that this is your biggest headache. If you cannot stand the
thought of undercatering then at least keep your back-up supplies
out of sight. The customer will appreciate if you explain that you
always have an emergency back-up in case of ravenous appetites.
He will not appreciate seeing two half-carved turkeys being removed
when one clearly would have done.
To produce food for sale into pubs and other similar organisations
is another type of enterprise.
The publican's prime concern
will be portion control. You have to live with that concept at the
front of your mind to succeed. Very often pies and casseroles are
dished up by bar staff. Unless the portions are clearly identifiable,
the public gets an extra-large helping and the publican gets an
extra-low profit. Items such as large apple pies rarely get ordered
more than once — a few slices from the pie one day and the same
the next. By the third day the apples are possibly fermenting, the
pastry has gone soggy and more profit goes into the dustbin. The
aim in all products for this market has to be good presentation
coupled with awareness of the market you are in.
are very happy to explain their needs to you. They will often
persevere to reach an acceptable end-product. This is dependent
on you making quite clear at the outset that you are prepared and
able to be flexible. Meanwhile, of course, you must keep a very
close eye on your own profit margins. To start with you should
work out a minimum order. This is the amount of business you
require on each call to justify the trip.
When supplying fresh food
your deliveries will have to be close together. If you intend to
supply frozen food, you will have to transport it so that it does
not start to thaw in transit. For small orders and small distances a
frozen food box is satisfactory. If you have to carry some of the
delivery around for a whole day it is not.
To sell into the retail trade is the most challenging aspect of
Here your product is scrutinised by shoppers,
shopkeepers and health control officials. The product, its packaging
and shelf life must all stand rigorous tests. The Belgian pate
that sits in the cold counter of any grocer's will remain stable for
weeks if kept trimmed. Although the manufacturers point out that
the product should be sold quickly the shopkeeper knows that it
will last should it not sell well. A pate made without the factory
facilities, the antiseptic forms of manufacture and preservatives,
will certainly age most unpleasantly.
The products you offer must
be able to survive worse treatment than you would give them at
home in your own kitchen. All packaging and labelling must
conform to current EEC rulings. There are all kinds of different
instructions being effected and discussed and unless you wish to
fall foul of officialdom, you have to keep up. Manufacturers of
various goods have to be registered. If you aim to produce for the
retail trade then it is worth seeing your local standards officer
before you commit yourself to expensive packaging. One of the
traps that newcomers to this type of cooking are often tempted
into is to try and produce a product that is identical to a competitor's.
A factory-made product will look different. Anyway
part of the appeal of your product to the consumer is often that
they are buying something special. Some 'dairy' fudge contains
additives that are bought commercially in vast bulk. It is this that
gives commercial fudge a specific appearance. Without the additives
your fudge will look different. It will look like 'old-fashioned'
fudge. Fortunately, that is sold for a higher price than the com-
mercial kind anyway. But if the market you approach says it
wants the first type, you must gracefully decline unless you intend
to set up a confectionery factory.