Catering from home advice.

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by Tarek, Aug 9, 2010.

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How successful are home businesses?

  1. Very Successful

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  2. Successful

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  3. Making it

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  4. Epic Fail

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  1. Tarek

    Tarek
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    First I would like to say, I am new to these forums and I would like to be a regular, please help me as I am willing to help any of you. Moving to the subject at hand; my mom makes the best stuffed grape leaves, peppers, eggplants, cabbage leaves. Anything stuffed she makes it and it always turns out hundreds of times better than the best middle eastern restaurant in Chicago (where i reside). I came up with an idea to start a business using her skills but I need some advice on how to start. Here is what I have in mind.

    1.) Home based
    2.) Personal Delivery or Pickup by customer.
    3.) Will be based on scheduling (eg. order two days in advance) Preparation takes a lot of time since these grape leaves are individually rolled personally by my mother.
    4.) Will cater for parties with other variations of middle eastern/ Greek cuisine. (eg. salads, pitas, hummus etc.)
    5.) Website and phone run. (eg. Email to Fax)
    6.) Completely customizable menu.
    7.) Prices negotiable

    These are the things I have in mind at the moment. My question is how do I start something like this and what do I need to prepare myself for the worst.

    Thanks in advance

    Tarek.
     
  2. firstchoicecar

    firstchoicecar
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    I never experience having a home business but in my own opinion i think this will be a good idea if you don't have any activity or job, if you going to focused on it I'm sure it will be a successful one, being hands-on with the business is one important thing. Good luck to your business and welcome to the forum.
     
  3. Tarek

    Tarek
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    Thank you firstchoicecar for the quick response, even though you have no experience in this, i feel a bit of hope and thank you for posting and welcoming me.
     
  4. Fergal

    Fergal
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    Sounds like an exciting opportunity Tarek. Do you know if there are any food regulations or standards in Chicago that you would have to comply with? I would say that finding that out, would be an important first step before you launch the business. If you are unsure of this please let us know and we'll offer some suggestions.

    The next step would be to simply get started and start selling the food. First of all tell everyone you know that you are selling the food and ask if they know anyone that might be interested in buying it. Then you could write up a list of businesses that might be interested in buying from you and telephone them one by one, arrange to meet them to give them a sample and tell them what you can offer.

    You could consider advertising in local notice boards and in local newspapers to help inform your local community that you are in business.

    The packaging of your product will need to be right as it will play an important role in convincing your potential customers that the product is tasty, of good quality and clean.

    Please post back with your thoughts and I'll give you some further suggestions.
     
  5. WebWizard

    WebWizard
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    Fergal gives such great advice :)

    Networking & word of mouth will help you out much friend!
     
  6. jennifermyers

    jennifermyers
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    Interesting

    Very good home based ideas shared with useful and helpful information and tips.
     
  7. Tarek

    Tarek
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    Thanks for everything!

    After a few days of researching on my free time I found a few good websites to help, this is the best one for food regulations:
    http://web1.msue.msu.edu/imp/modsb/e2317921.html
    I learned a lot so far and I know that this wont be a walk in the park concerning the regulations licenses and likewise, but my intentions still stand firm. I would just like to know if anyone has done this or something close to what I am doing. In this website:
    http://www.powerhomebiz.com/vol25/catering.htm, it recommends that i buy a book to help me better prepare for my later business adventure, but honestly experience speaks better than any book so if anyone has any more information first hand please help me.

    Thanks guys for the previous posts have a wonderful day.
     
  8. Fergal

    Fergal
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    Tarek I would say that the next step for you is to contact the body responsible for feed regulations in your area. Have you done that yet?
     
  9. Kay

    Kay
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    I agree with Fergal, get in touch with the food regulators to find out what's next.

    Tara, welcome! :) I wouldn't rely on that page you mentioned that lists food regulations simply because of the date on it. Did you notice? It was created in 1994. It's also from a Michigan university and relates to Michigan. Regs in Chicago could be far different.

    As for link two, the books they've recommended are their own affiliate links. That doesn't tell you if they are any good or not nor do they specifically say why you should buy them. I'd take that with a pinch of salt, chef. :D

    For the most up to date and impartial information, I suggest you go to the U.S. Small Business Administration site. It's a government one so you can rely on the information being current. There are a huge number of resources there.

    Lucky for you there's a Small Business Administration District Office right there in Chicago. Why not call and arrange to go in or get some advice over the phone? That's what they're there for, to help people just like you get started. :) Here's the contact information.


    Also, if you look under Services > Counseling & Assistance > Womens Business Centers on the main site, you'll see a resource specifically for women too.

     
  10. Tarek

    Tarek
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    Now you see how inexperienced I am at this. I have never done anything business related and have only worked to make money and even so part time because of school. Kay, thanks a lot for the links i will make sure to put them to good use and I'll call or try to visit them personally as soon as I can. Now to clear something up; my name is Tarek, its a male name and sometimes can be misunderstood to be a female name. :) Seems the last link for female business owners either refers to my mom or you mistook me for a female. :| Thanks for the advice. I will get back to you guys with my progress.
     
  11. Fergal

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    Good luck with it Tarek, please do post back. Don't worry about your inexperience, everyone has to start somewhere.
     

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