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Catering Business Plan SWOT Analysis

Are you about writing a catering business plan ? If YES, here is a sample SWOT analysis for a catering company to help you form a competitive strategy.

Catering Business Plan – Economic Analysis

In starting any business, it is very expedient to know how to cut costs and make more profit. This also applies in the catering industry. This is because if the dynamics of economics isn’t applied, then going by what is on ground, making profits might be a challenge. And the truth is that no one wants to go into business without making profit.

In the catering industry, it is therefore important to only use those things and manpower that only helps to rake in more money, against having to pay more without a tangible result for it. As such, when you are starting out in the trade, it is important to consider based of the capacity of funds that you have , and then operating in a way that will keep costs to the barest minimum.

When caterers operate from their own facilities, it can be said that cost of accommodation would be less, however the cost of maintenance have got to be factored in too.

Labor is yet another economic factor to be considered. For instance; the average company in the Caterers industry in America spends $0.07 on capital for every $1.00 spent on labor; this represents an extremely low level of capital intensity. Caterers need to have access to a large pool of temporary staff and to rent equipment when required so as to cut costs.

A Sample Catering Business Plan SWOT Analysis

We are quite aware that is a stiffer competition when it comes to the catering trade in Chicago, which is why we decided to take our time to perfect our strategies before launching out. Our goal is to become a leading all – round catering services company in the whole of Chicago and the only way to achieve that is to out – perform our competitors. In order to outperform our competitors in Chicago, we hired a business consultant to help us conduct SWOT analysis.

In view of that, we were able to take stock of our strengths, our weakness, our opportunities and also the threats that we are likely going to be exposed to in establishing our catering business in Chicago, IL. Here is a summary from the result of the SWOT analysis that was conducted on behalf of Delicious Delight® Catering Services.

We are a complete catering business that does not offer outdoor catering services alone, but offer consultancy services, rental services and trainings. The truth is that, people will prefer to engage a client that can provide them with all they would need to make their events a memory one.

It means that the need to sign different contracts with different providers (vendors) will not arise once they engage our services. Another positive for us is that we will be working with the best of caterers in the US; they are going to be guest lecturers in our Catering School and our CEO is an award winning caterer in Chicago who is widely celebrated.

Our weakness could be the challenge of hiring and keeping the best cooks / chefs in our payroll since most of them may want to work for themselves. This challenge applies to almost all catering business owners. Yet another weakness is that we are new in Chicago, IL.

When it comes to catering services, the opportunities that are available cannot be quantified. Any entrepreneur can start his or her own outdoor catering business anywhere in the world and still make huge returns on his or her investment.

At Appealing Delight Catering Company, we take pride in the fact that we are one of the few catering services companies in Chicago that offer a wide range of related catering services; hence we are likely going to maximize the opportunities available for catering business in Chicago, IL.

There are a couple of first class catering services companies in Chicago IL, and they are a huge threat to us. They pose a threat to us because they are already established, and their brand is well accepted. Also, most of them can boast of a have huge clientele base. Our competitors are able to develop expensive new marketing and sales campaigns and that will mean that we will have to struggle to catch – up.

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Our Catering Company SWOT Analysis will provide you with the comprehensive documentation that you will need in order to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that your business will face as your develop or expand your business operations. Our product also includes a full business plan specific for a Catering Company. This business plan has been developed in MS Word/Excel and is appropriate for seeking start up or expansion capital from an investor, bank, SBA program, or grant company. The MS Excel and MS Word components can be completely customized for your needs. The business plan also features a completely automated table of contents as well as industry research that is specific for a Catering Company.

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Catering Company Business Plan and SWOT Analysis

Catering Company Business Plan, Marketing Plan, How To Guide, and Funding Directory

The Catering Company Business Plan and Business Development toolkit features 18 different documents that you can use for capital raising or general business planning purposes. Our product line also features comprehensive information regarding to how to start a Catering Company business. All business planning packages come with easy-to-use instructions so that you can reduce the time needed to create a professional business plan and presentation.

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People are always going to need catering services given that people will always host events relating to anniversaries, weddings, permits, it’s was, and for defense. As such, these food service businesses are usually in continued demand year-round with in a special focus on the summer and fall seasons. The barriers to entry for a new catering service business considered very low. Typically, the startup costs for new catering business any rate range anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 depending on whether or not the business is going to maintain its own kitchen location. Most importantly, one of the most expensive aspects of getting a catering business off the ground is the underlying furniture, fixtures, equipment that is used in conjunction with preparing food on site. Many catering businesses maintain a truck that carries the cooking equipment necessary with them at all times. These businesses are considered relatively immune from negative changes in the economy, although severe economic recessions can impact their revenues.

A catering service business plan, as with any type of document that is used for raising capital, should include a cash flow analysis, profit and loss statement, balance sheet, breakeven analysis, and business ratios page. The balance sheet should also business plan should also have an extensive analysis of the local market, the overall condition of the economy, other caterers operating within the market, and other information relating to how the catering business will market services to the general public.

A well-developed catering marketing plan is also imperative before operations commence. Given the relatively low start up costs and relatively low barriers to entry for these companies, it is important that a caterer understand how to differentiate themselves within the market. Most importantly, most caterers do very well because they have established a strong brand name within their target market. As such, a new catering business may want to market services by providing some events at a lower cost in order to build a number of positive reviews. Additionally, it is very important to maintain an expansive online presence that showcases the operations of the business, menus offered, preliminary pricing information, and how to make appropriate arrangements to have the business catering event. One of the important things to do as well as to develop ongoing relationships with event planners that will use a catering service on an ongoing basis.

Frequently done in conjunction with the business plan and marketing plan is a SWOT analysis. This overviews the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are faced by these businesses on an ongoing basis. As it relates the strengths, most catering businesses, again, generate moderate gross margins from the sales of prepared food on site. As it relates to weaknesses, is a highly competitive market and it is important that a catering service clearly develop a differentiating factor in order to be successful. Relating to opportunities, many caterers maintain expand their staff so that the number of events can be catered on a daily basis. Pertaining to threats, that are not there is nothing that would impact how these businesses conduct operations accept a severe economic recession.

In closing, a catering business can be a great way for a chef to earn a highly predictable from a revenue by providing food for events on an ongoing basis. The modestly low start up costs ensure these companies can be launched quickly and with relatively little trouble. Banks and lenders are usually receptive to providing capital for a new catering business provided the money is being used for vehicles, furniture, fixtures, kitchen equipment, and other tangible goods are used during the course of business operations.


swot analysis for catering business plan

Swot Analysis For Catering

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In order to get a clear understanding of competitive advantage of Morrisons, SWOT analysis is presented below. SWOT analysis gives general idea about strengths and weaknesses of the business as well as opportunities and threats, although it can be subjective but it is useful tool in decision-making process. Awareness of own strengths and opportunities enables the business to use them on its advantage, whereas knowledge about weaknesses and threats can give insights on their solutions (Blake and Wijetilaka, 2015).

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Apple Watch Case Study

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Ansoff Swot Analysis

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A customer’s first impression of a restaurant stems from the atmosphere and the service and these are critical items in getting a first time customer to become a regular. Ensuring that this newly available time is focused on ensuring that the processes relating to those two items are efficient can help to ensure business continuity. This also means; increased demand, increased productivity and overall improvement in the restaurant’s efficiency which would lead to increase revenues, and service quality.

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SWOT’s the difference?

swot analysis for catering business plan

Sebastien Centner

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In this first quarter of the year, we are typically hit with all sorts of data and commentary about the state of the industry. Whether it is a critic talking about the decline of fine dining in the restaurant sector, or the rise of corporate drop off in the catering sector, there is a lot for our potential clients to digest when faced with settling upon how to celebrate an important event.

Advantages, disadvantages…what might you think of first if you were in your client’s shoes and needed to feed and entertain 100 people? Maybe, “Well, I sure love that little restaurant up the block. Their filet mignon is delicious. I’ll give them a call.” Or, it could be, “That wedding I attended last month was so fun, delicious, entertaining. I wonder who did all that work?”

How do you stand out? What is your unique advantage as a restaurant? As a caterer?

From the vantage of a SWOT analysis (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat), let’s take a look at some various scenarios regarding how you can gain traction in 2017.

swot analysis for catering business plan

Different approaches to the same end

Whether catering events offsite or hosting patrons at your restaurant, the end goal is the same—to entertain. Our job as restaurateurs and as caterers is to create the perfect atmosphere, provide excellent professional service, and to offer our guests delicious culinary creations, beautifully presented. Where we do this is really inconsequential, but how we do it is very different.

The pros, the cons & everything in between

Strength–Restaurants: In a restaurant environment we are working with a full cooking line, offering chefs every tool imaginable to make that perfect dish, as well as a variety of vessels to enhance the appeal. As the menus become more complex (think molecular cuisine, etc.) the equipment does too, and a modern day restaurant kitchen can sometimes look more like a chemistry lab than a kitchen. This is a great position to be in, allowing your chefs high creativity and a place to try new techniques and tastes.

Weakness–Catering: In catering, it is rare that we are working somewhere as well equipped as a restaurant kitchen. Likely, most of the prep and some of the pre-cooking is done in advance with finishing and plating done onsite. This creates the challenge of offering dishes that can be as interesting as your clients are accustomed to having in a restaurant. Opportunity: Work to your “weakness.” You may not have molecular gastronomy at the ready, but your catering chef will blow a restaurant chef out of the water, when working an outdoor party, in the rain, with sketchy electricity, and only a six foot folding table for mise en place.

Opportunity–Catering: Most guests don’t even consider the challenges of catering for hundreds or thousands when booking an event. I am always amused when a catering client comes to us wanting the same dish they had in a particular restaurant—like we have an intimate knowledge of how that specific chef produces the dish!—and that we can do so for dozens or hundreds of people simultaneously.

Our response to this cannot be a simple “no.” We must educate and accommodate our clients. My usual response to a request like this is to question what in particular the client liked so much about the dish and then suggest ways we could do something similar but in a way that will work in a catering environment. More often than not this leads to a happy client and a realistic goal for the catering team.

Threat–Restaurants: While restaurants may have the advantage of a fully equipped kitchen, they do face a challenge regarding the sheer economics of the business. Think of it this way: in a typical restaurant you stock up your fridges, do hours of prep work, bring in all your staff, open your doors—and then pray that patrons decide to dine that night. If the local team has made the playoffs, if a snowstorm blows in—whatever might happen to make people change their minds and stay home—means a lot of wasted labor and probably some wasted food as well. Of course I am using an extreme example since reservations help us plan, but then let’s compare it for a minute to the catering business.

Strength–Catering: In catering, you know how many people are coming, exactly what they are eating (except maybe for that surprise ‘gluten free’ guest) and, if you are smart, you are paid in full before the event occurs.

Strength–Restaurants: An advantage to the restaurant business is the ability to offer choice. Restaurants can have varied menus with plenty of choices for any preference while in catering we are typically narrowing down the options to a single menu or perhaps a handful of choices.

Threat–Catering: One factor always in play is what I like to refer to as ‘Risk vs Reward.’ This considers the size of the group being served and the likelihood that if you are serving a single choice there will be disappointed guests. The larger the group, the more mainstream you may have to go to reduce the risk. Sometimes, however, taking a risk can generate great reward.

Opportunity–Catering: I remember one such occasion when we were contracted to cater a gala dinner for 700 guests. While beef tenderloin would have made the statement ‘elegant, high-end, gala-like,’ it wasn’t an option, as the group was a not-for-profit fashion association with a limited budget. But then I had an idea. With this fashionable crowd we would push the envelope and embrace a trend. Much like fashion itself it wouldn’t matter so much if our course selection was ‘expected’ but rather would it be memorable. As such, Indian restaurants were popping up all across the country at that time and Indian fine dining had become a catchphrase we were hearing more and more. Normally we avoid chicken for large events as it typically denotes ‘convention center’ menu, but I knew our team could pull off something interesting. The main course of the night would be Butter Chicken, served beautifully in an oversized wing bowl with crispy triangles of toasted Naan and finished with a dollop of raita. The dish was a huge hit, and the risk paid off.

Weakness–Both: Regardless of the differences, the pros and the cons of each, catering and restaurants still share the same goal of entertaining and feeding our guests. They also share the same economic challenges of managing costs. Whether you run a restaurant or a catering business you know very well the bottom line is what counts at the end of the month, and keeping an eye on your food costs, your labor costs, and your liquor costs (the big three I like to call them) will mean the difference between success and failure!

SWOT’s the real difference, then?

Various differences aside, there is one thing the restaurant and catering business will always share, and that is passionate people who work long hours with the goal of creating a special experience for our guests. We could have chosen a lot of careers and the one we settled on certainly isn’t the easiest, but we chose it for a reason. As long as we love what we do we should be committed to doing it as well as we can, pouring 100% of our hearts and souls into every meal we serve and every guest we serve it to!

swot analysis for catering business plan

Sebastien Centner is the Director of Eatertainment Special Events & Catering ( www.eatertainment.com) and the Creative Director of JECKL agency ( www.jeckl.us ) which concepts and executes events around the globe.

Sebastien launched Eatertainment Special Events & Catering, which has grown to be one of Canada’s top event planning and catering companies and was awarded ‘Best Caterer in Canada’ by the Canadian Event Industry Association. Currently Eatertainment hosts over 900 events each year in Canada and the US.

Sebastien has spearheaded and seamlessly executed hundreds of events for high-profile clients including Red Bull, TIFF, Hugo Boss, BMW and Porsche. Sebastien has also had the privilege of hosting events for such public figures as Martha Stewart, President Bill Clinton and Brad Pitt, to name a few.

Sebastien contributes his savoir-faire to a number of charitable events and has, over the past few years, built a reputation as an industry trendsetter, becoming a go-to source for inspiring at-home entertaining concepts. Known for hosting the most stylish dinner parties, Sebastien not only has a keen eye for design and an amazing attention to detail but also never ceases to amaze his guests with creative menu selections, cool cocktails, chic décor and beautiful table settings.

Recognized as an ‘Entertaining Expert’ and media personality, Sebastien is a regular expert on The Marilyn Denis Show and his concepts, recipes and lavish events have been featured in Hello! Magazine, EnRoute, Style at Home, Toronto Fashion, The National Post, The Globe & Mail, Toronto Sun, House & Home, among others.

Sebastien is proud to be working in an industry that he is so passionate about. Aside from his family, his greatest satisfaction is felt when he is able to help a client produce an unforgettable event. Sebastien lives in Toronto with his wife Sheila and their two sons.



Follow Sebastien



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swot analysis for catering business plan

Sebastien Centner is the Director – Eatertainment Events & Catering, Toronto, ON, Canada. You can find him online @sebcentner and @eatertainment.

swot analysis for catering business plan

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Catering Company SWOT Analysis Template

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We’ve done the heavy-lifting and industry research so you don’t have to! Our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats Analysis (SWOT Analysis) comes with up-to-date, compelling information about the Catering industry for your investors! We’ve also included several template responses to help you get started on the SWOT information for your business.

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SWOT Analysis for Restaurant: Guide and Example for SWOT Analysis for Restaurants

bar inventory software

It can be easy to miss the forest for the trees when you’re running a restaurant . A restaurant manager can be so hyper-focused on restaurant accounting and which restaurant KPI to include in their restaurant marketing strategies that they miss the bigger picture.

But you don’t operate your restaurant in a vacuum. Occasionally, you have to zoom out and take stock of your business’s fundamental strengths and weaknesses when compared to competitors and customer expectations. It’s the only way you’ll be able to position yourself for long-term success.

That’s where the SWOT analysis comes in. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats . It’s how businesses zoom out to look at their position within the larger commercial environment. It's more than learning the cost of how to get a liquor license , it's about every aspect of your restaurant. Let’s look into exactly how to do it.

Strengths And Weaknesses of A Restaurant

The first step is looking at the strength and weakness of a restaurant business. Involve trusted employees, such as servers , who interact with customers to help you build out your SWOT. They’ve often got a great idea of what people are thinking.

Strengths: What Do You Do Best?

Do you know what excites customers about your bar or restaurant? You may have figured some of this out when looking into how to increase customer satisfaction in a restaurant . It’s what keeps them coming back or what brought them there in the first place.

Common strengths include:

One of the most important restaurant and bar manager duties is keeping your ear to the ground and coaxing this feedback out of your customers. Alternately, read all the online reviews you can find or start giving guests feedback surveys. 

Weaknesses: What Are You Lacking?

As you do your strength analysis, you’ll realize that not every piece of feedback from your customers is positive. This is good. These are your weaknesses, and the only way to address them is to be aware of them.

Common bar and restaurant weaknesses are:

Again, pore over all your customer reviews , listen to your floor lieutenants, talk to customers, and/or institute a survey.

Opportunities And Threats

Strengths and weaknesses are the internal forces that you have a decent amount of control over. The next step, opportunities, and threats are the external factors that affect the creation and execution of your restaurant business plan .

Restaurant Competitor Analysis: Restaurant Threats SWOT

Threats are the external version of weaknesses. As in, they’re weaknesses, but you can’t identify them by looking inward.

Some common threats to a restaurant business include:

Scan the strengths of your competitors and tease out what makes them popular. The best way to analyze a restaurant's competition is to read competitor reviews and info on the hospitality industry . Take note of any wide-ranging pricing changes or new, more restrictive laws.

Market Analysis Example for Restaurant: Opportunities

Opportunities are areas where our restaurant can grow. Opportunities are based on your weaknesses, competitive analysis, cultural forces, and customer behavior. And, importantly, they’re actionable. Taking advantage of these opportunities can increase your profit margin .

If your venue makes it impossible to have patio seating, then outdoor dining isn’t an opportunity. Its absence can be a weakness, but if it can’t be reasonably implemented, it’s not a good opportunity.

Some common opportunities for bars and restaurants are:

Restaurant SWOT Analysis Example

Let’s take a look at how a restaurant business SWOT analysis shakes out in practice. Consider a hypothetical Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant. Two weeks before management convenes to put together their SWOT analysis, the participating managers are told to gather insights from customers, reviews, and competitors as best they can.

During the meeting, the group brainstormed each section together. Here’s the example SWOT analysis for a food business:

SWOT Analysis For New Restaurant

If you were to do a SWOT analysis for a new restaurant, it would largely require the same process. The only difference would be that you don’t have reviews and existing customers to mine for information. But don’t let that stop you.

Your restaurant business plan likely has a lot of very useful things for a SWOT analysis, including competitive research. And you and your investors and management team likely have a good idea of what your strengths are. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be bothered trying to bring your concept to life.

Altogether, the SWOT is a restaurant situation analysis. It’s one-half of a thorough restaurant analysis. It’s the right-brained half. A restaurant SWOT analysis doesn’t dig deep into analytics or crunch any numbers. It’s a high-level view of common large, common-sense issues.

The left-brained half is, of course, data analytics. And, in the bar and restaurant context, is more like the left-brained 90%. 

You should perform a SWOT analysis every four or six months to recognize and react to problems that aren’t solely identified by data analytics. You should also use a restaurant financial audit checklist for further analysis.

But the rest of the time, you should be doing everything in your power to leverage historical sales data and inventory consumption to make strategic, profitable decisions. And that’s exactly what the industry-leading bar inventory software BinWise Pro helps bars and restaurants across the world do. ‍


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