Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Advice When Entering a Catering Business

People who have a knack for cooking naturally think about sharing their talent by venturing into catering, the business of providing food service to events like weddings, conventions, and banquets. If you feel you are ready to enter the exciting and rewarding world of catering, it helps to remember the following advice.

  • Specialization – to set yourself apart from the competition, you need to find your niche, whether it's in vegan cuisine or specialty cocktails, to name a few; although smaller towns demand you to be a jack of all trades, it is more lucrative to know and stick to what your edge is
  • Logistics – the start-up cost of a catering business is low since you can initially outsource and rent supplies like tables, utensils, and linens; moreover, take into consideration how you will transport food and how you will maintain the temperature, especially if the site has no kitchen available
  • Marketing – since you have no retail space, marketing and branding are critical in this business; a website, where potential clients can know more about you and your history and perhaps hire you for a gathering, is a vital tool; nevertheless, have a professional web designer create it

These are just some of the things to consider once you start your own catering company. If you are organized, far-sighted, and patient enough, the aroma of your cooking will soon enough reach them, and the cash piles eventually will come in.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

BBQ Time: Tips for Choosing a Grill

If you grew up on backyard barbecue treats on summer weekends and loved watching your dad flip burger patties, steaks, or hotdogs, then you can't have a house of your own and not have a grill. Given today's innovations in cooking equipment, modern grills are much more efficient and convenient to use. Therefore, while scouting for your grill options, here are some tips for you to keep in mind:

Choose the right style.

Of course, you'd want a grill that would look nice in your yard or outdoor kitchen. Although the grill's appearance doesn't affect the taste of the barbecue, having a grill that matches your home's architecture, and complements the landscaping can be aesthetically pleasing. You'll need to think about grill color, size, and style before making a purchase.

Look for useful features.

Depending on your reasons for buying a grill, there are several considerations for you to ponder on. Examine grill features, such as storage options, size of the cooking surface, and extra burners, and determine whether you need them or not. Go for a grill that will make every grilling session quick and easy.

Set a budget.

Grill prices can range anywhere from $200 to $4,000. Needless to say, the more money you shell out, the better your grill will be. However, always avoid the temptation of spending beyond your budget because you might end up with a fancy grill but no money left to buy anything to barbecue.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Cook Up a Storm: Start Your Own Catering Business

If you love camping out in the kitchen and have been complimented on your cooking a few times too many, you might just be cut out for the catering business. But a passion for all things culinary, including food preparation and presentation, is not the only thing you need to succeed in a catering venture. Remember these tips while you give this catering idea some thought:

Starting small is the way to go, especially since startup costs for this kind of enterprise can be high. Try home-based catering first and start with small, private functions to test the waters. (Better yet, get a relative to hire you.) This way, you are not required to hire a lot of people, nor prepare a ton of food that may or may not be palatable to guests.

Get the necessary permits and equipment. Operating from the confines of your kitchen may still require you to get a license, depending on your location. Likewise, do not forget to stock up on equipment that will make your preparation easier and safer. When clients are already seeking out your services and word of mouth has given your business a boost, it is time to expand.

Finally, always be mindful of food safety regulations. Make sure you are following your area’s rules to the letter. Ensure that the quality of service you provide is also on par with industry standards.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

How to Buy Catering Equipment Supplies

Food has always been a great business. Sustenance is a basic need, and people are always eager to try new and exotic food. However, when starting a food business such as a catering service, there are a couple of things you have to keep in mind especially when it comes to supplies and equipment. You have to make sure that they are of good quality and that they suit your needs perfectly.

That's why before you shop for equipment, you should do some careful planning. First, come up with a detailed list of everything you actually need. This will help you avoid buying things that are either unnecessary or not suited to your business. After making your list, determine whether you are getting brand new or second-hand items. It wouldn't hurt to ask friends and acquaintances in the business to weigh in with their opinions. 

After you've made up your mind about which items you'll be purchasing, proceed to the shopping part. Check online stores for prices and compare them with the ones at retail stores. Looking online saves time and effort and provides the opportunity for you to thoroughly check each item's specs and compare its pros and cons with those of other brands and available models.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Cook Your Way into the Hearts of Your Clients

Tending to the unique palates of a large number of finicky eaters can take its toll on the hardworking caterer. The way to succeed at a catering venture is by providing high-quality food that will not fail to make every guest drool. You can achieve this by purchasing the best catering equipment—this will go a long way in helping you make your way to the stomachs and hearts of your clients.

Before you get caught up in a buying frenzy, assess your needs. Purchase equipment based on what your business needs and not what will look good in your kitchen. When making a list of cooking appliances to buy, consider the size of both your workspace and the piece you want to buy. Then think about the price and compare it to projected return of investment. You wouldn't want to use up a lot of money for a top-of-the-line equipment if there's no guarantee that the money you spent will come back to you.

Unless you have a baseball field for a kitchen, you can't just buy massive appliances on a whim. At the end of the day, the kitchen must have enough room for the cook to move around comfortably. It is advisable for caterers to use cooking equipment made of steel as they durable and easy to clean and maintain. Ideally each piece of equipment must be easy to use so the cook and his helpers would not have a hard time operating it.

Most importantly, don't forget to check if you have enough money for everything. When on the lookout for catering equipment, make every cent count by inquiring about specifications and other vital bits of information.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Keep Your Restaurant Competitive with the Right Commercial Kitchen Equipment

According to Nielsen's 2013 Restaurant Growth Index, tougher competition—particularly the opening of 47,161 new restaurants—can account for the apparent 7 percent drop in per-restaurant sales in 2012. In any case, the U.S. restaurant industry is certainly still a lucrative one, with overall sales of $472.4 billion last year. This industry also provides employment to more than 13 million people,making it the largest private sector employer.

The best thing about the restaurant business is that there's somehow always room for growth. After all, there will always be demand for food. Competition may be intense, but with a good business sense and proper day-to-day management, any budding restaurateur can succeed despite all odds.

If you want to start a restaurant, the first thing you have to think about is its identity. What type of cuisine will you focus on? Do you want to follow the norm, or would you rather come up with your own concept? This will all be factored into your business plan.

You also need to identify the right commercial kitchen equipment for your restaurant. These items may be more expensive than household implements, but keep in mind that they are designed to withstand heavy use. By choosing wisely, you can avoid unnecesary breakage and costly repairs for a long time. Likewise, you can ensure optimum food quality and be on a par with the best in the industry.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

A Brief Overview on The Precise Art of Butchering

Do you know how many basic cuts of beef and lamb there are in Australia? By the standards of the Meat & Livestock of Australia, there are a total of 37 basic cuts of beef and 29 basic cuts of lamb. That's a lot of cuts for aspiring butchers to master.

To many people, butchering is an ageless art form that needs human skills in combination with high-powered machines to preserve the optimum flavor and texture of meat. Good butchering requires the proper identification of the best parts of cattle and lamb meat, which may vary according to the variety of animal where the meat product is coming from. For example, the best cuts of wagyu beef are different from those of angus beef.

A well-trained butcher needs to be precise in his cuts for each variety such that the prime parts are well-separated from the rest and may thus be marketed as such. Luckily, Australia has some of the best butcher training centers that offer programs tailor-made for Australian livestock. Lucky, too, that modern kitchen equipment now provide many options for the precise cutting and slicing of meat.

Modern meat slicing implements are, of course, indispensable in getting the job done right and in the most efficient manner. However, they cannot replace the eye and skill of a good butcher who has taken the art of meat-cutting to heart.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Modern Technology, Soft Serve, and Mrs. Thatcher

It was the stuff of urban legends: right after her death on April 8, 2013, the Internet was abuzz with stories on how former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher figured prominently in the invention of soft serve, ice cream that is much softer than the regular one due to the introduction of air while freezing. The stories related that while working for the British food conglomerate J. Lyons and Co in the late 1940s, Baroness Thatcher helped create a technique for adding air into ice cream, which eventually led to the invention of soft serve machines.

The story was pure conjecture, of course, as the invention of soft serve is attributed to either Tom Carvel or J.F. McCullogh, and happened in the 1930s in the U.S., long before Baroness Thatcher joined J. Lyons. In fact, the existence of soft serve is largely the result of advances in kitchen equipment technology. Soft serve can only be served directly from a special machine to avoid crystallization, unlike regular ice cream that can remain uncrystallized for a longer period after its manufacture.

Modern kitchen equipment not only brought the world soft-serve but also such things as designer coffee. This beverage, complete with fruit-flavored creams and chocolate mixes, can be prepared to your specification in just a matter of minutes. Such an innovation is also the reason you can now sample choco-chip cookies from certain popular brands in almost the exact same way they were made several decades ago.