How To Ensure Your Catering Equipment

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Image via Flickr creative commons from PKL Group

Catering equipment is expensive and if anything goes wrong such as breakages or theft, you may suffer huge set-backs if you can’t really afford to replace it in a hurry. You may suffer large profit slumps if you can’t produce food as quickly you usually would. Catering insurance can not only cover your equipment but also your customers, your employees, the food you send out and if you operate a mobile catering business, they can cover your vehicle fleet.

Mobile catering is a fast growing business, you will often see an army of these vehicles offering all foods imaginable at festivals, concerts and funfair’s. Mobile caterers can also cover weddings, corporate events and other similar occasions. Mobile catering compared to the traditional set-up such as a shop or restaurant, has relatively cheap set-up costs. Without expensive buildings to rent you will need a much smaller start up fund. Mobile catering is just like any other business and has the same odds against them, including the hazards of being mobile and using public highways. Different types of vehicles can used for mobile catering from small trailers dragged behind a normal vehicle, food carts, large vans or trucks witch can not only deliver and sell the food, but cook the food inside them to in industrial quality kitchens. Insuring the vehicle is necessary and you need to let your insurers know you are using your vehicle for business. They may not cover you and you may need to find specialist insurance from a company such as NCASS (Nationwide Caterers Association or Simply Business. Most mobile caterers in the UK offer a comprehensive combined liability insurance package which covers all issues including up to £10 million to cover, public liability, products liability and employer’s liability including busy periods and over time.

If you are just about to start up your own catering business, be it in a pub or restaurant you may wish to purchase all your catering equipment from the same place, such as the cash and carry Makro. Purchasing all your equipment from the same place can ensure conformity, giving your kitchen a professional feel and easy flow, making your chefs job’s easier. You will also build a relationship with the supplier making any later repairs or further purchases at a later date, easier. One of the biggest investments involved with setting up your business will be kitting out your kitchen. You will need expensive industrial grade catering equipment and your kitchen needs to flow, allowing your food to flow seamlessly from the prep area to the cook line and onto the pass towards your customers table. There are some places you can save money, renting equipment or leasing it is a great idea on certain pieces of kit. Items such as ice machines are ideal to rent due to their short life span. Big industrial ovens and steamers are ideal to buy second hand due to their long life and high cost.

One are you will not wish to scrimp on is your insurance. Protecting yourself from expensive lawsuits is imperative to business owners. You may also wish to investigate Loss of business insurance, that will help recoup some lost revenue or something totally out of your hands happens near your business. You may also wish to check out specific peril insurance, this covers natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods or power outages. A more in depth guide into the different kinds of insurance can be found online at about.com.

Why You Should Start Planning A Catering Career As Early As Possible

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Image via Flickr creative commons from Adam Freidin

Once you have decided you want to embark on a career in catering, you should know that experience is key. Qualifications of many sorts are important, but they will mean little to a prospective employer if not accompanied with some kind of workplace history.

Before you start scouring the internet for catering jobs from Blue Arrow, make sure you have thought about exposure to the heat and pressure of a working restaurant or café and getting a first-hand look at the responsibilities required.

A strong idea of the culture of kitchen work is essential; a budding chef should be prepared for long hours and numerous busy services.

Starting your career path early is also important as – although you may not need any academic qualifications to start work as a trainee chef – some employers will prefer you to have a good general standard of education including GCSEs in subjects like English and maths. Enrolling yourself in culinary education isn’t a prerequisite, though it can act as a good boost when attempting to get into a kitchen.

Some courses have links with local businesses who can offer internship positions. If this option is not available to you pursue it yourself. You can talk to the head chef at your local restaurant and ask if they would be willing for you to help out.

But you don’t need to worry about having it all meticulously planned out at once. Robert Pozen, of Harvard Business School, says you need not worry about some grand master plan and that you have no control over the particular trajectory of your career. So be patient.

Although he adds: “On the other hand, you can increase your probability of success by approaching your career with the right mind-set—one that recognizes that career planning is a continuous process that has to be actively managed. At each step in your career, you need to ask yourself: What can I do next that will maximize my options in the future?”

Mario Batali started his journey to the top as a dishwasher at a New Jersey pizza parlour. To become a chef you need a keen interest in food, even if that includes just being around it in the same kitchen while you wash the utensils. To get a taste, your first foray into restaurant work does not have to be prestigious.

Beyond experience you have to work your way up and prepare yourself for long hours. Establish at the very beginning whether or not you can commit to regular 16 hour days and swelteringly hot working arrangements. Once you start applying for jobs it is important to understand that you will start at the bottom. Even those with a culinary arts degree usually start with physically taxing work like peeling potatoes or processing meat.

A chef’s job is very demanding,” explains Masterchef judge and Michel Roux Jr’s soux chef, Monica Galetti. “It’s physically tough – there’s lots of carrying and lifting – it’s hot and the hours are long and unsocial. You have to have courage and broad shoulders, and when it’s time to work you have to step up to the mark.”