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Forum nameBiz Ideas
Topic subjectCatering service for busy families
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2843, Catering service for busy families
Posted by enercom, Sat Aug-09-08 04:05 AM
My wife and I are very determined to start our own small business and came up with the following concept:

Deliver weeknight meals for families. the main target segment is working couples because of higher disposable income and lack of free time. This service would relieve them from grocerie shopping, meal planing and preparation, kitchen cleaning, etc. 4 times per week.

Meals would be prepared and delivered twice per week. For example on Monday afternoons, we would cook Monday and tuesday's meals, each consisting of a main course, salad or veggie, and a starch (e.q. rice, potatoes, etc.). On Wednesday we would do the same for Wednesday and Thursday nights. There would only be one menu per night but it would be different every night unitl the 4th or 5th week, at which point the menu would start to rotate.

We want to concentrate on preparing high-quality, great-tasting, homestyle food with sensible nutritional content (my wife is a chef). Nutritional labels included with every meal and no meal would ever be above 600 calories per person.

we have worked out both target-based and cost based pricing to find the sweetspot between attaining reasonable margins and pricing it attractively and have found that $10 per serving would do it.

The part that I'm mostly worried about is delivery. We definitely only want to target neighborhoods where we are able to gather at least 5 families within a reasonable distance and we are thinking of charging a $5 delivery fee per family per delivery. We think that, in time, when we have a large enough customer base we can hire a part-time delivery boy, that would be able to make at least $30 or $40 per hour and from there, subtract vehicle and gas usage. In the mean time, my wife and I would have to deliver ourselves.

Additionally, I have not found similar businessess in the area where I live. I have done a lot of online searching and have not found similar businessess in other areas either. This actually scares me and makes me question whether our business idea is feasible.

I would sincerely appreciate the perspective of other small business owners on our idea and concept.

2845, RE: Catering service for busy families
Posted by bizdev, Sat Aug-09-08 10:59 AM
You've obviously thought this through. Have you checked with your local city offices to see if they allow this type of business? Do you need to adhere to food industry regulations? You may be required to do your cooking from a "professional" kitchen that has passed food safety requirements.

The idea itself sounds good. I can certainly see families with both parents working taking advantage of your service. However, with people tightening their purse strings this service might be considered an extra expense that people may not want to pay for.

The fact that your wife is chef is a huge plus! That will allow you to charge more for your service.

Don't forget to write your business plan! Keep us posted on your progress.

Startup & Biz Plan Help
2847, RE: Catering service for busy families
Posted by enercom, Sat Aug-09-08 12:02 PM
Thanks Sylvia.

I failed to mentionthat we have already arranged to rent our church's kitchen, which is an industrial facility licensed for commercial purposes by the department of health; so that part is covered.

As I said, what scares me a little bit is that I could not find an identical business model. There are plenty that offer frozen food; then there's the "Let's Dish" ones, where people actually go and prepare their own meals; but none involve fresh food without preservatives, etc.

The other part that I'm worried about, at least in the beginning is delivery.

Thanks for the feedback. Hopefully I'll get other members' feedback as well.
2855, RE: Catering service for busy families
Posted by Pepperfire, Mon Aug-11-08 03:51 AM
Wouldn't the delivery be handled much like a delivery driver for a restaurant?


Tina Brooks, VP Marketing
Brooks Pepperfire Foods, Inc.
Makers of Peppermaster Hot Sauces

Eat more peppers!
2864, RE: Catering service for busy families
Posted by enercom, Mon Aug-11-08 12:35 PM
Tnanks Tina.

Do you know how restaurant delivery drivers get paid? Do they get an hourly rate plus a certain amount for vehicle and gas usage?

I'm thinking of charging $5 extra to each customer for each delivery. I estimate that the driver can make about 4 to 5 deliveries in an hour. That would mean that he/she would be making $20 to $25 per hour; from there they would have to subtract vehicle and gas usage.

Do you think I can attract somebody that is willing to do this two nights per week, for about 1 to 2 hours each night?

Does anybody else know how restaurant delivery is done?

Thanks in advance.
2867, RE: Catering service for busy families
Posted by Pepperfire, Tue Aug-12-08 02:18 AM
I haven't worked with delivery drivers in a long time, but you have two options from what I understand.

1. You can pay them for the delivery, in which case, you might want to find yourself a senior looking for exercise and he'll deliver on his bicycle or motorized scooter, sort of thing.


2. You can pay him by the hour. And when he's not delivering use him for other tasks.

Either way, check with labour laws, you may have a minimum number of hours you have to hire someone for... (Here it's a minimum 4 hour shift) and one of the reasons we rather do things ourselves.


Tina Brooks, VP Marketing
Brooks Pepperfire Foods, Inc.
Makers of Peppermaster Hot Sauces

Eat more peppers!
2913, RE: Catering service for busy families
Posted by enercom, Mon Aug-25-08 10:13 AM
I came up with some pretty cool flyers that I'd like to distribute among upscale homes in the area where we plan on delivering.

My question is: Is it legal for us to drive around sticking flyers in other people's mailboxes? If we use direct mail, we'd first have to figure out names and addresses of people to send them to, plus it would cost us a fortune in postage fees.