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Challenges and Solutions Of The Catering Industry

Every business within every industry has its challenges. It’s how they face them is what makes them a success or a failure. The hospitality industry is known for its high failure rate, especially in the catering sector. Being in the catering business takes hard work, dedication, and experience to excel. Continue reading for common challenges that arise in the catering industry and how to overcome them.

1. Management
Management is at the top of the food chain within any business. If the management is failing, you can expect the entire business to fail. A good manager must be to handle the cooks, servers, dishwashers, and more at any given time during an event. It’s a lot to juggle being a catering manager, and it’s not something that be learned over night. Most successful catering managers start at the bottom and work their way up as they gain experience.

The power of promoting from within, is huge for the hospitality industry. Someone who already has experience, especially with your business can be the ultimate solution for having the best manager. If you don’t have any good employees that are ready to be promoted to manager, then you want to find someone who has experience, and take the time to train them.

2. Staff Turnover
Staff turnover is huge challenge within the hospitality industry. The National Restaurant Association said the turnover rate topped 70% for the second consecutive year in 2017. Either people leave looking for higher paying jobs, or they move up through the ranks.

There are ways to counteract this negative perception of high employee turnover. When you invest more in your staff, they usually pay you back. Set some extra time aside for training and one-on-one sessions with each of your staff members. Check in on them, and ask them questions about how you can improve their experiences on the job. That doesn’t mean you should give your employees everything they want, but finding things your able to meet them in the middle with, can make your staff want to stay longer. That could be additional bonuses for a job well done or some time off.

3. Long Hours
Working in the catering industry can be fun and exciting with a constant venue change and constantly meeting new people. However, a successful catering business can be associated with having long hours, especially in the evening. Some people like working long hours, but is it beneficial? And, is it healthy?
In a lot of cases, it’s more important for a business to work smarter rather than longer. In the catering industry, you might be pushed to work late at an event for a variety of reasons like the clean up or setup is taking longer than expected, or you’re constantly dealing with unruly customers.

Your best plan should be to implement best practices on how to prevent such scenarios. The great thing about living in such a high-powered technology age is you can purchase programs to automate many of your business practices. From employee scheduling to payroll processing, these programs allow you to concentrate more on the customer experience. The customer experience requires more of a personalized approach rather than automating its processes.

4. Training
Between the planning and execution of your catering services, it can be challenging to make time for training your staff. There are a lot of catering employers who don’t rank training as a very high priority within their business.
Training should begin day 1 for any new employees, and extend until the employee leaves your business. It’s not enough to show an employee your processes on the first day. As an owner or manager, you should want to mold your employees to grow as your business does. When you help your employees grow by helping them develop their skills, they are less likely to leave your business for other opportunities.

5. Customers
You can be the best caterer in the industry and still have unruly or angry customers. You could have customers who just have unrealistic expectations or you made a simple mistake of showing up late or providing an incorrect order. Dealing with customers properly is one of the biggest factors in having good repeat business.
Knowing how to deal with every scenario of an unruly customer can be easier said than done. You should accept that there is no such thing as total customer satisfaction. However, if you act realistic and continue to improve your processes, a good customer experience is in your future.

6. Organization
When your venue and party size constantly change, it can be extremely challenging to stay organized. When your business is not organized, you make mistakes. For example, you arrive at your event venue and you realize you forgot a few serving trays or a certain ingredient to your main dish. That might seem like a small mistake, but it can be very costly in the catering industry.

As a solution, it’s important you rank your priorities and implement successful processes so organization never becomes a problem. You can have run throughs or rehearsals with your staff before the big event and ensure nothing is missing. Then you will want to give your staff all the tools they need for them to be successful. When you make the big event a team effort, there leaves less room for error when relying on only one person.

7. Food Waste
Food waste is a huge problem across all sectors within the hospitality industry. According to the Huffington Post, the human population’s global food losses and food waste must be reduced by 50%.It’s an issue that continues to rise for both businesses and consumers. For caterers, it can be extremely challenging to plan the amount of food you need for an event. It can be one of the worst things in the world, to show up to an event and not have enough food.

The first step you should take in decreasing your food waste is finding a program that calculates accurate quantities of food. Having a higher volume of small plate options is your second solution. Third, have good food storage processes. When you lessen your food waste, you decrease your costs and ultimately help the environment.

The catering industry can be a tough industry to work in. However, if you are able to face all of your challenges with successful solutions, it can be a very fun industry to work in. The best thing about the catering industry is how creative you can be. Do what works best for you and your business and you are sure to be successful.

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