The business of an outdoor catering firm should as far as possible continue throughout the year to ensure the plant and staff are used to the full. In each and every function carried out, the organizer should aim to give a fully comprehensive sales service, covering not only meals and drinks but such things as confectionary, cigarettes, hot-dog kiosks and so on. As in function catering the organisation must be planned to the last detail and initial survey should be exact and thorough. The following points should be included in the initial survey:
- Type of function.
- Site and distance from depot.
- Local transport.
- Staff recruitment.
- Layout of site.
- Number of people expected to attend.
- Availability of water, gas, electricity, drainage, refrigeration.
- Spending power of people attending.
- Kiosk and stand details.
- Time and allowance for setting up catering units and dismantling.
- Type of license: if required.
- Mobile units adaptable to hot and cold food.
- Lines of communication to ensure control of staff and continuous supply.
- Changing rooms and toilets.
- Insurance against weather/fire.
- Cost of overheads on a particular site.
- Type of service: find the one most suited to each particular catering operation.
- Buffet style service may be preferred to restaurant service.
- Provision of the takeaway meal service in disposable containers.
- Supply to some people simple hot dishes like soup, fish and chips and so on.
- Flexibility of drink service: hot or cold-according to weather.
- Washing up facilities.
- Containers supplied for little and disposable items.
Each out door catering operation is different and varies to some extent in the main points that have to be noted during the initial survey. From the basic list shown above one appreciates the organisation to prepare and check before hand and some of the problems that may arise at the outset or during an operation. Always remember that it is very easy for the inexperience caterer to run at loss, but to run at profit, demands certain standards and qualities of both the caterer and the staff and the service provided.
As the majority of staff employed at outdoor catering functions are taken on as casuals, there are certain facilities that have to be observed from an administrative viewpoints. This is essential to ensure that all legal aspects of employment are covered and that the staff are aware of their responsibilities both to employer and the client.
Prior to an event each employee should receive an engagement pack. This should include:-
- Casual worker registration form.
- Legal requirement forms.
- Acceptance of offer of Employment - to be signed and dated by employee.
It is appreciated that the organisation of outdoor catering functions must be very thorough as, once on site, it is often virtually impossible to rectify errors. Any items forgotten or not packed or not transported, have to be gone without. This is to be determined of the function and could result in the loss of “repeat” business at a later date.