Catering Business Plan Example

Catering Business Plan

Society lacks resources for the homeless youth population. Eugene, like other cities, has homeless teenagers who have run away from home. They stay here for a few months and then go to California during the winter for warmer weather. These young adults struggle to be part of society, cannot provide for themselves, and perpetuate the cycle by having children.


We provide at-risk youth alternative education and career assistance in Lane County. We make this experience valuable for our clients through curricula funded by the Lane Workforce Partnership, Oregon Youth Conservation Corps, Oregon Department of Human Resources, and local school districts. Our culinary arts program is a recent addition where students learn about food preparation and safety, and then prepare lunches for their peers at the Chambers School. After the 9-week curriculum, students receive a 60-hour practical training with a local food service business to further develop their skills. Currently, the culinary arts program accepts five students per term, or around 25 students per year, who are selected based on their interest in the culinary field and excellent attendance.


According to the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, Eugene/Springfield’s economy thrives on small and medium-sized businesses. Most businesses employ fewer than 20 workers, and there are more than 10,000 businesses in and around Eugene. The population in Eugene/Springfield has grown by 3.95% on average since 1998, resulting in new businesses and opportunities for catering companies.

Catering For Kids anticipates unmet demand for catered lunch meetings and other events from Eugene/Springfield businesses. Business-to-business catering is less cyclical than business-to-consumer catering, as businesses continuously have lunch meetings and employees who buy their lunches year round. To understand the market size and demand, we conducted limited market research. We sent an email survey to 144 Lane County nonprofit organizations to gauge their current or future demand for catering services. Here are a few responses we received:

“I think this is a great idea and could be a good resource for the community. Springfield/Eugene Habitat for Humanity does not host many lunchtime meetings, but there is a group of about 13 or 14 Executive Directors of Habitat affiliates that meet here about every three months that might use your service.” – Susan Brown, Volunteer Coordinator, Eugene/Springfield Habitat for Humanity

“…if we do have an event that we need catering, we will call your program first. We have a policy of using nonprofit organizations for services first.” – Bob Smith, Exec Dir, Pacific Youth Corps of Oregon

“Our needs for catering are not very large, maybe a few times a year. However, you may contact me to discuss the program. My son attends Chambers School, and I would welcome hearing more details.” – Mark West, Lane County Agricultural Museum

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“We do have General Membership Meetings where we require a venue for 50 to 100 people. I’m not involved with arranging the meetings, but I do know that our organization needs a place to meet where food and beer can be served. Perhaps you will hear from Dave – I think the first meeting is usually in October.” – Emily, Graduate Teaching Federation Office


Other caterers offer boxed lunches for business clients, but none specialize in serving the nonprofit sector or benefit the local community. Catering For Kids aims to develop excellent relationships with nonprofit clients. We believe that our unique position, combined with competitively priced, fresh, high-quality meals, will make us the premier caterer for the Lane County nonprofit sector.

Why Us?

Catering For Kids is dedicated to providing at-risk youth with work experience and transferable skills while providing customers with healthy, homemade foods and excellent service at reasonable prices. Our employees are students enrolled in the culinary arts program at the Chambers School and Career Center, who want work experience in the restaurant and food services industry. Participating in this program will help them transition from school to work and develop entrepreneurial skills applicable to any future job.



The following chart indicates key financial indicators for the first three years. We anticipate slow but steady growth in demand and operating expenses. In the first year, Catering For Kids will serve its internal market only and start serving the external market in year two.

Financial Highlights by Year

Financing Needed

Our revenue sources include $15,000 annually from grant funding and anticipated donations of $2,000 per month, in addition to revenue from lunch fees and event catering.


Problem & Solution

Society lacks resources for the less privileged or homeless youth population. Eugene, like other cities, has homeless teenagers who have run away from home. They stay here for a few months and then go to California during the winter for warmer weather. These young adults struggle to be part of society, cannot provide for themselves, and perpetuate the cycle by having children.

Our Solution

The Chambers School and Career Center, a tax-exempt nonprofit program, assists at-risk youth in the Eugene/Springfield area. We provide a learning and work environment where students feel challenged, respected, and accountable as they transition into adulthood. Our staff of approximately 250 employees, along with volunteers, plays a vital role in the organization. Funding for the school comes from governmental contracts, charitable gifts, United Way funding, and service fees.

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Target Market

Market Size & Segments

Catering For Kids will serve three primary customer groups. As our business grows, we will serve these groups in the following order, as each represents a larger step into the community and requires us to differentiate ourselves further from local caterers. Our target customers are corporate clients who seek refreshing meals for recurring lunchtime meetings.

1. Internal Bright Future Customers:

– Board of Directors meetings: serving 35-45 meals per month in buffet or lunch box format.

– Board Sub-committee meetings: serving 40-50 meals per month in buffet or lunch box format.

– Bright Future Counseling Center meetings: serving approximately 25 meals each week in buffet or lunch box format.

– Miscellaneous meetings throughout the organization, which has over 250 employees.

– Rolling cart lunch service at various Bright Future locations in Eugene/Springfield, offering boxed lunches and beverages only.

2. Nonprofit External Customers:

– Catered meetings held by other nonprofit clients.

3. For-profit External Customers:

– Rolling cart boxed lunch and College City coffee service in local government or private sector offices underserved by local establishments.

Our target market segment is nonprofit customers, including internal clients. We believe that as a nonprofit organization, we are better positioned to serve the needs of other nonprofits. Nonprofit organizations are more likely to support fellow nonprofits for catering services. We do not plan to compete directly with for-profit caterers but aim to focus on serving at-risk youth in Lane County.


Several caterers in town will compete with Catering For Kids once we expand beyond serving internal clients. The key competitors are:

– Of Grape & Grain: specializes in deli-style boxed lunches and cafe-style dining, currently used by Bright Future.

– Cravings Fine Foods: specializes in event planning and cafe-style dining, also offers deli-style corporate boxed lunches.

– Ariana’s Deli (owned by Alpine Catering): features online ordering of deli-style boxed lunches for delivery.

– Fetuccini and Co.: also offers online ordering of deli-style boxed lunches for delivery.

– The Garden Deli: also offers online ordering of deli-style boxed lunches for delivery.

– Napoli Restaurant: features Italian-style boxed lunches with a limited menu and no delivery.

– Brindiamo Catering: offers high-end boxed lunches with delivery, table decor, and waitstaff.

– Wild Duck Brewery: features hot and cold boxed lunches, boxed salads, and delivery for a small fee.

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– Oregon Electric Station: specializes in high-end events such as weddings and corporate parties.

– Alpine Catering: a full-service caterer.

– Oakway Caterers.

Low-end caterers currently used by some Bright Future programs also compete with Catering For Kids:

– Local and national grocery store chains: make made-to-order deli submarine sandwiches, chips, and sides.

– Local and national sandwich fast-food chains: make made-to-order sandwiches, chips, and beverages.

These low-cost providers lack custom menu planning and do not differentiate between retail consumers and business or nonprofit customers. Their services are one size fits all, with a fixed and limited menu, and delivery hours restricted to their operating hours. Patronizing them does not directly benefit the community like Catering For Kids does.


Catering For Kids can provide internal and external customers with high-quality catered business lunches year round at competitive prices while benefiting the community. We have a pre-trained workforce through the Bright Future Chambers School and Safe & Sound Youth Project. The culinary arts program students have training in commercial food preparation and possess food handler’s cards. This work experience helps them transition from school to work and creates a positive image for Catering For Kids. The culinary arts program instructor, an experienced restaurateur and role model, brings practical business management knowledge to the operation.

While our workforce constantly changes due to the flow of students, our teachers and staff are committed to success. Small class sizes allow for adequate supervision and quality control.

Keys to Success

Our Keys to Success:

– Cultivate an identity (brand) in the Eugene/Springfield community.

– Expand our customer base into new areas.

– Hire a year-round business manager for the catering business.

– Expand the donor/corporate partner base and corporate contributions.

– Provide students with entrepreneurial job skills.

– Acquire additional equipment to support future growth and offer greater flexibility.

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