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chelle21689's avatar

Must a banquet hall have in-house catering to be successful?

Asked by chelle21689 (7079points) June 3rd, 2013

As many of you know, I’m still searching for my career. One thing for sure is I’ve always had my heart set on owning by own business but I didn’t know what. Lately I’ve been very interested in owning a banquet hall that provides receptions and also other special events such as prom, corporate, etc.

I see a lot of places offer catering. I didn’t have my heart set on starting out as a restaurant type place. I know a lot of people sometimes want to bring their own food or own caterer. Is it still profitable if you aren’t a restaurant type banquet? I’d more so plan on developing relationships with restaurant owners and caterers some how.

Maybe in the future once things are up and running I can go towards a restaurant/serving type place. Of course, right now I’m researching as much as I can to see if this is fitting. So basically I’m all talk right now.

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8 Answers

Sunny2's avatar

I would think that catering would be part of the business. People hire a hall and bring in their own caterers, but I think that would just be a matter of rental agreements, hiring part time help and keeping it in shape for events. You could look into schools that have classes in the hospitality business, top to bottom. There’s a lot to learn and I think it would be fascinating. Good luck.

chelle21689's avatar

My sister said I should work at a banquet hall for some experience to have an idea of what they do.

chelle21689's avatar

I was thinking of shadowing a manager

Kardamom's avatar

You don’t necessarily need to have your own catering business, but your banquet hall should be equipped with a catering-style kitchen: warming racks, stove and oven, large fridge and freezer, prep tables, serving platters and utensils and chafing dishes, coffee urns etc. It’s always awkward and more difficult for a catering staff, when they bring stuff to a place that does not have these items. The reason being is that often hot items will have to sit out and get cool, and cold items will have to sit out and get warm, leading to potential food poisoning situations. And with the best catering situations, some of the prep is done at their catering business, but some items need to be “finished” on site, and if you don’t have a proper catering kitchen, the final touches might not happen.

The place where I work does not have a catering kitchen, so the caterers and the florists are all crammed into the staff break room when they are setting up. It’s completely un-sanitary and ridiculous.

You should definitely work in a banquet hall, and possibly with a caterer and maybe with a wedding planner. It’s hard, grueling work. You will need to know all about business as well as special events coordinating and food service (even if you don’t have a catering service that you own).

If you are smart, efficient, hardworking and flexible, this could be an excellent career.

chelle21689's avatar

What I’m worried about is working at a banquet hall devoting my time to experience making minimum wage and not even getting tips. I don’t know anyone that tips servers at banquet halls. I mean, if I do take a part time job in it will I even get to have experience learning to coordinate an event and manage rather than just serve???

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I’m a member of an organization which owns the building we meet in. We are trying everything to increase our rentals for the banquet facilities. We have 15 % fewer events than 3 years ago, lucky we own the building outright.
Starting a catering / banquet business without years of background and owning the building would be a recipe for a disaster.
Work up a business plan for costs and revenues. We did we need to rent the the hall, have food and sell liquor a minimum of 3 nights a month.

YARNLADY's avatar

According to the new meeting hall here in my city, the users must use an approved caterer because of safety and other use issues. They must follow very restrictive guidelines to provide their own refreshments, and clean up must be done by the hall crew. The prices are included in the contract.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

This is coming from someone who has been in the hospitality business since 1980. Owning and managing banquet space is very similar to running a produce stand. There are costs that are fixed and costs that are variable. If the product, be it rental space or fruit, go unsold, then the cost cannot be recouped because it is a perishable product.

Unless there is enough money to invest in this business and allows someone with the passion and experience to run it, then it just isn’t worth pursuing. From my experience, even in the best of economical times, it isn’t worth pursuing. Even if consistently successful, it takes years to recoup the initial costs and eventually make a profit.

One source to start with is a company like ARAMARK. They handle food services of all sorts all over the US, including catering. A local rep may be able to help you get in touch with a banquet owner/manager who is successful.

Good luck, and please keep us posted on how you proceed with this idea.

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