Sumptuous Cuisine Catering

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Catering and Ballroom Rental Business Plan

Market Analysis Summary

The catering industry serves private, corporate, and non-profit events with food, drinks, event management and other services. Events are generally held by clients in order to celebrate, communicate, or both.

  • Celebration: Parties and banquets as part of key events in life (birthdays, weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, engagements, bridal and baby showers, retirement parties, etc.) or for a business (holiday or end-of-year parties, retirements, honoree galas, etc.)
  • Communication: Events to communicate a message for the benefit of attendees or the press (product launches, press events, trade shows, conferences, presentations, lectures, fundraisers) or to stimulate discussion (corporate meetings, summits, etc.)

The U.S. market for caterers was estimated at $6.9 billion in 2008 by IBISWorld. The market is prone to economic cycles, as events, especially corporate events, are one of the first expenses cut during a downturn. Celebratory events may be scaled back a bit, but are generally not canceled during a downturn (i.e., spending on weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc., continues). The industry contracted by 1.5% in 2008 due the economic downturn and a similar decline is apparent for 2009. In 2010 the industry is expected to return to positive growth. The industry is relatively mature, as 33,000 catering companies serve the U.S., or one company for every 9,000 Americans.

There is a movement towards horizontal integration in the greater event industry, with some full-service event providers growing to provide entertainment, audio-visual and technology, catering, rentals, decor, venues and more. Businesses that provide these additional services may take on assets that are not as fully utilized as a specialist's would be, but they can earn greater margins on the sales they make. With its opening of The Sumptuous Ballroom, Sumptuous Cuisine Catering will become part of this integration movement.

Market Segmentation

The market analysis chart is provided for the Doeuvreville area in a radius of ten miles.

The corporate market is defined as businesses which hold at least one off-site event each year. Businesses often have A/V and public relations needs in concert with their events which may serve a marketing function for the business. Whether entertaining the press, clients, or board members, businesses require professional execution, delicious food and drinks, and alignment between the event managers/caterers and their business's objectives for the event.

The private market includes households with a combined household income of over $80,000 per year (those most likely to throw an upscale event in a rented venue). This group puts a great deal of pressure on caterers and requires added attention, as lavish events may be uncommon for them. They require hands-on work and planning as well as expert advice and referrals throughout the process.

The non-profit market is defined as non-profit organizations which hold at least one off-site event each year. Very price conscious, the non-profit market looks for in-kind donations and discounted services whenever possible. Some non-profits realize the benefit of paying for great events which lead, in kind, to improved perception of the organization and donations, while others will take the lowest price available at the minimal quality level acceptable.

Market Analysis
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Potential Customers Growth CAGR
Corporate 1% 2,500 2,525 2,550 2,576 2,602 1.00%
Private 2% 25,000 25,500 26,010 26,530 27,061 2.00%
Non-Profit 1% 500 505 510 515 520 0.99%
Total 1.89% 28,000 28,530 29,070 29,621 30,183 1.89%

Target Market Segment Strategy

Sumptuous Cuisine Catering has, traditionally, targeted the private and corporate markets primarily. They will continue this focus with the launch of The Sumptuous Ballroom. Private clients, although requiring additional labor and handholding, can be charged somewhat higher rates than corporate clients. Furthermore, they help to "recession-proof" the business by providing steadier revenue streams in economic downturns.

Corporate business can lead to repeat engagements with clients who have annual or even quarterly events and are more valuable as clients to acquire than private clients, even though the margin percentages are lower on each event.

Non-profit clients generally seek lower cost providers and venues and, while they do seek out Sumptuous Cuisine Catering without much marketing to that group, the company's bids are generally does not accepted. Sumptuous Cuisine Catering will continue to choose specific non-profits to sponsor events for to create visibility for strategic purposes or based on the charitable interests of the owners, but will not market directly to non-profits.

Service Business Analysis

The catering industry is extremely fragmented, with 33,000 companies across the United States. Customers find caterers through referrals, online searches, Yellow Pages, and through businesses which run restaurants they are already familiar with. They will generally contact the catering company by phone to discuss the details of their events directly.

Some businesses and private clients hire event planners or producers to handle the details of their event, including choice of caterer. In this case, these firms, which are more familiar with the industry, may act as a buffer between the end client and the caterer, sometimes making the process of planning smoother.  

Competition and Buying Patterns

Key competitors of Sumptuous Cuisine Catering include:

  • Fancy Fetes: An upscale caterer which is the in-house caterer at the King's Room, a Doeuvreville area private event space (weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc.)
  • Food For Thought: An American cuisine caterer which provides simple drop-off service as well as full-service catering
  • Pandora's: An upscale Italian restaurant which caters a variety of events primarily for private clients

Doeuvreville area customers choose caterers for their events based on the following characteristics:

  • Cuisine Options: Private clients will often seek out caterers who can offer, or specialize in, specific cuisine. Businesses looking to use a caterer multiple times are more likely to seek a caterer who can serve many different cuisine so they can vary the options from event to event (or even within a given event) to better please their clients or guests.
  • Quality: Quality is determined through reviews and references as well as through tastings of the food. Basic quality is a must, but high-quality is sought out for once-in-a-lifetime private events and the fanciest of business functions.
  • Added Services: Private clients and businesses/non-profits who are relatively new to event planning will prefer caterers who offer a wide range of event services (one-stop shops if possible) rather than working with half a dozen separate event vendors.
  • Price: Especially for corporate and non-profit customers, price is a key factor. Businesses seek discounted rates for a higher volume of events, which private clients cannot provide.

Sumptuous Cuisine Catering offers a range of cuisine options, high quality, and added services based on the one-stop shop model. The business does not compete on price and offers services at prices higher than average for caterers in general and on the upper side of options for the Doeuvreville area.