Bright Future Youth and Family Services
Problem & Solution
Problem Worth Solving
Society has a problem, they do not have enough resources for the less privileged or homeless youth population. Eugene, like all the other cities, has a migration of homeless teenagers that have run away from home. They are here for a few months of the year and then they hitch down to California during the winter for warmer weather. These are young adults who have no idea how to be part of society. They can’t provide for themselves and eventually, they have children and the cycle continues.
The Chambers School and Career Center is one of ten tax-exempt nonprofit programs of Bright Future Youth and Family Services. Our mission is to assist at-risk youth in the Eugene/Springfield area in becoming productive citizens by providing a learning and work environment where they feel challenged, respected, and accountable as they strive to meet the demands of adulthood. We have a staff of approximately 250 employees and also utilize several volunteers each year who play a vital role in the organization. Bright Future prides itself on its diversity of funding sources that make for a fiscally strong organization. Agency revenues come from governmental contracts, charitable gifts, United Way funding, and fees for service
Market Size & Segments
Catering For Kids will serve three primary groups of customers. As our business grows, we will begin serving these groups in the order listed below as each new customer group represents a larger step into the community and therefore requires Catering For Kids to differentiate itself further from local for-profit caterers. All of our target customers may be defined as corporate clients who are continually looking for new, refreshing meals to eat at recurring lunchtime meetings.
1. Internal Bright Future Customers:
- Board of Directors meetings, serving 35-45 meals per month in either a buffet or lunch box format.
- Board Sub-committee meetings, serving 40-50 meals per month in either a buffet or lunch box format.
- Bright Future Counseling Center meetings, serving approximately 25 meals each week in either a buffet or lunch box format.
- Miscellaneous meetings throughout the Bright Future organization, which has over 250 employees on staff.
- Rolling cart lunch service at various Bright Future locations in Eugene/Springfield, serving 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 that are underserved by local restaurants and coffee shops.
Target Market Segment Strategy
Catering For Kids’ target market segment is nonprofit customers (including internal customers). We plan to target this group for several important reasons. First, we are a nonprofit organization and believe that we are better positioned to serve the needs of other nonprofits. Secondly, we believe that nonprofit organizations are more likely to try and continue to use a fellow nonprofit for catering services. And thirdly, we do not intend to jump into the commercial catering market in direct competition with for-profit caterers. Instead, this is a long-term growth opportunity that Catering For Kids may explore in the future. By postponing this direct competition, we believe our organization will be better able to remain focused on our primary objective: serving at-risk youth in Lane County.
There are several caterers in town that will compete directly with Catering For Kids for business, once we grow beyond serving our internal organization customers only. The key alternative caterers are:
- Of Grape & Grain, which specializes in deli style boxed lunches and cafe-style dining. This is the caterer currently used by Bright Future.
- Cravings Fine Foods, which specializes in event planning and cafe-style dining but which also offers deli style corporate boxed lunches.
- Ariana’s Deli (owned by Alpine Catering), which features online ordering of deli style boxed lunches for delivery.
- Fetuccini and Co. , which also features online ordering of deli style boxed lunches for delivery.
- The Garden Deli, which also features online ordering of deli style boxed lunches for delivery.
- Napoli Restaurant, which features Italian style boxed lunches with a limited menu and no delivery.
- Brindiamo Catering, which features high-end boxed lunches with delivery, table decor and waitstaff.
- Wild Duck Brewery, which features hot and cold boxed lunches as well as boxed salads and offers delivery for a small fee.
- Oregon Electric Station, which specializes in high-end events such as weddings and corporate parties.
- Alpine Catering, a full service caterer.
- Oakway Caterers
Several of the above caterers, such as Napoli Restaurant, have a primary focus of operating their restaurant and may not put as much emphasis on catering details. Others, like Wild Duck Brewery, are focused primarily on large events and require a 15 person minimum for service. Still others, like Brindiamo Catering, are focused on very high-end customers and are out of the price range of many nonprofit organizations at over $12 per person. Therefore, Catering For Kids’s primary competitors are the smaller, deli-style caterers, such as Of Grape & Grain and Ariana’s Deli, whose prices are around $5-7 per person and who can be flexible with catering to small, less formal meetings.
There are also a number of low-end caterers that will compete with Catering For Kids even before we grow beyond our internal clients, as these caterers are currently used by some Bright Future programs now. These include:
- Local and national grocery stores chains such as Albertson’s that will make made-to-order deli submarine sandwiches, chips and sides.
- Local and national sandwich fast-food chains such as Togo’s and Quizno’s. Like grocery stores, these stores will also make made-to-order sandwich based meals that include chips and a beverage.
Although these providers offer low-cost fare, they are unable to offer much in the way of custom menu planning and do not differentiate between retail consumers and business or nonprofit customers. Thus, their services are one size fits all – they have a fixed and limited menu and their delivery hours are restricted to their normal hours of operation. Patronizing this type of business also does not benefit the community directly as does the Catering For Kids.
Catering For Kids has the ability to provide internal and external customers with high-quality catered business lunches year round at competitive pricing while providing a valuable service to the community. We are able to provide this value because we have a pre-trained workforce – students of the Bright Future Chambers School and Safe & Sound Youth Project. These students are enrolled in the culinary arts program and have training in commercial food preparation and have food handler’s cards. This work experience will provide students with transferable skills that help facilitate their transition from school to work and provide an excellent public relations position for Catering For Kids. The instructor of the culinary arts program is an experienced restaurateur who will bring practical business management know-how to the business and serves as a role model to the students in the program.
As our organization is a school, which experiences a constant flow of students through its classes, the workforce of Catering For Kids will be constantly changing as well. This presents a challenge to the permanent staff to maintain the same high levels of customer service and quality that our customers demand, despite having an entirely new staff every nine weeks. However, we are confident that our teachers and staff members are committed to the success of this project. In addition, each class of students is quite small, which allows adequate supervision and quality control over the products created.
Keys to Success
Keys to Success
Our Keys to Success:
- Cultivate an identity (brand) for the Catering For Kids business in the Eugene/Springfield community.
- Expand our customer base into new areas within Eugene/Springfield.
- Hire a year-round business manager for the catering business, thereby providing student employment twelve months of the year.
- Expand the donor/corporate partner base and corporate contributions that add to the financial resources of Chambers School’s programs.
- Provide students with entrepreneurial job skills that can open doors to future employment opportunities.
- Acquire additional equipment to support future growth and offer greater flexibility, leading to expanded services offered by Catering For Kids that will further the goal of providing valuable work opportunities for homeless and at-risk youth.