Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Faux-Catering: In A Pinch

I've always wanted to have my own business. I toyed with the idea of a Bookstore Cafe, something small and homey, but I would only do that if I had a partner do it with me. I've considered doing Mary Kay, but I don't really want to do it right now and don't have enough of a network. Plus, the area I live in is saturated with MK consultants. I've always dreamt of opening my own design studio, doing arts and crafts and selling them, and being paid to decorate people's homes with my art. Not interior design, but check out flea markets, shabby chic boutiques, and my own artwork by order.

Since having children, my art work has been put on hold, mainly because it's so demanding. It's also messy and takes up a lot of space, and we don't have space for me to work right now while the girls are small. I've always enjoyed Cooking though, and I've found that I'm quite good at it. It's also become my creative outlet. I enjoy intuitive, creative cooking, putting something together based on what's in the pantry and coming up with something that could be served in a restaurant. I love watching Cooking Shows and reading recipes just for the methods and for ideas. I love trying to create new things for entrees, sides and baked stuff. It's not only an outlet, but it allows me to be as OCD as I need to be, and I feel like I'm accomplishing something. It allows me to focus and CREATE something for the enjoyment of others. Therefore, I love sharing my recipes and seeing everyone else's recipes. It's the main reason I enjoy hosting the Cooking for Your Family BB so much (link below).

So, I've been thinking that we definitely need some help bringing in money. There's no way I can put the girls in daycare, we wouldn't have enough positive income per month for it to be worthwhile. I'm not interested in finding a job at night because A. I couldn't find something that pays as well as what Manny is making at night and B. We need to supplement the income already coming in from Manny. Work from home jobs seem to mostly be scams, and I'm tired of trying to figure out which ones *might* be legitimate. My mom suggested something to do with baking/cooking, which I'd been toying with anyway.

So my idea for a home-based business would be cooking for working parents that simply don't have the time. Mom has a an office party on Friday and is expected to bring some sort of baked good, but has no desire to cook or even run to the grocery store for a prepackaged, bland-tasting, off-the-machine goodie. Or your spouse's friend just had a baby, and you'd like to give her something for dinner. Maybe there's a housewarming party, and guests were asked to bring something potluck, but that's the day the kids all have soccer, the kitchen is still being remodeled and the oven is out of commission, but you still want something homey and fresh. So here's what I was thinking of doing:

  • Homemade cakes/cookies/brownies/cheesecakes for any event such as an office party, bake sale, play date, teacher appreciation, new baby, loss in the family, sickness in a friend's home, church potluck, etc, romantic dinners & desserts, hostess gifts
  • Casseroles & One-dish meals
  • Entrees
  • Sides
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Speciality sandwiches
  • Gift dinners and/or desserts
  • All orders would be picked up at my house.
  • All orders would include the cookware the food was prepared in, unless it was a baked item or something, and then the serving tray/container would be included.
  • A menu with prices would be available online, but I would also work over the phone to determine order requests.
  • A menu with prices would probably be printed out and given with each order.
  • Minimum of 24 hours notice to place an order.
  • Cash or checks, no charge cards.

My mom wants to print up business cards for me to hand out at my children's schools as a way to advertise through word-of-mouth. I was thinking that a good name might be "In A Pinch." So it's sort of catering, but not really. And I could only take on the orders that I feel like taking on. I would probably start a blog to use as a menu site, and I could definitely use the Recipe Box and my own files of recipes as sources. I'm getting more and more excited about this the more I think about it, and the more I can see myself doing this. I'm getting to where I'm thinking of the materials I would need to start, including receipt pads and a basic supplemental pantry. So, WDYT? Thoughts and opinions welcome. Be critical, I can handle it.


Sarah said...

Honestly, I do think it's a great idea to get some money. But it can be a big commitment, and it's good to know that you are getting prepared for it. I know I couldn't ever do it, so congratulations on making the decision and taking your talent in cooking and running with it. Good luck!

Andie said...

I know you can do it! You're a GREAT cook & have a real flare for the kitchen. I think you'd do great. Just remember to know when to say 'no'. ;)