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A series of interviews with ordinary people making extra cash a reality…

This month, Emily and Doug Battersby tell us about their business in party catering

So, Doug, how does it all work?

“Emily and I cater for all sorts of parties, from children’s birthday parties to wedding buffets. We tend to stick to buffet type catering because it’s easier to manage but we have also done the occasional dinner party and that was fun – we may do more of those in the future.”

How easy is it to do?

“It all depends on the booking. Some parties are really easy and straightforward and others are more complicated – especially if you get a lot of special requests.”

What sort of profit do you make?

“We made £200 last weekend on a christening party but we generally make anything from £50 to £300 clear profit on a buffet, depending on the head-count.”

What are the advantages of earning money this way?

“It means we can work from home and be in control of our lives. The business also fits in with the children and it means we don’t have to rely on babysitters or our parents. We can be self-sufficient. We both used to work long hours in catering and starting the business has given us a lot more freedom. We wouldn’t swap it for the world now.”

What are the pitfalls of earning money this way?

“We often have to work anti-social hours and on weekends but it’s not really a problem for us – we’ve never been 9-5 sort of people anyway. There is a lot of fetching and carrying of boxes and bags of food and it can be a pain. If you don’t pack things well for travelling, it can be a disaster. Emily was transporting a perfect cream gateaux one day and had to brake sharply – the gateaux ended up spread all over the car and she had to make a quick trip to Tesco for a replacement. I also dropped a plate of dips all over someone’s carpet once. It’s easier if you can cater from your own restaurant – maybe one day...”

What are your tips for someone who wants to start a party catering business?

“Anyone could set up a business like this if you are a half decent cook but make sure you get proper certificates for health and safety and preparation of food or you will have problems. Also make sure you have adequate insurance. Start off with small children’s parties – they are fun and most kids are easy to please with party food. You can work up to dinner parties and wedding buffets when you have more experience. There are lots of cookery courses, books and evening classes you could use for inspiration – a good cookbook is essential.”

To see the article on party catering click here