User’s Company is a kosher catering company that serves the Philadelphia market. Fressen offers creative, colorful, and unusual food options for kosher as well as the traditional standbys. The service offerings are quite a change relative to the existing kosher catering market which is quite stagnant. Most people make the incorrect assumption that kosher food means ordinary, boring food. This assumption prevails throughout the Jewish community so there is not much demand for new offerings.
User’s Company will inject new life into the kosher catering market, leveraging Chef User’s Name culinary skills to develop creative new catering options. Susan’s advanced skills, industry insight, and a great market opportunity will allow User’s Company to reach profitability by month 11 and generate $395,000 in revenues for year three.
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The objectives for the first three years of operation include:
- To create a service-based company whose primary goal is to exceed customer’s expectations.
- To increase the number of client’s served by 20% per year through superior service.
- To develop a sustainable start-up business.
- To develop enough cash flow to pay all salaries as well as grow the business.
Fressen Catering’s mission is to provide the customer with the finest kosher catering. We exist to attract and maintain customers. When we adhere to this maxim, everything else will fall into place. Our services will exceed the expectations of our customers.
1.3 Keys to Success
The key to success is to meet and exceed the customer’s needs in terms of quality of food and excellence of service.
User’s Company will provide Philadelphia with high quality kosher catering. The catering service will be for weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, and other assorted parties.
Kashrut is a specific, ritual/set of rules that applies to certain sects of Judaism in regards to food/drink preparation and consumption. A kitchen or catering service must be specially set up to provide kosher meals. The explanation below regarding the prohibition of dairy and meat served together or made in the same kitchen by the same pots and utensils is the reason that User’s Company will require two sets of everything, including two stove top ranges and ovens.
The Hebrew word kosher means fit or proper as it relates to dietary (kosher) laws. It means that a given product is permitted and acceptable. The sources for the laws of kashruth are of Biblical origin and expounded in Rabbinic legislation. These laws are codified in the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law). Though a hygienic benefit has been attributed to the observance of kashruth, the ultimate purpose and rationale is simply to conform to the Divine Will as expressed in the Torah.
Kosher and non-kosher meat, poultry and fish:
- The Torah (Leviticus Chapter 11) lists the characteristics of permitted mammals and fish, and indicates the forbidden fowl. The only mammals permitted are those which chew their cud and are cloven hoofed.
- The Torah does not list specific characteristics to distinguish permitted from forbidden birds. Instead, it details 24 forbidden species of fowl.
- The Torah establishes two criteria in determining kosher fish. They must have fins and scales. All shellfish are prohibited. One, however, should not eat fish with meat.
Another element of Kosher meat consumption applies to the way in which the meat is slaughtered. There are several different methods:
- Shechita. Only a trained kosher slaughterer (shochet) certified by rabbinic authorities is qualified to slaughter an animal. The trachea and esophagus of the animal are severed with a special sharp, perfectly smooth blade causing instantaneous death with no pain to the animal.
- Bedika. After the animal has been properly slaughtered, a trained inspector (bodek) inspects the internal organs for any physical abnormalities that may render the animal non-kosher (treif).
- Glatt Kosher. Some Jewish communities or people only eat of an animal that has been found to be free of all adhesions. “Glatt” means smooth, that the meat comes from an animal whose lungs have been found to be free of all adhesions. “Glatt Kosher” is used more broadly as a consumer phrase meaning kosher without question.
- Koshering. The Torah forbids the eating of the blood of an animal. The two methods of extracting blood from meat are salting and broiling. Meat once ground cannot be made kosher, nor may meat be placed in hot water before it has been “koshered.”
- Salting. The meat must first be soaked in salt. After the salting, the meat must be thoroughly soaked and washed to remove all salt.
- Broiling. Liver may only be koshered through broiling, because of the preponderance of blood in it. Both the liver and meat must first be thoroughly washed to remove all surface blood. They are then salted slightly on all sides. Then they are broiled on a perforated grate over an open fire, drawing out the internal blood.
One of the main tenets is the prohibition of meat and dairy in the kitchen together. The Torah forbids cooking meat and milk together in any form, eating such cooked products, or deriving benefit from them. As a safeguard, the Rabbis extended this prohibition to disallow the eating of meat and dairy products at the same meal or preparing them on the same utensils. One must wait up to six hours after eating meat products before any dairy products may be eaten.
User’s Company will serve a wide variety of dishes. This is offered for two reasons.
- The larger repertoire of menu items is a benefit to the customers.
- A large selection is required because meat and dairy cannot be mixed within the meal, therefore, in essence you have to have two different menus, one with dairy and one with meat.
Some of the menu offerings will be traditional kosher/Jewish meals such as beef brisket with potatoes and vegetables and a roasted chicken with rice and spinach. More inventive meals will also be offered to appeal to the higher end, more discriminating customers such as chicken pesto dishes or a red pepper coulis sauce, or maybe salmon with curry coulis and plum chutney.
Kosher catering is not cheap. The ingredients cost more, as well as the additional equipment that is needed to eliminate the mixing of dairy and meat products. Per person costs range from $45-110.
Susan Cheflly, the founder and owner received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh. After college, Susan went to work in the restaurant industry because it was a good source of money. While serving at an upscale restaurant in Pittsburgh, Susan befriended one of the chefs there who began to teach her cooking techniques. Susan began to find this instruction very interesting and enjoyable. After six months of this tutoring, Susan decided that she wanted to remain in the restaurant industry, but wanted to learn the skills needed to be a chef. Susan decided to enter the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, a well-regarded training school for chefs. Susan completed the one year program and graduated near the top of her class.
With this education, Susan went to work as a chef at one of the nicer nouveau cuisine restaurants in Philadelphia. Susan thoroughly enjoyed the five years spent as head chef, but she longed to work for herself, running her own business. Susan thought she would appreciate the ability to set her own hours, to be her own boss. One day, while in temple, the thought hit her that she could operate a kosher catering company and do well because the upper-end of the market has been largely ignored by the current competitors. With this thought in mind, Susan began to do market research. After speaking with many different people as well as holding three focus groups, she recognized that her idea was viable and started writing this business plan.
6.1 Personnel Plan
Besides utilizing Susan’s skills full time, User’s Company will require the following personnel:
- Rabbi: a part-time position where the Rabbi serves as masgiach (supervisor) to inspect and confirm that all of the ingredients and preparation follow the rules of kashrut.
- Servers: two will be hired. The servers will be the people who serve the food at the events as well as clear the plates and help with set up and take down of the event. In the event of a large party, the back end kitchen people will be trained to help out with serving.
- Cooks: two will be hired to prepare the dishes that Susan has developed.
- Back kitchen help: these two people will be used to help clean up in the kitchen as well as assist at functions.
Market Analysis Summary
The Philadelphia kosher catering market is an interesting one. There are several caters that offer services that are quite similar to each other in terms of price and menu options. For whatever reasons, there has been little demand by consumers to get caters to innovate their menu. This is not too say that consumers would not welcome new kosher menu items, it is just that people have incorrectly made the assumption that kosher meals have to be boring. Fressen will occupy a niche in the kosher catering market that offers new, creative menu items, broadening people’s conception of kosher food. This market consists of two target segments that are differentiated by household income.
4.1 Market Segmentation
User’s Company has two distinct target populations:
- Middle class kosher clients. This group of people does not have huge amounts of disposable income, recognizes that it is costly to sponsor a kosher dinner party, and is willing to incur the expenses, but will try to minimize them.
- Upper class kosher clients. This group has intertwined kosher values throughout their lives and is willing to spend whatever it takes to throw a high-end kosher dinner function. Typically, this group is characterized by a wealthy one-income family where the male works and the female does not. The female of the household typically thoroughly enjoys the planning of these events.
Fressen Catering, located in Philadelphia, PA will offer high-end kosher catering to the Philadelphia community. User’s Company will serve parties of 25-300 people with high-end kosher foods that are currently only available in New York City. User’s Company will offer a large menu repertoire, from traditional favorites to creative inventions. All of the food and drink items served will be done under strict supervision of the Orthodox Rabbinic authority.
Fressen will rent space for the office and kitchen in an industrial area of Philadelphia. Renting in the industrial area will significantly lower the cost. Since the space will be used for food production it is not relevant for the store front to be aesthetically pleasing, or in a nice neighborhood. User’s Company is forecasted to generate $395,000 in revenues for year three.
5.1 Marketing Strategy
Fressen’s marketing strategy will be based on developing visibility among Philadelphia’s kosher community. This will be accomplished through two ways. The first method is a targeted advertising campaign. Advertisements will be placed in various Jewish newsletters. There are a couple of Philadelphia-wide newsletters. Additionally, Fressen will advertise in a few Synagogue-specific newsletters. These advertisements should yield a decent amount of service inquiries since they are fairly targeted toward the target population that utilizes kosher catering.
The other marketing strategy which is less formal is a networking campaign among the Philadelphia Jewish population. Susan has been an active member of the Philadelphia Jewish community for five years. While the Jewish population is of decent size, numbering around 200,000, it is a fairly close knit community where people tend to know each other. Susan will leverage her contacts within the Jewish community to raise awareness for her catering activities. While the networking might not cast as large of a net as advertisements will, it costs far less and the relationships that it builds will be far stronger because of the trust relationship that has already been established.