This book is aimed primarily at anyone thinking of starting an outside or event catering business, but some of the subjects covered have relevance for prospective caterers in any area of the industry.
The chapter dealing with the financial aspects of owning a business is a case in point. There are tips about formulating business plans (essential if you have to approach banks or potential backers for loans), dealing with VAT, payroll, book-keeping/accountancy and insurance.
As in the rest of the book, the topics discussed are set out clearly and written in accessible language.
There's practical advice, too, on health and safety matters, sourcing equipment and food suppliers, even menu writing - in fact, most areas you would need to consider if you're thinking of launching yourself into the catering world.
Personnel and managerial skills are highlighted, too. All too often this area is overlooked, particularly by chefs who think that all they need to do is cook well to run a successful business. Included are structures for conducting interviews and practical discussions of contentious issues like overtime and tipping.
Throughout the book are dotted useful contacts for industry and government bodies: national minimum wage helpline, websites for national insurance contributions and the Inland Revenue, for instance, in the staffing chapter, and a long list of regional food agencies or the lesser known British Herb Association in the food suppliers section.
These contacts cannot be said to be exhaustive, but they're useful as a first port of call.
The book should be viewed in the same way. There are no big-impact pictures, rather some very old-fashioned line drawings - best to think of this publication as a first-year textbook.
Starting and Running a Catering Business
How To Books, £12.99