Discreet Dining: An investigation into the feasibility of a home-dining catering company in Southampton, Hampshire
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Aim: The increasing number of failing business are well known and poor market research and ineffective business planning have been identified as the main culprits behind these failures. In particular, new business start-ups are less likely to succeed than more established enterprises. The purpose of the investigatory study was to research and analyse the feasibility of starting up a home-dining catering company in the Southampton and Hampshire area and to evaluate whether the current market situation warrants a demand for the service. Method: In order to determine feasibility, existing small business and enterprise literature was reviewed to establish a business planning process that could be followed. Current sources, such as marketing intelligence reports, news articles and statistics, were collated to determine the current market situation for the proposed business idea and to identify a demand for the company's products/services in the trading area. Primary market research was conducted to determine the potential uptake for the business. A questionnaire-based survey was set up to verify demand and also to find out customer needs in order to marry them with the company's products/services. After the research stage, a business plan was designed for Discreet Dining based on the findings. Findings: The current market situation appears favourable for the start up, with surveys showing many Britons substituting eating out with entertaining at home because of the recession. Affluent ABC1s were the typical dinner party host and research showed the South-East as being the wealthiest region in the UK with residents in this region also being more frequent entertainers. There was also a noticeable lack of competition in the Southampton and Hampshire area offering the company's unique catering service. Results from the primary research survey supported the literature that had been reviewed and indicated there was a potential market opportunity for the company. The business plan proved that the company could be operated as a sole trader with relatively low start-up costs involved. The financial forecasts showed modest profitability; £14,434 at end of year 3; and achievable breakeven figures. £18,000 proprietor drawings were so available in year 3. Conclusions: From the results, it appears viable to set up the proposed catering business, although the author would have to be willing to work for almost nothing in the first two years for the company to profit. Before proceeding with investment further detailed study is required to ensure the accuracy of the findings and establish a means of increasing profitability.
BA (Hons) Events Management
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