Question :
How much time and money do I spend on implementing new business ideas to make money when my once busy catering business needs large events in order to survive?I predict this will take some time to restore as most larger events are planned in advance etc.  some things I’m considering is opening the front of my premise to sell food but I’d potentially need to buy a coffee machine and/or get an alcohol licence for evening meals.   We’re currently experiencing difficulty with smaller delivered jobs not even covering costs.  How do I plan for a future that is so uncertain?  I’m nervous to invest money in a sinking ship,  how does one know when to walk away?thanks 

Question submitted 11/05/20 @ 12:29pm
Industry: Food & Beverage
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    Hi. My immediate advice would be to spend as little money but as much time as possible to work your way through to the right answer. Things are changing by the day and today’s announcement about when Level 2 will come into effect is significant.
    I’m sure you’re right about large scale events still being some time off but you know that when that time comes, you have a successful business model.
    While work has reduced, time hasn’t. Keep working away at how to keep things ticking along. Focus on those parts of your offering that seem to be most in demand or easiest to do in the circumstances and see if you can create a new offering based on those insights.

    We have been very lucky that the country has dealt so comprehensively with the Covid crisis and the pay-off will be a return, hopefully before too long, to a nearer to normal state.

    As Winston Churchill, a man who weathered his fair share of crises, said ‘When you’re going through her, keep going!’


    Firstly thanks for being so honest and detailing as much as you have. Planning at the moment any further out than our alert levels is hard (so much uncertainty). Great idea to try and pivot with what you have and the key here is play to your strengths. If you are aiming to open the front of your premises to sell food etc then understand what level of foot traffic/business that is walking/driving past and how could you then reach past this with some of the apps like eat local etc that exist to help you not only market but also deliver.

    There are also many foodservice providers that are twiddling their thumbs at the moment so reach out to them and they are great sources of info and help. i.e. gut feeling is there are going to be a number of coffee machines unfortunately looking for homes in the coming weeks/months so reaching out to some coffee companies who also have good insights as to whats happening would help to.

    Past this I will put you in touch with Harry Ferreira who is part of Manaaki and he can potentially help guide you with some formal business advice and help. Also happy to have a chat on the phone if you would like to verse continuing to write a long reply. My mobile is 021 714 318.


    Great feedback from Craig and Peter.
    I might throw another thought out there…you don’t have to keep going. Weight up both options to decide what is right for you. Yes there are ways to pivot and redirect your business, maybe extending into new service offerings or even forming a collaboration with another business in a similar space to create a stronger future base.

    But its also ok to look at the alternative and weigh it up. How much of your heart and soul is tied up in continuing with Aroha Catering? Be honest about your energy and commitment levels. What does the business owe you at the moment and what would it mean if you decided you had enough? What will it cost to invest further? Does that feel right to you? What else do you need to balance those decisions for your life?

    Get out the white board and post it notes and do a detailed pros and cons plan to help decide on the right path.

    And remember, making a deliberate decision about your future isn’t failure. It’s recognition of what is right for you right now. Kia kaha

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