“We’ve highlighted Southwest Florida for expansion because of its great potential for business,” said the British-born entrepreneur, who moved to Canada eight years ago. “We visited Naples last year and found that a lot of people own nice homes and like to throw parties at their homes to show off that they own something lovely, with a tent and a marquee and everything else that goes along with a birthday party or other celebratory occasion.”Guest take a photo during a catering event by PigOut Catering. (Submitted Photo)
Citing the private and corporate catering opportunities available in Collier County, Dickson said PigOut Catering offers franchisees the chance to leverage a well-off demographic that’s not afraid to spend money.
“There’s a wealthy, older population in Southwest Florida that spends a lot eating out,” she said. “We were just so impressed with the restaurant scene there when we visited. It’s clear the population doesn’t just want to spend their time at the beach.”Guest eating during a catering event by PigOut Catering. (Submitted Photo)
Dickson said it costs around $100,000 to buy into the franchise. She said the fee includes a custom-designed trailer with a kitchenette or van with walk-in refrigeration and all of the kitchen equipment needed. She said ongoing royalty fees ring in at 5 percent, along with a 3 percent marketing fee and online booking system fee of $100 per month.
She said franchisee training takes about two months.
“I’m not allowed to give figures about how much you can make because we’re governed by franchise law, but weddings comprise a lot of the business there on weekends, and people typically spend $5,000 to $20,000 on catering services for a wedding,” she said.
As the former owner of a hotel and restaurants in Britain, Dickson said PigOut Catering profit margins beat those of restaurants.
“That’s because a chef at a restaurant needs to order all the food for every item on the menu in case someone orders it,” she said. “But in this business, all the events are pre-booked.”
Dickson said her husband created the proprietary equipment for her catering business that allows for a speedier, cleaner and more appealing barbecue process, all viewable through a smoke-free glass panel door.
“We can roast a whole pig in three to five hours, and since we use propane there’s no direct contact between the meat and the heat source,” she said, adding that the automated equipment could also roast 40 chickens or several turkeys at once.
Dickson said no direct contact between the meat and the heat source means no more smoke.
“We can roast inside without setting off the fire bells,” she said.
Dickson said potential franchisees would ideally have some sort of background in the hospitality industry, whether in the kitchen or at the front of the house.
“This isn’t like buying a Subway,” she said. “It’s very much a chef-led business. You don’t need to be a master chef, but it’s not for someone who’s simply a barbecue enthusiast on the weekends.”
For more information, see www.pigout.catering.
FIVE QUESTIONS FOR ANNE DICKSON, FOUDER OF PIGOUT CATERING, A CANADA-BASED BUSINESS LOOKING TO EXPAND INTO SOUTHWEST FLORIDA
What does your business offer that’s unique compared to businesses similar to yours?
“We roast and grill directly in front of the customers and we don’t have the overhead costs of the restaurant business for the owner.”
What is unique about owning a business in Southwest Florida?
“It’s unique because of the high volume of people who come into the area for special events like weddings. There’s not a high population, but it attracts people as a destination. Also, the beauty of the landscape.”
What do you enjoy most about owning the business?
“Making somebody’s day perfect. It’s very rewarding because you’re dealing directly with the clients.”
What type of work experience or training is needed to run your business?
“Experience at the management level in the hospitality industry, either in the kitchen or at the front of the house.”
If someone gave you a $1 million to improve your business, how would you use it?“Marketing is what eats all the money up, so that’s what I’d use it for. We’re not looking to build an empire, though. We’re looking to help people build their own. So I’d increase marketing and support for franchisees by employing more chefs to help and train people.”