A new year, and a new chapter in the life of Just Catering Midlands. While most people were tucking into their chocolate selection boxes over the festive season, we have been working hard in deepest Winson Green to prepare our brand new unit for our extensive Midlands client base.
Having spent much of the time away from the unit while the cleaning team were doing their thing, I was delighted to visit Carl and the team there this afternoon.
The unit is one of many located on a business park near Smethwick. Walking through the open door into a small porch area, I turn left to find Carl stacking shelves with plastic reusable platters.
“This is a huge development for us,” he tells me when we move from our greeting to the small office and settle down with a cup of tea. “Everything about this unit is good news for our clients.”
“We are now only a mile or so from the city centre, meaning many of our long term clients, such as the NEU, will get a faster, more efficient service. It means we will be reducing our carbon footprint as well. We are now your local caterers.”
“Once we have a food technician in place, our capacity is instantly increased. We now have the space to have multiple staff working simultaneously. We can prepare food faster and more efficiently and serve more than one client at a time.”
“Of course, this means we can create plenty of our signature tray bakes for those who order our buffets and want affordable party catering. At the same time, we can provide canapés for those wanting luxury catering in Birmingham.
“Now we have a larger premises, we can add additional product ranges and enhance the services we provide.”
I asked if he could give any hints as to what those new products or services could be. Despite my digging, he remained tight lipped.
“We are in the planning stages at the moment,” he says, “but with our new equipment we can easily vacuum pack products. I think that there is definitely potential in mass producing and packaging some of our signature products; these that our clients request over and over again.”
“We are currently developing our wedding catering provision. It’s given me a lot of ideas about cakes in general. But I’m not saying anything else at the moment.”
Carl was clear that having a larger premises means that Just Catering has the freedom to be creative in the products and services that they can provide. Gone are the days when businesses can just thrive selling one product or service. Looking for other product ranges or outlets are essential and diversification is going to be a key company to in Just Catering’s future.
“A big part of providing a quality event catering service in Birmingham is ensuring we have he quantities of cutlery and crockery for hire. Our storage capacity is greater ensuring people can request catering equipment hire along with their food orders.”
So, at a time of year when most people reflect on the year that has gone and put plans in motion to develop their lives in the year to come, can we project forward to what Just Catering will look like in five years time? Certainly, there will be more staff, and the capacity to deliver cold food orders to multiple clients at the same time. Bespoke, hot three course meals will still be a major element of the businesses. We can certainly expect there to be one new product line on the market to local companies and clients that is prepared on site in the unit. Maybe we will see development in the desert and sweets area for the wedding market?
One thing is clear, there is a myriad of opportunities now that the unit is up and running. But, throughout the whole conversation, Carl made one thing clear: the client’s needs and the product’s quality come first. “Close good working relationships with our clients built this businesses and that makes us different to other standard catering companies. I am not going to let that change,” he assures me as we say our goodbyes.
I am convinced that Carl’s continual care for his clients will act as a secure foundation for the future growth of the business; clients may pick Just Catering for its competitive prices and excellent food quality, but they stay because they know Carl cares.