River Catering??? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 10-23-2013   #1
 
firejenson's Avatar
 
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
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River Catering???

So I am looking at starting a catering business that would specialize in providing meals on the river? I would not be a guide, though I could have a guide hire me for my meal services. Could also be a gear boat for kayak trips and such. What are everyones thoughts? I have been a rafter for 20 plus years, and have developed a lot of experience to offer. Anyway, thanks for the feedback.

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Old 10-23-2013   #2
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Bellevue, Idaho
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Gear boat for kayak trips??? Sounds like you want to be pseudo commercial and that would get nixed on all Idaho rivers unless you are working under an outfitter.

I know a couple of people who do commercial food for river trips. Be prepared for health department inspected kitchen, some licensing and of course there seems to be ever increasing regulation from all government with less oversight.....oh wait that is another thread.

Not sure where you wanted to go with this. One person I know partners with a restaurant that isn't open for breakfast and is able to do everything they need to before opening. And it's only a couple of days a week.
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Old 10-23-2013   #3
 
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Sandy, Utah
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Just a few thoughts & questions to toss out. When I think about river catering I think about the companies that do food/meal packs for Grand Canyon trips. They provide dry boxes and coolers that they pack with the meals. Is this what you have in mind? Or are you talking about prepping & planing, then having folks purchase your food and pack it themselves? Most non-Grand Canyon trips are 5-10 days long, and folks have their own gear (dry boxes & coolers) that they use. So It would seem like a better idea to prep the food and have folks come to you to pick it up and load it. Since you're in Bend you would be getting Oregon boaters mostly I would guess. The logistics of getting boaters to order, pick up, and pack your meals would seem a little daunting, but not impossible. How do you see this plan of yours working? For me personally, planning the meals for a river trip is part of the fun. Unless it was a GC trip, I don't think I'd ever use a river catering business. But there may be others who don't enjoy the meal planning aspect of a river trip, and would use your service.

As for being a support/kitchen boat for kayakers or other rafters, C-Dog is right. If you are getting paid for your services, you are a commercial enterprise, and would be in trouble with the managing agencies.

As for the catering aspect of this venture, you would have to investigate your local regulations for running your kitchen. I don't think this idea is impossible, but you'll have to really think about the logistics of it. Who will your customers be? How will they access & use your services? How will you get paid? Like any new business, it takes some thought and planning to make it work. All these cupcake bakeries that people run from their homes seem to be a booming business. Maybe find one of them and talk to them about how they run things???

Just my 2 cents. Good luck with the idea.
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Old 10-23-2013   #4
 
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Bend, Oregon
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So how I see this, is you are doing an overnight trip on the john day and one of your boaters is having a birthday. You include me on your permit, I come down and do all the food prep and clean up for your dinner. I agree that doing the cooking is part of the fun, but it's a whole lot more fun to sit back and enjoy the canyon when it's someone else's turn to cook. I do not see this being a huge moneymaker, but a chance to be on the river more and maybe make a little on the side. I also think there would be guide services interested in hiring my service. Thanks for the input!!
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Old 10-23-2013   #5
 
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Sandy, Utah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firejenson View Post
So how I see this, is you are doing an overnight trip on the john day and one of your boaters is having a birthday. You include me on your permit, I come down and do all the food prep and clean up for your dinner. I agree that doing the cooking is part of the fun, but it's a whole lot more fun to sit back and enjoy the canyon when it's someone else's turn to cook. I do not see this being a huge moneymaker, but a chance to be on the river more and maybe make a little on the side. I also think there would be guide services interested in hiring my service. Thanks for the input!!
I don't see a problem with joining a group and as a thank you for them inviting you, you agree to do the cooking. But if you benefit financially from this arrangement you could get into trouble. Is your river catering idea merely a way to get on trips and help out with the cooking, or is it a money making venture? I'm not sure it can be both without problems arising?
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Old 10-23-2013   #6
Old Guy in a PFD
 
Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firejenson View Post
So how I see this, is you are doing an overnight trip on the john day and one of your boaters is having a birthday. You include me on your permit, I come down and do all the food prep and clean up for your dinner. I agree that doing the cooking is part of the fun, but it's a whole lot more fun to sit back and enjoy the canyon when it's someone else's turn to cook. I do not see this being a huge moneymaker, but a chance to be on the river more and maybe make a little on the side. I also think there would be guide services interested in hiring my service. Thanks for the input!!
I like your initiative! Take what your passion is, and figure out how to make money at it.

Here's the thing. You have to be a superior cook. Not just a good cook, but a superior one. I've never met a guide or river enthusiast that didn't think their sauteed mushrooms, or barbecue, or omelet, or whatever wasn't the absolute best on the planet. You might be hired by the guy with the clipboard, but your critics will be...........everyone. You gotta have unbeatable cooking skills, and lizard skin to put up with all the comments.

And gear support for Kayakers?? Did you drink something?? If you are going to be serious about this;
1) Expect to be driven like a $2 mule.
2) Treated like a poor relation
3) Have your last beer stolen
4) Receive no thanks
5) Not be paid, or paid reluctantly

But like I said; I love your initiative! Hope you succeed!
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Old 10-24-2013   #7
 
Louisville, Colorado
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I think this would be considered illegal on many western rivers. I think half the reason we get on invited on river trips is because my husband is an awesome cook, but we don't charge and we pay our fair share of trip expenses.
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