Event decorating and catering is a part of the rapidly expanding and always in demand event management industry. Such services cater to all sorts of events from Weddings to Birthdays to Corporate Events, etc. An event management, decorating & catering company or specialist is expected to not just ensure food availability, but also know how to make the event attractive. For example a wedding requires working with the entire theme or color scheme of the event including stage setup and decor, background props, entrance, reception, seating arrangement etc.
For the proposed project food preparation (production) is assumed to be outsourced to the food producers e.g. Pakwan houses (with a standard menu of an estimated cost of Rs. 250/head) and the business will cater the needs of serving and decoration. This service is typically provided at banquets, conventions, weddings, and other events.
Event Management in Pakistan
Service sequence for how a customer or potential customer will be handled and the event will be organized is as follows:
- Date and other details of the event will be discussed and finalized in the preliminary meeting between the manager (owner) and the customer.
- Once all the details and pricing is negotiated and agreed upon between the parties, an event check sheet will be made and the event decorating & catering business’s staff will be briefed about the event.
- Decoration equipment will be selected depending on whether the host wants his/her event in an already established events arena or on some personal property such as his/her own residence, office, shop, factory, etc.
- The venue where the event will take place must clearly indicate the name of the host and the event along with the date.
- On the day of the event, event set-up and other preparations should be completed well before the guests’ estimated time of arrival and every staff member should be well aware of his/her responsibilities.
- In case catering is also acquired, servers on daily wages will be hired to fulfill the serving needs.
- All required equipment must be polished and in top condition to ensure a smooth set-up and service.
- The type of event / function
- Venue of the event
- Expected number of guests
- Table setup arrangements and specifications
- Menu of the food (in case catering is acquired)
- Any special request made by the host
- Employee personal hygiene to be ensured
- A good briefing before the event that will help in avoiding many service problems during the event.
Following key parameters must be addressed for successful event management in Pakistan:
Service: The business will provide decorating and catering services to events such as weddings (mayon, mehndi, barat, valima, etc.), parties (such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) and corporate events and social gatherings.
Target Market: The proposed target markets for this business are the upper, upper-middle, and middle income groups of main cities like Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, etc. and second tier cities like Hyderabad, Multan, Faisalabad, etc. The main reason for selecting these groups is that the population of these groups is usually more interested in spending a considerable amount of money to make their events more attractive.
Location: The business will have one main office/shop in a middle to high income locality or it can even be in an area that has considerable number of banquet halls and event arenas; and a comparatively large storage facility in an area easily accessible from any part of the city.
Equipment: This business will require an investment in purchasing all the necessary decoration equipment from tents to tables and chairs to all crockery and cutlery, as well as equipment required for the day-to-day running of the management office.
Commitment to Quality: There is only one chance to get an event right and that one chance will ensure customer satisfaction which in turn will result in repeated business or promotion through word of mouth. Hence, consistent and accurate fulfillment of the clients’ wishes with quality offering will be a very crucial factor for success of a decorating & catering business.
Competitive Pricing: The event management and decoration industry is extremely competitive and people are willing to spend large sums of cash to ensure high quality experience for their guests. Hence, pricing of quality services offered can be such that a significant profit is made on each event planned.
Professional Awareness: Event decoration is also a constantly evolving industry that is vulnerable to seasonal trends. Hence, as in any other industry, staying on top of all sorts of trends and industry developments will ensure success in this industry as well.
Work Experience and Project Management Skills: Prior experience in the decorating and catering industry is another important factor. For instance, if the prospective entrepreneur has already planned a few events and has made some industry connections before starting his/her own business; it will be a very great advantage on his/her part. Similarly, the entrepreneur’s project management skills will help him/her execute every event timely, within budget, and as professionally as possible.
Industry Connections: As in any other business, industry connections are very important in the highly competitive event management industry as well. Networking with the event management insiders who have the power to hire you for their clients will be another key factor for success. Also, knowing the right supplier(s) and maintaining good relations with them will ensure that the quality is sustained over time.
Creativity & Dependability: Creativity is the benchmark of all outstanding decorators. Creative decorators are able to turn a client’s vision into reality by creating the appropriate look, feel, menu, service, and ambiance. Those who are not very creative can learn to be or they can employ those who are creative. Similarly, dependability is another major cornerstone of success in decorating and catering business. When a decorator/caterer fails to deliver what was promised, the negative word of mouth travels fast among clients and potential clients. Even in those situations where circumstances change, making it more difficult to perform as promised, the outstanding decorator/caterer will find a way to deliver rather than use the changed circumstance as an excuse to not deliver.
Marketing & Branding: For a newly established decorating and catering business positive word-of-mouth will be one of the key marketing approaches. Once the decorator/caterer has succeeded in creating a reputation for him/herself, the business will turn into a brand that people will come looking for. But before the brand is established, the owner will even have to go and find customers because no one will come to a new business when already established decorating and catering services are on the lookout for customers.
Investment Required to Start an Event Management Company in Pakistan
Total estimated cost of starting this business is Rs. 6,303,300 with fixed investment of Rs. 5,346,300 and working capital of Rs. 957,000. Given the cost assumptions, IRR and payback are 39% and around 3 years respectively. All the figures in this financial model have been calculated for estimated sales of Rs. 33.7 million in the year one. The capacity utilization during year one is worked out at 50% with 5% increase in subsequent years up to the maximum capacity utilization of 90%. The internal rate of return, payback period and net present values can be studied in the pre-feasibility study of an event management company in Pakistan by SMEDA.