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. 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. 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.


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.”