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Old 25.01.2010, 12:11
angelae
 
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Legal requirments for catering business

Hi all,

I'm new to this, I have looked at previous threads and not found answers but please bear with me if I am repeating anything

I am in the process of moving to Zurich (following hubby's job) and am starting to wonder about filling my time once I'm there.

I am a part time chef here helping a friend who runs her own catering business. I would love to start something similar in Zurich once we are settled and didn't want to leave it until then to find out the in's & out's so to speak.

My plan would be to do outside catering (parties, dinner parties Christenings etc) primarily for the English speaking community although I am determined to become a German speaking expat.

I have 2 smallish kids and have to fit around school etc hence the part time need, but I am determined to occupy myself and not get bored.

So I guess my questions are:

1. where can I find out the legal requirements for catering businesses (health & safety etc)
2. what type of visa will I need (Hubby's company have said they will provide for me but want to make sure I ask for the correct one)
3. does anyone know of a similar business already running? perhaps I could simply try & help out there as I do here.

As I said sorry if I missed an existing thread that covers these points.

Thanks in advance for any help
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Old 15.03.2010, 06:26
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Re: Legal requirments for catering business

"I am a part time chef here helping a friend who runs her own catering business. I would love to start something similar in Zurich once we are settled and didn't want to leave it until then to find out the in's & out's so to speak.

My plan would be to do outside catering (parties, dinner parties Christenings etc) primarily for the English speaking community although I am determined to become a German speaking expat.

I have 2 smallish kids and have to fit around school etc hence the part time need, but I am determined to occupy myself and not get bored.

So I guess my questions are:

1. where can I find out the legal requirements for catering businesses (health & safety etc)
2. what type of visa will I need (Hubby's company have said they will provide for me but want to make sure I ask for the correct one)
3. does anyone know of a similar business already running? perhaps I could simply try & help out there as I do here."

Are you a trained professional or doing this on the side? I ask because the Swiss are very thorough on this matter, but, there is always getting around everything. Normally if your husband's work will be providing help on the issue you should seek a B Permit, that will work for 5 years.
You can ask the Gemeindehaus you are heading to, or Zurich Stadt in general, and you are going to want to need to know info from the Lebensmittel Inspector. Going back to being a trained professional or not. The Swiss inspectors are like none other in the world, although personally I don't see how that changes anything, they bring with them black lights to inspect the prep tables; for example. But, for opening a food realted business say in Aargau canton, even if you are professional they make you take Swiss hygene course, which I was told was around 5000 francs; some guy told me it was 20,000 but I think he may have been inebriated.
I know Zurich canton is different, as they all are, and from what I hear more loose in their standards, you'll see they have a higher percentage of food borne illnesses there as well!
There is a caterer named Seganti catering, and Cadrian. Seganti will work with you if you have good experience, and english is less a problem. Where Cadrian with thumb their noses up at you even if you have Michelin 2 star references; ahem, ahem.
From personal experience I would suggest really taking the grass roots/hands on approach to this until you have become better integrated in the community, like 6 to 12 months atleast. It will take a while before you get any "constant" -I have no idea what that word means here in Switzerland business, and the costs involved in going 100% legit aren't worth it when you are new here.

I cannot express more the word networking. Getting involved in anything you can, and, regardless of how it sounds, trying not to rely too heavily on the expat community, and rather trying to aim more at the Swiss more then anything. I say this, because, where the EF, for example has been a real great asset since I have been here, Swiss people will understand more then anyone what it costs to have decent/proper catering done. Food costs and equipment rental here are insane. When an already operational restaurant offers a price and you offer one, the restaurant will almost always win, although they are almost never profitting.

If you have some of your own equipment and your husband's company is paying for the move, bring it over, or buy it now and do the same. If you don't and would rather wait, then buy it used on Ebay.fr or new on Ebay.de, even with the import tax you will find it's a great discount.

But back to my point, if you plan on staying here for awhile remember Swiss will appreciate you because you are international and there is very little national swiss cuisine identity, and they understand the costs of everything. You don't know HOW MANY times expats will contact me about catering, and have a fit, about my price, and then after I have spent time researching, clearing dates, sending a dozen or so emails to these perspective "clients" I get told in the end they are going with the restaurant instead, after I have re worked the bill 3 to 4 times over.
They forget your time researching, purchasing, prepping, cooking, wrapping, delivering, setting up, often times presenting, taking down, cleaning up, washing the dishes at home, and returning the equipment to the rental place, is all work the host does not have to do, and you should be paid for it. Even a bare minimum atleast.

But like I said, starting out small in your own kitchen, or doing the work in the customer's kitchen in the beginning, until you start to get some steady word of mouth following is probably the best route. The Swiss gov't is very serious with hygene requirements, but unless you are planning on renting a space(I strongly suggest a warehouse space and converting it as opposed to a pre-existing restaurant), and going full throttle, I think the other way is best.
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Old 15.03.2010, 07:27
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Re: Legal requirments for catering business

Quote:
But like I said, starting out small in your own kitchen
If you live in an apartment with neigtbours in the same building you are not allowed to emit cooking smel all the time and making noise while washing dishes.
Also ask your hubby what he thinks about getting the kitchen crammed with cooking equipment.

It is very difficult running a hospitality business in switzerland, the cost`s are very high. The rent for a restaurant at a good location with parking space is very high and less frequented or runned down places hard to build up.
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Old 15.03.2010, 11:20
angelae
 
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Re: Legal requirments for catering business

thank you both for your help - I am a trained professional but with UK qualifications.

Fortunately we have a single family house not an appartment so hopefully there are less restrictions there.

Anyway thanks again for pointing me in the right direction :-)
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Old 15.03.2010, 16:54
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Re: Legal requirments for catering business

"If you live in an apartment with neigtbours in the same building you are not allowed to emit cooking smel all the time and making noise while washing dishes."

Not to be negative here but, yes you are allowed to cook whenever you want to in your apartment, unless it's a co-op I suppose. I am assuming there will be the normal ventilation found in all apartments and homes here. The only time this would be a problem would be if she moved in extra stoves and this over powered the strength of the ventillator. And I mean, how loud do you wash your dishes?


"It is very difficult running a hospitality business in switzerland, the cost`s are very high. The rent for a restaurant at a good location with parking space is very high and less frequented or runned down places hard to build up."
Yep.
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Old 15.03.2010, 16:57
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Re: Legal requirments for catering business

Plus as any professional cook knows there isn't a full start to finnish cooking of the food, and using cambro's for holding and isothermes seal tight any possible smells. But unless you are using alot of deep fryers with old grease, and or an assaultive amount of spices, there should never be powerfully pungent smells. If there are, you need to check the quality of your food.
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Old 15.03.2010, 16:59
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Re: Legal requirments for catering business

" I am a trained professional but with UK qualifications."
I am assuming that means you are HAACP or Servsafe certified. If so, then normally you do not have to take the course, but probably have to take a test.
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