Camp Catering business is like ‘taking a holiday’

5:00 AM Saturday August 13, 2016 Colin Taylor

Camp Catering provides meals at established camping venues from Northland through to Waikato.

An Auckland business that specialises in easing the strain for parents, teachers and company organisers by providing a catering service for school camps, corporate and special interest groups is now for sale.

“Camp Catering was established 30 years ago and has built a solid client base ensuring regular and ongoing bookings,” says Dayne Tomczyk, business broker with ABC Business Sales, who is marketing the enterprise for sale for an asking price of $375,000.  

“Business owners Jim and Carol Prichard, relieve camp and event organisers by preparing meals for up to 200 participants over the course of a week’s camp,” Tomczyk says. “This service effectively means parents and teachers are given the camps back - allowing them to be part of the activities, rather than spending hours in the kitchen.

“The Prichards mainly work from kitchens located within camps on Mototapu Island and Kawau Island in the Hauraki Gulf. While the business does cater for conferences, workshops and large scale events in the Auckland area, the main client base remains servicing primary and secondary school groups within established camping venues from Northland through to Waikato.

“The duration of the camps varies from two to three days to a full five day working week.  Work starts in the kitchens at around 6.30am and continues through until 7.30pm, with breaks during the day generally determined by the size of the groups.”

Tomczyk says the business has become renowned within the ‘niche industry’ for serving “food with taste” - using only the highest quality and freshest produce - and delivering a high level of service.

He says the long history and steady growth of the business was a deciding factor for the current owners in their buying the business five years ago – along with providing a fun and varied work environment.

“On average Jim and Carol work only 32 weeks of the year, generating a net surplus for 2016 of around $170,000 which makes this a desirable lifestyle business that has an excellent reputation within the industry.

“There is room for additional growth through expanding into additional events and supply arrangements or developing the menus to include a bigger range,” says Tomcyzk. “However, it is the perfect opportunity for a husband and wife team to work for only six months of the year and determine their own lifestyle.”

True Commercial - Camp Catering - group activity on Kawau Island.PNG

Outdoor activities are a feature of school, corporate and special interest group camps on Hauraki Gulf Islands. 

Tomczyk says Camp Catering’s reputation is based on the high quality nutritious meals served at every camp along with the efficiency and flexibility of their services.

“The camp menus are well thought out to ensure that a balance of fresh ingredients is used. Clients are provided with sample menus outlining a range of dishes available but which can be varied according to the needs of the different school or children’s groups.

“In the case of corporate, club and church groups, a more sophisticated menu is offered.  Carol Prichard says they target healthy and interesting product choices in their meal planning - buying and cooking foods that take into account each client’s budget and dietary requirements.

“The business has a reliable stable of trusted suppliers of quality produce who understand Camp Catering’s commitment to supplying nutritious, good value food with taste.”

Tomcyzk says each camp used by the business has fully operational catering kitchens, and separate sleeping quarters for members of the catering team who stays at the camps for the duration of each group’s booking - unless a camp is located close to home and commuting is viable.

“The team can comfortably manage all food preparation and cooking. The only assistance they require is in the serving of meals and washing dishes which adult participants in the groups are happy to help with,” says Tomcyzk.

He says an important aspect of owning the business is having the flexibility to be away from home while catering to the camps.  

A purchaser will also be required to obtain Food, Safety & Hygiene Certification and will be subject to Police vetting. “It goes without saying that good organisational skills and basic cooking skills are important. The preparation and co-ordination requirements will be made considerably easier as Jim and Carol will provide assistance and training to the business purchaser - from food ordering and menu planning, to meal preparation and travel logistics,” Tomczyk says.

“This is a ‘people-oriented business’ so a purchaser also needs to have good social skills and the ability to work with a variety of clients – thus ensuring that the established relationships are maintained.”

He says the business offers an enviable lifestyle. “Jim and Carol say catering to camps is like taking a holiday and being paid for it.”