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How To Start A Catering Business

How To Start A Catering BusinessHow To Start A Catering Business
min read
August 21, 2023

If you are a person who is equally passionate about a) food, and b) owning your own business, getting into the catering industry can be a great way to marry your two passions and start a small business you’re excited about.

But if you’ve never launched a business before, you might not know where to start. What steps do you have to take to successfully launch a catering company? How do you get the word out about your new venture? And how can you ensure that your food business is sustainable in the long-term?

Let’s take a look at a step-by-guide for starting your own catering company so you have everything you need to build a business that not only allows you to make amazing food, but to make a profit at the same time.

Choose Your Niche

The term “catering” can be used to describe a number of different business types and services. So, the very first step in building a successful catering business? Choosing your niche — and figuring out what kind of catering services your business is going to offer.

If you’re not sure what you want your business to focus on, there are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself, including:

The point is, there are tons of different niches you can explore when building your catering business — and before you get too far into the business-building process, it’s important to decide which niche and business type is the right fit for you.

Create A Plan For Your Company

Every successful business starts with a business plan — and that includes catering businesses. So, once you’ve decided what type of catering company you want to build, the next step in the process is drafting a plan for your company.

Think of your business plan as a roadmap; it gives you clear direction on how to get from where you are now (a business idea) to where you’re trying to go (a successful, profitable business).

But what, exactly, does that roadmap entail? Your plan should include detailed information about starting and growing your business, including:

Crafting a business plan takes time. But a detailed plan is an absolute must if you want to set your business up for success in the long run — so make sure you invest the time into creating as detailed a business plan as possible.

Take Care Of The Legal Side Of Starting A Business

Once you have a plan for your business in place, you’ll want to take care of the legal side of launching and running a catering business. 

So what, exactly, does that entail? Some steps you’ll want to take to legally establish your business include:

Stock Up On Equipment And Supplies

When you draft your business plan, you’ll identify all the cooking equipment and supplies you’ll need to launch your catering business — and once you’ve legally established your business, your next step is to get out there and get that equipment and supplies.

Depending on your budget, you may want to start off by only securing the equipment and supplies that are absolutely necessary to get your business off the ground — and then continue to build your inventory as you land more clients. Or, you may choose to rent a space that’s equipped with everything you need — and instead of purchasing the equipment and supplies yourself, just roll the cost into your monthly rental fee.

In addition to the equipment and supplies you’ll need for food prep and serving, you should also think about the tools you’ll need to effectively manage your business. For example, if you want your clients to be able to pay for your catering services with a credit card, you’ll need to invest in an online payment platform or a mobile payment solution. If you want to track your client invoices and business expenses, you’ll need to invest in a bookkeeping software. If you’re planning on hiring caterers, a sous chef, or other staff, you’ll want to invest in a payroll and time tracking tool that will allow you to keep track of employee hours, and make sure your team gets paid accurately and on-time.

However you decide to manage the process, having the equipment, supplies, and tools on hand that you’ll need to a) prepare food and cater for your clients, and b) successfully manage your company is a must before you start marketing your business — so make sure you have everything you need before you officially launch your catering company to the public.

Hire And Train Staff

If you’re planning on building a team, you’ll also need to go through the process of hiring and training staff.

Depending on your business model and the types of clients, events, and venues you serve, staff you may want to consider hiring for your catering business include:

Because your staff will be handling food, training is extremely important to ensure the safety of your clients. This includes training on food preparation, food handling, food safety, and food waste. There may be additional trainings your state or local jurisdiction requires for businesses in the food service industry; check with your health department and make sure you provide any required trainings for your staff. 

Get The Word Out

You have your plan, your catering equipment, and your staff. You’re ready to start taking on clients and catering jobs.

So, it’s time to start marketing.

There are a number of different ways to spread the word about your business, including:

Bottom line? As you’re getting your catering business off the ground, you need to spread the word to as many potential clients as possible — so it’s important to focus on building and implementing a robust marketing strategy.

Get Out There And Start Your Catering Business

Launching a new business can be daunting. But now that you know everything you need to know about starting a catering company, what is left to do? Get out there and build your business!

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