The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Catering Business: Everything to Know

table with catered food at a party

For smaller businesses, such as cafes and restaurants, the year 2020 brought plenty of difficulties. As a result, many of these companies either had to shut their doors or transition to a strategy focused only on take away and delivery.

As we near the end of 2021, things are definitely picking back up in the dining and event sphere. If you’ve been waiting for the right moment for starting your catering business, this could be it! In many cases, catering companies are a more cost-effective and flexible option than brick-and-mortar restaurants. 

Check out this guide for some helpful tips! Here’s everything to know on how to establish a catering company.

Before Starting a Catering Business

Before you rush off and buy equipment or write a business strategy, understand what makes a catering company special. Operating a catering company is less risky and burdensome than starting a restaurant while still allowing you creative flexibility. 

It’s critical to determine the kind of catering company you want to open:

  • Corporate: conferences, cocktail receptions, or office meetings
  • Social gatherings: wedding parties, charity events, birthday parties
  • Home meals: cooking meals for families and date nights
  • Food Truck

Think long and hard about what type of catering company you want. Once you have decided, the following steps will help you get your business off to a good start.

1. Acquire Practical Experience and Knowledge

A successful start-up, like any other company endeavor, requires expertise. Consider working for an experienced caterer before starting your own. A working professional’s hands-on expertise and advice will far outweigh any amount of study.

If working for a catering business is not possible, organize small parties for individuals you know. For example, host a Christmas party or a church luncheon for a small group. You can identify and solve possible issues while getting honest criticism from a forgiving audience.

2. Choose a Food Theme

A strong idea or theme may help your catering company stand out. Focus your idea on something you’re enthusiastic about. Some ideas are:

  • Breakfast meals
  • Sandwich platters
  • Sweets and desserts
  • Party finger foods

Your theme could be any other idea that provides your company a focus.

When selecting a theme, consider the population you’ll be targeting, how you’ll price your services, and if you have access to the necessary equipment.

3. Make Up a Catering Menu

Create menus for meals before looking at locations and options of equipment for catering. Then, when you know what you’ll be cooking, you can determine what tools, appliances, and space you’ll need to make it.

It would help if you also catered to a broad range of tastes, choices, and diet requirements. Then, decide how you’ll price your products or event bundles. Before meeting with your first prospective customers, create a sample menu and price.

4. Find a Suitable Cooking Location

Many states have rules and regulations prohibiting caterers from working from home. 

Renting a commercial kitchen area is the most cost-effective choice for new or low-volume businesses. This is excellent for people who are starting.

5. Permits and Health and Safety Issues

Before you even step foot onto your premises to cater your first event, be sure you have the necessary permits in place. Also, make sure that your kitchen staff is familiar with food safety procedures and laws.

6. Planning is Success

When it comes to unforeseen foodservice crises, preparedness is key. Think ahead about unforeseen common problems such as:

  • Weather at an outdoor event
  • Extra unexpected guests
  • Staff shortages
  • Power problems

Establish a reaction strategy with employees in advance. Planning to deal with these problems with your catering business will ensure smooth service.

The Adult Stuff: Business Financing

Once you have a grounding for your catering business, now is the time for business financing. Of course, you may be in a position to start it immediately. However, if not, with a good grounding and financial plan, you can now approach financial institutions for a small business loan to start your dream catering company.

Carry On Catering

Catering offers the creative flexibility of starting a food-centered business without the financial burden of running a restaurant. With the aforementioned measures, your company will be off to a great start. 

Get in touch with us for all your catering vehicle needs. We take the time to understand our customers’ requirements and offer cost-effective solutions.