Your Guide To Starting A Successful Catering Business

Written by Chloe Harwood

If you love cooking and throwing parties, then you’re a catering entrepreneur just waiting to break free! Entertaining guests with beautiful, lavish food is a skill that is tricky to master. For that reason, we’ll happily pay a caterer to do it for us. There’s a huge market for this small business opportunity, especially in the right cities. Parties, events, and product launches take place every night in the capital cities. So, if you love food, and can’t turn down a party invitation, we’ve found the perfect job for you. Here’s how you get your first break.

Find a market – The catering business is a wide, far-reaching industry. There are all sorts of opportunities here, but there is also some stiff competition. For example, you’ll find it very difficult to break into the wedding market from day one. How are you going to cater for 100 people on your first go? Instead, start small, and work your way up. Find those niche markets, and start generating early leads. How about catering the bachelorette party instead of the wedding? Use your imagination here, and find those hidden markets.

Startup equipment – The hardest part of starting a catering company is getting your startup equipment together. Catering on a large scale is a whole different world to baking in your kitchen! You need industrial-size cooking equipment and serving ware. You’ll need to get your hands on everything from giant mixing bowls to a Berkel slicer. Remember, you’ll be preparing food on a large scale. Efficiency is your goal here! Make a list of everything you need, and start costing it up.

Startup funds – Now that you’ve got a full list of equipment, you can begin to pull together a spreadsheet of costs. As a brand new catering company, you’ll need to find some initial funding to get your venture off the ground. Many new caterers use their own savings to fund the first few operations. Just until the money comes in. Others approach the bank or lenders for a cash loan. The bigger companies can even seek angel investment.

Approach vendors – No catering company exists without a circle of trusted and reliable vendors. First of all, you need to source quality local food suppliers. Fresh meat, vegetables and fruit are essential, and you’ll want to find the very best. But, your catering needs don’t stop there. You’ll also need linens, glassware, china, tables and chairs. Think of every corner of your business, and strike up business deals with vendors.

Secure licenses – Last of all, check the legalities of your business. To function as a catering company, you’ll need a variety of registrations and licenses from your local government. Every state and country has different rules and regulations here, so check with your authority. There are health and safety licenses to secure, as well as business registration and food handling license.

Starting a catering business could be the key to your future. You can explore your passions, and create a successful business along the way! Good luck.

About the author

Chloe Harwood