How To Start A Catering Business: Are You Aware Of These Issues?
Catering Business Overview:
Your day as a caterer may start very early, with you preparing meals and organizing equipment and vans to drive to party locations.
Parties may be weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthdays, retirements, and so on. After cooking the meals, you will have to transport the food and your staff to the location and begin your setup.
After setting up, you must serve the food according to schedule and finally, everything must be cleaned up and packed up before you leave the party.
- A background in the culinary arts is plus
- Party-planning skills are a plus
- The knowledge of proper dining etiquette is a must
- An eye for decorating
- Time management skills
- People skills
- Common Business Skills
Employee and Job Consideration During The Start-Up Phase or In The Future:
- Delivery people
- Common staff positions needed to run some businesses
Approximate Daily Hours Needed:
Open for inquiries from 9 am to 5 pm. Actual events, however, may occur during morning, afternoon, and evening hours.
Equipment, Supplies, & Services During Start-up OR In The Future:
- Kitchen equipment and utensils
- Serving utensils, dishes, and silverware
- Mixers, juicers, food blenders
- Skillets, pots, pans
- Tables and linens
- Condiment trays with salt, pepper, sugar, cream, etc.
- Means of transportation
- Refrigeration unit(s)
- Specialty equipment such as panini grills and chocolate fountains
- Van or box truck
- Office Equipment
Monthly Expenses and Operating Costs To Consider:
In addition to our list of common business expenses, your catering service will require a budget for the ongoing cost of acquiring required the food you will be serving, disposable supplies such as (Sterno cans, possibly plastic ware such as glasses dishes, for casual events, and cleaning supplies.
You will need a food handler’s permit for both you and your employees. If you plan to serve alcoholic beverages, you will also need a liquor license.
Approximate Startup Cost:
If you start out of your home, you may be able to start for around $2,000 USD. However, Entrepreneur Magazine estimates that startup costs can range from $10,000 USD to $50,000 USD.
Tips & Considerations:
- Regular checks will be conducted by health officials
- Food temperature must be monitored at all times
- You must conform to all applicable food service laws
- Consider the type of catering you want. Some specialize in weddings. Others may only cook vegan meals. Some run a restaurant in conjunction with catering. There are even franchises such as Café Ala Carte®.
- It may take a full day, week, or even month, to prepare for a full-course event. Other events may only require finger foods that only take a few hours to prepare and set up.
Pros and Cons:
- There is an opportunity for high revenue
- Freedom of being your own boss
- A wide variety of creativity in menu planning
- You may encounter considerable competition
- Working long hours, including holidays
- Dealing with people at sometimes stressful special events, like weddings
- Staying current with all food service rules and regulations
Type of Customers You Need to Attract:
The types of customers vary greatly. Caterers serve weddings, fundraisers, parties, religious ceremonies like christenings and bar mitzvahs, and many other events. Smaller caterers may serve breakfast or lunches at offices.
According to Inc.com, the catering industry is a $7 billion USD business annually.
A survey done by the National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) reports that in 2010, 44% of their members noticed an increase in business party clients.
A Day In The Life of A Caterer:
A Day In The Life of A Caterer | Classic Catering
A working life: The mobile caterer | The Guardian
A Day in the Life of a Caterer | B & M Catering Company
Life of Brian: A Day in the Life of a Caterer… | Brianarcher
A Day in the Life of a Caterer | A Catering Life
One Day in the Life of a Caterer | Women’s Voices For Change
A Day in the Life of a Caterer | Taste Buddies
Catering Business Articles & Tips:
6 Steps to Starting Your Very Own Catering Company – Smarty Cents
Starting a Catering Business | Entrepreneur.com
How to Start a Catering Business | Inc.com
How to Start a Self-Catering Business | Thebalance.com
How to Start a Catering Business | LegalZoom
How to Start a Catering Business | NFIB.com
Top 7 Tips For Starting A Catering Business |Investopedia.com
Catering Industry Tips:
Expert Catering Tips – Knowing How Much Food is Enough! Belvederebanquets.com
10 Things To Be A Better Caterer | Crown Verity
10 Steps to Catering Success | Culinary Capers.com
NICHES | Catering Sales Tips
Niches are caterers’ low-hanging fruit | Cashing in on Catering
Niche Catering Ideas | eHow
Catering Training / Courses:
Education for Catering | Study.com
Caterer Training | Penn Foster Career School
Catering Training Courses | TISOH
The 20 Best Culinary Schools | The Best Schools
Best Culinary Schools in America | Edinformatics.com
Best Cooking Schools Around the World | Travel + Leisure
Professional Catering | Cheftalk.com
Catering, Vending, and Cooking For The Masses | The BBQ Brethren Forums
Discussion Forum – The Association of Club Catering Professionals
Best Catering Software 2016 Reviews | Capterra.com
The world’s best catering software | Caterease
Catering Management CRM | Eventpro.net
Top 11 Best Catering Software | Top best alternatives
Best Catering Software | Cheftalk.com Forum
Catering Supplies & Equipment:
Catering Supplies | Wholesale catering equipment
Catering Supplies specializes in wedding reception catering supplies | Catering Supplies.com
Catering Equipment | Webstaurantstore.com
Catering Supplies Cheap | Shindigz
Catering Equipment and Supplies | Centralrestaurant.com
The International Caterers Association | Internationalcaterers.org
The Association of Club Catering Professionals | The ACCP.com
Hospital Caterers Association | Hospitalcaterers.org
Established Businesses & Websites:
Top 5 Caterers: San Francisco | Socialtables.com
Catering Franchise Opportunities:
Catering Franchise Opportunities | Franchising.com
Food Catering Franchise Opportunities | Thefranchisemall.com
Catering Franchise Opportunities, Catering Franchises for Sale | FranchiseDirect.com
Catering Franchise Opportunities | Businessmart.com
Catering Businesses For Sale:
Catering Services Businesses for Sale | Buy Catering Services Businesses at BizQuest
Catering Businesses For Sale in US | BusinessesForSale.com
Catering Businesses For Sale | MergerNetwork.com
Catering Business For Sale USA | BusinessForSale.com
Catering News And Industry Sites:
Trends & Style | Catersource
2016 catering trends restaurant operators should know | Restaurant Hospitality
12 top wedding food trends | CBS News