How To Start a Catering Business


The steps to start a Catering Business are outlined in this article, along with a few points to consider.

Steps to Starting a Catering Business

  1. Researching a Catering Business – See An Inside Look Into the Business You Want To Start.
  2. Choosing a Location for Your Catering Business For more, see Choosing The Best Location for Your Business.
  3. Choose a Name for Your Catering Business. See How to Choose a Business Name.
  4. Legalizing Your Business – See  How to Register your Business.
  5. Create Your Corporate ID – See A Complete Introduction to Corporate Identity Packages.
  6. Catering Business Equipment – See The Most Recent Google Search Results Related to Catering Business Equipment.
  7. Estimating Your Start-up Cost – See Estimating Start-up Costs: Are you Missing Anything?
  8. Writing a Catering Business Plan – See How to Write a Business Plan.
  9. Set up a Business Bank Account – See, How to Open a Business Bank Account.
  10. Get the Funding for Your Catering Business – See Getting a Small Business Loan.
  11. Software Setup – Check out Google’s Latest Search Results for Software Packages Related to a Catering Business.
  12. Get Your Catering Business Insured – See the latest Google Search Results for Catering Business Insurance.
  13. Catering Business Office Setup – See, Here are Considerations for The Setup of Your Office.
  14. Choosing Suppliers for Your Catering Business – See, How to Choose a Supplier You Can Depend on.
  15. Create an External Support Team – See, Building a Team of Professional Advisors for Your Business
  16. Hiring Employees – See How and When to Hire a New Employee.

Considerations Before Starting

Catering Business Overview:

Your day as a caterer may start very early, with you preparing meals, organizing and loading equipment, and food into vans to drive to party locations. Parties may be weddings, graduations, events, engagements, bar mitzvahs, birthdays, retirement parties, etc.

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.

Skill Set:

Employee Considerations:

Hours of Operation:

Open for inquiries from 9 am to 5 pm. Actual events, may anytime, but usually in the afternoon and evening.

Equipment and Supplies

  • Kitchen equipment and utensils
  • Serving utensils, dishes, and silverware
  • Mixers, juicers, food blenders
  • Skillets, pots, pans
  • Tables and linens
  • Condiment trays with salt, pepper, cream, sugar, etc.
  • Means of transportation
  • Refrigeration unit(s)
  • Specialty equipment such as panini grills and chocolate fountains
  • Van or box truck
  • A large assortment of food warmers
  • Office Equipment

Monthly Expenses To Consider:

In addition to our list of common business expenses, your catering service will require a budget for the ongoing cost of acquiring 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.

See Our Page on Licenses and Permits

Approximate Startup Cost:

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.
  • 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:

The Pros:

  • There is an opportunity for high revenue.
  • Freedom of being your own boss.
  • A wide variety of creativity in menu planning.

The Cons:

  • You may encounter considerable competition.
  • Working long hours, including holidays.
  • Dealing with people at 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, 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.


Next, you’ll find a few resources that can be helpful during the start-up phase and after the business is up and running.

Businesses For Sale

Before starting a catering business from scratch, you may want to consider buying an established business.

The pros and cons are both present. There are some pros, such as that the business is running when you take over, that you start earning revenue right away, and that you already know if the business is successful.

The purchase of an established business, however, is usually more expensive. Significant changes could also harm the business. So see, Buy a business or build one from scratch for more. See the latest Google Search results for catering businesses for sale.


Knowing more about your catering business before starting will help you make better decisions. You have the power to expand a business and make it successful when you have a lot of knowledge about it.

Information is available. You just have to find it and use it by providing a link to a Google search result containing a variety of publications related to a catering business. How you use the information is up to you. View the latest and most popular publications by visiting the link once a week or at least once a month. Click here for the latest publications related to a catering business.

Trends and Statistics

Looking at industry trends and statistics related to the catering industry can provide insights and tips you may not have considered. Click Here for the Latest Google Search Results Related to Trends in the Catering Industry.


Being familiar with your industry is important for a business owner. The terminology, however, can be learned from experience. You can look at glossaries to get a head start. Search Results Related to Terminology in the Catering Industry.


The supplies you choose are an important factor in affecting your success. However, when you choose supplies of poor quality, that could harm your business. See the Latest Google Search Results for Catering Business Supplies.


Joining an association can be beneficial. Many provide news and publications to benefit from. Many of them also host events you can attend to network with others in the industry.

Click Here To View Associations Related to the Catering Industry. You may also want to check out our page for tips and insights about Joining a Trade Association.

Top Catering Businesses

You will gain insight into what the market offers, pricing, and other ideas when studying other businesses. You might come up with an innovative idea or find something you’re lacking in your business. Search Google for the Top Catering Businesses in Your Area.

Marketing Tips

Running a business requires marketing. As a business owner, you can market your own business by trying one technique at a time, testing, and doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Have a Look at the Latest Articles for Marketing a Catering Business.

Catering Tips

Whether you are experienced or not in the industry, it doesn’t hurt to check out the latest tips related to catering. Have a Look at the search results for tips related to catering.


You can also get information about your industry from books. For example, view the Most Recent Google Search Results for Catering Business Books.


Your business will be more successful if you are knowledgeable and skilled. View the latest course related to catering by taking a few minutes. Google’s Search Results Related to Training for a Catering Business.


Searching Google News for stories about catering is an excellent way to find stories covered by the media. See Google’s News Search Results Related to the Catering Industry.

Videos on YouTube

You can find videos on YouTube that provide you with tips and insights to expand your knowledge in your industry.

See the Most Recent Videos Related to Catering.


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