How to Successfully Launch Your First Catering Business
If you have a flair for cooking and want to start a business, there is no time like the present to take matters into your own hands and launch your first catering company.
If you believe you have what it takes to run a profitable company, we are offering some helpful tips to help you get started.
Don’t run before you can walk. Start off small, catering for small dinners of up to 12 people or parties for 50 people. As you slowly find your feet, you can start to cater for larger groups as your confidence and skills grow.
Write a List of the Catering Items
Before you begin, we recommend writing a list of all the items you will need to start your catering company. You will require various kitchen equipment to run a successful business, from serving dishes and coolers to dishwashers and food preparation supplies. Also, to keep up with your business needs, you may have to purchase a separate freezer, so you have enough space to store your dishes.
Find Your Place in the Market
You might not have the capacity or confidence to cater to large groups of people right away, so it is important to find a space in the market for you to develop your services. While large weddings might be off the table initially, there is no reason why you cannot cater for wedding showers, small engagement parties or bachelorette parties.
Create an Appealing Menu
Your menu will make or break how many people book your services over a competitor. It is, therefore, advisable to do your homework to discover what your competitors are doing, which can help you discover the type of foods many people would like at a party or sit-down dinner.
Create a Menu to Complement Your Budget
Not only must you develop a menu that meets customer demand, but it must also suit your budget, too. You must, therefore, set catering prices that provide the customers with value-for-money services, but will ensure you can make a significant return on your investment. Remember, the cost of your ingredients will determine your profit margin, so choose wisely.
Don’t Forget the Extras
You might not realise it, but a caterer is often required to provide more than just delicious dishes. The customer may expect you to bring the china, glassware, utensils, linens and maybe even the tables and chairs. If this is not expected, you could always provide the services for an additional fee.
Obtain a Catering License
You cannot run a catering company without the right business license from the state, as well as the city and county. The health department is required to inspect any commercial kitchen to ensure your company meets health codes. Contact the local Chamber of Commerce or Small Business Development Center to identify the licensing you will require when launching a catering company.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to take the appropriate steps to launch your very first catering company. Best of luck!