How to Start a Catering Business 1-2-3
Whether you like working with small private parties, large corporate businesses or festive wedding events,
there is good money to be made in catering.
You can even start your own catering company without having formal cooking training (however, if you want
some - see below).
In addition to catering, you can also offer a personal chef
service - one of the fastest growing businesses right now.
If you enjoy the creativity that cooking offers, why not take your interest to a whole new level and make
money while doing something you love?
Catering Business Training
Why would you get training? To learn how to maximize profitability using alcoholic beverages, simple
garnishing techniques, food presentation and event design strategies. You can also learn tactics like efficient
kitchen layout and easy, effective buffet setup and fast clean-up methods will help your jobs run more smoothly
and be less stressful.
Although a catering certificate is not required to operate a food service business, specialized catering
business training give you a leg up in the marketplace, and you can gain more respect and trust from clients.
Online catering courses are not only faster and more convenient to complete - they cost significantly less.
Food Safety Training & Certification This course
prepares food managers for the ANSI-CFP exam.
1. Start by putting together a business plan (see sample catering business plans).
2. Register your business name with your county clerk and apply for a
business license through your city.The permits and licenses you will need will depend on your city, as
requirements vary by locale.
3. Find a commercial kitchen for your business. Depending on where
you live, you may also be able to prepare foods at home, but check zoning restrictions. Your cooking space will
need to pass an inspection by your Department of Health.
4. Open a bank account for your business. You can use affordable
accounting software like quickbooks to manage financial records for taxes, budgeting, and more.
5. Accepting credit cards from customers will enable you to work with
a greater number of clients. Open a merchant account and get invoicing software that will make it easy to bill
clients and for clients to pay you.6. Don't overlook insurance. You can get insurance quotes free online.
Do you need insurance?
7. Get wholesale catering supplies at Caterer's Warehouse. Generally, you'll want to have glassware,
flatware, dinnerware, serving dishes, beverage dispensers, condiment supplies, serving pitchers, storage
containers, trays, baskets, serving utensils, linens, carts, grills, mobile serving equipment, outdoor heating
supplies, table signage and dishwashing equipment. If you are on a limited budget or are working an extra-large
event, you can rent equipment and supplies from a local event supply/rental store.
Another huge resource is Mission Restaurant Supply.
They sell restaurant supplies, equipment and furniture as well as bar supplies, catering equipment and
concession supplies. All products have a rating system, so you can see what other customers think of each item.
Mission also offers "web special" pricing.
Take it from Lex Thomas, who started a successful catering and personal chef business herself - you can
start your own successful catering business using her experience and advice from other expert caterers in
Customers want to work with professionals who
get the job done right - and with start-up guides showing you how to perform and act like a professional -
you don't have to have years of experience to attract a large following of clients.
See what you get:
- Step-by-Step: How and where to get financing, insurance, licenses, permits, supplies, staff, software and more, so
that you can run your business effectively with less hassles.
- Marketing Instructions: Creative yet simple ways to market your business and gain new
customers, tips on getting free publicity and how to do a client consultation and look like a pro.
- Free Samples: How to set prices,
prepare estimates and contracts, get deposits, set schedules - plus sample menus, invoices and more!
How to Start a Catering Business
Attracting New Customers to Your New Catering Business
Create an online presence for your catering business and show off a professional visual display of your
products and services. This is a great way to attract local clientele - and your website can do much of the
"selling" for you. It's easier and cheaper than you think with a Free Website Builder
Advertise with Signs
Caterers can advertise and connect with new clients by using simple signs. Place car magnets on your vehicle,
use banners when you are hosting a fundraiser - even A-frame chalkboard signs can be really handy menus when
you cater an event. Find out more.
See Also: Small Business Marketing Guide |
Catering Logos | Catering Menu
National Association of Catering Executives
NACE offers members, partners, and the public a variety of rich resources that support, promote and enhance the
catering and special events industries.
International Caterers Association
The ICA is a non-profit group that provides education, mentoring and business resources for caterers. They also
promote the business of catering to clients, industry members, vendors and the public.
National Restaurant Association
The National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry.