How To Start A Catering Business for Beginners
Catering is one of the businesses that flourish at all times reason being that humans must eat to stay alive.
If you take great delight in preparing meals and your friends or relatives often find them appetizing, it could be that you’ve got some amazing culinary skills that should be diverted into a profit-yielding activity.
Perhaps your culinary potential, coupled with some entrepreneurial ability, is enough to make you one of the successful caterers in your neighborhood.
Meanwhile, it’s quite easy to start a catering business provided you’ve got the flair, the entrepreneurial ability and the information you need to operate efficiently in your location.
Through this article, you’ll be exposed to the essential tips you need for starting a catering business.
Take out of your precious time to read this article and find out all you need to get started with a catering business anytime soon.
Tips for Starting a Catering Business
1) Decide on a Catering Niche
In reality, deciding on a catering niche is the first step required in starting a catering business.
Perhaps, you have a strong knack for a particular group of dishes and believe you can hone your culinary skills in that aspect.
Catering is done in various ways and the one you choose should depend on the kinds of food you’re skilled at preparing.
Some caterers specialize majorly in desserts while many others combine several categories including cocktails, appetizers, desserts, etc.
If you think you’re versatile, combining all these categories can be a great option since your services will be likely requested at wedding ceremonies and other grand events.
2) Organize a Set Menu
This is an essential part of your start-up plans as it helps you determine the cooking appliances you will need plus the size of kitchen required for your catering business.
You must think practically in doing this if you really want to come out with a detailed set menu.
Provided you’ll be offering catering services suitable for different categories of clients –including epicures and vegetarians –you’ve got to include lots of options in your set menu.
While it’s essential to make your set menu quite elaborate in this regard, you’re still advised to avoid adding the foods you aren’t skilled at preparing.
3) Find Out if Your Dishes Are Worth It
Your dishes can taste good and palatable in your throat but what happens if your clients find them unsavory?
Perhaps all your culinary efforts become futile but if you must avoid this at all costs, consider urging your friends and relatives to test the dishes, delicacies and just any kinds of meals you wish to sell to clients.
This test should be the next step after you have carefully organized a menu and figured out all the cooking ingredients and utensils you need.
Also, do well to know what your relatives or friends have got to say about your dishes. Ensure their experiences are genuine so that you may be convinced about your culinary skills.
If perhaps they highlight a couple of flaws, try as much as you can to work on these imperfections by devoting ample time to cooking and getting your techniques right.
The more you practice, the earlier you’re likely to develop the culinary techniques that will delight your clients.
4) Rent a Kitchen Space
Besides helping your catering business appear professional, having a commercial kitchen space is a great way to avoid violating your local laws.
Advisably, you should note that some local laws forbid caterers from rendering their services from home and as such, you may have to rent a suitable commercial space for your kitchen.
Commercial kitchen spaces are of various types and each type comes with specific usage conditions. While some kitchens are available for permanent usage, others are available for hourly or daily usage.
The type of kitchen space you choose depends on how you wish to render your catering services.
If you’ll be operating on a full-time basis, then a permanent kitchen space is likely the best option for you but if you’ll be devoting only a few hours to catering –or if you’ll be operating only on weekends –you may have to opt for one of the kitchen spaces specialized for temporary usage.
5) Get Your Business Licensed
Licenses and permits are some of the essential documents a business should have in order to operate legally. Meanwhile, catering is one of the businesses that require obtaining permits and licenses.
Before you finally launch your catering business, do well to find out all the necessary permits and licenses your neighborhood requires you to have for a catering business.
6) Buy Catering Equipment
Since you already have a set menu highlighting all the catering utensils and equipment you need to get your business off the ground, the next thing after licensing your business is to purchase these items.
For catering services that require a whole lot of baking, you’ll need a minimum of two ovens.
Ensure your kitchen is well furnished with all of these prerequisites as they may also include:
- Cooking utensils: pans, pots, fryers, etc.
- Storage facilities: freezers, refrigerators, etc.
- Serving utensils: silverware, re-usable plates, disposable plates, glassware, etc.
7) Employ Some Workers
Are you planning to operate your catering business on a large scale? Do you have the required capital outlay for this?
If you have a positive answer to the questions above, you may have to hire several employees for your catering business.
Of course, a staff of workers will be needed for certain aspects of food preparation and for the delivery of foods to distant customers.
8) Purchase a Van
Having a van is another great way to operate a catering business efficiently and professionally. Once your business starts reeling in customers, try to purchase a van to quicken the delivery of foods to customers.
The van should facilitate your catering needs in the sense that it must have sufficient space for storing items in the course of delivering foods to buyers.
9) Market Your Catering Business
For the sustainability of any new business, marketing is obviously one of the key aspects that should be handled seriously.
You have to figure out what’s the best way to promote your catering business and how you can advertise in the most affordable ways.
Marketing for a catering business can be done in several ways. Here are a few marketing ideas:
⇒ You can decide to dole out fliers,
⇒ Do word-of-mouth advertising at weddings,
⇒ Advertise your business through local newspapers
⇒ Take the business online by creating a website for it
⇒ Boost its online reach via Facebook and several other social networks.