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Catering Operational Business Requirements

Starting a catering business is a great way to turn your passion for food into a successful career. But before you can open your doors and start serving up delicious meals, you need to meet a few legal requirements. This article will outline the key requirements for starting a catering business in the United States.


Business Plan

The first step in starting any business is to develop a catering business plan. This document will serve as a roadmap for your catering business, outlining your goals, strategies, and financial projections. A well-crafted business plan will increase your chances of securing funding from investors or lenders.


Business Structure

When starting a catering business, you will need to choose a business structure. The most common business structures for catering businesses are sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations. Each type of business entity has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the right one for your business. 

Before choosing, however, you may wish to consult with an attorney to look at the pros and cons of various business structures


Licenses and Permits

Before you can start catering, you will need to obtain the proper licenses and permits for your catering business from your local government. The type of licenses and permits required will vary depending on the type of food you will be serving, your business location, and other factors.

You can estimate $1,000 – $3,000 in licensing and permit fees when starting your catering business.



Catering businesses are required to carry certain types of insurance, including liability and workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance will protect your business from financial losses in the event of an accident or injury.

You can estimate $500 – $3,000 per year for the cost of business insurance.

Now that you know the key requirements for starting a catering business, you can start planning your business and working towards your goals. With hard work and dedication, you can build a successful catering business that will serve delicious food for years to come.


Food Safety Certification

All catering businesses handling food must comply with strict food safety regulations. This means obtaining a food handler’s license or certificate in most states. To get this certification, you will need to complete a food safety course and pass an exam.

You can estimate $50 – $100 for the cost of a food safety certification course.


Commercial Kitchen

One of the most important requirements for starting a catering business is having a commercial kitchen. This type of kitchen is designed to meet the unique needs of food businesses, including large-scale food preparation, storage, and cleanup. If you do not have a commercial kitchen, you will need to rent space in one.

You can estimate $500 – $1,500 per month for the cost of renting a commercial kitchen.

Catering rules and requirements are often state-based. It’s generally a good policy to understand fully what you are and are not required to do to start your catering operation business requirements.