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How To Start A Catering Business

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Starting a catering business can be a great way to make money while also enjoying the benefits of working for yourself. However, it is important to understand the process for starting a successful catering business before you begin. In this article, we will outline the steps you need to take to get your business up and running.

Here are the steps you can take to get started on building your very own catering business.

 

10 Steps to Launching a New Catering Business

 

1. Choose Your Type of Catering Business

The first step in launching a catering business is to identify the type of catering business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others: 

  • Wedding catering company: Wedding caterers provide food and beverage services for weddings and related events.
  • Corporate catering company: Corporate caterers provide food and beverage services for business meetings and events.
  • Private event catering company: Private event caterers provide food and beverage services for private parties and events.

 

2. Name Your Catering Business

Give your catering business an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your catering business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.

The main goal for naming your catering business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so that potential clients will want to use your services.

 

3. Determine Your Catering Business Model

There are several possible types of business models for a catering business including:

  • Full-service catering company: A full-service catering company provides food and beverage services as well as event planning and coordination services.
  • Drop-off catering company: A drop-off catering company delivers prepared food to the customer’s event location.
  • Catering truck or cart business: A catering truck or cart business provides mobile food and beverage services.

No matter which model you choose, make sure that it aligns with your business goals and the menu items you offer.

 

4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business

By incorporating your catering business, you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.

The business structure you choose for your catering business will determine the amount of taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.

Read our article comparing the most common catering business structures.

 

5. Write a Catering Company Business Plan

All catering business owners should develop a business plan. 

A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team among other things.

Read our article about how to write a catering company business plan.

 

 6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses

There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your catering business.

For example, if you are starting a catering truck business, you will need to obtain a mobile food license from your local health department. If you are starting a full-service catering company, you may need to obtain a liquor license if you plan on serving alcohol at events.

You must also register your catering business as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.

Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.

Read our article about obtaining the proper catering company business licenses.

 

7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed

In developing your catering business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.

If you have your own funds to invest in your catering business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your catering business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.

Read our article about the costs associated with starting a catering business to help you determine if funding is needed. 

 

8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently

When you start your catering business, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You definitely need a computer with Internet access, and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues. 

You may also want to invest in catering software. This type of software can help you manage all aspects of your business, from booking clients and managing events to creating menus and tracking inventory.

Catering software typically offers a free trial period so you can try it out before committing to a subscription.

 

9. Market Your Catering Business to Potential Clients

Before you start selling your menu items, you have to let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your menu items and how they benefit them.

After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Also consider networking with other people in the catering company industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business. 

You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new clients. Catering businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:

  • Develop a promotional video showcasing your business and services
  • Design print materials like business cards, flyers, and brochures
  • Create an email marketing campaign
  • Attend trade shows related to catering businesses

Read our article about how to market your catering business for more tips.

 

10. Get New Clients & Grow Your Business

When you promote your menu items, you’ll start to get interest from potential clients

Make sure you’re ready to serve these clients. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your catering business.

Read our article about how to effectively grow your catering business to learn more.

 

Starting a Catering Business FAQs

The catering company industry is expected to grow by 3% from 2019 to 2029. This growth is due in part to the increasing popularity of special events and the desire for more convenient food options.

Catering company businesses offer a unique service that can be tailored to fit any budget. They provide an easy and convenient way for people to enjoy good food without having to cook it themselves.

Catering company businesses also offer a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to be their own boss and control their own schedules.

To start a catering company business, you need the following:

  1. A passion for food and service.
  2. Culinary skills.
  3. Business acumen.
  4. The ability to market your business.
  5. The ability to manage finances.
  6. The ability to plan and execute events.
  7. The ability to build and maintain relationships.

You can start a catering company business from home by following these steps:

  1. Develop your menu and marketing materials.
  2. Get the necessary permits and licenses.
  3. Purchase the equipment you need.
  4. Find clients and book events.
  5. Train your staff and develop systems.
  6. Market your business to potential clients.
  7. Get new clients and grow your business.

You can start a catering company business online. Start by building an online presence for your business. You'll need to create a website and promote your business through social media and other online channels. You should also consider developing an email marketing campaign and creating print materials like business cards, flyers, and brochures. You can also find clients and book events online.

Here are some tips for starting a catering company business:

  1. Develop a menu that will appeal to your target market.
  2. Get the necessary permits and licenses.
  3. Purchase the equipment you need.
  4. Find clients and book events.
  5. Train your staff and develop systems.
  6. Market your business to potential clients.
  7. Get new clients and grow your business.

A simple checklist to use when starting a catering company business is as follows:

  1. Choose Your Type of Catering Company Firm: This should be based on what you are best at and how much experience you have. Remember to keep your interests, skills, and experience in mind at all times.
  2. Name Your Catering Company Business: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right clients. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
  3. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
  4. Determine Your Catering Company Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
  5. Write a Catering Company Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
  6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and/or permits before you can begin operations.
  7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
  8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need to have the right tools in place to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
  9. Market Your Catering Company Business to Potential Clients: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right clients so that you can provide them with the menu items they truly need. 
  10. Get Clients & Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your menu items.

 

Summary

Starting a catering business is an exciting venture. By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll be on your way to success. The most important thing is to make sure you have a clear plan and stay organized throughout the process. By starting small and focusing on quality service, you’ll be able to grow your business and attract new clients in no time.