Monday, 9 October 2017

How to start a catering business

Have you been having this love for starting a catering services business? Catering service entails providing food and beverage services at places such as hotels, events, weddings, and parties or other strategic places or locations usually based on contract.

It is important to note that catering service is different from event planning. Event planning is a broad niche while catering service is only an aspect of event planning.
In this article, I shall take you through on the steps you need to undertake to start a catering service.

1. Decide to go Franchise or Start from Scratch

Before you kick-start a catering service business, you will have to first and foremost make a decision whether to go franchise or to start from the scratch. This is very crucial as whichever choice you decide to go with has its peculiar pros and cons.

On the one hand, if you go for a franchise catering service business, you will enjoy the benefits of retaining the franchisors loyal customer base. The interesting thing about franchising is that it is relatively easy since almost everything had been put in place for you by your franchisor after you have paid the agreed required franchise fee and subordinate fees.

The only downside is that you have a very limited part to play in decision-making regarding the operation of the business.

On the other hand, starting your own catering service business from scratch gives you the benefits of making the decisions and running your business the way you want only that you will put in much effort to build your own customer base as well as dealing with the challenges that would come your way.

2. Choose your Niche

This is highly crucial when you are deciding to start a catering service from scratch. First, before deciding your niche, study the catering market in your desired location and look for areas that have been overlooked or areas that you feel you can excel at.

Exploit those areas. You cannot fit into all the niches of catering services. Target a particular niche and tailor it to your desired prospective customers. Below are some catering service niches that you can choose from:


  • Weddings
  • Children’s parties (graduations, birthdays, etc)
  • Adult’s parties (bachelorettes, birthdays, dinner parties, etc)
  • Corporate events like cocktail parties, banquets, etc
  • Community events like festivals, sports events, and concerts
  • Wine and bar catering services.
  • Hotel/ restaurant catering services


3. Choose a Suitable Location to Start a Catering Service

The best location is one that particularly targets your desired prospective customers. You should carefully do your research and situate your catering service business in a location where it specifically meets the needs of your desired customers. The choice of the location for a catering business would go a long way towards determining the success of your catering service business.

4.Create Good Menu

You have decided which catering services niche you want to venture into. It is now time you worked out a carefully organized menu for your catering services. Now you have done your market research and you know exactly what your prospective customers need. Create your menu based on your specialties and what your market niche needs.

Check to see the prices offered by your competitors and determine the price of your services. More often, pricing is determined by your location, preparation time of dish, the cost of ingredients and your desired profit margin.

5. Get the Necessary Equipment

It is now time for you to get the necessary equipment for your catering services. Having created your menu, you should now have a good knowledge of the equipment you need for your catering services.
Also, the equipment you will need will largely depend on the size of your catering outfit. Basically, the following are some of the equipment you need to start a catering service:

  • Knives
  • Blender
  • Mixers
  • Refrigerators
  • Cooling van
  • Dispensers
  • Oven
  • Microwaves
  • Chopping boards
  • Food storage containers


6. Get the Needed Staff

Irrespective of whether you are a good cook or you have acquired the skills and certification; you will however still need the help of others. Catering services is a tedious work that you just cannot do all by yourself –especially if it is a medium-large scale one. You will have to hire employees that would take care of a lot of tasks from cooking, serving, cleaning, to the more professional ones like accounting, bookkeeping, etc.

Hire the right staff and train them so that they share your business vision and goals and provide the kind of services you want.

7. Get registered and Obtain the Necessary Licences and Permits

Choose a business name and get your catering service business registered with the relevant authorities. In addition, you will have to fulfill all the legal requirements needed to successfully run your catering service business.

Find all the necessary business licenses you will need to obtain for your catering service business. A good place to get started is to check with the Food and Health Authority in your country.
You will be expected to pay a certain fee before your license processing would begin. Also, your catering equipment would be accessed to make sure they are in good shape before your license would be approved.

8. Create a Business Plan

Considering all of the aforementioned steps would ensure your catering service business is headed in the right direction, but most important is that you need to create a good business plan for your catering service business.

There are so many pros to having a good business plan. Most important of which is that you would be able to secure adequate funding and loans from investors and banks respectively.

9. Promote your Catering Services

After properly considering the aforementioned steps, it would, therefore,  become pertinent you take your catering service business to the next level where it needs maximal attention.
Get a business card (just keep it simple, it does not have to be complicated). Tell your family and friends. Ask them to help you promote your catering services by reaching out to others.
What is more important is that you go cyber. Get a website for your catering services; use social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to the advantage of your catering services.

2 comments:

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