Steps to Starting a Small Catering Business

If you love to cook or bake and are considering making a little money off your hobby, start your business the right way. Even though you may want to keep it small or part-time, it’s best to create a business plan with room to grow – if you choose to.

Steps to Starting a Small Catering Business

Consider the Costs

If you want to up your game to more than just offering to make the cake for your friend’s birthday party, there are costs to consider. You may need to rent out space in a commercial kitchen, for example, or invest in supplies such as a van or a cart with spring loaded casters to make deliveries more professional. You will want to register your company name and speak to a lawyer and insurance agent to make sure that you have all the correct licenses and coverage you need.

Consider the Need

Before you launch your new venture, look around your town to see if the need is there. Talk to a few other local caterers to see if they are hurting for business or have more than they can handle. There might be a specific untapped market such as delivering home-cooked meals to busy professionals or catering children’s birthday parties. In addition, there may be a hole in the types of catered foods that are available in your area. Perhaps nobody caters to the gluten-free or vegan crowd. Avoid starting a business in an overly saturated market.

Consider Your Time

Catering will probably be hit-or-miss at the beginning, meaning you will be very busy some days and completely open others. Create a plan for how you will use your down time – perfecting recipes, passing out flyers, designing menus, etc. – so that you do not lose your momentum. You may even need to wait to quit your day job until you get a steady flow of regular customers.

Running your own catering company can be extremely rewarding. If you do what you love (and also do your homework so that you know what you’re getting into), the money should follow.  

Posted in: Business