If you have a passion for cooking and dream of owning your own business, being a professional caterer may be just the ticket. But, like any business endeavor, having passion is not enough. There are lots of practical aspects you need to attend to if you want to bring your dream into reality. Here are some important things to consider if you want to start a catering business.
Focus and clarity are key to successfully executing any type of business endeavor. When it come to catering, it is important to give some serious though to what type of caterer you want to be. Do you want to focus on specific events, such as weddings? Do you want to focus on small, intimate events or be cooking for two hundred people? The more specific your business plan, the more successfully you will be able to build your business.
All the necessary licenses, permits, etc., will vary depending on where you live, but besides a general business license, you will need at least a food service permit and a food handler’s permit. Some places may not allow you to operate a catering business out of a private kitchen, which will significantly impact your start-up expenses. Making sure you have all your bases covered will help you launch your business more successfully.
If you are passionate about cooking and love the creative aspect of creating menus but are horrible at– or have little interest in dealing with– administrative tasks or anything business related, it may be a good idea to hire someone who can handle the ‘’business’’ end of your business and allow you to focus on doing what you love. Making good food is far from the only thing you need to consider when you want to make a viable living from catering. If you do not have what it takes to tend to these equally, if not more important, aspects, find someone who can.
To keep your start-up costs down, consider renting equipment, facilities and supplies until you start building up some revenue that you can pour back into your business. As your business grows, you will need higher-quality cookware and other equipment that will allow you to prepare bigger, more complicated meals with greater efficiency; but if you are just starting out, renting instead of outright buying may help you start your business sooner and build up clientele faster.
Growing your network is vital for success in any business, but especially so in a business like catering. Catered events often employ other types of professionals, such as photographers, DJs and videographers. By reaching out and establishing relationships with them, you are extending your reach and getting in front of more potential customers with less effort. Word of mouth is a very powerful form of advertising, especially when it comes to picking vendors for special events, like weddings and corporate parties.
On a related note, talk to facilities you are working with to see what it takes to get on their ‘’preferred vendor’’ list, which is a very powerful endorsement for your business.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys helping people pursue their passions professionally. Check out http://www.usfoodsculinaryequipmentandsupplies.com/ for all your catering and restaurant supply needs.