Love to cook? Do your family and friends go crazy over your food creations? Then perhaps this joy of cooking that you have can be turned into something that can also bring you good money. If you are interested in sharing your food creations with more than just family and friends, here’s how you can start your own catering business.
Catering doesn’t just mean that you have to be providing lunches for a large group of business people for some big corporate event. It also doesn’t mean that it requires creating buffets for a huge wedding. Sometimes it’s easier to just go smaller with small intimate dinner parties, desserts with coffee bars, small celebrations and so on. Thinking too big could scare you off when trying to open up your own catering service. So, here’s how you can start your own catering business on a smaller scale.
Write Down Everything You Think You’ll Need to Start
Make an inventory of equipment you may already have and then add the items that you think you will need to buy. For example, you may have to buy a separate freezer to freeze food items in or even a bigger dishwasher to handle larger loads. You will need containers that you can transport your food in, serving dishes, something to keep food hot and something to keep them cold when in transport. You also may need to include items such as linens, glassware, china, utensils, and maybe even tables and chairs for some of your events. So, make sure you do your research.
Find a Market Your Competition Has Overlooked
Here’s how you can start your own catering business and make it unique and successful, go after the market niche that seems to have been forgotten or overlooked by your competition. Consider catering for baby showers, wedding showers, engagement parties, birthday parties, small anniversary parties and so on. You also might want to include smaller businesses instead of large corporate organizations that some competitors may have overlooked because of their size. You’d be surprised at how many different people are overlooked by bigger catering companies.
Create Your Menu
Here’s how you can start your own catering business and make it unique, do your research on what your competition is offering on their menus and find out what people really like by simply going around and asking. Then come up with a menu that includes items that other competitors don’t offer on their menus. You will want to base your core menu on what your own specialties are but include what may be missing from others as well as what your local market niche prefers. Also, make sure to price your items to stay competitive and still be able to make a profit from it. Pricing can be tough and you need to base it on where you live, how long it takes to make it, and how much the ingredients cost you in order to figure out your profit margin.
Find Your Vendors
You will need to find just the right vendors that will provide you good prices for the items that you need to run your business. Your vendors are an important part of your business so they need to be trustworthy and reliable. It’s important that you find the right vendors you’ll need for food ingredients, supplies, and even equipment in advance prior to opening up your business.
Figure Out If You Will Need Additional Investments
If you discover that you will not have enough of your own money to start your business here’s how you can start your own catering business with the help of an outside investment. You can go to a bank or a loan company to see if you can get a loan to invest in starting up your catering business. However, you will need to go to them with a business plan.
How to Write Your Business Plan
Your business plan will need to have four to five sections in it and needs to include information on your vision of your business, your estimated start up cost, licensing and your marketing strategy. Here’s how you can start your own catering business with the help of a good business plan.
- Start off in the first section of your business plan by describing the kind of food you plan to serve. What type of set-ups you plan to provide such as buffets or serving people at tables. You should also list the types of food like American, German, Italian, etc. Indicate if your service also provides the chairs, tables, table settings and other items.
- The second part of your business plan should include how much space you will need to run your catering business. Note whether you will be running it from your home or if you’ll need to rent a commercial space to conduct your business.
- The third section needs to include all of the equipment that you are going to need to be able to operate your catering business. This should include counter space, storage space, ovens, freezers, refrigerators, small kitchen items like food processors, pots, pans, utensils, and so on.
- The third section can also include all of the permits and/or licenses you will need in order to serve your food to the public. So, it’s important that you’ve done your research on this.
- In the fourth section of your business plan you can list all additional start up costs like your insurance, phone, Internet and transportation costs. It’s important that you get in touch with your insurance company in order to get a list of your insurance needs and include this with your business plan.
- Finally, in the last section of your business plan you should show your marketing strategy. Make a list of all the ways you you plan to meet potential customers. List the different types of marketing materials that you intend to use such as fliers, business cards, brochures and where you plan to hand these out, such as grocery stores, parks, small businesses, community centers, family restaurants, and others that you might come up with.
Once you have done all of this, you will actually need to go out and obtain all the permits and licenses that you will be required to have to open up your business. Once you have finished with that you will want to promote your business through the manner in which you have shown on your business plan.