Set up your catering business
Derek Tallent
By: dtallent
Read in 5 minutes

5 Steps to Set Up Your Catering Business

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There are many reasons you may want to start a catering business. Maybe you are fresh out of culinary school and are looking for your first job. Maybe you want to expand your restaurant business and get some extra income. You may just have a passion for providing food for your friends’ dinner parties and events. Whatever the reason, setting up a catering business is never easy. That’s why we are going to give you 5 crucial steps that will get you on your way to set up a thriving catering business.

5 Steps To Set Up Your Catering Business

1. Research The Rules and Regulations in Your State

The least fun but most important aspect of catering is ensuring your business follows all local rules and regulations. In many states, you will need to get a license in order to open a catering business. In most places there are laws regulating where you cook your food, to ensure that the rooms are safely constructed. If you are going mobile, there may be different regulations. It is simply impossible to tell you every regulation of every city and state, so you’ll need to do some research. Most cities have online resources regarding the regulations to open a catering business.

2. Build Your Menu

When you want to start a catering business you need to create a cohesive and comprehensive menu. Obviously, you will want to include dishes that you and your employees are comfortable making. However, for the best results you may need to research other catering businesses in the area, so yours can offer unique and different dishes. Consider basing your menu on some sort of theme, preferably one that is not present in any other catering businesses in your area. For some more tips about menu prices and menu design, read our useful post.

3. Take Care of The Finances

There are a lot of different things you will need to worry about when starting a catering business. The question “How much will it cost me?” is probably the most important one. This blog will help you calculate the costs and expenses of your catering business. One key factor to have in mind when thinking about the finances is the number of employees you will hire. That will determine the type of business you are, which matters when filing your taxes. You will also need to figure out a way to keep records of your sales and set up how you are paying for your ingredients. A POS, or Point Of Sales System, is a great tool to manage the finances of your catering business.

4. Choose The Right Transportation

Many catering businesses set up some delivery system or even cook the food on site. This requires some consideration. How are you going to transport the food? Even if you have a large vehicle, you may need to rent or purchase a large van in order to get all the food to your destination. Probably you will also need to transport your cooking equipment, tables, and containers for the food. How you set up your transportation will differ depending on your goals, so you will have to carefully consider all of your options.

5. Advertise Your Catering Business!

Setting up a catering business is a lot of work, and you certainly don’t want it all to go to waste! In order to have a successful catering business, you need to know how to advertise effectively. Consider holding a big event for your opening and advertising through flyers, social media, and word of mouth. By getting a large group of people to try your food, you can get new customers and build your customer network. You can even begin talking to restaurants and other business in the area, and see if there is any need for catering services. The important thing is that you are proactive in trying to find clients. It may be a lot of work, but it will surely pay off when those orders start flying in.

Final Thoughts

If you follow these five steps you should be well on your way to set up a successful catering business! For more information on starting up and running an effective restaurant check out our management blog and financing blog.


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