How To Start a Catering Business from Home

Do you want to start a catering business? Find in this article a detailed business plan guide on starting a catering business with a small investment

A catering business is a perfect opportunity for people who love to cook. It is a profitable business and ensures a lucrative margin for the owners. Additionally, you can start this business part-time. As your business grows, you can consider giving your full effort. Catering is a financially profitable and self-rewarding business.

The catering business is a demanding career. It requires stamina, and ability to work under pressure, and excellent interpersonal skills. And the success of this business hugely depends on personal reputation. You do not need special education or training to become a successful caterer. However, taking some courses at culinary institutes or vocational schools can significantly help improve the quality of your food offerings.

Related: Top 30+ Hospitality And Tourism Business Ideas

Instead of taking classes, you can also work for an established caterer to know them inside of the business operations. Additionally, small caterers generally cater to a wide range of functions and events. The list includes birthday parties for children, breakfast in bed, candlelight dinners, holiday parties, picnics, family reunions, company dinner parties, and wedding receptions.

Catering Business Market Potential

The demand for the catering business is increasing rapidly. However, common driving factors are the rising number of higher-income households, the number of weddings, and increasing corporate events with companies, corporations, charities, civic groups, event organizers, and individuals calling on caterers to host on- and off-premises events.

Generally, every big and small size companies used to have catering services for their in-house meetings and events for marketing and promotions. Even for small family gatherings, homemakers now prefer to ask a caterer instead of cooking of their own. In today’s busy life, they can spend some time with friends and relatives instead of spending time in the kitchens. Also, it enables them to offer good dishes to guests in the comfort of the home.

Investment in Starting a Catering Business

The home-based catering business eliminates the expenses of rent and other associated costs with the rent. However, the business demands some fixed cost and working capital cost investment. Your primary responsibility includes preparing good quality food, serving, and finally clean up. You will need to make investments in utensils and equipment for cooking and serving.

In addition, your major fixed capital investment will go for purchasing the ingredients for preparing the food. Furthermore, you will need to invest in manpower resources. Broadly, you can start a small catering business in two ways. One is a niche catering service provider like catering specialized for a birthday party. Otherwise, you can start a catering company addressing multiple events.

Stepwise Guide to Start a Catering Business with Low Investment

Craft A Business Plan

First of all, study the market. And try to analyze the competition. You must craft a business plan regardless of how small or big your business is. Determine the dishes you want to offer. Fix the target demographics. Accordingly, determining a marketing plan. Finally, calculate the startup budget, expected rate of return, and cash-flow.

Prepare The Menu

In the time of talking to the clients, you will need to offer your own menu card. However, you must offer the scope of customizations. According to the taste of the local people, you will need to prepare this.

Registration & Licensing 

Nowadays, people are increasingly health-conscious. In addition, proper registrations and licensing help to save you and your business in the time of any sort of crisis. The registrations and licensing factors hugely vary upon the places. Check what registration and the license you need to start and operate the catering service business of your own.

Pre-operating Aspects 

Choose a catchy and memorable name for your business. It is a must. Choose a name that can relate to the local audience and your food category. Craft a logo. You can use a lot of free tools on the internet to get the job done. Have the printed business cards in hand.

Fix the pricing. Generally, in this type of business, pricing depends on the distance also. Think about the discount offer for big orders.

In recent days, some caterers are offering value-added services like lighting, presentations, etc. Think of that. Moreover, the bottom line of this business is making your customers happy with your service.

Procure The Consumables

The purchase is an important segment in any type of food business specially catering service. First of all, you will need to procure the equipment and utensils for cooking and serving. However, you must carefully purchase grocery items and vegetables. Because vegetables are the hugely perishable item. And grocery items have also their limited shelf life. Catering equipment includes a huge item. However, from this list, you can have an idea at least.

Table Settings & Other Equipment

  • Dinner plates
  • Bread plates
  • Salad plates
  • Water glasses
  • Wine glasses
  • Coffee cups with saucer
  • Silverware settings
  • Linen or paper napkins
  • Tablecloths
  • Table centerpieces
  • Salt and pepper shakers
  • Sugar holders
  • Butter holders
  • Serving Equipment
  • Serving trays
  • Bus Tubs
  • Water pitchers
  • Buffet Equipment
  • Plates
  • Silverware rolls
  • Bread Basket
  • Chaffing Dishes
  • Fuel cells for chaffing dishes
  • Lighter or matches for fuel cells
  • Tongs
  • Serving spoons
  • Spatulas
  • Cutting board (for chickens, hams, turkey)
  • Sharp knife for cutting
  • Decorations (seasonal flowers, etc.)
  • Coffee/Beverage Station
  • Air-pots for coffee, decaf, and hot water
  • Water pitchers
  • Iced tubs for soda, juice, and other cold drinks
  • Drinking straws
  • Drink stirrers
  • Cocktail Napkins
  • Coffee cups
  • Water glasses
  • Basket of assorted teas and or hot cocoa
  • Basket of sugar packets
  • Small wastebasket and much more.

Hire Human Resources

Your staffs play an important role in this business. Look for personable, organized individuals whom you can comfortably delegate tasks. Start small. As your business grows, plan for an overall team.

Promote Your Catering Service Business 

Promote your business offline and online both. Here are some legitimate ideas you can work with. If you are looking to generate clients online, creating a website is a must. You can add your services there and promote your site.

Make your business visible on online and offline classified directories. You can find a lot of free options.

  • Establish business tie-ups with event planners and party planners.
  • For institutional orders, you can go for email marketing. It is really effective.
  • Create your own website. Put the contact information in detail. You can also offer online order taking services from there.
  • Create your own press release to inform the local media that you are opening your catering business. Make sure you include your contact information and list your web address.
  • Participate in the bridal fairs. It will definitely help you to make people aware of your service.

Finally, we must say the catering service business is not an easy task. A true passion for cooking, dedication for your business, and persistence are the few major criteria to get success in this business.