ENTREPRENEURSHIP / MAY. 07, 2014
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How to Start Your Own Home Catering Business

Catering Business

Are you a naturally good cook? Do you love to bake? Have you ever thought about using your innate skills to start a catering business? If not, you can. If you have considered it, but don’t know where you should begin, this article will give you some tips on how to get your business off the ground. You can start small by cooking for small groups from your kitchen or you can look at the big picture of actually owning a catering business and cooking for large groups of people.

You will also need the appropriate licensing for your catering business. Of course, you will need a marketing and business plan to get a steady number of clients. The food, however, is the most vital part of the catering business. If your food is subpar and customers don’t like it, then your catering business will fail. Each dish should be tasty and you should be knowledgeable about buffet and banquet catering.

Here are the steps to follow:

Market Niche

The first thing you do is to find your target market, depending on the service you will offer and the food you will serve. Who will you target? Will you be catering for wedding guests, corporate parties, family reunions, picnics, or sweet 16 parties? You could target all of these, but it is best to narrow it down to parties or formal events, for example. It could be pre-ordered lunch catering to businesses that have meetings and conferences or just daily lunches for the employees. Go to the small businesses in your area and leave your fliers or talk to the owners about offering lunches to the employees.

Vendors and Equipment

Of course, you will need a stove and kitchen utensils, which you may already have. You also should find a few vendors to buy food at wholesale prices. If you want to start small, then find a wholesale grocery store that sells most of the items you will need. Make a list of food items you will need and research what they will cost.

Food Preparation

When you are preparing food, you usually need a food handler’s permit. Make sure that you know the rules and guidelines provided by your local health department. You want follow all the required regulations. There may also be related fees for each permit, inspections or license. Find out the amount of these fees.

Your Menu and Order Details

Plan various types of menus, depending on your market niche. You want to be prepared beforehand so that you can provide quality food and service. Menus generally have three to five items or two to three course meals (salad, main meal and dessert). How will your potential customers order your food? Make the ordering process as simple as possible.

Business Model

Now you will reinforce your business model. Choose a name for your business, the business plan, marketing plan, advertising, and marketing materials business cards, fliers, brochures and menus. Get the word out by telling family and friends what your goals are. Leave fliers at various places in your community. Hand out your business cards to people that you meet such as at networking events that you should attend. Leave in places that you visit such as dentist office, doctor’s office, supermarket, and school conference.

Continue to improve your craft, even if you have to take extra cooking lessons. You can make your dream a reality sooner than you think. Let your passion propel you into a catering business opportunity that can become a full time income for you and your family. 

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