If you like hosting parties for your family and friends, stay updated on food trends and have an entrepreneurial spirit then you should consider starting a catering business from your home. You can start small with relatively low overhead costs and build your business as you start gaining more clients.
But, just because you’re a great cook or baker doesn’t mean that you can successfully run a catering company. You should follow a few steps to make it successful.
The first step in launching a catering business is to research the marketplace and check out who else is offering catering services in your area. You should check out your competitors’ menu, list of services, prices, and customers. Also, visit their websites to find out their unique selling benefits.
Successful caterers not only sell food but also sell convenience, affordability, unique menus, or corporate style and white-glove service. People who buy catering can get food from a variety of local providers, they usually look for a benefit when they are shopping, your catering business should offer them that benefit.
If you are looking to offer in-home catering services for private parties, then you should your friends and do a short survey. Take their opinion on catering services, ask them the reason why they hired certain caterers, what they liked about the providers and what they are looking for when they will hire the next caterer.
Choose your Catering Niche
You need to fix your catering niche before you start. Think about the food you like to make, catering like any other business should be rooted in genuine interest and passion. You can focus on different types of food as you develop your catering business. You can focus on making lunch or brunch-style food like sandwiches, quiches, tarts, salads and other food that is generally served during the day.
You can also focus on a wedding reception or special event meals, desserts only services and appetizers and cocktails. Clients are increasingly hiring caterers to create a trendy, festive atmosphere by serving only appetizers, sometimes accompanied by caterer-prepared specialty cocktails.
Create a Menu
Create a menu to figure out how much kitchen space you’ll need, what appliances you should install and the profit you can make from the business. Try to have a variety of items in your menu to suit different tastes.
Even if you are specializing in one type of meal or cuisine, make sure that your menu appeals to a lot of tastes. Consider offering vegetarian food for clients who don’t eat non-veg items. Try keeping your menu to a manageable size like the food you are comfortable in cooking should be made with ingredients that you can easily source.
Test the Dishes
After settling on a menu, have a party with family and friends to test your dishes. You should do this before launching the business as this will help you in getting honest feedback on your food and other catering services.
Make changes to your dishes until you are convinced that they are delicious and popular among the crowd. Practice until you get perfection, make sure that you know the techniques, cooking times and how to present your services before you launch the business.
Secure your Space and Supplies
Laws in most of the states won’t allow you to operate catering business from a home kitchen. Find out an ideal space to rent for operating your catering business. You should operate from a commercial kitchen when you start expanding the business find a permanent space with cooking and storage facility. Base your equipment purchases on your menu, if most of the items in your menu are baked, you should install at least two ovens on the other hand if you are having a lot of fried food, buy more than one fryer.
Install multiple sinks to make your work more efficient, this becomes more important when you are hiring people. Buy all the pots, pans and other kitchen equipment that you will need to prepare items on your menu. You also need to buy plates, silverware, glassware, special display trays, and other utensils. You should buy these items in bulk from a wholesaler so that get them in cheap rate.
Buy a Vehicle for Transporting Food
Buy a vehicle like a van to supply the food and other equipment to your clients’ sites. The vehicle should have plenty of space for storage of food, linens, tableware. You can buy one vehicle to start with, decide to buy more when your business expands.
Decide the kind of staff you will need to help you with food preparation, delivery, and service. You can also opt for a temporary agency in the beginning until you build up your business. Also, decide the type of uniform that you want your serving staff to wear. Train your employees to provide the type of service you want to offer to your clients.
It would be a better option to hire experienced and trained staff who have attended a course on catering services or worked for any other catering company earlier. They should know all the techniques and manners related to catering services, especially if you are providing services to corporate clients.
Marketize your Business
You should marketize your business to make it popular among people. Spend money on posting ads in local newspapers even before you plan to launch. You can also conduct mobile tasting events to get the word out about your business. You should your business information to wedding sites and ask popular local wedding venues to refer potential clients to you.
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to marketize new catering business. Also, promote your business in popular social media websites and create a website to increase your web presence and reach out to the online crowd.
Hence these are the few steps that you need to follow to set up your catering business from home. Remember to go through all the laws regarding the distribution of food and alcohol that can affect your business, obtain all the necessary permits and licenses. Craft an effective business plan before you start and analyze your start-up costs and other operational requirements.
Fix a name for your company that sounds new and trendy to people. Charge your clients according to the size of parties and receptions, menu, type of services etc. Charge more from corporate clients who are willing to pay more. Provide quality food and service to your clients to make your business grow popular and successful.
Here is the infographic which helps you to ger more ideas on baking do’s and Don’t. Read Below for more inspiration.