There are a lot of people who see cooking as a form of creative expression and not just something they have to do so they and their families don’t starve. These people are those who experience pure joy from even the process of preparing the food and then feel rewarded when they see the smiles of satisfaction on the faces that they served the food to. If you are someone that feels this way about cooking, and know that your food is delicious, you might be someone suited for their own catering business right from your own kitchen. Here is my advice on how to start a catering business that I hope you’ll find helpful.
My advice on how to start a catering business touches on some important things that you need to know before you actually open up your home catering business. These are things that are vital in getting your business started and making it a reality.
Figure Out Your Market Niche and Product
Before you ever begin, my advice on how to start a catering business is to make sure that you know who you want to sell to and what you hope they will buy on a regular basis. For example, if your home happens to be close to a business park or a medical complex, you might want to make these your target market. You could provide them with lunches and catered business meetings. Whatever the market might be, you need to be sure that the one you choose is going to bring you enough customers for you to generate enough sales to meet your goals and to allow you to grow over time.
Buy Needed Equipment & Establish Vendors
Before opening up your business, my advice on how to start a catering business in your home is to make sure that you know what equipment and supplies you are going to need. You need to make sure that you already have all the items you need that will support your catering business. If your menu is going to be more like down home cooking then you probably already have most of the equipment you need. You also can probably just shop at your local grocery store for your food supplies. However, if you are going to be including more exotic foods that perhaps have an International flair to them, more than likely you’ll need special equipment as well as vendors that have the right ingredients you need. It is important that you know ahead of time what type of food you want to offer to customers and where you can buy the items you need. This really needs to be done with accounts set up prior to opening up your business.
Contact Local Authorities and Health Department
My advice on how to start a catering business in your own home is that you make sure that you get in touch with local authorities to see what type of licensing you are going to need. More importantly, you need to contact your local health department to have them come out and make sure that your kitchen is up to health codes. Also, understand that you will need to schedule for regular inspections and more than likely will have to pay fees for these as well as permits and licenses. These costs need to be included in your overall budget.
Create Your Menu
As mentioned in the beginning, you need to know who you want to target in your area. Once you have done that, you need to create your menu to focus on that market. My advice on how to start a catering business when it comes to your menu selections, is to make sure that you focus on just a few of your best creations, at least in the beginning. This way you will ensure that your food is of top quality. You should find out what seems to be the most popular foods in the area that you live near and then make sure that your menu has three to seven of the most popular foods offered. This kind of strategy helps you to simplify your ordering process for your customers and it’s less work on you for planning and preparation.
Name Your Business, Write Business Plan, Advertise
No matter the size of your business, you should always write a business plan. This will be required of you if you need a loan to start your business. Your business plan, needs to contain the name of your business. Come up with a name that is short and easy to remember for your potential customers. Something long and difficult to remember, isn’t going to help attract customers. You need to include the name of your business in your plan and then include what market you are targeting, how your business can improve the market and make life easier for others, how much you will need to start the business and keep it running for the first six months. You will also want to include how much you think your business can bring in the first year as well as several years into the future.
Finally, you are going to want to promote your catering business and there are many ways in which you can do that. Below is a checklist of the different ways you can do this:
- Build a website promoting your business and include your menu.
- Business cards that include your phone, email, and web address.
- Fliers that you can put up around town.
- Brochures with attractive pictures of your actual food you’ve created.
- Menus that you can hand out to those in your target area.
- Coupons in your local newspaper.
- Coupon mailings.
- Email promotions.
- Radio and TV stations.
- Word of mouth.
The most important thing to remember is that you need to be well prepared before you go out and start your own business. You need to make sure that you have all that you need and that you are ready to work hard and be dedicated in order to succeed. Good luck in your endeavors.