How to Start a Catering Business From Home

How to Start a Catering Business From Home

Catering from home can be big business. If you enjoy cooking, then learning how to start a catering business from home might be for you. With a business plan, you can increase your chance for success.

If you enjoy cooking and providing service to others, then starting a catering business from home might be for you. While there is no exact recipe to creating a catering business, you can increase your chances for success with knowledge of your state’s food and health laws, a solid business plan and marking strategy, and a repertoire of mouthwatering recipes.

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How to Start a Catering Business From Home:

Find Your Cooking Calling

Most catering businesses are successful when they focus on a particular niche. By targeting a specific market, you can become an expert in that area, keep operating costs down and focus your advertising efforts.

For example, you might love baking cakes, tweaking traditional recipes and having all of your friends sample your products. You can take your passion for baking and perhaps focus on baking cakes for weddings. This allows you to purchase only the baking equipment you need to make your cakes and focus your marketing on wedding venues, bridal events and wedding literature.

Other niche markets include business events and small parties – activities that you can reasonably prepare for in your home. Instead of focusing on a particular type of event, you could also focus on a particular type of food such as barbecue, kosher or vegan. If you have an established brand identity, customers will feel more confident turning to you to cook for their events.

Develop a Catering Business Plan

Writing a business plan is important because it helps you transform your ideas for a catering business startup into a concrete plan to achieve it.

Understanding your target audience is a key part of a business plan. For example, in their startup phase, the owners of Bacon Co., a catering business themed around bacon in Milwaukee, made sure to properly plan their business through market analysis. For them, it meant having their friends and family try their recipes and give opinions through surveys. This allowed the owners to better understand their target market and refine their recipes.

Another important element to include in your business plan is your business structure. Consider setting up as a limited liability company, as it allows you to protect your personal assets from the business. You should also include your business’s mission statement, financial projections and marketing plans.

For example, if you plan to make organic cakes, you might include in your mission statement that you believe in the health benefits of organically sourced foods. In your financial projections, you would include costs of organic ingredients and how much net profit you expect to make per cake sold. In your marketing plans, you might plan to target local organic foodie newsletters and events.

How to Start a Catering Business From Home

Requirements for Catering Business

Each state has slightly different requirements when starting a home catering business. Contact your state’s occupation licensing or health department to find out exactly what you need. In general, you will need a business license, federal tax number (EIN), inspection from your local fire department and health inspection of your kitchen.

Ensure you are actually allowed to cook at home in your state or if you must use a professional kitchen.. This means that you can prepare jams, baked goods, dried food and other low-spoilage food from your kitchen. Depending on how you sell your food – directly or indirectly – you might also need a yearly health inspection of your kitchen.

However, you will always be required to prepare dairy or meat-based foods from a professional kitchen. The additional costs for renting out a professional kitchen can vary depending on where you live.

How to Start a Catering Business From Home

Create a Foolproof Menu

Create a menu of items that you can include in your catering services. Consider offering a variety of items so your customers can pick and choose the types of food they want at their events. Also, offer bundle packages to help you save on food costs and waste. For example, The Event Group, a catering company based in Akwa Ibom, provides dinner buffet package deals. Customers choose which package they want, and the caterer provides the rest in a full-service atmosphere.

Materials/Equipment needed

Once you have decided on your menu, purchase the appropriate equipment and ingredients. If you are cooking from your home kitchen, you likely need tools that are dedicated to the business, separate from your personal kitchen tools. Purchase professional cookware and utensils from professional kitchen supply vendors for the best-quality products. Contact food suppliers such as The Baker’s Kitchen or Food Service Direct to buy ingredients wholesale.

How to Start a Catering Business From Home

Promote Your Food

Create a website and include a system for showing testimonials and referrals. Word-of-mouth advertising is especially powerful in the catering industry. For example, ZeroCater, a San Fransico-based office-lunch catering company, used word of mouth by first targeting small technology companies and startups that didn’t have their own in-house food services. As the business grew, it was able to upmarket to larger companies in the same field.

If you don’t know how to make your own website, use services such as Shopify or Quick2Host to create a professional-looking online presence. Also, consider using social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram. Create interesting and engaging content; for example, show attractive pictures of your food at different events that you have catered or include tips on the types of food that are popular to serve at a wedding reception.

I believe you have read this article through, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment, share your success story and if you have some challenges, feel free to ask question.

Wish you all the best.


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