How to Start a Catering Business

By Lanee’ Blunt

Starting a catering business may be your life long dream, or maybe your friends’ and coworkers are always suggesting that you should start your own catering business.  An advantage of opening a catering business is that the start-up cost is low.  Presentation skills and the ability to make food look fancy go a long way, and keeping up with the latest trends in food and party ideas will help make your catering business a success.

Apply for Licenses
Register your business with your state and county government.  Obtain a food service permit and a business permit. Register with the IRS.  Check with your county Public Health Department if you are going to operate your catering business from home.

Many caterers look for a commercial kitchen where they can rent space by hour or by shift. A restaurant’s facility may be used in its off-hours or you can share the rental cost of a commercial kitchen with other caterers.  You will need a delivery vehicle and a phone.

Start a website and take pictures of the food you make and some of the parties that you have catered.  Talk to wedding planners and introduce yourself to bridal boutiques, bakers, party suppliers and florist.  Create and handout your brochure and business cards. Send direct mail to corporations and small businesses. Follow up with a phone call and ask for an appointment to discuss your services.


SBA; Starting a Home-Based Food Production Business; Caron Beesley; 2011
Inc; How to Start a Catering Business; Gina Pace; 2011
Entrepreneur: Business Idea Center: Catering

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