Starting your own catering business from home may seem like a pipe dream if you have a passion for serving others.
It is, however, quite possible, with one caveat: you may not be cooking in your kitchen. Because most jurisdictions ban caterers from working out of a private residence, you’ll almost certainly need to locate a commercial kitchen where you can make your meals.
You can then utilize your home as your business’s headquarters, handling advertising, order taking, and bookkeeping.
How to start a catering business from Home
Below are sets to start a catering business from Home.
Select a Specialty
Before learning how to establish a catering business from home, the first thing to consider is what kind of catering business you are trying to start from the comfort of your own home.
Some caterers specialize in cocktail reception beverages and little finger appetizers, while others specialize in buffet-style and sit-down catering for banquets and weddings.
You can then proceed to the next steps after deciding what type of catering you want to undertake.
Choose a Name for Your Company
Once you’ve decided on the type of catering business you want to launch, you can go ahead and choose a name for it and define its legal entity.
You’ll need to pick a name and double-check that it’s available in the state where your catering business will be located.
In most states, you can verify the availability of a business name online with the Secretary of State.
You’ll also need to decide on the legal entity under which your company will function. You have several possibilities here, based on a few factors, including whether or not you want to go it alone.
If you choose to run a business as a sole owner, your company will be unincorporated and solely owned by you (or you and your spouse).
Suppose you wish to have a business partner or avoid taking on entire personal liability for your company. In that case, this is the option for you.
You can form a limited partnership, a general partnership, a limited liability company, a limited liability partnership, or another type of business entity. Each provides different levels of security for the partners and the company.
Improve the Look of Your Kitchen
If you’re planning on operating out of your home kitchen rather than renting a professional facility, make sure you have all the essential equipment before starting your first job.
In some circumstances, this may necessitate the purchase of new equipment capable of handling the additional production.
Make a Business Strategy
The next step on the “how to establish a catering business” checklist is to write a business plan once you’ve decided on a business name and entity.
This will consume some time and effort, but it will pay off in the long term since you will have a plan to fall back on and will know what to expect as you manage your firm.
You can make use of a business plan template online or create one yourself. When you establish the strategy, you should conduct many studies first.
A summary of your company, a market analysis, the organization of your business, the precise items and services you’ll be delivering, and your marketing and financial plan should all be included.
If it seems like a lot, don’t worry; you can always add to your plan as you gain more experience in the culinary industry.
The vendors and suppliers you plan to use should also be included in your business plan for how to start a catering business.
Look into obtaining all of the necessary supplies, such as linens, cutlery, china, and, in some cases, even tables and chairs and the food.
Do some Market Research
However, you should also research your competitors and find potential clients. Is there a certain style of catering that your community requires but is currently underserved?
If you reside in a region with many golf courses, you might notice that they are always looking for caterers for weekend events. Your market study on local needs can go a long way toward assisting you.
To establish a catering business, you’ll need to obtain all necessary permits and certifications.
Like most other industries requiring food preparation, you can’t just do it. You’ll need a state-issued business license as well as a food-handling license.
You’ll also need to pass a local or state health inspection—a home kitchen is unlikely to pass, so hunt for a commercial kitchen that has already been certified.
Other expenditures include workers’ compensation insurance and permits or licenses to work out of specific locations, which can eat into profit margins on a monthly or annual basis.
If you’re not sure what you’ll need, contact your local Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Development Center, or the Small Business Administration for further information.
Before you start cooking, it’s good to see a lawyer in your area who specializes in the food or service business for assistance with submitting everything and getting all of the registrations in order.
During Your Events, Market
It depends on the type of catering you specialize in when it comes to marketing and advertising your business.
If you specialize in weddings, you’ll want to go to bridal exhibitions, where you’ll bring food samples and possibly acquire a booth.
Corporate catering could entail a greater emphasis on LinkedIn advertising, where you can buy leads; you could also hire staff to knock on doors and distribute leaflets to larger organizations.
Networking is at the heart of shameless marketing. When you’re just starting in the catering business, the putting food in someone’s mouth method comes in handy.
We wrote this article about how to start a catering business from home to help give you guidance when faced with making a choice about getting into this line of business.
We hope you found it helpful and informative. If you did, please share it across your entire social media pages.