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Catering Business Idea

If you love creating food for special occasions, find out how to start a catering business, and make money doing something you love.

Caterers prepare food for special occasions, such as home and office parties, corporate lunches, anniversaries and graduations.

Getting Started

Before you start cooking, start planning. Think about what types of food you enjoy cooking and have significant skills to handle.

If you need to enhance any culinary skills, take a few cooking classes offered a local community college or cooking school.

Visit your local bookstore or library and peruse the cooking books and magazines. Look for new ideas in cooking – whether in types of foods or cooking methods – that you can add to your repertoire. Creativity is key when learning how to start a catering business.

Where will you do your cooking? When you prepare your food, will you do it in your client’s home or somewhere else? If you do it somewhere else, where will that be? Check with your health department to find out what licenses and permits you need to have in order to prepare food for others.

Do you have the equipment you need? Depending on the size of the jobs you’ll take you may need restaurant equipment, such as an industrial sized oven. You may decide to rent facilities or equipment as needed, instead of buying them at the onset. You should, however, have all of the basic equipment you’ll use on a regular basis.

What method will you use for food delivery? If you do not cook at your client’s location, how will you get the food delivered? Do you have a reliable method of transportation that can carry food and equipment? Once you’ve arrived, who will arrange and serve the food? Will you need to hire temporary help to assist you?

Once you’ve answered these essential questions, it’s time to find some customers.

How To Start A Catering Business – Marketing and Sales

Who needs catering services? Almost any good-sized business may have an occasion to cater an event. It could be for an office holiday party or team building event. It could be for lunches for meetings or even on a regular basis for people who don’t want to leave their desks at lunchtime.

Make a list of likely businesses, and call the office manager and ask if you can drop by some information. When you do, bring a sample plate of goodies for them to try. Be sure to leave your business card and a pamphlet with your menu and prices.

If they do not call you, check back with them occasionally to see if they have upcoming needs. Be sure to check back before major occasions such as holidays, to remind them of your services. Become a member of business organizations in order to network and find out upcoming events.

For individual clients, you’ll need to take a different approach, since they may be harder to find. Kick off your new business by holding an open house. Invite all of your neighbors, friends and associates to come and sample your variety of treats. Have a brochure with descriptions of usual and unusual catered events you can handle. Picnics, midnight suppers, car trip meals, preschool birthday parties are just some ideas.

Distribute flyers in the neighborhood, at grocery and gourmet food stores. Put an ad on craigslist.org and in the Yellow Pages. Be a regular at culinary supply stores and offer a cooking class or party planning class to increase visibility.

With great skills and continuous marketing, you can build a tasty business by learning how to start a catering business.

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