Want to start a profitable home business to make some extra money? Here is another business you can start from the comfort of your home, and you can expand it in the future if you desire. Do you know how to make delicious meals of different kinds, and then starting a catering business is just very good for you. Be reminded that this business requires careful planning for it to become very successful. Here in this post, I am sharing with you how to start catering business from home.
Catering is a multi-billion dollar industry in the US and is the fastest growing segment of the food service industry. If you enjoy the act of cooking and serving people then catering is a natural opportunity for you to start a home business.
I must tell you from experience that the catering industry rewards those that plan ahead and are highly organized and focused. If you can follow the steps I am sharing in this post, you would have been well equipped to start a flourishing catering business at home.
Below are the required steps to starting a successful catering business at home:
1. Carry out research
Begin your preparation by first finding out as much catering business information as possible. Also make a point of learning about general business marketing and management if you are not already knowledgeable in these areas. Taking a few classes to prepare to be a business owner is one good idea.
You also have to research the catering market locally so that you can understand as much as you can about your competitors and your prospective clients.
Sourcing ingredients and other supplies is an important part of the business. Also try looking into variety of local options and find out what discounts are available to you in case you are buying such items in bulk. Restaurant owners will be able to give you a lot of tips here.
2. Specify your catering niche
Think about what food you love to make. Just like every other business, catering should also be rooted in a genuine passion and interest for it to thrive. As you kick start your catering business, consider the following types of food you could focus on:
• Lunch or brunch-style food. If you enjoy making sandwiches, quiches, tarts, salads, and other food that is generally served during the day, you might want to model your business around lunchtime service. You can major on catering for ceremonies like business luncheons, daytime awards, school functions etc.
• Wedding reception or special event meals. Caterers who focus on wedding ceremonies typically offer a variety of appetizers and finger foods followed with several hearty entrees and a few desserts.
• Desserts only. If you are someone that loves baking, and you have a flair for making cookies and cakes, you can major on desserts-only catering. This may limit the types of clients who hire you, but you’ll also have less equipment to buy.
• Appetizers and cocktails. Clients are increasingly hiring caterers to create a trendy, festive atmosphere by serving only appetizers, sometimes accompanied by caterer-prepared specialty cocktails.
3. Contact local health authority
Visit your local authorities to find out what permits or license you would require to run a business operation such as commercial preparation and distribution of food. Take a proper look into the necessary requirements for setting up and running a catering business in that locality.
Make sure that you look into the insurance policies that you will need for your company assets and your company’s liability. You must reduce your risk in the event that anything goes wrong and damages result that your company is liable for. In addition, be sure that you have the appropriate policies to cover your home, contents and business assets.
5. Name your business
In the event that you are a sole proprietorship and you are operating under your own name, for instance, Julia Peter, it is not necessary to register a business name. But the minute you choose to operate under a different name—Julia’s Catering Services, you will need to register it.
Note that if your business is structured other than a sole proprietorship, then you will need to register your business name, regardless of whether it is the same as your personal name.
In either of the above mentioned instances, you will need to register your business name by filing a doing business as (DBA) form with your state and country.
6. Using your home kitchen
Assess your home kitchen to see what it is capable of and if any upgrades or equipment purchases are necessary.
7. Put some menus together
Another required step to operate a profitable catering business is to put some sample catering menus together that will suit various occasions and if possible meet other caterers in the food service industry for proper advice. Get a good understanding of what the current catering market demand is like by looking over the menus of other catering operators. You can also carry out some research into modern trends in cuisine.
In addition, consider carefully the cost and volume of the ingredients required, and how many people the menus are designed to cater for. Here are 8 must estimate business startup costs before you launch out
Decide how you will fund the business. Get a decent idea of startup costs for a catering business and then work out if you will be able to fund the business independently. You may need to consider a small business loan or some other form of financing.
Think about a suitable catering business name and have a graphic designer do some logos for you to consider. Creating a solid brand is important when starting out in business as this will influence customer perceptions of your company. It can be hard to change course later so you should think hard about what your brand’s values are and how you want your brand to differ from those of other caterers.
Consider also how you will go about doing your marketing by clarifying the market that you want to target, define your products and services and working out how you will go about pricing them. Look into different advertising and marketing methods to understand how a catering business can get leads. Lastly you need to work out a sales process to take you from the point of a customer enquiry through to a deposit being paid.
10. Business planning
Another very useful step is to put at least some form of business plan in place to work with. This will allow you to run a simulation for how you expect the business to run over the first one or two years so that you can work out if your proposal is profitable or not. It will also be a useful place to compile all of your research and to set out your goals and intentions.
11: Determine your pricing
The price of your work depends greatly on the location of your business, and what kind of catering you do. Some business owners create price tiers that provide certain level of service and amenities for various customers and amounts.
To get an idea of what price you can put in place, Burnett says that her price varied from $7-$8 per person, for light appetizers for cocktail hour, and over $87 for filet and lobster.
According to her, “It varies because we do buffets, plated dinners, simple appetizers, or events where we have just dropped off food and they have served it themselves—to very high-end menus with unique ingredients”.
12. Have a practice run
Before jumping into catering why not try it out first and see how you go. This is easy if you offer to cater a dinner for a number of friends or work colleagues. These can add up to the cost of the groceries and you can prepare a dinner party for about 17 people.
This will give you a chance to get a small taste of what it is like to cater to a crowd. After the meal you can ask for honest feedback about what they thought of your food, presentation and service.
Other steps to consider:
1. Giving out business cards is the most efficient way to let others know of your business. A business card should be simply designed with clear printing. Your card should include your phone numbers, location address, business website and email address (if you have them).
2. Hosting a “mock dinner” is also an excellent way to incite confidence in potential customers. This dinner is usually buffet style, allowing potential clients to taste of variety of the foods you intend to serve.
3. Occasionally find out from those who have used your services if you can use them as references. Whether a card, picture or comment on your website, these references are important to increase future clients’ trust in your ability to deliver.
Having a home catering business is fun and rewarding. Through careful research, following the steps listed above, thoughtfully made decisions and good advertising, your home catering business will become a huge success.