Starting a Catering Business

Catering food

A catering business is commonly hired to provide food and beverage services, at events such as corporate festivities, retirement parties, and weddings. However, there are a lot more avenues in the food catering industry. There are large entities like retirement homes, correctional facilities, and health care facilities, which can serve as a customer base for a catering business. The catering business in the U.S. is projected to grow by 10%, on an average, from 2008 to 2018. So, this is a lucrative business opportunity for those who wish to pursue it.

 

Market research and starting the business

Market research is essential if you are planning to start a catering business. It is important to know the market and your potential customers. Research about the kind of competition you are going to face from other catering companies in the area. You can begin by offering just a few food items or beverages at the start of the business. For instance, you can begin by delivering organic juices and fresh muffins to larger companies, for their business meetings. Uniqueness is important to help you stand out in the competition.

 

Acquiring permits and fulfilling legal obligations

All types of businesses have specific legal obligations to fulfill. Starting a business is often more a legal procedure, than an administrative one. So, you must be aware of the legal process of setting up your catering business. You might need permits to run a business in a specific area. You have to learn about the formalities and requirements, which you must fulfill, in order to be eligible for a permit. You will also need to apply for a Tax-ID number, and a license to run the business. There are individual permits for liability insurance, serving alcohol, handling, as well as serving food. You have to make sure which ones you require to run the business. Also, learn about the health code, which regulates all businesses in the food and beverage industry.

Investing in the required equipment

Another important aspect that helps run a successful business is to have your own equipment. A catering business requires equipment in the production and distribution of its products. In case you plan to cook your own food, and serve it as well, you might need equipment like utensils for cooking and service, cutlery, tableware, heating tables, etc. You will also require a vehicle for transportation. In addition to this, you will need standard office items, which include fax machines, telephones, furniture, and accounting software. Apart from the essential items that have been mentioned, you may have to invest in equipment depending on requirements as your business grows.

Marketing your business

Customer service is one of the most important aspects of a business. Use your promotional skills to reach your customers, and to inform them that you provide the services that suit their needs. You have to market your business well to grab the attention of your customers. Creating a website that provides details about your business, and the services you provide, is a good way to establish an online presence. The website must look professional and business-ready, and it must have high-quality photographs, sample menus, and customer testimonials. Ensure that the website is complete, and provide accessible links to all the relevant pages within your website. In addition, you can distribute fliers and business cards to professionals who belong to complementary industries such as floristry, photography, and wedding planning.

 

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