How to Start A Home-Based Catering Business

There is an element of risk in starting a - . Starting a is no exception. Follow the steps laid out here, which provide information and knowledge of starting a home- business, to help eliminate some of the risk and provide you a good start to a successful business.


Step 1
Obtain A Catering License

To obtain a home-based catering license contact, via Internet or by phone, apply to your local Health Department. The Health Department will inspect your business to ensure it meets your State’s food sanitation requirements.

Step 2
Draft Your Catering Business Plan and Determine Your Audience

Developing a business plan, and doing thorough catering business research, will aid you in getting a Small Business loan. This document will also be used as your road map to guide you from Small Business start-up to a successful home-based catering business.

This document will –
• determine your type of business, i.e. cakes, receptions, seated dinners, box lunches, picnics, hors d’oeuvres, or dessert.
• pinpoint the type of food you will serve.
• analyze your market to determine if your business will serve a need presently unmet in the market.
• assist in identifying your target audience/customers.
• help you understand who your competition is.
• and much, much more.

Step 3
Understand Your Start-up Costs For This Home-Based Catering Business

Renting items, to keep initial costs of your Catering Business to a minimum, is a good way to begin your home-based Catering business. This will give you time to:

1) Build a reputation for yourself and your small business;
2) generate capital for your own catering items and
3) allows you a chance to evaluate how much time and money you will need to invest into expanding your catering business and how running a home-based catering business impacts your family.

Step 4
Develop A Menu For Your Catering Business

The factors for planning a catering menu include the type of event, time of event, number of people that will be served, equipment needed and if any extra staff will be needed.

The menu template you work off of should include the basics with alternatives so the customer has choices. Based on the findings of your small business marketing plan, if there are potential customers whose traditions call for certain foods have those choices available. When you show a balance in color, texture, shape, size, flavor, cooking methods your potential customer will respect you as a professional Catering business.

Step 5
Write Contractual Features For Starting A Catering Business

When you meet with your potential customers provide them with an information packet that includes sample menus and prices, other services you provide, and have a portfolio of pictures that shows how food was presented at different occasions.

Remember that when you start your catering business, most likely, your
first customers will be friends and/or family. Keep in mind that ‘friends are friends’ and ‘business is business’. Any wise Small Business Owner will have a contract drafted, that has been reviewed by an Attorney, which will detail the items for the event with a place to be approved and signed by the Customer and yourself.

Step 6
Purchase Insurance For A Home-Based Catering Business

Insurance protects you from the unexpected and is the necessary evil for any business. Small Business insurance includes product and personal liability, coverage on the space in your home used for the business, all equipment used for the business, vehicle used for the business, and worker’s compensation for any employees.

Step 7
Be Aware of Food Safety for Your Catering Business

Salmonella, Campylobacter and E-coli are not words you, as a home-based catering business, would like hear in the same sentence with your Catering business name. To keep your business doors open you need ensure the production of safe food. Food borne illness will be minimized if you and your employees follow safe food handling practices including the basics of washing your hands to the appropriate temperature settings for storage and presentation of your feast.

Step 8
Price your Service For Profit

The pricing formula a home-based catering business should follow is ‘Materials + Overhead + Labor + Profit = Price’. That said you will also need to be mindful of what your competitors are charging and determine if you will charge the same as your competition, charge more than your competition or charge less than your competition. Remember to factor in any special service that you provide that your competition does not and charge appropriately. All of this statistical information should have been gathered during the research phase of drafting your Business Plan.

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