For the Love of Dining: All About Starting Your Own Catering Business

Do you love to feed people? Have you got first-class culinary skills? And, have you always wanted to own your own business enterprise? If your answer to each of the questions is “yes,” you may wish to consider opening your very own catering business. Here are a few things you will need to know.

Today’s competitive catering market

In the 21st century, you can expect to find any number of competing caterers doing business in your neighborhood. There may be no point in trying to replicate what they already do. Instead, create an entirely different menu, and offer the public a happy alternative. Invest in radio ads, print articles, and be sure to provide perfect service to earn those all-important Yelp reviews.


Qualities of a successful caterer

Organization, creativity, and consistency are the hallmarks of a greatly successful catering business. The ability to happily adjust to a variety of work environments is a bonus for folks who delve into the world of catering. Finding the fun in food preparation, serving, and cleaning up after events is a good trait for persons who make catering their professional occupation.

Ann Crane owns a well-respected catering business in Irvine, California. Crane notes the difference between restaurants and catering outfits. A restaurateur typically does their work in the same space every day. A caterer, on the other hand, has to haul everything they need to prepare meals to remote locations. Here’s what Ms. Crane told Entrepreneur magazine:

“Most restaurateurs hate catering for the exact reason that I love it: It’s different every day. A restaurateur is happy in a completely confined space where they’re in control and they don’t have to worry about anything leaving the building. With catering, you can get your inside operations down to the wire, but then you have to put it all in a truck and take it someplace to set it up and you could lose control.”


Starting your catering biz

For a caterer, the biggest expense is generally the kitchen. Most regions require catering be done from a commercial kitchen. Ask around– you may find a school cafeteria that will allow you to cook in their kitchen after hours. Some restaurants may be willing to let you cook in their kitchen by the hour, as well.

To shave up-front costs to the bone, buy used kitchen gear whenever you can. Lease or lease-to-buy options are also well worth considering. When you need a particular utensil or precision measuring tools, shop at a specialist retailer such as RS Online. As for cutlery, linens, flatware, and glasses, you may be able to rent those locally in lieu of making an outright purchase at the beginning of your business, notes the Really Useful Information Company.

Whatever sort of catering biz you begin, always do your very best. Start small, serve delectable dishes at a fair price, and watch your service enterprise bloom. Catering is a wonderful occupation for a chef with the right sort of business sense.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, CEO of Inspired Marketing, Inc., is a small business marketing coach who shows women entrepreneurs how to use solid marketing strategies to turn their life’s passion into a profitable, service-based business. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog,

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One comment

  1. Successful caterers are organized, consistent and creative. They enjoy working in an environment that in some ways changes every day, while in other ways stays the same. While a lot of the preparation, cleaning and serving becomes a bit routine, the places to which you’ll travel and the kinds of functions you’ll attend can differ greatly.
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