If you enjoy cooking and feeding others, you can turn that hobby or passion into a source of income. There are two ways of doing that: a restaurant and a catering business. While starting a restaurant is a bit more tricky and requires a bigger investment, you can always go for a home-based catering business.
There is not too much of a difference. You will be feeding people and earning quite a lot of money. According to Career Explorer, a catering business can earn between $30,000 and $80,000 annually, depending on a full-time or part-time basis.
While there is no surefire recipe of starting a successful catering business from home, some culinary skills and a lot of determination can put you on the right track. Here are a few more tips that might be handy.
Decide The Niche
The first thing to do when starting a home-based catering business is to decide the niche. Think about the food you love to eat and have a passion for. We have created a list for you to choose from:
- Lunch or Brunch Style: If you have an interest in making food like sandwiches, quiches, tarts, and other items that are suitable for day-time serving. You should build your catering business around lunchtime service. Target markets like business luncheons, school functions, and daytime award functions.
- Special Events: If you are more of a gourmet chef, you should think about starting a catering service that provides a three-course meal. Your target should be to prepare appetizers, entrees, and desserts for bigger events like wedding receptions.
- One-Dish Service: These are often the baby steps in starting a catering business. Start with one-dish service like making desserts for receptions, or catering appetizers and cocktails for some office parties. This helps you break into the market and get to meet some future clients before you start the complete catering service.
Create The Menu
Once you decide what niche you want to follow, the next step is to create the menu. Doing this will help you understand certain business requirements. For example, how much space will you need? What kind of appliances would you require? What are the expenses and how much is your proposed budget? Keep the following things in mind while creating the menu:
- Have a variety of items to target a bigger crowd. For example, if you offer a lot of spicy food, bring some non-spicy items to the menu as well.
- Try adding a vegan section to the menu and a Halal section as well. The number of vegetarians is rising so you should target that as well.
- Keep the menu realistic. Do not include dishes that are too difficult to make and those you haven’t mastered yet.
Space And Supplies
The next thing on the list is to find and settle in the space and get the appliances. Catering service is a very mobile business and can be done from your own home. However, some states have certain law requirements that should be followed. Try the following:
- Buy or rent and operate from a commercial kitchen instead of your home kitchen. Some kitchens allow for rent and use for a few hours a day. You can do that to meet clients and provide samples.
- If you are going for a full-time catering business, it’s better to look for a permanent space. Look for space where you can install proper appliances and have proper ventilation for cooking.
Once you have the space, the next thing is the supplies, including cooking appliances, groceries, and crockery among others. One thing you will need in abundance is Roetell glass bottles to store the herbs, spices, oils, and several other things. You can also outsource things like plates, silverware, glassware, or other utensils.
Setup The Business
Once you are done with the basics, it’s time to dive into the business end. You need to take care of the following six things so your business can start efficiently.
- Get the required permits and licenses.
- Decide the finances. Set the prices and keep track of your expenses. We suggest hiring an accountant.
- Get some form of transport to deliver your food. Preferably a van that can store food, tables, and any other equipment.
- A very important factor is the hiring of the staff. You cannot do everything yourself. You will need cooks and servers. Train them so they perform as per your expectations.
- Get a regular food supplier. At the start, you may get by using the local store. But as the business grows, it’s better you switch to a bigger supplier for regular, uninterrupted supplies. The bigger stores will also provide a discount once a month.
- The last but very important part of setting up the business is the marketing of your business. Distribute your fliers and menus, use social media, and post some ads in local newspapers. Most importantly, ask your customers to refer you to their friends and families. A customer is the best advertiser.
Homemade businesses are always an adventure. The fear and risk of failure are always there but the feeling of success is unmatched as well. A catering business is no different. There are chances of failure but, once you start getting the orders, there will be no limit. This article enlists some very basic steps you need to follow to start up your catering business at home. We hope this is of some help in this venture of yours. Good luck and feel free to get back to us for any queries.