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How to Start a Catering Business?

by businessguide
a complete guide on how to start your catering busines

There is a great deal of excitement and challenges involved in starting a catering business, but if the business is properly planned, it can be very profitable. You need to plan your finances well, develop a menu your customers are going to love and create a unique concept to appeal to them.

However, you should be aware that the information in this article is not intended as legal advice to engage in any particular business activity.

Catering business permits and licenses

The state has various food safety laws, and the catering business must be licensed to serve alcohol as well. Before opening a catering business, you must obtain permits and licenses from the relevant authorities.

To obtain a liquor license, you must fill out an application, which includes some basic information, including your name and address.

 A business plan, employee ID, and food menu are also required. Additional permits and licenses may be required for your business. For example, if you operate from home, you may need a building permit, while if you operate from a restaurant, you might need a certificate of incorporation.

DBA licensing:

In order to register a catering business in New York, a DBA license is essential. The process requires the business to have an existing business and takes a few weeks. The process is complicated, but if you plan to do business in your state, it’s worth your time

Restaurant Licensing:

Restaurant licenses are a crucial requirement for running a successful restaurant. Your state’s licensing requirements should always be researched before applying. You may be able to find a consultant or attorney familiar with the food and beverage industry to assist you. 

Non-compliance can result in large fines, so it’s best to do it right the first time. Software that allows you to manage your business and grow should offer inventory management, employee management, reporting, and customer service features.

Costing of Food Business License:

A food business license costs $100 to $1000, depending on the type and number of employees you have. In addition to getting a sign permit, you may also need to get a license for putting up signs outside the restaurant.

These permits define the size, brightness, and location of your signs.

Writing a Catering Business Plan

If you want to run a successful catering business, you must develop a business plan. The plan should demonstrate your dedication to the company while also assisting you in making sound business decisions.  Your plan does not have to be a rigid document; changes can be made as the business grows, but you should always keep the basic goals of your business in mind.

Rent, catering insurance, and labor are examples of operating expenses. Additionally, supplies and equipment are required. You might have to rent them first and then buy them later.  You can also get equipment financing to help with your startup costs. It is also critical to consider what you will sell to make a profit.


An executive summary should be included as an introduction to the rest of the business plan. A budget overview, a mission statement, a core values statement, and a brand description should all be included in the executive summary.

This information will assist potential investors and customers in identifying your catering company.

After you have finished the plan, you should distribute it to as many people as possible. Even if getting a positive response is difficult, don’t give up. You can also discuss the strategy at networking events.

If you are too shy to give a presentation, prepare a 30-second elevator pitch for your strategy. It should contain something interesting and leave room for questions.

Attracting Customers

When writing a catering business plan, you should also focus on attracting customers in the event or exhibition industry. The large size of the industry and its prominence can give your company a significant market share. Having a documented goal is also beneficial, as it will help you measure your progress.

The sample business plan you can use is a good example of what can be included in a catering business plan. The founder has built a company that satisfies customers, is highly efficient, and has room for expansion.

The company has its own branches that follow its guidelines while being flexible enough to meet local needs. Over the years, its founder has developed his core beliefs in the hotel and catering industry.

Explaining Your Services

A catering business plan should explain the services and menu that you will provide. In this way, you can reach your target audience and make them decide whether your business is for them. Additionally, it should outline the financial aspects of the business.

The amount of money needed to start the business, procure the necessary supplies, and hire employees should be included.

Your Business’s Marketing Strategy

It is critical to get your name out there when starting a catering business. Making connections in your community is the best way to accomplish this. You should reach out to other businesses and professionals, whether through social media or traditional networking. Even if you are shy, you can network and meet people who can help your business.


Another great way to get your name out there is through advertising. Catering bus advertisements can include your company name, phone number, and tagline.

You can also hand out flyers or put your catering company’s name on restaurant menus. Creating a website and social media accounts are also excellent ways to promote your catering company.

Website Creation

Creating a website is one of the simplest ways to get your name out there. There are several website builders that make it simple to create a main page that will help attract potential customers.

It will also assist customers in finding venues, ordering food, and scheduling events. You can also promote your business by using testimonials from satisfied customers.

Attending wedding shows is another way to get your name out there. Bring samples of your food and pay people to distribute your fliers. You can attend corporate events where businesses can use catering services in addition to weddings. Furthermore, if you are a wedding caterer, you should think about purchasing leads on LinkedIn.

Start Marketing your Business

Developing a compelling marketing strategy is critical to the success of your company. Catering businesses must stand out from the crowd in order to attract new customers.

Because you will be competing with hundreds of other caterers, you must be innovative in your approach. It is not only the food that is important, but also how you market your services. 

A business plan should also be created. It should outline your objectives for starting a catering business. Your financial projections and marketing strategies should also be outlined in your business plan. It is also critical to ensure that your business name has not been registered as a trademark.

Menu creation – What do you need to know?

Starting a catering business requires creating a menu. It helps you define your services and set your price range. Ask yourself a few questions before creating a menu: What type of services do you want to offer?

Menu Size

The menu size you choose should be manageable for you when you start your catering business. It is important to get feedback on how your menu tastes from your friends or family members.

You may have to make some changes based on their feedback. It is important to make sure your menu is well presented.

Build your brand and attract customers by creating a catering menu. If possible, upload the menu to your company’s website. It should reflect the type of services you offer and be presented professionally. It should match your services and prices and serve as the foundation of your catering business.

Targeted Audience

While most catering businesses start out small, identifying your niche and targeting a specific market is crucial to your success. Researching your competitors is crucial to your success.

When it comes to catering for large corporate events, your business can scale up according to the order volume you receive. You don’t want to try to cater to everyone and expect to be successful at the same time.

It is important to consider the demographics of your target market. Large corporate catering companies usually target high-end executive lunches.

These catering businesses can scale their operation, but a smaller catering business must focus on a specific niche in order to stay competitive and make a profit. A well-designed menu will help you attract new customers and make sales.

It is also vital to understand the food business regulations in your area. By following certain guidelines, you can start a catering business from home and save money. Ensure that your premises are safe and have adequate storage space.

You might also like to read about  Convenience Store Business Plan

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