Do you like cooking? Do you like preparing food for groups? If you answered yes to these questions, catering might be the business for you. Caterers normally direct a few events per month. Catering can be a home based business. Caterers provide food for special events such as weddings, parties and corporate events. What’s more, some caterers provide a unique service in which they cook private meals for families and individuals. This business is ideal because the start-up cost is low, and most caterers work from home.
In order to be successful, caterers must plan menus, develop recipes, create promotional events and design programs for clients. Therefore, problem solving skills are beneficial in this business.
The significance of starting a home catering business would be to effectively serve customers their food and drinks while maintaining the highest level of customer service. Initially, having a solid business plan that outlines both short-term and long-term goals will be able to create a focus for the owner to see where the strengths and weaknesses of the business are. A business plan should include what the business will involve, how long it is expected before a profit will be turned and where money received from clients and services will be disbursed. Having substantial capital to start the business will ensure that kitchen equipment, food storage and preparation tools, and delivery tools and trucks can be purchased. Hiring a business manager to help keep track of financials and ordering supplies is essential, as is a good cook and serving staff who are personable and work well under pressure.
Starting a home catering business lets a person create, cook and prepare food from her home kitchen. Making money and managing a business from home are benefits. Giving an experienced or aspiring chef the chance to showcase specialty foods and homemade recipes for clients, a home-based catering business allows her to get her name recognized in public. Offering a specialized group of entrees and appetizers will also help boost the clientele and increase revenue. Running the catering business from home also offers the convenience of being able to prepare the food there and have all supplies, as well as the administrative office, in the same location.
Running a home catering business easily fulfills the tasks of taking and delivering large food orders. Initially, a client will call the owner of the catering business to request what is needed for the event–this will address how many guests to cook for, what types of food are desired, location and time. It is up to the owner or manger of the business to get a team gathered to plan the prices and food items. Food will be made at home, packed up and delivered to the event location, where it will be reheated and then served. Events may be buffet-style, in which guests help themselves, or the meals can be served to by a wait staff.
An owner should have the financial means to start and maintain the business, therefore a cost analysis should be completed first. Kitchen equipment, including large and small appliances, pans and dishes, generally cost between P75,000 and P200,000. Catering trucks that are equipped with refrigeration service and proper storage for tables as well as dishes and supplies is estimated at P500,000 to P1 million, brand new. Though it’s more practical for start-ups to just rent a truck.
Serving equipment such as trays, buffet servers, dishes, utensils, coffee supplies and other small appliances can be expected to cost upward of P60,000. General office supplies, advertising, licensing and inspection fees can be expected in the P40,000 range. These costs can be reduced if used equipment or discounted items are purchased. Additional staff can run anywhere between P500 to P800 for the length of the catering event (usually 4-6 hours), including preparation and cleanup. The owner needs to obtain a commercial food service business license and be prepared to have routine health inspections.
Home catering business have the potential to be profitable, with successful events and steady business. Building a successful clientele is important when starting and as the business grows—this will ensure that it remains busy throughout slow seasons such as the mid-winter months. Hiring additional staff during the busy spring, summer and holiday seasons will allow the business owner to take on more jobs and eventually make more money.
- Learn how to cook a variety of dishes. Caterers normally have a passion for cooking and food. If you want to start a catering business, familiarize yourself with a variety of appetizers, main dishes and desserts.
- Attend a cooking school. Even if you have a natural passion for cooking, it doesn’t hurt to attend a culinary school or take a cooking class. Expert cooks teach these classes, and you’ll receive a lot of helpful cooking advice and learn valuable techniques.
- Work for a catering company. Upon graduation from a culinary school, look for employment with a catering company. This provides hands-on experience, and it’ll help you decide whether a catering business is right for you.
- Write a business plan for the catering business. Every new business needs a business plan. In additional, banks normally ask to review a business plan before approving a small business loan request.
- Adhere to government regulations that apply to catering in your area. Make sure your home based business has the necessary licenses and permits.
- Decide if you want to provide chef services (also known as in-home catering) or if you want to start a larger business, in which case you will need to rent an industrial kitchen.
- Plan a menu, paying special attention to what type of food you plan to offer and what type of food is off limits. Dishes that require exotic ingredients or are complex may not be the best option at the beginning of your business.
- Market your catering business. Once you have a location, a business license and adequate funds, it’s time to market the business. Contact a few charities and businesses, place a listing in public directories, print business cards and research different advertising strategies.
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