How to start a home catering business

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So you want to start a home catering business. First of all, one must be a good cook (with training and professional experience). A catering business can subscribe to a wide spectrum of clients (you must be able to cook from everything to small catered affairs to fancy business parties and weddings). You have to know food like the back of your hand…and have the strong desire to prepare and cook it.

You must also have a professional knowledge of wines, spirits and liquors. Plus you have at least one assistant to help you with the cooking and preparations (you can hire somebody fresh from a cooking school), and several employees to help deliver, set up the food areas, help serve it and clean up afterwards. Recent cooking student graduates need real-life work experience. Talk to teaching staff at vocational and other cooking schools. You could find just the right graduate who is a whiz in the kitchen…a young or not so young student who has discovered their lifelong dream to do good cooking and now has the venue through you to practise it. Additionally, being a graduate, you don’t necessarily have to pay them a huge salary-a plus for a beginning caterer.

Have a good business plan, drawn up by a professional, that covers everything in running a catering business from covering the costs of the food, the uniforms, salaries, insurance-to the point where your business could be five years down the road. When your business plan goes into effect, make sure you have enough fridge, freezer, pantry space, and the space to prepare everything. Keep your business plan up to date, reflecting on any changes that may come.

Additionally, have a large enough kitchen with proper ventilation to work in, even investing capital in expanding your kitchen if you have to. You don’t want to be cooking in three different kitchens. Make sure your business plan reflects it, or else you’ll be cooking for just a handful of people at a time. Or worse yet, you could be tripping over yourself in preparing your famous dishes that your grandma got raves for many years before. Also, make sure you have a large enough vehicle or vehicles to drive around to all those catered affairs.

Always, make sure your kitchen is sanitary and the food is properly stored at the right temperatures. Also, making sure you and all your assistants have taken the necessary food handling and preparation courses to avoid viral and bacterial contamination of food during storage and preparation. Clean and sanitize your food preparation and cooking areas all of the time, as well as making sure everybody under your employ washes and sterilize their hands.

If you need money to start or expand your catering business, look into small business loans. Also, advertise as much as possible through the Internet, the White and Yellow pages, anyplace that will be seen by large groups of people interested in catered affairs. Advertising means money to your business…and you. But, ultimately, run the business well, offer good meals, and different dishes from time to time, show off those cooking skills and your signature dishes. Have fun, but be professional all of the time. Plus, make sure you have good prices. Quality and good prices will always bring your customers back and expand your base of customers. You could end up being a top caterer in your area, with a wallet full of green, in good or bad economic times!


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