Get started in food service management
A catering business can be one of the most flexible and lucrative businesses to run, and if you love working with food and people, you may find that this is your ideal career. You can begin by catering small parties and work your way up to weddings and corporate events as your assets and reputation grow. Indeed, your success in the food service business will depend on your reputation; a strong work ethic, a good knowledge base and the right equipment can be your best weapons in this competitive industry.
How to Start a Catering Business
In contrast to the high costs of opening a restaurant business, a catering business can be started with minimal initial investment. If you decide to operate your business out of a professional kitchen, you will definitely have monthly rental payments to make on top of your product and equipment costs.
However, catering carries the opportunity for a home based business, and running your business out of your own kitchen will cut costs dramatically. If you do decide to cater out of your home, ensure that you have the permits and inspection certificates that required by your local health department.
If you find that you need some more training with the managerial end of your catering business, consider taking a course in food service management. These courses are offered at most community colleges, and will offer helpful business advice and insight into the specific problems that will challenge a catering business. However, if you decide on opening a food service franchise over an independent catering business, the franchiser will likely provide information and training to help get you started.
Catering Business Supplies
Depending on the size and type of your catering business, you may have to commit a relatively large amount of capital to the rental of catering equipment. If you cannot afford to buy your own dinnerware and dining furniture, there are many rental companies that would be happy to supply you with everything you need. And if your home kitchen won't suffice, see if you can arrange to use a restaurant's kitchen facilities in their off-hours, or rent space in a commercial kitchen along with other caterers.
Aside from the kitchen tools, a catering business will most likely need a delivery vehicle to safely transport food and equipment to the event site. This truck or van can also advertise your business—a sharp and unique logo could attract your next customer while you cater to your current client. Lastly, some of your most important catering supplies will have nothing to do with food preparation or transportation – you'll need a phone, computer, printer and some sort of filing system to organize your planning, events and invoices.