If nothing makes you happier than being in the kitchen, it could be time to think about turning your hobby into a full-time career. You don’t have to commit yourself to years of torturously long hours in a commercial kitchen to do it either. With an independent catering business, you’d be your own boss and in charge of the size, scope, and direction of the operation.
You can even run a successful catering company from home if you have the right resources. It is a wonderful way for enthusiastic foodies with oodles of talent to showcase their creations, earn a handsome wage, and help hungry customers satisfy their bellies. As most catering businesses end up providing for big events like weddings, fundraisers, and corporate conferences, you can count on the job being rather exciting too.
There are some important things that you should know before attempting to launch a catering business. This guide to the essentials will help you get to grips with the basics.
How To Start A Catering Business
- Get the Right Equipment
Your kitchen tools and appliances will be the secret weapon at the heart of your business. You’ll need a high-quality vacuum sealer to keep ingredients fresh and secure them for delivery to the customer. It is also worth investing in a high-end set of cooking pots and pans. This is one of those areas where you’ll really benefit from spending a little bit more. The alternative, if your margins are low at the start, is to lease some of the bigger appliances and tools.
- Build an Approved Kitchen
Your plans for the catering business will dictate whether or not you set up at home or rent out a professional kitchen. If you have the capital and the resources and you know that you want the venture to become a fully-fledged brand, a commercial space may be more suitable. Either way, your cooking and prep space will need to be approved by a food hygiene inspector and awarded with the right licenses before you can open up.
- Start Off Small
It is tempting to want to dive in head first and take on big jobs, but if you’re inexperienced, you’ll need to start small and work your way up. Yes, wedding parties and networking events mean more heads and more money, but you risk an early disaster if you don’t test the waters and find out what kind of capacity you can currently handle right now. Start off small; lunch runs at local businesses, community charity events, and birthday parties.
- Choose Your Rates Carefully
Catering is a complex operation and it involves more than just the cost of the food or even the degree of skill on show. There is the equipment to account for, as well as any transportation expenses incurred by delivery of the service. You don’t want to price yourself out of the market, but you also want to be sure that you are covering these costs. All expenses have to be made up before you can start to turn a profit.
- Take Out the Proper Business Insurance
All business need to be covered for the possibility that a customer has a really bad experience and wants you to put things right. This could involve any number of situations, including things like accidents and injuries, foreign objects in food, spoiled ingredients, or just a general dissatisfaction with the service. Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, business insurance is there to help you handle the cost of solving the problem.
Why Catering Could Be the Perfect Career for You
Catering isn’t always the easiest of careers because it tends to be fast paced and very demanding. Small mistakes can lead to major crises and bad habits can quickly turn into thousands of dollars of lost profit. However, if you have a calm head and an unquenchable passion for food, it might just be the career that you’ve always dreamed about.