Catering services work for specific events: birthdays, graduations, baptisms, confirmations, weddings, company meetings, and more. Of course, we bring you the steps to know how to start a catering business from home and achieve success.
What is a catering business?
The catering business is a venture that you can start immediately. When we refer to the word “catering”, it is a combination of services that provide food and drinks to several people in a specific place.
Keep in mind that catering is not limited to serving meals at events. On the contrary, catering must be based on one of the basic elements of an event, providing what the guest needs, having a presentation on plates and logistics, and most importantly, offering a quality service.
The first step in the process to learn how the catering business can work from home is to define what type of food you are going to serve from the beginning, since you have many variants such as traditional food, exotic food, and custom food, among other options.
Catering is now growing rapidly, being one of the most popular forms of events ranging from birthdays, weddings, and business dinners, it can even be easily adapted to any occasion, condition, and pocket capabilities of each person at any time. To know how to start a home catering business, you must have extensive knowledge of the types of services that can be applied to each type of event.
What are the characteristics of catering?
Starting a catering business from home requires more than a physical space, you need to have the following characteristics so that you can position yourself as one of the most successful catering businesses.
- Planning and management of the service: You must offer a technical service to visit the space where the event will take place to investigate the operational possibilities, the time, and the amount of food or drink required.
- Variety: Each event is unique, so each menu is specially prepared for this important day, taking into account the preferences of the guests, especially those who need specific attention for health or diet issues. It is not uncommon to find menus for vegans, vegetarians, allergy sufferers, lactose-free and gluten-free.
- Food quality: Always use high-quality ingredients to create a delicious and unique dish.
- Quality of service: It is very important to offer our clients the best possible treatment.
- Equipment: Catering service providers must handle all the tools necessary to provide the service, such as glassware, tablecloths, dishes, and plates.
- Punctuality: The food must be served at the time agreed by the client because the time for the party is always tight. It is one of the most essential features. Take the service, the organization, and the suppliers that participate in the event seriously.
- Presentation: We have all heard the saying: “You eat more with your eyes than with your mouth”. Making the presentation of the dish look impeccable has always been an important requirement and today it is essential.
What are the types of catering?
To open a catering business, you must take into account the different types of menus and services that can be offered to guests or attendees at the event. Not all events are the same and situations and times are also different. This means that each event has its specific requirements.
Being able to choose the type of food is a task that cannot be ignored and will depend on the particularities of the event or celebration. So, here are the different types of catering that you can use when planning an event:
This is one of the most used forms of service in business activities. A snack is a 15-30 minute break for participants to refuel to move on to the next task.
In general, coffee breaks are buffet style, so the time at which this station will be offered must be taken into account to provide appropriate meals. The ease of having a catering business from home is that for beverages you can include coffee and tea (with varieties of milk, sugar, and sweeteners), mineral water, and selected fruits or non-alcoholic beverages in your packages.
It is another type of catering widely used in events. It is characterized by a variety of different dishes on a large table, a combination of hot and cold dishes, as well as savory and sweet bread. Participants or guests take a plate and eat whatever they want. This is one of the most common event catering business forms.
Cocktails usually take place “between hours”. This type of catering is ideal for lunch or snacks. The average number of bites per person is 15-20. This is usually a large social event and guests are commonly standing.
The service can be a buffet or other provided by well-trained staff who can offer a variety of sweet and savory snacks to combine with the drinks offered (alcoholic beverages).
The banquet is a type of catering that is used for social or family events. It usually includes handling a large number of guests. First, a variety of snacks are offered and then includes a meal service.
This type of catering is widely used for weddings and makes all the guests feel comfortable, it is a relaxed environment where different banquet services can be combined. The guest can enjoy the buffet or ask to be served directly at their table. This applies not only to food but also to drinks provided to guests.
Over the years it has been the most chosen option by event organizers. In this service, breakfast and lunch dishes are combined and served in the same place as the event. In addition, this catering service offers you the ease of adjusting it to the schedule in case you have talks or meetings already scheduled.
It is a type of catering for informal events, exhibitions, or conferences where a large number of guests participate in very active activities, it is a packed lunch with the client’s specifications. The goal is to provide light and comforting food. For example, separate packages are often prepared with a sandwich, a drink, and a fruit.
What does it take to start a catering business?
The catering service industry has become a fast-growing business. The range of services has been expanded as it is not limited to the preparation, presentation, and staffing of meals. It focuses on providing an offer for people who like high-quality food service for various occasions, festivals, parties, intimate gatherings, corporate events, and others.
Many event planners hire professional caterers to ensure reliable, quality catering, save time, and avoid hassle. The use of high-quality catering services is critical to the success of an event. However, finding the most suitable caterer to meet specific needs is a big challenge.
Through this article, you will be able to find the steps to start a catering business at home and be able to position yourself as one of the best by taking into account the needs and budget of each client.
1. Find out about legal regulations
The important question is: do you need a license to start a catering service business? To run any type of food business, regardless of the size or service you provide, you need a Food Business License. Your state Department of Health is the licensing authority for this. Also, if you are hiring employees, they must be trained for food certification.
If you want to start a catering business from home, you must create a varied and consistent menu. Of course, you have to include dishes that you and your staff can easily prepare.
However, for best results, you may need to understand what other caterers in your area are doing so your company can offer unique and original dishes. Consider creating themed menus based on concepts that can’t be found in the competition.
3. Control the financial aspect
An important factor to consider in the financial framework is the number of employees you will hire. This will determine your type of business, which is important when filing taxes. You should also determine how sales are tracked.
How much does it take to start a catering business from home? Depending on the size of your launch, the resources you already have, and your state’s legal requirements, startup costs will vary significantly.
You are expected to invest between $10,000 and $50,000 to set up a professional catering business. However, if you start with a small event or focus on just one part of the menu (such as cakes and desserts), you can start a catering business at a lower cost.
4. Determine the services to offer
The range of services offered in a catering and banqueting business is very varied and can be adapted to the needs of each client, suggesting menus in perfect harmony with the style chosen on site and ensuring high-quality, certified cuisine.
Before defining how far your work will go, consider some of the additional services you can provide.
- Location: If the client has not yet chosen a location, your catering business should be in a position to recommend a large number of possible locations: a selection of villas, country houses, castles, lofts, and penthouses. In addition, work must be done safely in unusual places or open spaces, providing tents, umbrellas, roofs, and the placement of tables, chairs, mobile kitchens, and a bar.
- Food delivery: Food prepared in the central kitchens is transported and delivered to the customer.
- Provision of meals within the client’s premises: In this case, it is the staff of the catering business who go to the client’s kitchen and prepare the meals.
- Floral arrangements: Within your catering team you must have people who specialize in floral arrangements to ensure the presence of flowers and plants at weddings, ceremonies, fashion shows, gala dinners, corporate events, and conferences.
- Musical entertainment: For each event, whether it is classical, formal, institutional, or fashionable, a catering business can recommend musicians of any kind, offering a comprehensive service in keeping with the personality and style of the event.
- Rental of furniture and equipment: A catering business must provide furniture of all styles and guarantee the logistics of the kitchen and dining room, offering plates, tablecloths, and all the equipment in question, as well as the equipment for the receptions that you want to organize.
5. Choose the right transportation
Even if you run your catering business from home, many caterers have systems in place to deliver and even cook food at the destination.
Ask yourself: How will you get around with food? Even if you have a large vehicle, you may need to rent or purchase a truck to transport all of your food to its destination.
You may also need to carry kitchen utensils, tables, and food containers. The mode of transportation you choose will vary depending on your goals, so consider all options carefully.
6. Know your customers
You have 3 types of clients, which are:
- Community: It is a kind of catering for schools, companies, hospitals, homes… Although it can be an interesting option, it needs more infrastructure and investment to operate.
- Companies: There is an important space in the provision of corporate catering services: breakfasts, coffee breaks, cocktails, and executive dinners. Large companies, to complete the translation of offers, began to prefer private establishments instead of restaurants.
- Individual: The star of catering services are wedding receptions and various family celebrations. Today, wedding activities take place in residences contracted with different catering services that they designate or recommend to clients. So, the strategy here focuses on providing services to the residents, but keep in mind that these services usually deduct between 10% and 20%.
7. Equip yourself with the best furniture
The basic equipment of a home catering business should contain kitchen equipment, tableware, uniforms, telephones, equipment, and transportation. Once the business grows, you can choose to incorporate vans, and rent premises, chairs and tables, refrigeration units, washing machines, grills, and stainless steel tables, among others.
8. Advertise your catering business
Among the steps to know how to start your own catering business from home, you must take into account that for it to be successful you have to promote it effectively. You can kick off with a big event and announce it through flyers, social media, and word of mouth.
This will help you attract new clients and build a network of clients. You can also chat with other restaurants and businesses in your area to see if they need catering services. You must be proactive when looking for clients. It can be a lot of work, but once you start getting orders, you’ll be rewarded.
On the other hand, a home catering business gives you the facility to dedicate yourself to all the business management tasks, with a team or independently. You must also know accounting, advertising, and marketing, dedicate yourself to the maintenance of the website, the attention to customers by mail, have an orderly agenda, deal with the administration and supply of ingredients, verify the quality of the products, the menu plan, among other tasks.
Starting a business will always represent a risk, however, in the opportunities that life gives us to undertake or do something different, we will always have something to learn. In the case of a catering business, it is about combining what the client wants with what the agency can offer. We can give you the list of catering materials, but you will give it a special touch when you define your audience, your clients, and your menu.
Have no fear, there are always new things to learn and this is the time to learn how to start a small catering business from home. We are sure that in less than what you expect, you will have a long list of clients and parties to manage.