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Serve up Smiles! 10 Quick Tips for Starting a Catering Business

The food is an essential part of any party or event that we attend. So if you’re interested in starting a catering business, then you aren’t alone. 

Cooking is a passion for many people. Starting a catering business is a great way for more people to eat and enjoy your food. 

It’s also a riveting and exciting business because you need to be fast-paced and ready to go at any given moment. 

Keep reading for 10 quick tips for starting a catering business to help you get your footing in the catering world. 

1. Decide on a Name

Picking a name for your catering business is going to be the most important first step. This is going to be your brand and what people know you by, so you want it to be something you like. You’ll also need to make sure it isn’t taken by another company at your Secretary of State. 

Once you pick a name for your business, you’ll need to decide if you’ll be the sole proprietor or if you’re going to register your business as a partnership or limited liability company. This is the legal stuff you’ll want to work out first. 

2. Create a Plan

Every good business owner sits down and creates their plan before diving in. Your business plan will help you work out many different aspects of getting started. Make sure you have something to fall back on and a goal to shoot for in your plan. 

You’ll also want to decide on what services you plan to offer. Will you be a full catering company that has the staff to help serve or will you just be delivering your food? You should create a budget and figure out how much you’ll need to spend and on what. 

3. Set up a Menu

The easiest way to start promoting yourself and getting new business is to set up several menus you can offer your new clients. This way, your clients can see what you have to offer and choose from there. Having preset menus can also help you decide how much food you’ll need for each event. 

This is also good for you because you can showcase your most favorite or tastiest dishes you can make. When starting your catering business, you’ll want to put your best foot and food forward. You can also practice your meals beforehand so you know exactly how much of each ingredient you’ll need. 

4. Equipment Checklist

You may already have some of the equipment you’ll need to start your catering business, but you also may need to purchase some things. You should start a checklist of everything you already have and everything you’ll need to buy for your business.

Find out more about the equipment you’ll need to start your catering business. 

When purchasing new equipment, make sure to keep all your receipts and create a detailed list of how much you spent. You want to make sure you’re making more money than you’re spending on getting your business up and running. 

5. Start Small

When you’re just starting out, don’t look for events or parties that need catering for 200 or more people. Try to cater for an event with 20 or fewer guests to see how you can create a flow. When you start small, you’ll be able to learn things along the way. 

By starting small, you’ll gauge how much food needs to be prepared, as well as how much help you’ll need for when you do a larger event. It’ll also be less overwhelming to start with a small event and work your way up to larger events. 

6. Your First Client

So now you’re ready to get your first clients, but how will you do that? Most catering businesses start off catering to the people they know. Doing any event is a great way to get your name and brand out there for new clients. 

You can make flyers and business cards advertising your services. Make sure to have them readily available at each event you do. People may eat your food and then want to hire you for their next event.  

7. Marketing Yourself

In today’s world, social media is the best way to get your name and brand out there for the world to see. Start by setting up your own website so potential clients have somewhere reliable they can see your work and get in contact with you. 

You’ll also want to make other social media accounts that help to promote your business. Facebook and Twitter are awesome ways to start connecting with your friends and family, then branch out from there. Instagram is also a good form of social media where you can start posting photos of what your business has to offer. 

8. Engage With Potential Customers

You need to start a personal relationship with potential and existing customers. If people reach out to you, then make sure you’re responding to them within 24 hours or less. Make sure to answer all the questions potential customers may have about your services. 

Creating a relationship with your clients is a good way to get them to use your services again and again. Most people would prefer to have a familiar and friendly face at their event because it’s someone they can trust. 

9. Dress Yourself and Your Staff

When it comes to the day of the event, you’ll want to make sure you and your staff are dressed professionally. Try not to walk around with food-stained clothing. If you’re catering to a fancy event such as a wedding, then you’ll also want to dress accordingly. 

10. Plan for Emergencies 

Emergencies with catering can happen in many different ways and you need to be prepared for them before starting out. Make sure you have extra money when starting your business in case an emergency arises. 

As a catering business owner, you need to anticipate the bad things that could happen. For example, maybe someone drops a whole tray of food, making it unusable; now you need to start over. You should also have a plan for accidents that may happen. 

Starting a Catering Business Is Fun

When starting a catering business, you should think about it as a fun business adventure. You need to take it seriously, but not too much. You’re going to be your own boss and that’s an amazing feeling. 

For more interesting business articles, please take a look at our other blog articles.