How to start a catering business


A catering business provides food, drinks and meal services to events, organisations and schools. If you’re interested in food, but don’t want the overheads of running a restaurant, this could be the ideal business to start. Plus, you’ll get to be your own boss and set your own hours! Below, we explore how to start a catering business.

Market research

The first place to start is with market research. This involves collecting information about your local area to find out the vital details you need to start your business. Who will be my customers? What are their buying habits? Who are my competitors? How saturated is the market? These are the crucial questions you need to have answers to from the beginning.

Get the right licenses

To operate as a catering business, you need to register your business and get licensed to sell food to the public. To do this you’ll need to complete food business registration. It’s worth getting this sorted in advance as it can take up to 28 days to be processed.

Business plan

To succeed, you’ll also need a rigorous business plan. This should build upon your market research to build an actionable plan on how your business will establish itself. You’ll need to calculate your early expenditure, market niche and how you see the business growing in the future. Your business plan should not only outline your goals and objectives but also provide a comprehensive financial analysis that outlines your startup costs, operating expenses, and revenue projections. This will help you to determine your pricing strategy and ensure that your business is financially viable in the long term. After carefully calculating the costs you may want to consider buying used equipment, furniture, and other appliances to keep your starting cost low. As a catering business obtaining a food truck may become the largest expense on your list, meaning you need to consider food trucks for sale that can still function just as well with proper maintenance and cleaning.

Get the right equipment

Naturally, you’ll need the appropriate equipment too. One of your priorities should be to get all the correct kitchen utensils and cookery gear immediately. From there, you can look at the less obvious purchases. An SUV, such as the Peugeot 3008 for instance, can act as the perfect vehicle for delivering your food and equipment to events. Meanwhile, you’ll also need kitchen clothing for your staff.

Learn how to safely manage food

For the business to be successful, you’ll have to adhere to health and safety regulations. These are particularly important when you’re managing food. Ensure that you have plenty of storage containers and a means of labelling each container depending on the food inside. At the same time, you’ll need to handwash thoroughly and learn the different rules regarding food storage.

Operating costs

Calculate what your operating costs will be each month. To keep your business running you’ll need the cashflow or investment to afford this monthly. Ideally, you’ll keep at least three months’ worth of operating costs ready in case of an emergency.

Starting a catering business can be an exciting moment. Suddenly, you’ll be able to pursue your passion for food and be your own boss. Just ensure you follow the above advice, and you should be able to hit the ground running.

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