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How to Start a Catering Business

Producing delicious food and experiences for your customers is a great way to make a living.

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    Different Types of Catering Businesses

    There are several different ways to set up and run a catering business. These include:


    Food Truck

    Perhaps the most basic type of catering business, they involve setting up a mobile kitchen and providing food to the public at events, outside establishments and other gatherings.


    Private event caterers

    Mainly providing food for private events like weddings, christenings, wakes, and the like, these caterers primarily serve individual customers


    Corporate event caterers

    A popular and growing field, these types of caterers mainly serve business customers, providing food for meetings, conferences, seminars, and other company events.


    Partnership caterers

    These caterers go into partnership with other businesses, taking away the stress of preparing and serving food for their partners. Examples of this type of business could be partnering with pubs, clubs, and similar establishments.


    Specialist caterers

    You can set yourself apart by providing specialized catering for different dietary needs including vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free, kosher, halal and others.

    Understand Your Catering Business Model and Financial Projections

    All businesses need a business model, which is how you will generate sales, provide services and make money. Think about your business model now, because it’s better to have that in place so you can start acquiring customers and generating revenue from day one.

    You will also need to look at financial projections for your catering business. What are your expected sales and revenues? What is your profitability? How much money will you keep in the business to grow it? How much will you pay yourself and others? If you can, try to plan your revenue for the next month, three months, year and two years

    Write a Business Plan for Your Catering Business

    Finally, you should put your business plan together. Business plans do vary slightly, but they should cover the following areas:


    An executive summary with the most important points from your business plan


    A market analysis and likely demand


    How you will market and sell your offerings


    Your goals and what you hope to achieve with your catering business


    An overview of how your business is structured


    Financial projections, revenue and profitability


    A description of your business, background information and context


    Your business model



    We’ve got the perfect guide to writing your business plan.

    Right Business Structure

    Set up & Maintain Your Catering Business

    Once you've legally created your catering business, you’ll need to get some other things in place.

    Business location

    Depending on the size of your business, you will need a location with excellent kitchen facilities. It must be easily accessible, should meet the needs of your staff and clients and shouldn’t eat into your profit margins too much


    You will need to hire employees throughout your catering business. From chefs to serving staff to assistant cooks, getting your staff balance right is essential to your success.

    Finances and Taxes

    What kind of bank account will you get? And how will you pay your business taxes? These are all important things to consider so your catering business stays in the green. Here at Bizee, we can even help you file your taxes.

    Permits and licenses

    Running a catering business comes with certain rules, regulations and legalities you need to be aware of, especially around staff health and safety and food hygiene and preparation. Bizee can conduct a Business License Research package for you, or you can take the time to do the research yourself.


    Your catering business likely needs its own website, and you will also need to develop a local brand, logo and other marketing collateral. You should engage with local marketing firms who understand your immediate marketplace and can provide advice on getting your name out there

    Equipment and ingredients

    Caterers need a lot of upfront capital to invest in equipment, fixtures and furniture. From kitchen equipment to tables, chairs, plates and silverware, you will need to carefully budget everything you spend. Add to that the cost of ingredients, and you must keep a tight rein on expenses.

    Business Maintenance

    Caterers need a lot of upfront capital to invest in equipment, fixtures and furniture. From kitchen equipment to tables, chairs, plates and silverware, you will need to carefully budget everything you spend. Add to that the cost of ingredients, and you must keep a tight rein on expenses.


    There are many software products specifically for caterers that can make managing this business much easier. From taking orders to checks and food preparation to point of sale, the right software will make running a catering company more efficient and cost-effective.

    The Complete "Start Your Business" Checklist

    A Clear and Comprehensive Guide to Starting Your Business the Right Way

    Business checklist
    Business Checklist

    Discussion Groups and Forums for Your Catering Business

    There are plenty of forums and online discussion groups for catering businesses.

    Start with these:

    Useful Online Tools for Your Catering Business

    Here are some really great online tools for managing your catering business. They will reduce the time you spend on administration, help you to collaborate with others and free up your time to grow and manage your new venture.

    Project Management

    Project Management

    Marketing Automation

    Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

    Customer Support

    Human Resources

    Website Development

    Please note: This post contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.


    If you want to start a business that’s going to be a challenge but also bring a huge amount of pleasure and reward, then running a catering company could be right for you. The food you create and the trust you build will help set you apart in the minds of your clients and bring joy into people’s lives.