Small Catering Business IDEAS
Ribs are only one product a barbecue catering company offers.
If you love to cook and are thinking about starting a business, combine the two and start a small catering business. Catering doesn't always mean providing a lunch for 200 business people at a corporate event, or appetizers or a buffet for 100 guests at an anniversary celebration. Start small with dinners for 12, parties for 50, or a dessert and a coffee bar for after-theater entertaining. When your business has been established for a while, then decide to stay small or grow.
1. Write down the items you'll need to begin catering. Inventory what you have and what equipment you'll need to purchase. For example, your current dishwasher may not have the capacity to wash enough dishes to keep up with your business or you might have to purchase a separate freezer. You'll also need dishes to transport the food, serving dishes, coolers and ways to keep hot food hot.
2. Find a market niche that the competition has overlooked or that you feel you can excel at. As a small caterer you might not have the capacity to cater a sit-down dinner for a wedding of 100 guests but you could cater wedding showers, engagement parties, and bachelorette parties quite comfortably.
3. Determine a menu to offer catering clients. Research what your competitors are offering. Check to see which local restaurants offer catering services. Base the menu on your specialties and what your market niche wants. Price the items so that you stay competitive but make a profit. Pricing is always a challenge and is determined by where you live, the time it takes to prepare the dish, the cost of the ingredients and the profit margin you plan to achieve.
4. Find vendors. "Catering is more than cooking, " says Denise Vivaldo, in her book, "How to Start a Home-Based Catering Business." Often the caterer is expected to provide the linens, china, glassware, utensils - even the tables and chairs at some events- as well as the food. Research the suppliers in your area ahead of time.
5. Develop a business plan that covers the additional investment you'll need to get started and the first three to six months of revenues and expenses.