How To Open A Catering Company


Starting a catering company is both a rewarding and challenging endeavor. It takes an abundance of determination, hard work, and dedication to succeed. A solid business plan, deep knowledge of the food service industry, and the determination to be successful, can all help you establish an effective catering business. Here are the steps you need to take to make your catering business successful.

Secure Financing

Securing financing is the first and most important step in launching a catering business. Proper financial planning is essential and should include forecasting cash flow, budgeting, and financing any supplies or equipment you’ll need to start the catering business. Look into finding grants and loans to fund your venture. Additionally, consider tapping into personal resources – family and friends who have a vested interest in helping you follow your dreams.

Develop Your Business Plan

Developing a business plan entails answering the who, what, where and how of your business. Your business plan should also include a detailed account of the competition you face, as well as four main components: promoting your business, financial considerations, operational costs, and services and products you offer. Include detailed information about your target market, how you plan to finance your business and how you will market your services.

Choose A Unique Name

Choosing a unique and memorable name for your catering business can help you stand out from the competition. Your business name should accurately reflect what the company does and the branding should reflect your values and vision. Choose a name that is easy to pronounce, can help you stay top of mind, and will help prospects remember you.

Strive For Perfection

Assuming that you have assembled a team of talented chefs and have been creating delicious food prior to your official launch, you must now continue to strive for perfection. Create standards and protocols that you, your chefs, and staff must follow. Take ownership and ensure that proper procedures are followed.

Research & Obtain Necessary Licenses And Permits

All catering businesses require permits and licenses to operate. Research relevant regulations and determine if you need to obtain a food establishment or food warehouse license, as well as obtain a Certificate of Occupancy. Contact your local Small Business Development Center or the Department of Health & Human Services and apply for the necessary permits and licenses.

Purchase Necessary Equipment & Supplies

Create a list of necessary kitchen and office supplies and equipment. Some of these items might include aprons, cookware, linens, utensils, and food warmers. Make sure you also have ample storage and pantry supplies, as well as dishware and cups. Shop around for the best prices and look for quality, not necessarily the least expensive.

Engage In Proper Market Research & Marketing

Gain a good understanding of your target market and the competition you face, involves the use of market research. Research not only helps you make informed decisions, it also increases your credibility when you approach potential clients. Once you thoroughly understand your target market, develop an advertising and marketing plan. This can include creating a website, utilizing search engine optimization, newsletters, and networking with fellow business owners.

Understand Food Safety & Sanitation

Food safety and sanitation should be utmost on the minds of everyone involved in the catering business. Become knowledgeable on local food safety regulations and follow them. Develop protocols to ensure all food is stored and handled properly. Additionally, develop a thorough cleaning schedule to keep the kitchen and equipment orderly, as well as use gloves every time you handle food.


Opening a catering business requires a lot of time, effort, and dedication. Most importantly, it requires a solid plan, deep knowledge of the foodservice industry, and a determination to be successful. With an understanding of the legal and operational processes, and the necessary licenses and equipment, you’ll be ready to open your doors and start serving customers.

Wallace Jacobs is an experienced leader in marketing and management. He has worked in the corporate sector for over twenty years and is a driving force behind many successful companies. Wallace is committed to helping companies grow and reach their goals, leveraging his experience in leading teams and developing business strategies.

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