How to Start a Catering Business?

How to Start a Catering Business?

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Props of Running a Catering Business

You don’t have to look far for foodies, with more than 15 million restaurants operating and serving food to billions of people across the world, we all love to eat food. In the USA alone there are over 700,000 restaurant chains as of 2020.  As per a study published by the National Public Radio, an average American eats 1,996 pounds of food, which is nearly a ton.

This can be further broken down to 630 pounds of dairy products such as cheese, ice cream, milk, and yogurt. Furthermore, an average American consumes 185 pounds of meat & poultry, 273 pounds of fruit, 415 pounds of vegetables, 141 pounds of sweeteners, and 85 pounds of fats. In short, an average American is eating more than 2,000 calories in a day.

With all that being wouldn’t it be a grand idea if you knew how to start a catering business in the USA? I mean the numbers speak for themselves, we love food so the demand is already there. Well look no further here is a small guide to help you get started in the right direction.

You Will Need Equipment

Food and especially tasty and delicious food simply doesn’t pop out of the sky. You need the effort and the apparatus to make food. Here is some equipment that will come in handy in starting a catering business:

·         Chafers, Chafing Dishes, and Chafer Accessories (great for private events)

·         Disposable Take-Out Containers (for outdoor/casual events)

·         Insulated Food Carriers and Beverage Carriers (keep hot things hot, and cold thing cold)

·         Aluminum Foil Steam Table Pans with Lids (makes takeaways easier to pack)

·         Disposable Catering and Serving Trays (look good and offer tons of utility)

·         Stainless Steel Steam Table Food Pans and Accessories (great for meals of the day)

·         Biodegradable and Compostable Platters, Bowls, Trays, & Serving-ware (protect the planet)

Legal Considerations & Requirements for Your Catering Business

Apart from other things concerning logistics and accounting, if you want to start a catering business then you will be required to manage a number of legal considerations. These are of fundamental importance and should be taken care of way before you initiate business operations. There are several legal requirements that you would be required to comply with. These include:

·         Become incorporated as a catering business and register your company by choosing a business entity that ranges from a sole proprietorship to LLC (Limited Liability Company).

·         You would also be required to obtain a few licenses and permits to support your operations. These can include state-level licenses along with a business license, as well as city-based licenses and permits. Plus in some cases, you may also require health permits and food-handling licenses. Liquor licenses are required if you serve liquor under your menu.

·         Then there are food productions and food safety regulations that need your utter compliance. These will be mandated to you by your state regulations and local health department to ascertain your commercial food production activities. FDA and the USDA offer you resources to go through on their websites.

·         If you decide to render your services to a particular client, then you would also be in need of composing a stand catering contract as proof.

·         Lastly, residential cooking for commercial purposes is not allowed in many states of the US. You will either require upgrading your kitchen to meet commercial status or look elsewhere for a dedicated commercial kitchen.

Marketing Your Business of Catering Business

Every business needs to create awareness otherwise it will not be able to attract audiences or come to their knowledge that such a service exists in the first place. To market your catering business here are some tips:

·         Find yourself a nice logo or look for a logo designing service as your brand needs representation and logos work great to get people familiarized with your venture.

·         Next up you should get yourself a business website up and running as it would exponentially increase your chances to attract customers online. There are loads of website development services available that can get the job done for you in a jiffy.

·         Social Media Marketing also holds great potential since there are hundreds and millions of users that would get to know about your catering service. A social media business page and profile on popular platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and a YouTube channel would work out for you quite expediently.

·         Get your business online and registered with various business listing websites. They will work out great for you in the long run and help you in networking with other corporations.

·         Join the Local Chamber of Commerce as they can also, provide you with various opportunities to cash-in on and get referrals.

·         Stay fresh and live on user-generated content websites as well as customer review websites. Google My Business however takes the cake, so own your business and optimize wholeheartedly.

Finances & Human Resources for Catering Business

Obviously running and setting up a catering business would require financial resources and funding. Not to mention that you would also be required to hire a staff of helpers. Your financial expenses however depend on the range and scope of your venture.

You would also be incurring expenses, pay utility bills, and manage your taxes. For a home-based catering business, you can expect to pool in as much as $10,000 to $50,000. However, this figure is a conservative one since it is for a business model that is focused on retaining low overhead costs and keeping advertising expenses to the minimum.

According to Glassdoor catering workers if you hire them can charge you a salary ranging from $9 per hour to $14 per hour. Evidently hiring an accountant, human resource specialist, or managers for that matter would cost you more.  


The catering business in the US is indeed lucrative as salary for caterers in the US is in the top 25% of all careers in the food industry. You can easily expect to earn $30,000 as a startup while high-end businesses can make nearly $80,000 or more.

There are also various niches in catering for you to choose from including weddings, corporate events, private or social gatherings, and concession catering, to name a few. Whatever you choose depends on your expertise and level of understanding. Let your passion guide you to make the right choices. Bon Appetite!

Written by

Gary Roberts

Gary Roberts is a digital marketer. He loves to blog about digital marketing, designing, and business growth. A true lover of Coffee with chocolate cakes!

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