How to Start a Catering Business
Catering is a business model that has got lots of potential for many people. If you’ve got the skills and the drive to offer an excellent catering service, you can do very well for yourself. In this article, we are looking at how to start a catering business. Through the article, you will learn why it is a great time to start a catering business, key statistics, and the easy process to make it a success.
Why Start a Catering Business?
There are numerous reasons why you would want to start a catering business in the US or another territory. For one, it is a great business that allows you to bring joy to others, but it is always a business that will be in demand.
Caterers can work at numerous events. For instance, you can work at local events catering for guests, weddings/birthdays/parties can be a lucrative market, and you have corporate clients. Therefore, there are numerous chances and options for you.
Not only that, but you can also choose the food that you serve. You could service traditional fast-food styles like hot dogs, burgers and chips or you could offer something more specialized like Asian, African or choose something else. There are so many choices that can make you specialized.
Another option is that you can choose the model as well. You can work out of a food truck, which can be a good way for you to offer food at outside services. Or you can use professional kitchens and take food to the customers’ events. Or there might be the opportunity to create an event and offer everything from catering the space for the event.
There are so many options that you can tailor the business to your specific needs. And the revenues you can earn can be really good. And you can have staff that aren't paid full-time but are rather paid for when you need them. For instance, servers can be paid for events and you can hire only those that you need. So smaller events can have lower staffing needs.
Catering Market Statistics
Here are some of the key statistics that are available for you to help you design and build your successful catering business.
- 57% of caterers in the USA are women, and 43% are men.
- Fargo in ND has the most demand for caterers.
- New York is the best state for caterers to live in.
- There are 37,100 caterers employed in the USA.
- Caterers earn on average $30,000.
- 30% of catering businesses have between one and 10 full-time employees.
- 92% of catering businesses saw significant growth in 2022.
- Corporate events saw some of the biggest growth within catering.
- Weddings also saw significant growth.
- Weddings generate the most revenue and profit for caterers.
- 50% of caterers make between $1 million and $7.5 million.
- 80% of catering organizations say that staffing their business is their biggest challenge.
- 60% of catering companies had to increase salaries by between 11 and 16% in 2022 to attract staff.
- Word of mouth is one of the biggest lead generation techniques of catering companies.
How to Start a Catering Business
Here are the instructions on how to start a catering business. These instructions are great for those who are looking to start a fantastic business so that they can earn a significant income.
Step 1 – Choose your Niche
The first thing that you need to do is choosing what niche you’re going to work in. There are so many different choices and you need to decide on your specific offerings as well as what events you’re going to cover. You could offer sushi at weddings or you could offer roast dinners to corporate clients. There are so many different mixes that you can see what sets you apart from the competition in the local area.
You might want to take some of your food out and ask people to try it. This can help you to assess what customers like and what they might want to pay for the service. You can also use this chance to market yourself, taking names and numbers for potential events.
This might be a good time to also look at what your customers love about your menu. You might want to ask permission to take photos of some people enjoying your goods. You can use this on your website as photos of people enjoying your good, something that provides you with social proof.
Step 2 – Choose a Business Name
Now you need to choose a business name for your catering service. There are so many choices that you could have, but you’ve got to make sure that your name is unique, relevant, and attractive to your audience. About four in five customers will only buy from companies that they like the name of. Therefore, if you have a bad name, they will not purchase from you.
There are also lots of ways that you could generate a business name. You might want to use a business name generator. This is a free business tool that can help you generate hundreds of potential catering business name ideas. You might also need to ensure that your business name is unique. To complete this, you should check on Google, and social media and do a business name search.
Step 3 – Register Your Business
Now you need to get all your permits and register your business. There is so much that you need for a catering business that this could take some time. For instance, you might need to have a street vendor permit, catering permit, and health code permits, and also register your business. You might want to have your business registered as an LLC. There are lots of benefits to this.
You should also register your business domain name, social media, and email marketing service. Be sure to add the details you collected in step one to your CRM.
Step 4 – Build a Website
Now build a website. A website can take between one day and three months to build. It will depend on the platform that you would like to use and how complicated the website is going to be. You might want to use Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress for the catering business. You can also use some of the features to automate your business.
You need to ensure that you build a website that can be found using Google or other search engines. You might need to do a keyword search for this. Or you could hire an SEO consultant.
Step 5 – Marketing
Marketing is going to be one of the hardest things for you to do. Reports have shown that your business will succeed with word of mouth. Therefore, you might need to cater at a few fairs or outdoor events to get the news about your brand out there.
You might also need to use social media. Instagram and Facebook can be great options. Though you should also consider using TikTok and YouTube for marketing your brand.
Final Word: How to Start a Catering Business
The catering market is due to growing at some point soon. But there is also plenty of opportunity in the competitive market. In this article, we’ve looked at how to start a catering business. Good luck with your new business venture.