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How to Start Your Own Catering Business
Running a successful business is a rewarding experience unlike any other. Catering services in particular are always in high demand, as people want the perfect menu for their wedding or special event. Naturally, a lot more goes into starting a catering business than people first think. From health codes to menu selection, knowing where to start can be a challenge. That’s why today we’re going over the necessary steps for starting your own catering business.
Understanding Business Regulations
Starting a business within any industry requires you to understand all relevant codes, regulations and legal paperwork. Some important topics include:
- Business Structure: This should be the first topic to address. Choosing a business structure will determine your tax obligations and liability. Limited liability corporations (LLCs), for example, protect business owners from liability of their business, whereas sole proprietorships do not.
- Health Codes: Food caterers are liable for food consumption. Codes for proper food handling, preparation and safety can quickly overwhelm new catering business owners. Make sure you understand local codes - if necessary, seek out consultants or experienced professionals for their assistance.
- Insurance: From kitchen accidents to food poisoning, catering businesses carry a lot of risk. It’s necessary to protect your business with a good insurance policy. Talk with other caterers for recommendations on policies that work best.
- Renting a Business Space: In many places it’s illegal to run a catering business from your home kitchen. Find a space that includes a commercial kitchen to avoid spending money to build one up to code. If possible, rent a space that allows for business growth - the last thing a new business owner wants to worry about is moving spaces all too soon.
- Taxes: Understanding all the local, state and federal taxes your business is liable for can be a tricky undertaking. Talk with an accountant who can walk you through your tax obligations to avoid future audits or unexpected payments.
Understand Your Niche
When it comes to catering, there’s no way to offer every type of dish with the same level of quality. Identifying your particular specialty is key, and there’s no better place to start than identifying the foods you love to cook. Maybe you enjoy adding your own twist to traditional Italian dishes. Perhaps you love preparing gourmet sandwiches and wraps. Running a catering business requires passion and dedication. Enjoying the dishes you prepare is essential to driving your business to success.
If you see yourself working with a few different food and service types, try researching other local catering businesses to see what they offer. Perhaps there’s a few Italian-style caterers around, but none that specialize in gourmet sandwiches and wraps. Your area might be filled with wedding caterers, but none that focus on corporate events. Positioning yourself in a forgotten corner of the market means less competition and helps put the odds of success in your favor.
Obtaining Your Supplies
Building a catering business from the ground up means you’ll need to buy all your own catering supplies. Fortunately, we at CiboWares have everything you need to host your first event. Equip your staff with the best aprons, chef hats and gloves. Our chafing fuel products keep your food warm for when the guests come up for seconds. Keep your equipment in top shape and looking brand new with our line of cleaning supplies. Starting a catering business is hard - ordering your catering supplies has never been easier.
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