If it has been your dream to start a catering business from home with no money and you have been wondering how to go about it, then look no further.
Starting a catering business is one of the easiest food businesses. How do you start up a catering service from home?
Starting a Catering Business at Home with No Money
We are considering how to start a catering business from home due to its low overhead costs. This is what you need to start a small catering business.
If your friends and family have recommended your cooking/catering skills on multiple occasions, then you might well be on your way to starting a successful catering business. This is only possible if you are willing to take the risks.
Do you love cooking? Here is your chance to turn your passion into a lucrative business that will be fetching money for you. Have it in mind that there is a difference between catering services and event planning as many people tend to confuse both.
Catering is just one aspect of event planning as event planning involves organizing events. Just that most event planning companies add catering services to their services and this makes it look as if both walk together.
In starting a catering business, there are some factors you will need to consider before you launch that catering business and here they are:
This article will guide you through the process of setting up your home-based catering business. These steps are essential to how successful your business turns out.
Planning Your Catering Business
To start a catering business from home, you need a business plan. Your plan charts the way the business should go. It is your blueprint. This part of the business is very essential to its success. You should commit as much time as you can in creating your catering business plan. It will guard against running your business haphazardly.
At every point of the business, you will know exactly what steps to take in actualizing your set goals and targets as contained in the plan.
Do you know how to start a catering business from home with no money? Find out.
- Knowing Your Strengths
To start a successful catering business from home, you need to identify your strengths. By strengths, we mean those specific areas you are most passionate about. Such may include the food you love to make. These should be categorized into cocktails and appetizers, lunch or brunch-style menu, special event meals (including wedding, birthdays, dinners, etc), or dessert menu such as cakes, cookies, etc.
Knowing your strengths and categorizing them allows you to have a better idea of the area and target clients to focus on. This takes us to our second point;
- Decide on Your Catering Niche
Do you want to only focus on cakes? Do you want everybody to be able to eat your food? Lunch or brunch-style food? Dessert only? Wedding reception or special event meals? Appetizer and cocktail?
These are all questions that you must answer before you start drawing your catering business plan and start looking for funds. Some people only want to focus on wedding cakes and that is fine because it still generates a lot of money.
Others want to sell food daily.
Another area to look into when deciding on your niche in case you are confused is what area is your competitors not looking into or you know you can excel?
This can be another way to decide on your catering niche. It can be that your competitors are aborting wedding events and are running towards social catering. You can do your research to discover why and if you see that you can do well and dominate that niche, you can go full into it.
- Creating Your Menu
This can be a painstaking process as you have to factor in the needs of your target clients. Your menu size should be manageable and should be sufficient enough to serve the needs of your clients. When creating your menu, an important factor to consider should be the appeal your menu has. The more people your menu appeals to, the more clients you are likely to attract.
These should also come with some options. These varieties could be spicy as well as non-spicy food for your clients to choose from. The more option catering businesses have, the more patronage they are likely to attract.
- Acquire the Necessary Skills and Certification
It is very important that after choosing your niche you should go acquire any skill you think will be needed to effectively carry out your catering services business with ease. If it involves going to a catering school, you should do it.
One advantage of attending a catering school is that you will be certified after you are done with the training which adds a feather to your cap.
You will also need some entrepreneurial skills and knowledge if you want to succeed as a caterer. It will still be advisable you attend any business workshop to acquire persuasion and negotiation skills, sales skills, marketing skills, people management, communication skill, etc.
- Choose a Business Name for your Catering Business
Choosing a name for your catering business can reflect your niche of catering. Choosing a name is very important because you are not just starting a side gig but a business that people will take you seriously with their money.
- Test Your Dishes
Once you are done creating your menu, organize a little party with friends and family members and have them taste your foods. Ask them for honest feedback for the entire experience, both the food and the service.
From the feedback you get, use it to organize yourself more properly. Practice making perfect. Keep doing it until you are given a satisfactory remark.
- Secure a Good Place and Catering Equipment
If you will be doing this full-time, you will need a location for your catering business. You will need a good place with enough space for storing your equipment. Equipment such as a large van will be needed to convey your pots, coolers, serving plates, cups and other catering equipment.
The equipment you will go for depends on the type of services you will be offering. If you will be starting on a small scale, you can be operating your catering business from home while you save for expansion.
- Get Necessary Permits and License
To launch your catering business, you will need to be licensed and given necessary permits. You will need to visit the food and health department of your state to be given the license and permit to run this business. But, you must meet the criteria that will qualify you to be given the license and permit to run your catering business.
What Are the Criteria?
- Your business must be registered.
- Your kitchen will be inspected to see if it meets health codes and it is safe.
- You must pay a certain amount of fee.
If all these are settled, you will be given the license and permits to start your catering business.
- Setting the Price
After creating your menu, the next step is to set the price. This will depend on what other services will be added to your menu. You need to work this detail of your business as it will help in planning and setting your goals.
- Have a Test Party
This is like the dress rehearsal before your home catering business kicks off. Your friends and family are the ones to provide honest feedback. Your dishes and service are to be tested here. You should ask for their honest opinion and evaluation of your menu and services. The feedback you get will determine if more work and practice is required.
- Catering Equipment
You are likely not going to incur much expense here. This is because you will be using some of the equipment available to you at home. However, you will need a truck for conveying food to different locations. More equipment will need to be bought as the business expands. This will include eventually leaving your home due to space and renting a more suitable location.
Most of the equipment you will need includes disposable plates, glassware, silverware, plates, table decorations, table linens, centerpieces and more. Because this is a catering business from home, you will not need much of these. More will be needed as the business grows.
- Register with a Food Supplier
This depends on how established your catering business is. For small catering businesses, this will be the ultimate option after expanding your business. However, you can use the services of wholesale suppliers for cheaper food supplies. This eventually adds to your profit margin.
For any business to be profitable, effective marketing needs to be done. The same applies to start a catering business from home. As a small scale business, you can start by encouraging your family and friends to spread the word about your business. These will form your first line of clients and marketing team.
Also, you can print handbills and fliers to distribute around. These will tell others about your existence. You can also encourage your customers to recommend your business to others. The success of this option depends on how satisfied they are.
Social media is another effective medium for spreading your services. All social media channels can be used in promoting the business. The most popular of these include Facebook and Twitter. The print media can also be used as well.
Run advert a week before you open to creating an awareness of the existence of your business. Word of mouth is still one best way to get customers for your business. Do your best to make the first few events go smoothly, and soon you’ll have your hands full with new catering contracts.
Starting a catering business from home has been our topic of discussion. We have covered various steps vital to the success of your business.
When starting, your goal should be to eventually expand your business. This will likely include having to eventually rent a new business outlet.
Above all, you should focus on what you love doing. This will help you overcome challenges that may arise and keep the business on track.