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Catering can provide a rewarding way to get involved in events such as weddings, birthday parties and corporate events. If you love to cook, have the proper experience and love to entertain, the catering business may be for you. Many catering companies can be started in the comfort of your home with the appropriate planning and licensing. The catering business isn't all fun and games though, you will be working very long hours, typically in the evening and on the weekends, will experience stressful times and will also need to be accommodating to a wide variety of necessities and wishes.
Create a business plan. A complete business plan should contain a vision for your catering company, any plans for growth and projected revenues and expenses. Visit the website for the Small Business Administration for further resources and help on developing a business plan.
Obtain appropriate licenses and permits. In order to start a home-based catering company you will need to obtain a local health department permit for food preparation in your home. In addition, you will need to register your business with appropriate local, state and federal agencies for tax and registration purposes. The website for the Small Business Administration can help direct you towards the appropriate agencies.
Purchase necessary equipment. Equipment you may need includes carts and containers to transport food, a proper vehicle for transport and cold and hot food storage options. You should also have serving pieces for all your food. In addition, consider using a rental company for items such as linens and larger service pieces, from a party rental company.
Advertise your business. Network with local vendors, such as florists, bakeries, party planners and photographers. These connections can help attract clients to your business through their relationships with others. Also make sure to advertise in local yellow pages and in areas where catering is popular, such as country clubs and reception halls.
Create a website with sample menus and packages for perspective clients to look at. Hire a food photographer to take photos of some of your signature dishes.
Nicole Long is a freelance writer based in Cincinnati, Ohio. With experience in management and customer service, business is a primary focus of her writing. Long also has education and experience in the fields of sports medicine, first aid and coaching. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Cincinnati.