How Do I Start My Own Catering Business From Home – With lower start-up costs than restaurants and the ability to set your own hours and meals, a home catering business can be an exciting start to your culinary venture!
Without brick-and-mortar, customer-facing facilities, starting a food business from home is relatively inexpensive** and a great way to supplement or replace your full-time income.
How Do I Start My Own Catering Business From Home
However, this is a large company. However, you can follow this step-by-step guide to get useful tips on how to start your own home cooking business and delight your customers with your delicious food!
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Food service is generally divided into two categories, on-site and off-site. With on-site catering, food is prepared and finished on-site. The venue where the event takes place, such as a wedding venue or hotel. With outside catering, the food is prepared elsewhere and then delivered. This is often the case for business lunches and private parties.
As a home food business, you may be able to use one of these methods in your business. You can do the prep work at home and take everything to the location to finish the picture and plate. Or you can cook all the meals from your home kitchen and have the prepared meals delivered to the venue.
Your city and state catering regulations may affect the method you choose, so be sure to do your research before you decide on a business model.
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How To Start A Catering Business From Home: A Step By Step Guide
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Before submitting your documents or spending dollars to set up your business entity, you should know what is possible (and legal) in your area.
Does your city/county/state still allow eating out? And if so, does your kitchen follow health department guidelines? These regulations may require additional ventilation, triple sinks, and impervious surfaces such as stainless steel countertops. Regulations vary from country to country and city to city, so be sure to check your area!
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Even if you can handle your cooking from home, you may need to rent a commercial kitchen where you can cook. You may need to rent a commercial kitchen together, or you can cut costs by having a local church, restaurant, or community center operate the kitchen. Create!
A company’s profit has two components – income and expenses. Before you start your new business, start planning your financial projections and make some estimates so that you can create a profitable business.
Every business has costs associated with it – it’s up to you to figure out how much you need to spend to start and run a home cooking business. Additionally, you should calculate your expected income to determine how long it will take to recover those initial costs.
If you keep your costs low in the beginning, you will be able to make a profit faster. Instead of buying all new appliances and serving dishes, what can you use or borrow? Can you buy and store ingredients in bulk to save money?
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Once you’ve figured out your potential startup costs, think about how you’ll pay for them. Will you be able to cover these startup costs from your personal bank account, or will you need to find a small business loan or grant? Even if you don’t need outside funding right away, you can borrow money to cover emergencies that may arise when you’re starting out. Unexpected expenses may arise, such as higher food prices or broken equipment in need of repair.
How many reasonable events can you organize per year? And how big do you plan these events? This is an important part of your planning process and the foundation of your home cooking business.
It’s not about how many programs you can do, it’s about how much you want to do. Flexibility is part of the appeal of this business model, so it’s up to you to decide what you want your business to look like.
Is it a full-time job with a team to organize large weddings and corporate events? In that case, you’ll want to book every weekend.
Meet Chef Qutie: Private Chef And Caterer
Or do you think it’s a side business to your full-time job or fun hobby? If you think about it, you can plan to host a small, high-end dinner party for just one month, focusing on personal service and top-shelf ingredients.
Are you planning to own a Sol? This limits the size of the event you can handle, but it can lower your costs.
These factors determine how much money you can earn in a year. Do a rough estimate of how much you can expect against your expected costs to ensure there is a chance of profit.
If financial planning seems daunting, online food business programs can help you understand the culinary basics of starting a food business, such as cash management, purchasing, receiving, menu pricing, inventory, and more!
Free Catering Contract Template
Check with your Secretary of State (if you’re in the US) to make sure the name isn’t already registered. It’s a good idea to do a web search for the name to make sure there aren’t any food businesses that already have the name. Remember, you want to make it easy for people to find and remember you.
Also, doing a little research can save you confusion or legal trouble from companies with similar names.
Consult an attorney and/or tax professional to determine the best business structure for your company.
A sole proprietorship is easy to set up, but it doesn’t separate your personal and business assets. Limited liability companies protect your personal assets from business debts or liabilities, but they can be very complicated to set up. If you need help starting your business, consider contacting your local Small Business Center.
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Once you’ve created your business name and structure, you can register with the IRS for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Keep your personal and business funds separate so you can accurately track your income and expenses. This will make paying your taxes at the end of the year easier!
Each state, county and city has its own licensing and licensing requirements. You may need a business license to get started. Contact the Small Business Administration (SBA) for guidance on regulations in your area.
If your state allows you to eat from your home kitchen, you may need to have an annual health checkup with your local health department. You may need a cook’s or food manager’s license.
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And if you plan to sell alcohol as part of your food service, you may need a liquor license to comply.
Long story short: Be careful with your permits and licenses! Mistakes can lead to financial or legal problems.
Want to know more about the permits and licenses you need? Read our guide on licenses and permits for food businesses.
Even if you take proper precautions, you run the risk of cooking for someone else every time. If someone gets sick after eating food you prepared, even if it’s not you, you’re liable. Liability coverage protects you and your business if something goes wrong. Specialized insurance providers, such as food liability insurance programs, may be appropriate for this type of business.
Meet Terrence Gatlin: Caterer/ Private Chef
You may need to renew your homeowner’s insurance because you operate a business from your home. Contact your insurance company for details.
Dining venues can choose from a variety of cuisines, from regional cuisine to table-top cuisine to plant-based cuisine. Not only does specialization in your menu plan narrow your pool of potential customers, but it also makes it easier to stand up and sell directly to your ideal customers. After all, if I’m a client looking to serve gluten-free, vegan food to guests, I’m more likely to hire a gluten-free vegan caterer than a “jack of all trades.”
“The most valuable part of my cation was the knowledge I gained from all the chefs. Everyone has a different perspective on things. It was a great experience.”* Cathy Goodison, Culinary Graduate
To avoid reinventing the wheel for each event, you can choose to offer a fixed amount of food for customers to choose from. You may want to create a ‘level’.
Sarah Green Catering
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Hi, I am Erick Norman. A blogger specialist in Kitchen Design.