Starting A Home-Based Catering Business


A catering business is an excellent choice for entrepreneurs who wish to make their fortune in the food business. With minimal capital and lots of determination, almost anyone could put up a catering business. If you have a large kitchen, it is possible to start at home to save on start-up costs.
Succeeding in the catering business needs more than just culinary talent. In fact, many entrepreneurs who are not expert cooks became successful caterers because they have business skills. It is easier to hire a good cook than an excellent business strategist. Some of the important business considerations that should be tackled are the following:
Pick a niche in large markets, but be a jack of all trades in a small market. Starting with the right strategy is half the battle. If you were to start in a market that is huge like Metro Manila, it would be best to focus on a specialty to stand out. For example, you can focus on weddings. Unless you have a captive market, it would be difficult to compete against established caterers. However, if you are operating in a small town in the province, you have no choice but to try and get all the types of catering opportunities or else you would not be able to generate enough sales to be profitable.
Learn how to scale your recipe according to the number of guests. If you have excellent recipes used for private cooking, they are probably not written in precise measurements. For example, a recipe for 10 people may just read that you need to put a little salt; if you try to cook for 200 people, however, it would be difficult to estimate how much salt to use. There is a need to convert recipe ingredients to units that can easily be computed for large quantities.
Master the techniques of food and table presentation. What separates the professional caterer from newbies is the sophistication of their food presentation. People will expect that catered food is presented in the most pleasing manner. Customers are prepared to pay extra for elegance.
Join a catering association. Being a member of an association gives your company instant credibility. You can also get advice from experienced and prestigious companies in the industry. Trade associations usually provide training programs and business opportunities to its members.
Explore ways to add to your revenue. As you grow and gain experience, you will find out that there are many potential sources of additional revenues in this business. With the additional capital that you have managed to save, the first thing to do to enhance earnings is to begin buying instead of renting frequently used equipment. This will increase your profits without incurring any risk. Note, however, that buying a delivery vehicle should be last on your list if your sales volume is still small. The next step would be to invest in businesses that are part of the catering experience. You could also offer tables and seats, balloon and party needs services, sound systems, magicians, entertainers, clowns, and other products and services.
Starting a catering business is easy, but making a profit consistently is something that must be learned. You can learn this the hard way via a costly experience or you can be smart and hear the trade secrets from a veteran caterer.
BusinessCoach, Inc., a leading business seminar provider, conducts seminars on How to Start a Catering Business. You may contact them at (02) 727-5628, (02) 727-8860, (0915) 205-0133 or visit for details.

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*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.