When you are just starting out in running your own catering business it can be very easy to make mistakes. Before jumping into anything always do your research and ensure you’re well read on the mistakes you can fall into and how to avoid them.
The first and most important rule to remember is that it’s illegal to work out of a home or unlicensed kitchen. Whilst you may wonder why this matters and you can probably get away with it for a long time if someone was to get sick from your food and a claim was raised your insurance company could refuse to pay out leaving you liable. Your local health department can also shut you down at any time as illegal food joints are highly frowned upon. Don’t get caught out, ensure you’re completely legal in every way.
If you decide to shorten the paperwork and cater to only corporate or only private parties you could find out you’re penalizing yourself in the long run. Whilst you may save some expenses in the short term you’ll find that without both parties consuming your services your kitchen isn’t being as utilized as much as it could be. By balancing your services between the two you’re allowing yourself more work and get a steady stream of business from both sides.
When you’re first starting out there’s no need to buy a lot of equipment for your business. Initially the best idea would be to rent kitchen equipment and charge the rental costs to any clients. That way you won’t be spending vital money on unnecessary cooking appliances that you might never use. Over time you may build a relationship with the rental company and gain a discount as a result, and you’ll also find you’ll be able to build an inventory of items you require.
One vital thing to remember is that even when starting a business you still need money to live. A new business requires an initial outlay to start up, rent equipment, offices, and market etc and often does not gain profit for several months or at times years. Whilst catering businesses often only require a small outlay compared to many companies of around $2000 at times it is easy to go over your budget and spend too much.
Perhaps you ignore the advice above and decide to rent an extremely large kitchen and buy kitchen appliances to fill the whole space up. You will find you won’t use half of the items and that you will never get back your initial outlay on those. Don’t forget to keep to the basics, especially at the beginning, as you cannot be sure your business will succeed.
If you’ve read this and started to panic that you’ll make lots of mistakes and completely blow it, relax and take a breather. These are very typical mistakes that people can make but if you do it by the book, especially regarding licensing you’re unlikely to come up with any problems. Don’t spend more money then you have and market your business by word of mouth to get clients, perhaps by trying friends and family first. Over time you will soon build up a clientele that will promote your business themselves with positive referrals or reviews.