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Chris Bell

All About Catering: What You Should Know and How to Prepare



Do you find purchasing, chopping, sautéing, and flambéing for big numbers of people to be satisfying and rewarding? Do people keep asking you to cook for their next get-together?

If any of this sounds familiar, you’ve certainly considered starting a catering business at some point. It’s a flourishing sector that can be scaled and customized to your specific skills and circumstances. This article is meant to act as a step-by-step guide to getting you started.

Consider the dishes you enjoy preparing.

Catering, like any other business, should be founded on genuine enthusiasm. Consider focusing on the following types of meals as you build your catering business:

Lunch and brunch options are offered. If you enjoy creating sandwiches, quiches, tarts, salads, and other meals that are typically offered throughout the day, lunchtime service could be a great fit for your business. Business luncheons, midday awards presentations, school activities, and other events could be catered to.

Typical wedding catering menus feature a variety of appetizers and finger foods, as well as several strong entrees and a few sweets.

Create a menu

You can figure out how much kitchen space you’ll need, what appliances to install, and how much money you can expect to bring in if you do this first.

Make an effort to include a variety of goods to appeal to a wide range of tastes. In the event that you get an Engagement Party Catering order, for instance, you may want to make sure your menu appeals to a wide range of tastes, even if you specialize in one cuisine or kind of meal. If you wish to serve a lot of hot food, you also need to offer non-spicy options.

For clientele that don’t eat meat or other animal products, consider offering vegetarian and vegan options.

Keep your menu to a realistic amount, with dishes you’re familiar with and ingredients you know you’ll be able to find.

Have a party to try out your dishes with family and friends once you’ve decided on a menu. Request candid input on the full experience, including the food and service.

Make adjustments to your dishes until you’re satisfied that they’re both tasty and crowd-pleasing.

It is said that practice makes perfect. Before you start your business, double-check your processes, cooking times, and presentation.

Look for a place to rent

Even if you’re just starting out, most municipal rules make it illegal to run a catering business out of your home kitchen. Look up the health codes in your area to see what kind of space you’ll need to rent.

Consider starting your business in a commercial kitchen. People can rent a kitchen for a day or a few hours at a time in some kitchens. If you just cater on weekends or a few times a month, this arrangement may be ideal for you.

If catering will be your full-time job, you’ll most likely require more permanent storage and cooking facilities. Look for a location with enough plumbing to set up your cooking and catering equipment. Make sure you can install necessary equipment like ventilation hoods and grease traps by checking with your landlord and local zoning authority.

If you want to organize tastings or sell food straight from your kitchen, look for a location that has a distinct storefront and tables and seats for consumers.

Purchase Quality Kitchen Equipments

Photo by Michael Browning on Unsplash

Catering work necessitates the use of industrial equipment, which is typically more expensive than equipment used in a home kitchen. Make a budget and determine what you’ll need to run your firm effectively.

Your equipment purchases should be based on your menu. Install at least two ovens if many of your things are baked, for example. If you prepare a lot of fried dishes, purchasing multiple fryers may be a good option.

If you plan on hiring employees, you may want to install multiple sinks to make your prep work more efficient.

It’s also a good idea to plan ahead for food storage. To store dishes you prepare ahead of time, you may need multiple refrigerators and a walk-in freezer. Holding facilities, both heated and non-heated, are critical for maintaining temperature and keeping prepared commodities.

Obtain all of the pots, pans, and other kitchen equipment required to prepare the menu items. The type of service you give depends on the equipment you need, but you’ll need serving platters and cutlery at the very least. Plates, silverware, glassware, and disposable plates and utensils are all available from many catering companies.

To assist make the catered event more festive, you might wish to use attractive display trays and stacked food platters. Make sure you have the right equipment, such as chafing dishes with liquid fuel burners, to keep the meal cold or hot.

Consider linens, napkins, table decorations, and centrepieces while making your purchase. For outdoor occasions, several catering companies also provide tent canopies.

Obtain all necessary permits and licenses

Check your local rules regulating the distribution of food or drink at catering facilities. Before you begin, double-check that you have all of the necessary permits and licenses.

Regular Business Permits, Government Taxation Permits for general tax filings, tax refunds, audits in Malta, and Health Department Permits are the most typical certificates you’ll require.

This is the documentation you’ll need to start your catering business. Furthermore, you assure your potential clients that you do not compromise on quality or safety by adhering to all relevant requirements.

Get Your Pricing Right

When you perform consultations, tastings, or cater events, be sure you have all of your paperwork in order. To keep track of your spending, invoices, and income, either employ an accountant or perform your own bookkeeping.

Purchase a logistics vehicle

Make sure the vehicle has enough room for food, linens, tableware, and any other items you’ll need to transport to your clients’ locations. To begin, one car should suffice. If your company grows, you may decide to purchase additional.

You could be catering in Toronto today and in another province the next. Make sure to get a reliable vehicle to avoid any issues with logistics.

Employ staff

Determine how much support you’ll need with meal preparation, delivery, and service.

You may use a temp agency for your cooks and servers instead of hiring full-time employees straight away, at least until your firm grows. Think about the uniforms you’d like your service personnel to wear. Train your personnel to provide the level of service you desire for your customers

Your staff is the extension of your working arm. Make sure that you take care of your staff, and they will make sure to take care of your clients.

Apply for a food supplier’s account

When you’re first starting out, you may be able to buy your food from a local wholesale club, but as your business grows, you’ll find it easier to work with a larger supply company. Local farmers can provide you with produce. Alcohol manufacturers will occasionally offer you a discount on their products if you show their branding at events.

Additionally, suppliers can help you save more by offering discounts on wholesale purchases for their supplies. A good relationship with a reliable supplier can get you a long way.

Promote your company

Distribute leaflets and menus a few weeks before you plan to open, post on Facebook, and place ads in local newspapers or you can even ask help from experts in advertising like Local SEO Search Inc. You may start taking orders ahead of time and hold mobile tasting sessions to spread the word.

By uploading your company information to wedding sites, you can request that banquet hall and well-known local wedding venues recommend possible clients to you. Word of mouth is one of the best strategies to get new catering clients. If you can make the first few events go as smoothly as possible, you’ll be inundated with new clients in no time.