A catering business can be a very rewarding endeavor. You’re able to create your own menu and feed lots of people for fun events hosted all around town. If you are enrolled in online cooking courses and you think the catering world might be for you, take into account some of the market trends of the food industry and what it takes to launch the business.
According to the research firm IBISWorld, there aren’t any catering companies that hold the dominant market share in the country. This may be because catering businesses are often regional operations, covering one town or city. This is good news because it means there is more opportunity to thrive in the industry. There are more than 137,000 people employed in the U.S. catering industry. The annual revenue for the industry as a whole is $8 billion.
Starting your own catering company
“Top Chef” contestant and owner of Left Coaster Catering Laurine Wickett gave some insight into her business to Inc. magazine.
“With catering, basically every night you are setting up and breaking down a restaurant,” Laurine Wickett told the source. “The food changes, the venue changes – everything about it changes. It can be exciting, but it can be extremely frustrating.”
Caterers often have a commercial kitchen where they make the bulk of their menus or complete the prep work. Then they need to travel with their staff and all their tools to an off-site location where the event is being held. Sometimes these venues have kitchens where the caterers can reheat their dishes and build the plates, while in other cases everything has to arrive ready to eat. However, some caterers work for private parties where they complete the work at a person’s home kitchen.
Tables and linens – It’s important to have a sound game plan for the logistics of your catering company. In some cases, the startup costs can be low. For example, large cities have multiple table, linen and event companies, which can be expensed to the customer for each event, according to Inc.
Kitchen – As you get started you can rent a commercial kitchen for a time slot until you have the funds to rent or purchase your own.
Transportation – Don’t forget about having a good transportation plan. You’ll need a means to keep food hot and cold as travels to its destination.