Do you like to cook? Have you ever thought of making money off of your cooking skills? If you’re thinking of changing your career path or making some money on the side, then starting up your own catering company might be a good option for you.

The most obvious need for a catering business is having someone who knows how to cook, but it takes more than that. Not only should you be a good chef, but you also need to be able to prepare food on a large scale, run a kitchen and wait staff, and deal with customers as well. Good people skills are an essential part of running any successful small business.

A good caterer needs to know how to be adaptable, in the kitchen as well as with the rest of their business. You have to be able to work with what supplies are available, what your client wants, and what abilities you and your staff have.

Like any other business, you’re going to need some start-up capital to get your business going. How much you need depends almost entirely on what kind of catering business you want to start. Here are just a few of the things to consider:

* Size – Are you going to cater small get-togethers and parties? Then you may only need materials already found in your kitchen. You’re going to need a lot more if you want to cater larger events like weddings, corporate meetings, banquets, and other large events that require a kitchen full of professional kitchen appliances.

* Transportation – You also need to consider food transportation once it’s all cooked and ready to go. Do you have the means to get the food and supplies where they need to go, or will you need to purchase some other transport? Will you need other materials to keep the food safe while you transport it? All this needs to be taken into account when you calculate costs.

* Staff – Will you hire permanent staff or will you hire workers when you need to? The number of people you’ll need and what you’ll need to pay them are important in calculating costs as well.

Another commitment required to start a successful catering company is time. Each event requires you to meet with clients and plan a menu, along with other arrangements for the event, depending on the extent of your service (do you provide linens, silverware, etc). You will probably have to set aside time for tastings and dry runs, which require prep work in themselves. You will also need to hire staff. All this takes significantly more time than just cooking for and serving at an event.

Before you get started, it is also important to consider the legal ramifications of starting a company where you have a kitchen and serve food. While any business is vulnerable to accidents, kitchens are a very common place for people to be injured. No matter how safe and clean you are, you also always run the risk of making people sick with food and being held liable. It’s always a good idea to speak to a lawyer first to make sure you’re covered in case of the unthinkable.

No matter what the economic times, there’s always going to be a demand for good caterers. It can also be a great opportunity for a fun, rewarding, and profitable small business.

How to Set Up a Successful Catering Business
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