What You Need to Know Before Starting a Home-Based Catering Service

Starting a home-based catering service can be one of the most exciting adventures you will ever take, especially if you are a foodie at heart. This is probably something you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time. There is much to learn when it comes to starting a new business from home, especially in the food industry. However, your passion for serving amazingly delectable dishes should carry you through.

With that said, there may be times when you become frustrated with all the red tape but in moments like that, head to your kitchen. Doesn’t creating a new dish always soothe the nerves? The best advice you can be given is to take your time when planning and launching your home-based catering business because your time and patience will be well worth the effort.

Research State and Local Laws


Let’s begin with the importance of state and local laws and regulations. It should be said right off the bat that every state has laws regarding the preparation and serving of food. This is where you should obviously start. Also, before you get your heart set on running your catering service from home, you need to see what the regulations are in that area.

Some states and cities don’t allow for foods to be sold that were made in a home. Some states have very specific guidelines as to where and how you operate any business that makes and sells food to the public. You may even be required to have a state-based food handlers certificate but you can do this online. Simply register for the course, take an exit exam from that school and then take the state examination for certification.

Carefully Assess Your Startup Budget

Once you have determined that running a home-based catering service is allowed in your area under certain conditions, it’s time to start planning your startup budget. You will obviously need all those pots, pans and cooking utensils along with equipment you will need to transport your food. Also, all those licenses come with a fee, so don’t forget to calculate them into your budget.

Every business, if registered with the state, is required to carry insurance. Liability insurance is important because you can be held liable for just one foodborne illness. Having said that, there are specific coverages for every industry so when it comes to the insurance you need, don’t forget to budget for the catering insurance cost. This is a necessity to protect yourself against losses that could literally put you out of business.

Decide on Your Business Model


There are actually two basic business models you might want to consider. The first is where you prepare and cook everything from your home catering kitchen. When you load everything into your vehicle, it will be kept in warming bags or mobile warming ovens so that all you need to do at the catering job is lay it all out. Sometimes they will require you to help serve as well.

The second business model would have you prepping everything at home but cooking it at the home that booked your services. Some caterers prefer to do this but others prefer to do everything at home because they can take out any kind of booking at any kind of location. What if you are booked for an office Christmas party? Few offices have ovens and stoves, so this model might not work for you if you want to widen your horizons.

Build a Business Website


It is also important to build a business website. This would be the ideal location to post photos of some of your most popular dishes. The say that a picture is worth a thousand words and yours will have mouths watering as they click through your pages.

You might also want to post articles in a cooking blog that will attract visitors to your site. Google ranks highly for informative sites of authority so if you want to rank well with local searches, a blog would be ideal.

Invest in Local Marketing


Speaking of Google, you will definitely want to invest in local marketing of which Google local is perfect. Did you know that more people look for new businesses and services online than in any other way? It pays to hire an experienced local marketing firm so that service will be found in those searches. Also, local marketing helps to build brand and that is another necessity when just starting out.

There is much to consider when launching a new business but this is your dream. You love cooking and even more than that, you love it when people appreciate the foods you prepare. It really is an adventure of a lifetime and one you can have so much fun doing. Are you a foodie at heart? If so, catering is the perfect business for you.

To Top