Starting a catering business requires a great deal of effort, dedication, and most importantly passion.
If you're interested in how to sell catering, or selling catering online, you can use this page as a guide for everything you'll need to know.
Want to learn more? You can check out our full guide on how to start a catering business ➜
|Min Startup Costs||Max Startup Costs|
|Employee & Freelancer Expenses||$0||$5,500|
|Equipment & Supply Expenses||$550||$6,500|
|Business Formation Fees||$600||$4,700|
|Retail Business Expenses||$1,250||$11,650|
|Food Business Expenses||$2,125||$36,000|
|Advertising & Marketing Costs||$75||$5,286|
|UCLA Conferences & Catering||conferences.ucla.edu||#2,352|
|University of Notre Dame Catering||catering.nd.edu||#8,055|
|WSU University Catering||catering.wsu.edu||#9,547|
|P.F. Chang's Catering||pfchangscatering.olo.com||#24,349|
|Flexibility||You can put as much time into the business as you'd like. If you like the work and have some initial experience, you can start small and manage all aspects of the business on your own.|
|Ability to start your business from home||It's not necessary to have a physical storefront or office space to get your business started. You can do everything from the comfort of your own home, at least in the beginning!|
|Little startup costs required||The cost to start a catering business costs significantly less money than most businesses, ranging anywhere from 5,382 to 106,106.|
|Meaningful business connections||You never know who you will meet as a catering business. This could be the start of an incredible business opportunity!|
|High customer retention rates||Once a customer invests in your product, they've invested their time and energy to utilize your product/service which is highly valuable to them. Typically, your product or service becomes indispensable to your customer.|
|Pick & choose the clients you work with||Catering Businesses have the ability to choose the clients they work with. You have the freedom to work with only a few loyal clients or with hundreds of clients!|
|Low margins||The gross margins for your catering business are typically around 11%, which can make it more challenging to incur new expenses and maintain profitability.|
|High employee turnover||In the catering business, employee turnover is often high, which can be quite costly and time consuming for your business. It's important to try and avoid this as much as possible by offering competitive pay, benefits, and a positive work environment.|
|Taxes||As a catering business, you typically pay self-employment taxes which can be quite high. It's important to understand what you will be paying in taxes each year so you can determine if the work you're taking on is worth it.|
|Niche Market||A niche business is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, it can be the key to your success. However, it can be more challenging and time consuming to find the perfect niche market and target audience.|
|High overhead expenses||With starting a catering business, there are overhead expenses that come with selling a physical product. You will want to make sure you strategically budget for these overhead costs. We discuss this more in the startup costs section below.|
|You may need to charge sales tax||If you are selling your products in various states, you may be required to charge sales tax. Although this may not impact your financials specifically, it can be a headache to create a process and procedure for this. To learn more about sales tax, check out [this article](https://www.thebalancesmb.com/do-i-need-to-collect-sales-taxes-in-my-state-398913)|
Affiliate marketing is a great way to bring in a new revenue stream, especially when you don't sell products or services.
Simply put, an affiliate program is an agreement where a business pays another business or influencer ("the affiliate") a commission for sending traffic and/or sales their way.
The affiliate typically gets a unique link where clicks and conversions can be tracked.
You may find yourself in a spot where you're ready to hire a few (or many) salespeople to support the sales conversion process.
Regardless if you have one or thirty salespeople, it's critical that you assign them specific roles and responsibilities to nurture the client and provide excellent support.
Word of mouth is when a consumers reflects their interest in a company’s product or service in their daily dialogues.
Therefore, word of mouth advertising is essentially a free advertising triggered by the customers experience.
According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family.
Therefore, in today’s hyper-connected world, a single recommendation through a word of mouth can have a huge impact to your business.