CATERING BUSINESS PLAN: Fresh Tips On How To Start a Catering Business.

catering business plan services template
Image Source: entrepreneur

Starting a catering business might be a very simple concept if you are passionate about both food and customer service. Although there may be a lot of competition and inconsistent employment, you can quickly establish a reputation and a reliable clientele with diligent effort and effective marketing. A catering business plan is an important aspect to consider when you’re opening a catering business. This article contains a catering business plan template that will serve as a guideline on how to write a catering services business plan and what a catering service business plan is about.

Enjoy the ride with us!

Catering Business

Catering businesses are a smart investment because they have fewer startup costs than operating a restaurant, allow for gradual growth, and have nearly unlimited possibilities for expansion. Also, spending on catering businesses in the UK alone increases annually, a consistent and significant increase. As you might anticipate, there is tremendous rivalry for a profitable bite of this market, so planning and analysis are essential.

How To Start a Catering Business

Here are some steps to take when starting a catering business:

#1. Research the Market

Look closely at business competitors in your neighbourhood. Make a  document with the following information if it will help:

  • The name of the rival (s)
  • The food type
  • Informational
  • Price
  • Size of the business

Next, consider whether there is a need in your community for a different catering service or, more importantly, whether you are sufficiently unique to stand out.

#2. Find Your Niche

Finding a niche in such a competitive market is crucial. It will also be crucial for developing commercial ties and even for issues like invoicing. Your choice of event to work at and the type of cuisine you provide may both influence your choice of branding and marketing strategies.

Catering is typically either private or corporate. Of course, you’re providing more than simply meals when you offer a comprehensive service, such as an occasion, event, or experience. People need a justification to pick your company over competing services, so you must supply one.

Spend some time carefully investigating your local market. What is currently being provided? What might you excel in more than others? Your final product has to be distinctive, original, and a true reflection of your abilities in the field you’re working in.

#3. Choose a Business Name

Food service business names ought to reflect the company’s fundamental principles. Consider the message you want to send to customers as well as how they could find you online. If your catering company specialises in weddings or other special events, it should be reflected in the name. Include a word from your niche in your business name if you serve that type of food.

Make sure the name you chose for your catering business is available in the state where you plan to launch it. You may verify the availability of a business name online with the Secretary of State in the majority of states.

#4. Register Your Catering Business

You should register your company name and location with the state where you intend to conduct business. Depending on the laws in your state, a catering firm may additionally need additional registrations because it handles food. You might need to have the location where you’re cooking and preparing the food you’ll be serving inspected by the health department.

Therefore, you may quickly and easily apply for one online through the IRS, and you’ll profit from having one for years to come. It can help you with other business operations, including applying for a credit card and paying your employees, in addition to acting as a business tax identification number.

The following are steps to take when you want to register your catering business:

  • Verify that the desired company name is not already in use.
  • Choose a physical address for your catering business.
  • Select a SIC code for your business.
  • Elect a director for your catering business.
  • Describe the planned share structure for your company.
  • Select the shareholders or PSCs that significantly control your business.
  • Sign the declaration of compliance.
  • Make a company formation payment.

#5. Write a Business Plan

A business plan is the foundation of any successful catering business, whether it be a home-based or mobile catering service. You’ll have a sound action plan and a goal to strive for if you take the time to compose one. Calculating the size of your relevant market, where you’ll analyse precisely who your target client is and how many people you may potentially sell to, is a significant portion of the research stage of your business plan.

Therefore, the vendors and suppliers you intend to work with should also be included in your business plan for starting a catering business. Consider finding suppliers for all the items you require, such as china, linens, cutlery, chairs, and, of course, food. Furthermore, the process of conducting research and drafting your business plan is a wonderful way to determine whether your catering business is feasible and to obtain a clear understanding of the primary expenses you’ll need to budget for and raise money for.

Your catering business plan will be a useful tool in convincing investors of the viability of your business. Our catering business plan template will serve as a guide for you to write a strong catering business plan.

#6. Get a Catering Licence

You can’t just, well, do it, as is true of most industries requiring food preparation. Both a business licence and a permit for handling food must be obtained from the state. A domestic kitchen is probably not going to pass a county or state health inspection, so think about looking for a commercial kitchen that has already received approval.

The expenditures of additional regulations, which might reduce profit margins on a monthly or annual basis, include workers’ compensation insurance and permits or licences to operate out of specific locations.

With sufficient catering insurance coverage, caterers may safeguard themselves from a range of situations. You’ll frequently be functioning in new locations, renting out equipment, and collaborating with fresh personnel. Therefore, if you don’t, you can suffer severe financial consequences and perhaps be forced to close.

#7. Get Catering Equipment

There is a lot of catering equipment needed to start a catering business. What kind of food you need to prepare and cook will determine the type of kitchen equipment you require. Refrigerators to keep ingredients fresh, cooking tools (such as an oven, stove, fryer, and even a grill), and food preparation tools are required for a basic catering enterprise.

Some equipment is actually not used in many catering places because it is expensive to maintain and takes a lot of effort. You can wash any necessary dishes or utensils whenever you need to with just a basic sink setup and a willing washer. When determining what catering supplies you require, use logical thinking. Avoid overspending and buying everything, but also avoid cutting corners and being unprepared.

Also, for certain events, you can also require various equipment. Some may ask you to bring your own silverware and dishes, while others may supply their own.

#8. Seek Financing

Compared to many other food enterprises, such as starting a restaurant, a catering business has cheaper startup costs. Therefore, it is possible to launch independently while saving money for the initial investment. Online lenders, credit unions, and banks all compete to offer loans to startup companies. Look around for the one that suits you the best, and factor repayments into operating expenses.

Catering Business Plan

In addition to the parts that are common to all business plans, a catering business plan should concentrate on those that are unique to the catering and food services sector so as to make it attractive to your reader.

How to Write a Catering Business Plan

Here is a catering plan template to make writing your plan easier. The following are steps to be taken when you are writing your catering services business plan, it’s important to follow so as to have a strong and catchy business plan:

You can also download our business plan template for catering business created by our team of professionals at business yield consult.

#1. Executive Summary 

Your catering business plan’s executive summary needs to include a high-level overview of your company’s income, costs, break-even point predictions, and fundamental business information. The executive summary of your food catering business plan should not exceed one page and should be produced after all the specific sections have been completed.

Also, your executive summary should rapidly grab the reader’s attention. Tell them about the type of catering company you run and its current state. Give a summary of each of the sections that follow in your plan. Give a quick introduction to the catering sector. Talk about the type of catering business you operate. Describe your competitors. Give a general description of your target audience. Give a brief overview of your marketing strategy. Decide who the important team players are. And provide a summary of your financial strategy.

#2. Company Analysis

You will describe the type of catering business you are operating in your company analysis. Let’s say for example you are into any of the following types of catering business, you must give a clear description of your catering business and let your reader get a clearer view of what your catering business is all about:

  • Wedding Catering is the most common kind of catering business. Along with drinks, the menu will feature a wide variety of meals from different cuisines.
  • Social Event Catering This kind of caterer caters to a variety of events, including birthdays, backyard barbecues, and retirement celebrations.
  • Corporate catering services are constantly in demand, whether they are being used for office meetings, employee training sessions, or huge corporate events.

Furthermore, describe the kind of catering business you run, which could be one of the aforementioned, a hybrid of them, or something new.

You can also add the following questions to your company analysis to give your reader a better understanding of your catering business plan:

  • What achievements have you made thus far? Milestones may include contracts signed, sales targets attained, etc.
  • When and why did you establish your business?
  • your system of government. Are you a registered S-Corp? An LLC? or a single-person business? Describe your judicial system here.

#3. Market Research

You must include a general summary of the catering sector in your industry analysis for your catering services business plan. Although it may appear unneeded, this provides a number of functions. You need to gain knowledge by investigating the catering business sector. It aids in your comprehension of the industry you work in.

Market research can enhance your approach, especially if it pinpoints market trends. To demonstrate to readers that you are an authority in your field, conduct market research. You accomplish so by performing the study and presenting the results in your plan.

The following questions can also be of help during your market research:

  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • How big is the catering business?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?

#4. Customer Analysis

As you might expect, the type of catering service you run will be greatly influenced by the consumer segment(s) you select. It is obvious that baby boomers would prefer a different environment, different pricing, different product alternatives, and different marketing promotions than teenagers. Try to segment your target market based on their psychographic and demographic characteristics. Include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of the customers you hope to serve in your demographics section. Such demographic information is simple to acquire on government websites because the majority of catering firms typically serve clients who reside in the same city or town where they are located. Therefore, all of these should be included in the customer analysis of your catering services business plan.

The desires and requirements of your target market are described by psychographic profiles. The better you are at attracting and keeping clients, the more you can comprehend and identify their needs.

#5. Competitive Analysis

You must be aware of your competitor’s products, pricing, and promotions. This will provide you insight into what customers are buying from other caterers in your neighbourhood and assist you in determining how to price your services. Additionally, you can find prospects for catering businesses that your competitors don’t provide. Evaluate your direct and indirect competitors in your competitive analysis before concentrating on the latter.

Other catering companies far or around your area are direct competitors. Customers have other purchasing options from you that aren’t direct competitors, known as indirect competitors. This includes eateries, delis, grocery stores, and people cooking food for events at home. To demonstrate your understanding that not everyone who caters for an event utilises a catering service, you must bring up this competition.

You should describe the other catering company you compete with in terms of direct competition. The majority of the time, catering companies in your area will be your main direct competition.Give a brief description of each of these competitors’ firms and list their strengths and weaknesses in this section of your catering services business plan.

You can also add the following questions for your reader to get a clearer understanding of your catering business plan:

  • What kinds of clients do they cater to?
  • What goods do they provide?
  • How much do they charge for their service (premium, cheap, etc.)?
  • What do they specialise in?
  • What are their drawbacks?

#6. Marketing Plan

If you don’t market your catering business effectively, it might not be profitable. You should therefore set aside money in your budget specifically for marketing. Include your location and a statement about how it will affect your success. Talk about how your business might attract a regular flow of patrons in this section of your catering services business plan.

Record the prices you’ll charge and how they contrast with those of your rivals. The menu items you offer and their costs are essentially presented in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan. Include your essential components in your catering business plan since these could differ from client to client. The promotion component of your catering business marketing plan in your catering business plan is very important. Here, you will outline your strategy for attracting clients to your business (s).

You can market your catering business through the following means:

  • Publicity in regional newspapers and magazines
  • contacting regional websites and bloggers
  • Office managers at nearby businesses received flyers.
  • collaborations with regional organisations
  • Local radio commercials
  • maintaining a presence in the community by participating in neighbourhood networking and charity organisations. This may give you a significant competitive advantage and promote your company.
  • banners at neighbourhood venues
  • Social media marketing and blogging
  • email advertising

#7. Operations Plan

For your catering company to be successful, you must have a solid operations plan. This ought to contain all the components necessary for you to operate your catering company successfully every day. Your operations plan will outline your business hours, the occasions and numbers you can accommodate, and your personnel strategy.

In this section of your catering services business plan, provide details on salary, your catering company’s licence, insurance and permits, food service laws and certifications. It’s important you state how you are going to go about hiring the right staff for your catering business and training your employees.

#8. Management Team

A solid management team is necessary to show that your catering business has the potential to be a profitable enterprise. Draw attention to the backgrounds of your key players by highlighting the knowledge and expertise that demonstrate their capacity to expand a business.

It would be ideal if you and/or your team members had first-hand knowledge of the catering industry. If so, emphasise your experience and knowledge. Highlight any experience you believe may aid in the success of your catering services in this section of your catering services business plan.

#9. Financial Plan

One of the most important aspects of any company is its financial planning. Your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually should be included in the financial plan for your catering business plan. Your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements are all parts of your financial statements.

#10. Appendix

Include all of your financial estimates in the appendix of your catering business plan, along with any additional materials that can strengthen your point.

Catering Business Plan Template

Having a catering business plan template makes you understand what a catering business plan is all about and how to write one. The following are included in the catering business plan template we’ve created for you:

  • Executive summary
  • Industry analysis
  • Market analysis
  • Operational plan
  • Management team
  • Marketing Plan
  • Financial information
  • Appendix

A catering business plan template will serve as a guide for you to write your own catering business plan. Download our complete catering business plan template HERE!

Final Thoughts

Here is a complete catering business plan template that is available for download to create a concise plan for your catering business. Before you take into account the categories the plan incorporates, you can find the work of creating a business plan to be challenging and monotonous. Each of the plan’s categories corresponds to a component of your company that demands your attention.


What is some of the necessary equipment needed by catering businesses?

The answer to this lies in what you can find in the kitchen, along with what kind of catering business you have in mind. Knives, spoons, forks, pans, glasses, serving trays, ovens, and refrigerators are all common equipment found in establishments like restaurants, bakeries, and yes, catering businesses.

How many kinds of catering businesses are there?

There are multiple variations of catering businesses that any aspiring business owner can adopt. The most common one would be the kind of catering where everything is set up at a specific site. Others would be outdoor catering services and even home delivery catering services.

Can I do a catering business from home in the UK?

You must submit an application for food business registration on the government website if you want to sell food in the UK. It’s free, but you must complete it at least 28 days before you intend to sell food out of your home.

" } } , { "@type": "Question", "name": "How many kinds of catering businesses are there?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "

There are multiple variations of catering businesses that any aspiring business owner can adopt. The most common one would be the kind of catering where everything is set up at a specific site. Others would be outdoor catering services and even home delivery catering services.

" } } , { "@type": "Question", "name": "Can I do a catering business from home in the UK? ", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "

You must submit an application for food business registration on the government website if you want to sell food in the UK. It's free, but you must complete it at least 28 days before you intend to sell food out of your home.

" } } ] }

Related Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *