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How to Start a Catering Business in 9 Steps

Eric Goldschein

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

The catering industry attracts a broad range of entrepreneurs. Maybe you’re an excellent cook, maybe you love throwing parties, or maybe you’re interested in event planning and want to get the ball rolling by catering.

Or maybe you’re like Dannella Burnett, of Gainesville, Georgia, who formed her catering business back in 2009, and your reason is simple and sweet:

“I figured if I could cook for other people and put food on their plates, I could put food on my family’s plate,” Burnett says of her decision to start Oakwood Occasions.

But as Burnett knew even in the nascent stages of starting a catering business and expanding to event planning, the business is about much more than putting food on plates. It’s about thinking your way through stressful situations, planning for the unexpected, and most importantly, running a business just like you would any other.

In this guide, we are going to take you step-by-step through everything you need to know about how to start a catering business. With a little help, you'll be delighting guests at parties, events, and festivals in no time.

business plans for catering business

How to start a catering business in 9 steps

Before you get to the following steps to starting a catering business, note that you should decide on the type of catering business you want to start before learning how to start a catering business.

Some caterers only do cocktail reception drinks and small finger foods, others do buffet-style catering, and some do the sit-down catering that you might see at a banquet or wedding. Once you know what kind of catering you want to do, you can get on to the next steps.

Step 1: Choose your business name and business entity type

Once you have the type of catering business you want to start in mind, you can move on to choosing a name for your business and defining the entity for it as well. You'll want to choose a name and make sure it's available in the state where you're opening your catering business. In most states, you can check business name availability online with the Secretary of State.

You'll also need to choose the business entity you want your business to operate as. Here you've got a lot of options depending on a few things, including whether you want to go it alone or not.

If you decide to operate as a sole proprietor, your business will be unincorporated and be owned by you alone (or you and your spouse). If you want to have a partner for your business, or want to avoid taking on all personal liability for your company, you can choose to register your business as a general partnership, a limited partnership, a limited liability partnership, a limited liability company, or another business entity. Each offers different protections for the partners and the business.

Step 2: Write a business plan

Once you have your business name and entity chosen, the next step on the "how to start a catering business" checklist involves writing a business plan. This will take some work, but it will pay off in the long run because you'll have the plan to fall back on and it can help you know what to expect while running your business.

You can use a business plan template or you can make a plan on your own. When you do make the plan, it should include quite a bit of research. You'll want to include an overview of your company, a market analysis, your business's organization, the specific products and services you'll be providing, and your marketing and financial plan. If that sounds like a lot, don't worry—you can always add to your plan as you learn more about the catering business world.

Importantly, though, you should also research your competition and identify potential customers. Is there a particular type of catering that is needed in your area that is currently underserved? For example, if you live in an area with a lot of golf courses, you may find that they are always in need of caterers for weekend events. Your market research into the needs in your area can go a long way to helping you sustain your business.

Part of your business plan for how to start a catering business should also include the vendors and suppliers you plan to use. Look into sourcing all the supplies you need, including linens, utensils, china, even tables and chairs for some events, and of course the food. When it comes to non-food items, Burnett suggests renting first, before buying things outright.

“At the beginning, you can rent anything you might ever want or need,” she says. “And renting is great: You know what the cost will be and you don’t have the upfront cost of purchasing something.

“But at some point, though you want to buy those things yourself because you still can charge for them and basically you’re paying for the ownership of them. And they ultimately pay for themselves.”

When it does come time to buy, equipment financing can provide you with the funding you need to cover the cost of supplies.

Step 3: Register your catering business and get an EIN

Depending on the business entity you chose, your business's name might by default be your name. If you want to change that, you might need a DBA or "doing business as" name. You'll want to register your business and its name with the state you plan to operate in.

For a catering business, because you're handling food, this might also require some other registrations depending on the rules in your state. The health department might need to check out the place where you're cooking and preparing the food you'll be serving, for example.

You'll also want to apply for an employer identification number also called an EIN. You can apply for one online from the IRS in just minutes and enjoy the benefits of having one for years to come. It can serve as a business tax ID number and help you do other business tasks like applying for a credit card and paying your employees.

Step 4: Get all licenses and clearances needed to start a catering business

As with most industries involving food prep, you can’t just, well, do it. You need to obtain a business license from the state, as well as a food handling license. You also need to pass a county or state health inspection—a residential kitchen likely won’t cut it, so consider looking for a commercial kitchen that has already been approved.

Some other requirements you might need to consider include workers' compensation insurance and permits or licenses to work out of certain venues—the monthly or annual costs of which can cut into profit margins.

If you’re unsure of what will be required, get in touch with your local Chamber of Commerce , Small Business Development Center , or the Small Business Administration to find out more.

It's not a bad idea to consult a lawyer in your area who specializes in the food or service industry for help filing everything and getting all of the registrations squared away before you start cooking.

Step 5: Determine your pricing

Pricing your work depends greatly on where your business is located and what kind of catering you do. Many businesses create price tiers that provide a certain level of service and amenities for various amounts. Burnett never went down that route.

“I started off doing custom proposals for people, and I’ve stayed with them throughout these nine years,” she says. “It takes a lot more time, but a lot of my proposals get accepted, rather than a package deal where it may or may not fit what someone is looking for. If they don’t need something, if it doesn’t pertain to their event, it’s not going into their pricing. If they need more, they pay for more; if they need less, they pay for less."

To get an idea of what costs what, Burnett says that her price per person has varied from $7-$8, for light appetizers for cocktail hour, up to $80 for filet and lobster.

“It varies because we do buffets, plated dinners, simple appetizers, or [events] where we’ve just dropped off food and they’ve served it themselves—to very high-end menus with unique ingredients,” she explains.

Step 6: Hire, train, and outfit your staff

It’s unlikely you can cater an event all by yourself, so staff is a requirement. Hiring and training staff is something that came organically for Burnett, but that might not be the case for you, so do whatever is best for your business is recommended here.

“At the first location, we brought on staff members one by one as we needed people. There was no real formal training from the beginning," she says.

You may be able to find staff just as easily, either by word-of-mouth or by combing your own network. But you might also need to reach out on foodservice-oriented job-seeking sites, or look into how competitors found their staff. Just keep in mind that what works for you when you're starting a catering business might not be what works once your business starts growing.

"But when we moved into our new location, at the Hall County Government Center, we opened up a café, coffee shop, and expanded the catering business at the same time. Since we were going to have in-house staff as well as catering staff, we had to go through a much more extensive training period.”

Here’s another place where having capital at the start comes in handy: If you’re hiring and training staff before they actually work an event, you need to set aside training dollars.

Additionally, uniforms, including vectorized logos, can be “really cheap or really expensive,” in the words of Burnett.

“Hey, I want aprons with logos on them—getting that logo vectorized for $75-$80, then $5-$7 a piece depending on how big you want the logo. Then you have to buy the apron. If you need 20, 30, 40 of those—that adds up,” she says.

Step 7: Market during your own events

When it comes to marketing and advertising your business, Burnett has one suggestion that trumps all the rest.

“When you’re putting food in somebody’s mouth, that’s the best time to find your next client,” she says. “It’s through the guests that are attending the events you’re catering for.”

Otherwise, it depends on what kind of catering you specialize in. If you focus on weddings, you’ll want to attend bridal shows—which involve bringing food samples and sometimes buying a booth. Corporate catering might involve more focus on LinkedIn advertising, where you can buy leads; you might also pay people to knock on doors and pass out fliers to bigger businesses.

“Really, it’s about networking. A lot of word of mouth, a lot of referrals,” she says. When you're just starting a catering business, that’s where the putting food in someone’s mouth tactic comes in.

Step 8: Get funding

Burnett made the decision to start her business out of necessity after her husband lost his job in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. She had previously worked in food and retail management, and she fell back on that experience when it came time to find a new source of income.

“A woman at my church said, ‘Why don’t you reopen your catering business here at the church?’ I didn’t think you could do that, but we called the health department and had them do a site visit at the church kitchen. It was deemed sufficient for commercial use, so I had my church kitchen licensed as a catering commissary, and I launched the business with zero capital, zero plan. Nothing but me, myself, and I,” Burnett explains.

Burnett found herself in business well before she expected to be. Despite making things work, she says luck took the place of capital and wouldn’t recommend that path to other future caterers.

“There are some things that I could look back on that I would say either by sheer doggedness or dumb luck, the next right thing did happen,” she says. “Was it more stressful because there wasn’t a plan at the beginning or there wasn’t capital? I think definitely.”

Burnett notes that, for the catering industry, access to capital is especially important: “Most small businesses fail because they don’t have the capital to get them through the ebbs and flows. And in something like the catering business, there should naturally be some ebb and flow, whether it’s the seasonality of the type of catering that you do, or the calendar—seasons and holidays.”

If you aren't as lucky as Burnett, you will probably need some funding to get your catering business off the ground and through slower months. Knowing how to acquire capital is one of the keys to figuring out how to start a catering business. There are plenty of routes you can go to acquire small business funding to get your business going.

If you want to go the traditional route, you can go for a traditional term loan, a business line of credit , or maybe a business credit card . Once you're established you can look into getting an SBA loan .

Step 9: Plan for emergencies — both financial and others

You should have extra capital when you start out, and continue to budget wisely as you go, because you never know when something will go wrong in the catering industry.

"Things break, so you have to replace them. Maybe you started off with china for 200 and now you only have china for 150 because they break,” says Burnett, listing the things that caught her off-guard when starting out.

“Repairs to vehicles: Catering can be hard on your vehicles, so you’ll need replacements to tires. The price of gas, when it went sky-high, it had an impact. Food was costing more. And people understood that food cost more to a certain extent, but people still had in their head that they need to do a lunch for $10 or $15 a person, and when the price of gas and food has gone up, it’s easy for that not to be profitable.”

But preparing for the unexpected is about more than budgeting. Most events are catered at a venue that can be 30 minutes, an hour, or even a few hours away from the kitchen. That can put you in a tight spot.

“The ability to be a MacGyver is a requirement. Every venue is different, and if you forget something, you’ve gotta figure out how to make it work,” Burnett says.

How to start a catering business: The bottom line

Catering isn’t an easy business. Burnett says you need to “know what you’re getting into,” due to the physical and demanding nature of the work.

“You can be a great cook, and that doesn’t necessarily make you a great caterer,” she says.

But Burnett was able to build a massively successful business—so much so that she actually began tapering off of catering in 2019 to focus more on event planning—off little more than an idea that was born in a church kitchen.

How Much Do You Need?

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

On a similar note...

business plans for catering business

Catering Business Plan Template

Catering business plan.

If you want to start a catering business or expand your current one, you need a business plan.

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 5,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their catering businesses.

How to Write a Business Plan for a Catering Company

Below are links to each section of your catering business plan template:

Next Section: Executive Summary >

Catering Company Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my catering business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Catering Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your Catering Business Plan.

Where Can I Download a Catering Business Plan PDF?

You can download our catering business plan PDF template here . This is a business plan template you can use in PDF format.

What Is a Catering Business Plan?

A catering business plan provides a snapshot of your own business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business’ goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

Why Do You Need a Business Plan?

If you’re looking to start a catering business or grow your existing small business you need a business plan, especially if you are seeking financing for your business. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your company in order to improve your chances of success. Your catering business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your catering company grows and changes.

How Do I Write a Successful Catering Business Plan?

The best way to write a catering business plan is to follow a proven catering business plan template. This template should include the following information: Executive Summary, Company Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Industry Analysis, Customer Analysis, Marketing Strategy & Plan, Operations Plan, Management Team, Financial Projections & Plan, and Appendix.

What Are the Sources of Funding for a Catering Business?

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a catering business are savings and/or credit cards of the business owner, bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable. But they will want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business.

The second most common form of funding for a catering business or cafe is angel investors. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who will write you a check. They will either take equity in return for their funding, or, like a bank, they will give you a loan. Venture capitalists will not fund a catering business. They might consider funding a catering company with multiple locations or a massive footprint, but never an individual location. This is because most venture capitalists are looking for millions of dollars in return when they make an investment, and an individual or small location could never achieve such results.

What Are the 3 Types of Catering Service Businesses?

There are three types of catering service businesses: on-premise catering, off-premise catering, and event catering.

  • On-premise catering is when the caterer sets up a temporary commercial kitchen space at the client's location.
  • Off-premise catering is when the caterer provides delicious food for events such as picnics, weddings, cocktail parties, and other meetings off-site.
  • Event catering is where the caterer prepares food that is served at special events, corporate events, or family events.

What Are The 5 Steps to Starting a Catering Business?

Starting a catering business is not as difficult as one might think. Here are the five steps needed to get your catering business up and running:

  • Come Up With a Business Idea : This is probably the most important step, as it will lay the foundation for everything else you do. When brainstorming business ideas, make sure to think about what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing.
  • Do Your Research : This step is important to ensure your business is viable and has the potential for success.
  • Create a Catering Business Plan : A business plan is a document that outlines your goals, strategies, and financials. It’s a must-have for any business, but especially for a catering business.
  • Obtain Your Business License : In order to legally operate your catering business, you will need to obtain the necessary business licenses.
  • Secure Funding : If needed, you will need to secure funding in order to get your catering business off the ground.

Once your business is up and running, it’s time to start promoting it! Create a marketing plan and start spreading the word about your new catering business to potential clients.

What are the Benefits of Starting a Catering Business?

There are numerous benefits of starting a catering business, including:

  • Low Overhead Costs : One of the benefits of catering is that the overhead costs are relatively low, especially when compared to other food preparation businesses such as restaurants. This means you can make a profit with fewer customers and staff members.
  • Flexible Schedule : Typically have a flexible schedule, which is ideal for those who want to be their own boss and have more control over their time.
  • Variety of Services : Can offer a variety of catering services and menus, which gives you the ability to target a range of customers.
  • Repeat Customers : Typically have a high percentage of repeat customers, as people often use catering for specific events like weddings, business meetings, conventions, etc.
  • High Demand : Another benefit of catering is that there are typically high demands for this type of service during certain times of the year, including holidays and warm weather months when people are hosting events outside.

What are the Pitfalls of Starting a Catering Business?

While there are many benefits to starting a catering business, there are also some potential pitfalls that should be considered. These include:

  • Not Enough Demand : Before starting a catering business, it’s important to do your research and make sure there is enough demand for your services.
  • Lack of Experience : If you don’t have experience in the catering industry, it will be difficult to start and succeed in this business.
  • High Startup Costs : This type of business can have high startup costs because of the equipment needed, as well as all of the miscellaneous costs that come with starting any business.
  • Competition : Catering is highly competitive and there are many established catering companies already servicing your market. This means you need to do everything possible to set yourself apart from your competitors in order to be successful.
  • Time-Consuming : Catering is a time-consuming business and it can be difficult to balance it with other obligations.
  • Limited Scalability : Catering companies are limited in their scalability, meaning you can only expand so much before you hit a limit. This could be problematic if your goal is to grow your business significantly.
  • Unpredictable Income : Catering services can be very unpredictable when it comes to income, as they can vary greatly from one event to the next.
  • High Risk : As with any business, there is a certain amount of risk involved in starting and running a catering business. You need to be prepared for the possibility of not making a profit or even losing money.


  • Catering Business Plan Home
  • 1. Executive Summary
  • 2. Company Overview
  • 3. Industry Analysis
  • 4. Customer Analysis
  • 5. Competitive Analysis
  • 6. Marketing Plan
  • 7. Operations Plan
  • 8. Management Team
  • 9. Financial Plan
  • 10. Appendix
  • Catering Business Plan Summary

Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates

Use This Simple Business Plan Template

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How To Write a Catering Business Plan w/ Templates (PDF, Word Doc)

Whether you’re starting a catering business full-time or planning to operate out of your house initially , writing a business plan is essential to getting clear on the type of catering business you want to open. After all there’s some pretty important stuff covered inside of what can seem like a stuffy document.

For the purposes of starting a catering company, think about the business plan as the one place you put your operation details. Things like the cooking equipment you need to purchase and the total cost, tentative catering menu, food costs, and who your target customer is. These are all super important details you need to understand before opening! This document provides a place for you to organize everything.

By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to draft your plan and start on that first catering gig you’ve been planning to open. We also provide templates you can use in PDF and Word Doc you can download and edit. Let’s get started.

  • Executive summary
  • Mission statement
  • Company concept
  • Market analysis
  • Management structure
  • Product line and services
  • Sales and marketing
  • Financial projections
  • Operational plan 
  • Download templates

Executive Summary

business plans for catering business

Catering spread for a Mexican food concept.

Start your business plan with an executive summary. This is a way to introduce your catering business so whoever is reading your business plan will know what to expect. This will include a brief introduction of your catering business, a description of your company, the services your catering business will be providing, and the customer focus.


A quick introduction helps the reader get a bird’s eye view of your catering business. Here you’ll be talking about what to expect and what you can offer as part of your catering service.

This section isn’t considered lengthy. This usually has two to three sentences. What you need to focus on when writing this down is by the end of it, your reader will more or less understand what your catering business is all about.

Here’s an example introduction you can use as a guide:

The Big Spoon is a small catering business headed by Lydia Smith. She specializes in Italian cuisine but can cater to American, Mexican, and Asian dishes as well. The Big Spoon can accommodate an intimate dinner for 2 up to a large party of 50 accompanied with table settings and chafing dishes to complete that delicious home-cooked meal experience.

Just by the introduction, the reader will know how big your catering business is, what cuisine they can expect to order, and how many people the business can cater for. It also gives them an introductory glance about your catering style wherein you already provide more than just food but also a table setting so they don’t have to look for a supplier for this separately.

Keep your introduction informative but also short enough. You will be able to add in more to the details later on.

Company Description

business plans for catering business

Some food trailers make more than 50% of their annual revenue from catering gigs.

A little background on your catering business is needed in the company description part of the business plan. Here, you can describe the meaning behind the name for your catering business, who the owners are, and what their roles are going to be. Who will be in charge of cooking? Who will be in charge of accounts and marketing?

This may just be brief but this is a way for you to introduce what’s going to happen behind the scenes of your catering business.

business plans for catering business

Catering works great for food trucks and restaurants.

Although your catering business may sound self-explanatory, it would still be of great help to you if you mentioned the services you’ll be offering.

For example, The Big Spoon already mentioned in their introduction that they’ll be catering food and offering table settings. They could also add that they will be offering an ice cream station and even a cocktail bar.

You will describe more of this in detail later on but you can summarize it and mention it here already.

Customer Focus

For a catering business to flourish, you must know your target market early on. And though a thorough explanation of that can be found in the Market Analysis section, you can briefly state them in this portion as well.

Also, remember that your customer focus would also have to coincide with your skills. You can’t be targeting customers who are vegans if your culinary skills and knowledge do not include cooking vegan food. This is why it’s important to write this early on so you can narrow down the customers you are planning to cater to.

Mission Statement

Dinner table with a spread of different foods such as grilled steak, potatoes, salad and bread sitting on a brown table.

What’s your mission statement?

Businesses with clear goals stated from the start lead to a successful operation. Why? Because every decision you make revolves around these goals which will lead you closer to success.

Here’s a sample mission statement to picture it out clearly:

The Big Spoon aims to cater delicious home-cooked meals to its customers. Every dish that is served will contain natural and fresh ingredients. We see to it that the service we provide is top-notch so that our customers will feel as if they are being served in a fine restaurant in the comforts of their own home or wherever they choose to have us cater them.

By writing this down in your business plan, you and your staff will have to stand by the standards you’ve set for yourselves. For instance, as stated in The Big Spoon’s mission statement, no fast food will be served and no artificial ingredients will be used so you and your staff will always remember this by heart.

By following this and revolving your decisions around your mission statement, you will be able to keep such standards which will lead to pleased and returning customers.

Company Concept

Woman tying an apron in a bow behind her back.

This is the section of the business plan where you can finally put in detail the concept you’ve been planning for your catering business. Remember the things you’ve been holding back in saying in the introduction? This is the time to write them all down now.

Related Reading: 7 Powerful Ways I Promote and Market My Catering Business

You can start by answering the following questions:

  • What cuisine will you be offering?
  • How many people can you cater to?
  • Will you be offering healthy options such as vegan, keto, or paleo meals?

You may also add in other concept ideas that are not mentioned above. Just make sure to cover everything so you can have a basis for your product line and services to be tackled later on.

Market Analysis

Plate, fork and knife advertising catering for all occasions.

A compelling catering business logo.

Planning to put your business out there means you also have to know the industry you’ll be diving into. This is to help you analyze your potential customers, the growth of the catering business in your area, and the competition.

Target Market

As mentioned above in the customer focus, your skills will have to match your target market. You’ve already written a brief introduction about it so in this section, all you have to do is to explain it in detail.

Industry Analysis

business plans for catering business

The catering business has been going on for a long while now so it’s important to gather in as much information as you can regarding this industry. This is to help you figure out if there is a potential market for your business and how to put your plans into action.

Another helpful guide is to look into the type of cuisine most people in your area look for. You can then incorporate it into your business and offer it as part of your menu.

The bottom line is that analyzing the industry around you helps you plan better for the future of your catering business.

Competitive Analysis

You will not be the only catering business in your area. You’ll have to consider restaurants as your competition too. Check their prices and set menus. Do a competition check by tasting their food once in a while. Knowing who the players are in this competitive business game gives you the upper hand because you’ll be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and how to deal with them on the field.

Management Structure

business plans for catering business

Determine the key players in your business.

A catering service is run by a few people. In this section of the business plan, you’ll list down everyone who is working on this business alongside you as well as the roles they possess in your business. This includes:

  • Business Partners
  • Accountants
  • Co-chefs (If you’re not the only one doing the cooking)

Why is this so important, you might ask? Stating clear business roles and laying out the management structure keeps everyone in check and helps avoid any misunderstandings. Most businesses that don’t define this early on end up having a messy workflow. So make sure to state each duty clearly for everyone to follow.

Product Line and Services

Italian burgers add that delicious Italian flavor to this American classic food

Burgers are a proven catering option.

This section of the business plan goes hand in hand with your company concept. Here you can present your different sample menus for all the cuisine you wish to cater to. Be sure to include the prices for the set menus per head.

You can also write down the services you plan to offer. Here are some you can consider for your catering business:

  • Out of town catering
  • Cocktail station
  • Set up style (buffet or plated)
  • Table setting (formal or casual, rustic or summer feel)
  • Wait staff or food display only

Writing them all down in this section will keep your business more organized which is very important when you start on your catering business.

Sales and Marketing

Grilled chicken from a barbecue food truck

Grilled chicken is another popular option for caterers.

How are you going to market your catering business? Do you plan to have an ad out in your local newspaper and on social media? Both strategies are fine but you need to find more ways to get your catering business out there.

One way to market yourself is to partner up with rental spaces such as function halls that do not provide food. Give them a proposal that when there are inquiries regarding the rental of their halls, they would present your set menus to the guests as well so they don’t need to trouble over finding a caterer.

Related Reading: How I Started a Legit Catering Business Out of My House

Partnering with several event coordinators is also a way to get your business known. People these days hire event coordinators to do all the planning for them. They expect these coordinators to answer all their questions from food, music, and decorations. By partnering up with an event coordinator, they’ll be the ones to pitch in your catering business to their customers.

Remember to uphold your mission statement as well. By providing good food and high-class standards during your catering event, you’re already marketing your products and services to the number of people you’re catering to. So always make an exceptional first impression because that will stay with the guests long enough for them to remember hiring you on their next and succeeding events.

Financial Plan

fried chicken

Plan your financial future.

Knowing where you’re going to get the funds to start your catering business is a must. This is how you’ll know if your plans are going to be achievable or not. Besides, having a solid financial plan will also allow you to go through with your ideas without any interruptions.

In this section, break down your financial plan into two categories which are your plans to request for funding and your financial forecast.

Funding Request

Some business owners are ready to put up their catering business due to having saved enough money through the years. But what if you lack the funds to do it? Don’t fret. You can still loan from the bank and invite investors.

Whatever your plan is that deals with requesting for funding, include it here so you can document it.

Financial Forecast

business plans for catering business

Make conservative and best case scenario financial forecasts.

Reaching break-even is the ultimate goal when you’re putting up a business. You can compute how long it will take you to reach it early on in the planning stage.

You can also list down all your proposed expenses here which include the following:

  • Pots, pans, and other large kitchen appliances and tools for cooking
  • Chafing dishes
  • Dessert displays and trays
  • Table cloths, plates, glasses, and utensils
  • Uniforms for you and the staff
  • Storage boxes and food warmers

You may also add in tables and chairs if you do not want to keep on renting these. But sometimes, the venue where you’ll be catering can provide these as well.

Download Now: Bakery Business Plan Templates for 2021

Be sure to include your staff’s payroll expenses. Since catering events are not done daily (unless you’ve already made a name for yourself and you’re booked every day), you can just have your wait staff be on call and pay them per catering event rather than a daily wage.

By computing these, you’ll know just how much you should allot for your startup capital and how much should your goals be to reach during every catering gig in order to profit off of it.

Operational Plan

business plans for catering business

What’s your operation plan?

Put your plan into action by making a timeline of your operations. Here is an example:

Date Plan [Insert Date Here] – Finalize the business documents you need such as permits and registrations for your catering business. [Insert Date Here] – Start marketing your business on social media and the local news. Send out proposals for partnerships with event coordinators and function halls. [Insert Date Here] – Hire and train staff. [Insert Date Here] – Start catering when booked. [Insert Date Here] – Achieve goals and reach break-even.

The appendix section of the business plan is where you can put all your documentation. This includes photos of your food and table setting and your copies of the permits and registration for your catering business.

Download Templates

Here are the catering business plan samples in PowerPoint, Word Doc, Google Doc, and PDF. These are ideal for commercial or home-based catering businesses.

  • Catering business plan template Google Doc
  • PDF catering business plan sample
  • Catering PowerPoint template
  • Catering businesses are ideal because there is no space for you to rent which is considered one of the main expenses that can be quite heavy on the pockets. You will be cooking in the comfort of your own home. Just make sure your place can handle heavy cooking and there is enough space for you and your staff to move about.
  • It would be nice to learn more about the different cuisines as you go along so you can cater to a wide variety of audiences.
  • Include a checklist of all the equipment you need to operate at the start. These equipment requirements make up the bulk of your startup costs. You can download a checklist of frequently used catering equipment here .

Throughout this entire guide, we have been referring to your readers as one of the main reasons why you should make your catering business plan easy to understand. But in truth, making this business plan is for you as well. You will need this plan when you’re requesting for financial assistance in banks and this would also serve as your work guide. So remember to keep it detailed and easy to comprehend because you will be using this on the road to putting up your business.

While opening a catering business can be extraordinarily rewarding there are a few factors you should consider before deciding to push ahead. Creating a business plan lets you understand what the factors are, what’s going to make this business become a success, and how you can profit from the venture.

If you’re serious about starting a catering business, don’t forget to sign up for our Food Business Startup Kit . This free community will give you access to exclusive interviews with catering professionals you can use to help grow your own business.

Want to start your own food business?

Hey! 👋I’m Brett Lindenberg, the founder of Food Truck Empire.

We interview successful founders and share the stories behind their food trucks, restaurants, food and beverage brands. By sharing these stories, I want to help others get started.

If you liked this story, sign up for our newsletter that includes our food business startup kit and most popular interviews sent straight to your inbox.

Know someone interesting that should be interviewed on the website? Tell us about them here. 

About the Author: Brett Lindenberg

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business plans for catering business

How to Start a Catering Business (12 Steps)

Bryce Warnes

Reviewed by

April 8, 2021

This article is Tax Professional approved

If you’ve got a flair for fine cooking and entertaining, and you’re ready to start working for yourself, then maybe it’s time to start your own catering business.

Catering companies in the US raked in a total of $11 billion revenue in 2019. And if you run a catering business, you can expect to make $30,000 – $80,000 annually .

What's Bench?

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But what are the ingredients to a successful catering business? And how can you make sure yours succeeds? Here’s how to start your own catering company in 12 not-too-complicated steps.

1. Find your speciality

When your catering business fits in a specific niche, for face less competition from the big, one-size-fits-all caterers on the block. And it becomes easier to build up a solid base of repeat clients through word of mouth marketing.

Ask yourself:

  • What type of food will you serve? Will you serve everyone? Or go deep on a niche market, like vegan or gluten-free cuisine.
  • What types of functions will you serve? When you’re just starting out, smaller functions like cocktail parties, staff lunches, and wedding showers may be easiest. As your business grows, you can expand your catering services to include larger events.
  • What’s your capacity? If you’re jumping into this full time, maybe you’re ready to serve multiple functions per week. But if catering is a side hustle, you may need to limit your business activities to the weekends.
  • Who’s going to do the work? Sketch out a hiring plan, factoring in who’s going to do food preparation, sales, accounting work, etc.

Next, it’s time to see who you’ll be competing with, and who you’ll be working for.

Researching customers and the competition

It’s best to research the lay of the land before you put together your menu and start buying equipment. For instance, if you live in a small city and there are six other caterers specializing in Sikh weddings, you’ll face a lot of competition in that niche. You may want to focus on something no one else is trying, like vegan pub fare.

A search for local caterers should be your first step. See what menus are being offered, and what size functions your competitors serve. If they don’t have approximate prices on their websites, consider calling to get quotes.

After that, the best way to learn about local caterers is to talk to their customers. Not only do you get the scoop on what your competitors are doing, right or wrong, but you’ll be conducting customer research. That will help you plan how to market your business later.

A few ideas to get you started:

  • Talk to friends and family. Baptisms, weddings, wakes—chances are, you know someone who has had to plan one. Ask who they chose as a caterer, why, and what the experience was like. It may give you an idea of what types of services your business should offer.
  • Call up the people who use caterers the most. These are your potential customers, and they’re a gold mine. Wedding planners, office managers, event coordinators—they all have their own favorite caterers. Who’s the most popular caterer in town? Who has a bad reputation? What do they look for in a caterer?
  • Read the reviews. This may seem like a no-brainer, but in the rush to get your business off the ground, you may forget to investigate what customers think. Google, Yelp, and Facebook reviews for local catering companies will give you some insight into what customers like and what they don’t.
  • Look at the big picture. Reports and statistics on catering businesses nationwide can give you a bigger picture of how the industry operates, as well as recent trends. Get started by checking out Catersource’s state of the catering industry report .

2. Investigate local licensing and permits

Licensing and permits for catering companies vary state by state. Depending on your state, you may or may not be allowed to prepare meals in your own kitchen with equipment you also use for personal meal prep. And liquor licenses will have different requirements according to state.

Despite state-to-state variations, there are a few licenses and permits common across all states, some of which you’ll likely need to start your business:

  • A general business license , issued by your state, municipality, city, or county.
  • A zoning permit , depending on where you’ll locate your cooking facilities.
  • Health permits, depending on where you’ll be preparing food and whether you’ll be transporting it.

Get in touch with your local health department, as well as your Secretary of State, to learn about licenses and permits that pertain to you.

3. Create your menu

If you love food and you’re already thinking about starting your own catering business, no doubt you’ve stayed up late at night dreaming of the magnificent meals you’ll serve.

Now that you’ve done some research, answered some important questions about your business, and investigated local licensing, it’s time to write a rough draft of your menu.

While you may customize later, it’s best to start of with a set list of options. That way, you can perfect well in advance the supply orders and preparation processes for each dish you serve. Once customers choose their items, it’s just a matter of mixing and matching factors you’ve already planned out.

Your menu will be shaped by your capacity and your cooking facilities. Less tangibly, it will also be affected by what types of food you’re comfortable serving, and the niche you’re marketing to. For instance, if you only serve food with local, seasonal ingredients, your winter menu won’t offer freshly squeezed orange juice.

4. Plan your location

The location of your business will depend on local laws pertaining to catering businesses, as well as zoning regulations.

Some states may not allow you to prepare meals in your home. In that case, you have one of two choices: Rent a commercial kitchen, or prepare food on-site.

Renting a commercial kitchen increases your operating costs, but it also gives you flexibility; you’re always able to prepare meals for your customers, regardless of their location. And you’ll be able to do it in a larger capacity than you would be able at home. However, you’ll also be responsible for delivering food, so you’ll need vehicles and equipment that are up to the job.

Preparing food on-site means you’ll be relying on customers’ facilities for meal prep. That limits you to serving customers who rent or own places with kitchens—churches, community centers, and homes. You’ll save on operating costs, but pay in other ways: It’s up to you to adapt to whatever kitchen you’re using. Also, you won’t be able to serve some events—like gallery openings, work lunches, or some outdoor events.

The best plan is to decide what you’re going to serve, and to whom, and then choose the location and plan the budget that fits.

5. Get ready to buy equipment

Your equipment needs could range from a new egg whisk to an industrial mixer, from a couple of Yeti coolers to half a dozen chest freezers. It depends on the scale of your business, and your customers.

Prepare a list of all items you’ll need to get up and running. Then get in touch with a restaurant supply company, and get a quote for your shopping list. You’ll use that to help you put together the budget in your business plan.

If you’re considering financing equipment, take a look at all your options first. A small business loan or line of credit may be cheaper, in terms of interest payments, than a finance plan. And paying cash upfront may give you the option to buy used equipment, which could cost you less in the long run.

7. Prepare a business plan

“Cook it and they’ll come” is a recipe for a failed catering company. You’ll need clear plans for every part of your business in order to succeed.

On top of including research you do into customers and competitors, a startup budget, and financial projections, your business plan should cover:

  • The problems you solve for clients and customers
  • What sets you apart from the competition
  • The resources your business depends on
  • Your mission statement and vision for the future
  • What inspired you to go into business

This is just a brief overview. See our guide on how to write a business plan to put everything together one step at a time. And don’t forget to include a cover page that catches people’s attention.

A word on catering company startup costs

According to the pros , you should be prepared to budget $10,000 to $50,000 in startup costs for your catering company. Naturally, startup costs vary business to business. You’ll need to take into account your equipment, transportation, and marketing needs. Whatever your startup costs, your initial budget should be able to cover the operating costs of your business for 12 months, without taking into account revenue.

8. Create an affordable marketing strategy for your catering company

Luckily, you don’t need to buy a Super Bowl ad to get the word out about your catering business. A few inexpensive techniques can do the trick.

Keep menus and prices fresh

If customers are looking up your business, chances are they’re already thinking about having an event catered. That means they want to know what kind of menu you offer, what kind of events you cater, and how much it will cost.

Keeping menus and price lists up to date on your website helps your customers start planning before they even contact you. A couple planning their wedding would rather know if your services are in their budget before they contact you; offering price ranges up front could mean they choose you over the competitor whose website still says “under construction.”

Curate your reviews on social media

A social media profile with recent reviews proves the lights are on—you’re an active, popular business. Encourage customers to leave reviews, and be sure to address any negative ones; it’s often better to offer a refund to a customer with unrealistic expectations than to suffer the damage to your reputation caused by a one-star review.

Post sexy food pics

Pictures of the dishes you’re most proud of can get social media followers’ mouths watering, and show them you know what you’re doing when it comes to presentation. Occasional food photos are a great, low-investment way to keep your social media up to date.

Be warned, though: An unattractive photo of your cooking is worse than no photo at all. If every photo you take looks like a public warning poster about food poisoning, you may want to enlist the help of a professional.

Word of mouth marketing is your best friend

Good, bad, forgettable—whatever kind of experience a customer has with catering, they’re only too happy to share it by word of mouth. The best thing you can do is make sure your customers have good things to say about you.

One way to do that is by providing exceptional service, every time. The other way is to offer referral deals. Maybe if a customer refers someone, they get 15% off their next order—or fresh-baked breakfast muffins and coffee for their office, as a way of saying thank you. Building and maintaining good relationships, as well as incentivizing referrals, will grow your clientele faster than any print ad or flyer.

9. Choose a business structure

Your business structure determines how your catering company will be taxed, and also your level of personal liability when it comes to debts and legal proceedings.

As soon as you go into business for yourself, the IRS automatically considers you a sole proprietorship . That’s great in terms of ease—no forms to fill out, no business structure to elect. But it’s not so great if you can’t pay your debts, or someone decides to sue you.

The next step up from a sole proprietorship is a single member limited liability company (LLC) . An LLC functions a lot like a sole prop, except it sets up your business as a separate legal entity from your individual person. Meaning, you get more liability protection than you would with a sole prop.

To see all the business entity types you have to choose from, and how to elect each one, check out our guide to business structures .

10. Name your business

If you’re a sole proprietorship and you’re operating under your own name—say, Monica Geller—there’s no need to register a business name. But the minute you choose to operate under a different name—Monica’s Catering with a Smile—you’ll need to register it.

And if your business elects and structure other than a sole proprietorship, you’ll need to register your business name, regardless of whether it’s the same as your personal given name.

In either of these instances, you register your business name by filing a doing business as (DBA) form with your state and county. Our guide to DBAs gives you the full step-by-step.

11. Get insured

Business insurance protects your catering company in case the untoward happens. Even if your particular state doesn’t require you to get insurance, you should buy as many types of insurance as you need to protect your assets and shield you from being sued.

The most essential type of insurance for a catering business is general liability insurance. Chocolate fountain overflowed and permanently damage your client’s rare Persian rug? Bad batch of oysters from your supplier got some wedding guests sick? Over enthusiastic flambé took out someone’s eyebrows? General insurance has you covered.

After that, you might want to consider the following:

  • Commercial automotive insurance , for your catering van.
  • Commercial property insurance , protecting you in case your equipment or kitchen are damaged.
  • Unemployment insurance , often legally required if you have employees. It also protects you from being sued for damages if an employee loses their job.
  • Wrongful termination insurance , protecting you from being sued if an employee believes you mistreated them.
  • Key person insurance , in case your star chef is put out of commission and it costs you business.

Take a deeper dive with our complete guide to small business insurance .

12. Start bookkeeping ASAP

Doing your books may seem a far cry from sights, smells, and tastes of the kitchen. But it’s a key ingredient when you start your own business. When your bookkeeping is disorganized, so is everything else.

Good bookkeeping helps you make sure you’re getting paid by customers, make certain you’ve paid suppliers, and keep track of how much cash you have to work with. It can help you plan how to expand your business, or make it more profitable if you’re having trouble paying the bills. And when you have a complete record of expenses on the books, you can take advantage of every possible tax deduction at the end of the year.

Before you cater your first event, make sure you’ve got bookkeeping set up. There are a few ways to do that, but naturally, we recommend Bench (that’s us). You’ll get a complete team of bookkeepers who do your bookkeeping for you, plus an intuitive app to track finances—all for a flat monthly fee.

Not sure Bench is right for you? Try an appetizer first. When you sign up for a trial , we do one month of your bookkeeping free.

Join over 140,000 fellow entrepreneurs who receive expert advice for their small business finances

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business plans for catering business

How to Create a Catering Business Plan (Plus Free Template)

How to Create a Catering Business Plan

Elizabeth started her career at a small local restaurant close to her home. She had big dreams of owning a large catering business. 

Three years later, she learned the ropes, worked hard enough to save money and was ready to launch Chefdini Catering.

Hers is a tale of overcoming all odds.

Within five years, Elizabeth expanded her operations. She employed some staff and was raking in around $5 million in revenue annually.

In an era where 20% of new businesses fail within the first two years, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, how did Elizabeth pull this off?

20% of new businesses fail within the first two years

Well, it may have taken five years, but one thing that helped her navigate her journey smoothly was: 

…a Catering Business Plan.

And she’s not alone. About 70% of new businesses that manage to survive for five years follow a strategic business plan in the US.

So while several factors contribute to businesses failing within the first couple of years, there’s no doubt lack of a business plan is a major reason.

And this isn’t far-fetched.

Imagine building a house without floor plans. How long do you think it’s going to stand? Not long enough.

That’s precisely what happens when you operate your drop-off catering business without a solid plan. And this has nothing to do with how passionate you are.

Think of a business plan as a roadmap or a guide that outlines your goals and details how you intend to achieve them. It’s central to how you start and grow your business. Also, it turns your visions into a concrete action plan for success.

Having a plan is essential for drop-off caterers hoping to thrive in the current, highly competitive catering industry. 

As you read this, over 12,000 establishments are vying for the same customer as you. So running a catering business without a solid plan will only give an opening for your competitors to be many steps ahead of you.

Take Abbey Duke, CEO of SugarSnap Catering, for instance.

From the get-go, part of her strategy was to always stay competitive by serving her customers how they prefer. 

So when the pandemic hit and online ordering became the norm, she quickly leaned on HoneyCart’s order automation software to give customers the convenience they desired. And at the same time, to ensure she wasn’t losing sales to her competitors.

In her words:

“But I knew if we didn’t offer online ordering, we’d be losing sales to companies like Panera that make it easy to order. Busy customers expect convenience and will often choose it over quality.”

Making this kind of game-changing decision at a moment’s notice is one of the perks of having a solid business plan.

Now, you may be wondering:

“How do I create an effective catering business plan?” One that gives you an edge over your competitors and sets you on the path to success like Elizabeth.

Well, I got you covered.

We’ve developed a free catering business plan template you can customize to your specific needs. I know, creating a business plan, even with a free template, is still a daunting task for drop-off caterers. 

Don’t worry.

As we progress through this article, I’ll guide you on how to create one step-by-step. 

Download the free template to follow along with me:

Free Catering Business plan Template

Before we dive in, let’s take a look at some reasons why you must have a catering business plan.

Five Reasons Why You Need a Catering Business Plan

1. it shows you mean business.

Today, technology has made it easy for anyone to start a catering business. Even amateurs can create an Instagram account, post some mouthwatering dishes and wait for orders to flood in.

But is this strategy going to cut it in the long run? 

Absolutely not!

If you intend to scale your business, then it starts with a foolproof business plan. One that gives you insight into where your business is headed in the next five to ten years.

Having a business plan also emphasizes the commitment of you and everyone involved. It guides you in making smart decisions that will help scale your operations.

However, a catering business plan isn’t set in stone. This means you can change the plan as you progress. But the overall goals remain the same.

2. It Increases Your Chances of Securing Investments

Take Elizabeth, the fictional character I used at the start of this article. 

One reason she could expand her business within five years is that she secured investment and raised funds.

And what’s one crucial thing potential investors will ask before giving you funds? 

Yep, that’s right – a well-detailed business plan.

Imagine she didn’t have one. She wouldn’t have been able to raise the funds needed to expand her operations.

Here’s why:

Investors like to see your plans for scaling the business, its financial projections, industry analysis, level of risk involved, and so on.

Not having a business plan shows you are not intentional about scaling. And this significantly reduces the chances of securing funds needed to expand.

To drive home my point, Tim Berry, founder of Palo Alto Software , did a survey asking his customers questions about their businesses, goals, and business planning.

The result?

business plans for catering business

From the above report, you’ll see that those who had business plans were almost twice more likely to grow their businesses by securing capital than those who didn’t write a plan.

This emphasizes the importance of having a business plan.

3. It Helps You Understand Your Competitors

A business plan isn’t complete without researching and analyzing your competitors.

Because it helps you understand what they are doing, their offerings, pricing, and how you can improve on them.

Michele Levy , an independent brand strategy consultant agrees:

“Keeping track of who your competitors are, what people are saying about them, and what they are saying themselves can help you differentiate your business and stay ahead of trends that could impact your business.” 

Furthermore, it’s a way to:

  • Learn more about the latest market trends
  • Recognize opportunities your competitors don’t offer
  • Get an idea of your ideal customer persona
  • Threats to your business
  • Understand the catering industry better.

As a result, you can create a strategic plan that will improve your business.

4. Discover New Opportunities

Another benefit of creating a catering business plan is discovering new opportunities to boost your business in ways you never imagined.

Through research and competitive analysis, you may realize there are one or more niches that are underserved in your area.

So, instead of doing what every other drop-off caterer does, you can carve out a niche for yourself by doing something different.

For example, during the global pandemic that crippled catering activities, Chef Jolie of Low Country Quisine needed another source of revenue.

So she went back to the drawing board. 

The result? She launched a Gourmet Takeaway Service.

By making it a habit to spot opportunities in market trends, she realized the need for an online ordering platform.

According to her:

“We needed to find new ways to generate revenue during the pandemic. We launched our Gourmet Takeaway Service and needed an online platform for customers to order.”

And if she didn’t do this, here’s what would have happened:

“We would not have been able to reach as many customers without the ability to accept orders and payments online.”

5. Measure the Success of Your Business

One of the goals of running a business is to hit milestones and achieve major goals.

And the only way to measure your success is to compare results with the actual plan. This way, you can see whether you’ve achieved your operational and financial goals within a specific timeframe.

For example, you set a goal of getting at least 150 customers within six months, expanding to at least four locations within 12 months, or like Elizabeth, hit $5 million annually.

By documenting these goals, not only does it make you committed to achieving them, but it also ensures you have something to measure your success against. 

And it will give you a sense of fulfillment when you finally accomplish your goals. Without a doubt, a well-documented business plan fast-tracks achieving your goals.

Now that you know the importance of a catering business plan, let’s look at the essential elements of an ideal business plan.

Essential Elements of a Catering Business Plan

Creating a catering business plan may sound like a daunting task. But in reality, it isn’t. It’s not much different from the usual business plan. 

However, it focuses on elements specific to the food and catering industry.

So what are these elements?

  • Confidentiality Agreement
  • Executive Summary
  • Business Focus
  • Market Research
  • Marketing Plan
  • Financial Plan

Let’s take a brief look at what each of these elements should contain.

Want to create yours as you go through this guide? 

Don’t forget to download (and make a copy) of the template here . 

1. Confidentiality Agreement

How do you ensure anyone reading your business plan doesn’t disclose the content to other people? 

That’s where a confidentiality agreement comes in.

It’s an agreement between you and anyone reading your business plan not to reveal the content to any other person without your permission. 

And to be on the safe side, you should have a proper legal counsel review any agreement you use in your business.

So if they do reveal the content, you will have the right protections in place.

Here’s an example of a confidentiality agreement:

The undersigned reader of [Company’s Name] Business Plan acknowledges that the information provided is completely confidential. Therefore, the reader agrees not to disclose anything found in the business plan without the express written consent of [Business Owner’s Name].

It is also acknowledged by the reader that the information to be furnished in this business plan is in all aspects confidential in nature, other than information that is in the public domain through other means, and that any disclosure or use of the same by the reader may cause serious harm and or damage to [Company Name].

Upon request, this business plan document will be immediately returned to [Business Owner’s Name].

This is a business plan. It does not imply an offer of any securities.

Applicable Law

This contract shall be governed by the laws of the County of ________ in the State of _______ and any applicable Federal law.


Printed Name

2. Executive Summary

They say you only get one chance at a first impression. An executive summary is an opportunity to show anyone reading it what your catering business is about.

Chances are, if it lacks specific information or doesn’t capture the reader’s attention, they may not read further.

The executive summary should include a brief introduction to your catering business, your services, and who you cater to.

Here’s an example of an executive summary of Elizabeth’s fictional catering business.

Chefdini is a small catering business located in Georgia. It was founded by Elizabeth White six years ago. We specialize in Asian cuisine but also cater to Mexican and Italian dishes. Chefdini operates off-premise and on-premise catering with a focus on events, retreats, and social gatherings. 

At a glance, this brief introduction shows what Chefdini is about, the kind of cuisines they specialize in, and who their audience is. Anyone who reads it can immediately get an idea of what to expect.

3. Business Focus

The business focus details how you’ll run your business, so anyone reading it will have a clear understanding of plans, goals, and priorities.

Information to include in your business focus are:

  • Mission statement: an action-based statement that declares the purpose of your business, what you want to achieve, and how you intend to do it.
  • Business details: a summary of your business, the founders, business location, services, and ethos. 
  • Professional support: details of any professional help you have received from an individual, an organization, or the government.
  • Founders: history and background of anyone involved in starting the business
  • Team members: details of those involved in the operations of the business and their roles.
  • Aims & Objectives: as the name implies, here you include the details of what you hope to achieve with your business and the steps you’ll take to achieve it. Your aims and objectives can be short, medium, or long-term.

4. Market Research

Dan Zarrella , an analytical marketing leader and author of four books on marketing once said:

“Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed.”

And how do you get this data? Through Market Research.

Market research is the process of gathering information to understand your target market better. As such, it’s a fundamental part of a business plan.

Under market research, you’ll find:

Client Research

Your clients are the set of people who need your catering services and are most likely to pay for them. 

To have any chance of making sales, you need to understand your ideal customers, their pain points, challenges, and how you can take them from point A to their desired point B.

So, any information related to the ideal clients like age, location, gender, income, interests, pain points, or goals would add value here.

The goal is to ensure you are not targeting the wrong audience, which would result in wasted efforts.

But when you narrow down your target audience, you will be better placed to tailor your offerings to fulfill their needs.

Competitor Profiling

As I mentioned earlier, competition in the catering industry gets tougher each day, with more caterers and restaurants springing up. But this doesn’t mean there isn’t enough space in the sky for birds to fly.

However, it’s important to know how to stand out. 

And one way to do this is to research your competitors to learn more about their strengths and weaknesses. This way, you’ll discover things that will give you an edge over them.

In addition, well-detailed research about the competition will help you make a realistic assessment of your chances of success in the industry.

Some of the things to add under competitor profiling are:

  • Competitor’s Name
  • Products/services offered
  • Target audience

SWOT Analysis

The word SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

A SWOT analysis is used to evaluate your business’s chances of success and develop a strategic plan. Here you analyze internal and external factors that may help scale your business or throw a wrench in your growth.

5. Marketing Plan

A comprehensive catering marketing strategy will be crucial to your success. After all, people will only patronize you if they know your business exists. 

How do you plan to market your business? Where are you going to get catering clients from? Which channels do you plan to reach them? What’s your marketing budget?

All these are questions that need answers. So you must include your plans for marketing in your catering business plan. A solid marketing plan should contain:

  • Unique Selling Point
  • Pricing Policy
  • Sales & marketing strategy

Don’t forget we have sections in our free template to fill all essential marketing points listed above. Download it here if you haven’t. 

6. Financial Plan

Without a doubt, you need money to finance your catering business. But if you don’t have adequate financing, your business will struggle. 

Because you’ll need to pay for space, pay your staff, pay for equipment and so on. All these require a sufficient amount of funds.

And if you plan to take online orders, investing in online ordering software is a no-brainer. This will help you:

  • Process orders faster
  • Make it convenient for your customers to order
  • Save more time
  • Streamline operations without the need for hiring additional staff, thereby saving cost
  • And generate more revenue for your business.

So if you want to finance your catering business yourself, a financial plan helps you understand how much funds you need, where to cut expenses and what you need to do to become financially sustainable.

And if you plan to source funds through investors, it will provide them with enough information to determine whether they’ll get their return on investment.

Some of the things you need to include in your financial plan are:

  • Startup costs
  • Sales forecasts
  • Cash Flow forecasts
  • Other financials 

Want to know what to fill in these sections? We’ve got you covered. Simply download and make a copy of our free template to fill all essential financial plans listed above.

7. Appendix

This is where you add additional information that is referenced in the business plan. 

It can include things like:

  • Financial charts / graphics
  • CV’s / Resumes
  • Images of work
  • Partnership Agreements

Conclusion: Scale Your Catering Business with an Actionable Business Plan

As you’ve seen, creating a business plan is not as difficult as it sounds.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve started your business or you are just about to start. A catering business plan is crucial to the success of your business.

It helps you understand your business, your customers, and your competitors. Also, it gives you more insight into the catering industry, market trends, threats, and opportunities.

Another advantage of a business plan is the opportunity to set a budget aside for investing in important things that will contribute to your company’s growth. 

For example, investing in commission-free catering software like HoneyCart helps you manage your catering operations without hiring more staff.

This levels the playing field for small business caterers, helps you save cost, and generate more revenue. Just as Abbey Duke, founder of SugarSnap Catering, realized when she switched to HoneyCart. 

It automates mundane tasks to allow us to use our time as efficiently as possible. HoneyCart truly enables small caterers to compete with larger companies by having a really professional and easy-to-use online ordering system.

Want to see how it works?

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How to write a business plan for a catering company?

catering company business plan

Are you a startup catering business looking to see if your idea is viable and raise financing?

Or an existing catering company looking for ways to grow, expand or improve profitability? 

If so, this guide will provide the tools and insights you need to write a comprehensive business plan for your catering company.

This in-depth guide covers why you should write a business plan for your catering company; what information is necessary; what such plans typically include; and the best tools available for creating them. 

With these resources, you'll be well on your way toward success as an established or aspiring caterer!

On the menu:

Why write a business plan for a catering company?

  • Information needed to create a business plan for a catering company
  • What is the financial forecast for a catering company?
  • The written part of a catering business plan
  • What tool should I use to write my catering business plan?

Creating a business plan for a catering company is an essential step in the success of any food service venture. Even if you already have an established catering business, you should regularly revise and update your plan.

A business plan is essential because:

  • It forces you to think about how you will grow your business
  • It’s what financiers will look at if your goal is to get funding
  • It helps you keep track of your progress

Business planning and your catering business growth

Having a clear vision for where you want your business to go will help guide your decisions on how to get there.

Writing a business plan will force you to anticipate every aspect of your business - from pricing, marketing and staffing to forecasting, and financial planning - and act as your roadmap for the years to come.

Obtaining funding for your catering business

A well-crafted catering business plan is a mandatory tool when looking for funding.

The business plan details your company's aims and objectives and gives crucial information to potential lenders to make informed judgments about your catering business’ borrowing capacity. 

Similarly, every Investor wants to see healthy growth, profitability, and cash generation to make sure their investment in your catering company will generate a good return on investment. 

Your catering business plan will provide this detailed financial information through the income statements (P&L), balance sheets, and cash flow statements, enabling investors to make an informed decision. 

Keeping track of your catering business’s progress

A business plan is essential if you want to track the progress of your catering business. 

It’s easy to set ambitious goals, but delivering on them is what really matters. Having a business plan in place, and regularly comparing your results to what was planned, keeps you honest about your capacity to execute.

Tracking your financial performance against your forecasts is especially key as it enables you to quickly identify if you are on track or not, and when needed to adjust your forecast in order to maintain visibility on your future cash flows. 

Now that you understand the importance of writing a business plan for a catering company, it's time to look at what information is needed to create one. 

Create your catering business plan online!

Think your catering business could be profitable? Find out how with a business plan!

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What information is needed to create a business plan for a catering company?

Carrying out market research for a catering company.

Market research (a look into consumer behaviour and economic trends) is essential before writing a business plan for a catering company. 

Market research provides valuable insight into the industry and can help you to identify potential customer needs, competition, and trends in the market. 

When performing market research for your catering business you could look at answering questions like:

  • Is the sector growing?
  • What are the most attractive customer segments (corporate, weddings, or social events)?
  • Who is the competition? Is the target market saturated?
  • What types of cuisine (Mexican, Italian, vegetarian, fast food, traditional, etc.) are more profitable?
  • What are the upcoming trends in customer habits in the catering business?
  • What are sales like during weekdays and weekends? Is there a high level of seasonality?
  • What is pricing like? And how have profit margins evolved in recent years?

With this information, you can more accurately forecast revenues (sales) and create an effective marketing strategy to give your catering company the best chance of success. 

Also, it gives investors confidence in your understanding of the industry and provides evidence that you are taking steps to ensure long-term sustainability. 

Developing the marketing plan for a catering company

You will also need to think about your go to market strategy - i.e. what actions will be put in place to acquire and retain customers. 

Having a clear sales & marketing strategy in place will help you ensure you have the right level of staff, and budget for sales and marketing costs, to hit the sales targets set in your business plan. 

The staffing and equipment needs of a catering company

Before developing your catering business plan, you should evaluate the recruitment strategy and the investments required. 

Knowing how much money is needed for staffing is key to accurately anticipating the funding requirements and cost structure in the forecast of your catering company.

For example, you could consider how much it will cost you to hire:

  • A manager (event planner)
  • A supervisor
  • Dishwashers

Similarly, you should also factor in the money you will spend on equipment that is needed to start or expand your business.

Once you have collected all the necessary information to create a business plan for your catering company, the next step is to develop a financial forecast. 

What goes in the financial forecast of a catering company?

The financial forecast for a catering company contains the profit and loss (P&L) or income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement which we will present in more detail below. 

These financial tables enable the readers of your plan to assess the financial potential of your catering business, in particular its viability, borrowing capacity and potential return on investment.

The projected P&L statement

The projected P&L statement for a catering company is a financial statement that shows how much money your company is expected to make (profit) and how much it is anticipated to grow over time.

example of projected profit and loss statement in a catering company business plan

The projected balance sheet of your catering company

The balance sheet is an essential financial statement used to assess your catering company's financial position at a given time. It is a snapshot of the company’s assets, liabilities, and net worth (owner’s money left in the business after deducting liabilities from assets). 

Equipment, inventory, accounts receivable (a record of sales made on credit), investments, and cash are samples of assets a firm may own. Loans, accounts payable (purchases the business made on credit), taxes, and wages are examples of liabilities. 

Lenders, investors or business owners can get an insight into a business’s financial condition when they compare what your business owes versus what it owns. 

Also, a catering company's balance sheet will show whether it is solvent (the ability of the business to pay its long-term debt) or liquid (the business's ability to pay its short-term debt). This helps assess your catering business' funding requirements and borrowing capacity.

projected balance sheet in a catering company business plan

The projected cash flow statement

The cash flow forecast of your catering business helps you understand how much money is coming in and going out. 

This will assist you in making informed decisions about how to expand your business and plan for the future. 

Knowing your cash flow can also help you determine whether you have enough money to keep the business running or if you need additional capital.

catering company business plan: projected cash flow

The initial financing plan

An initial financing plan shows how much money you need at the start of your catering company business plan, where it will come from, and what it will be used for.

catering company: sources and uses of funds

Now that you know what you should include in your catering company's financial forecast, it's time to look at the written portion of your business plan which provides the context needed to evaluate the relevance of your financial forecast.

The written presentation of a catering company business plan

The written presentation is composed of 7 main sections:

The executive summary

  • The description of the business

The products and services section

The market analysis.

  • The strategy 
  • The operations
  • The financial plan

The executive summary of the business plan of your catering company should enable readers to quickly and easily understand who you are, what you do, and the objectives of your business plan. 

The summary should include your mission and vision statement, a comprehensive overview of the catering business, its market, key financials, an overview of your plans and goals, your business strategy, your funding requirements, and the administrative structure of your business.

Presentation of the company

When preparing the description of your catering business, it is essential to consider the different parts that make up the business. First, you should explore the structure and ownership of your enterprise. 

This includes information on who owns the business, how many shareholders there are, and what type of legal entity (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and so on) your business operates as.

The second part to consider is the location of your business. It is crucial to explain why you have chosen a particular area or city for your catering venture, and how the local market may benefit from having your services.

Finally, you should describe the management team. Include an outline of each member’s experience and certifications, and how their jobs will contribute to the catering company's success. 

A good leadership team is vital for every business plan since it increases investor trust. As a result, ensuring that they are adequately highlighted can make all the difference.

When you are writing the products and services of the business plan for a catering business, it is important to include detailed descriptions of each product or service.

For example, in this portion of the business plan, you could state that you cater to private events, weddings, corporate groups, and so on. 

Your plan's reader should have a sense of how many guests can be served for each type of event, what types of menus are available, and if any specific dietary needs can be met, as well as other significant facts.

The goal here is to ensure you adequately present all your products and services.

This information should be clear, concise and comprehensive so that potential investors or banks can get a good understanding of what exactly your catering company offers.

a range of food aligned in a buffet: illustration for the products and services section of the catering business plan

When presenting the conclusion of your market analysis in your catering business plan, you should include information about demographics and segmentation, target market, competition, barriers to entry, and regulation. 

This will help lenders and investors understand who the company is targeting with its services, and help inform their opinion of your commercial potential.

In addition to demographic information, it's also important to provide an overview of your competition in order to show potential investors why your service stands out from others in the local market.

You should also explain any relevant regulations you must adhere to when operating.

By providing such details you will give potential lenders and investors a clear understanding of how well-positioned you are for success in this competitive industry landscape.

The strategy section

When writing the strategy section of your business plan for a catering company, you should detail your competitive advantage, pricing strategy, marketing plan, milestones and risks and mitigants (how to counter the risks). 

The competitive advantage should highlight how your services are unique from other competitors in the area. This could include special cuisine options or services, such as delivery or event planning. 

In addition, a pricing strategy is essential to ensure that customers are getting value for money while still making sure that profits are maximized. Pricing should be competitive yet profitable for the business, considering market trends and the customer's willingness to pay. 

Moreover, a detailed marketing plan must be included which outlines how the company plans to promote its services and reach potential customers. 

Plus, you should set milestones to measure the success of your business plan, and risks and mitigants identified to prepare for any potential issues that may arise. 

With these elements included, your strategy section will ensure that your catering company stands out from the competition.

The operations section

This section should provide an overview of how your business is organized to achieve success and must be convincing enough to investors and banks.

The operations section of your catering business plan, you should include detailed information about your staffing team, roles and responsibilities of staff members, recruitment plans, operating hours, key assets and intellectual property needed to operate the business, and suppliers. 

In terms of staffing, your business plan should detail who will be responsible for each job role, what qualifications and experience are required for each position, and how many people will fill that role. 

The financial plan section

The financial plan section of the guide is where you talk about the financial forecast we talked about earlier in this guide. 

By now, you should have a comprehensive understanding of the information that belongs in your catering business plan. It's time to begin assembling all the parts. 

What tool should I use to write my catering company's business plan?

In this section, we’ll be reviewing three solutions for creating a business plan for your catering company: using Word and Excel, hiring a consultant, or using online business plan software.

Create your catering company's business plan using Word or Excel

Using Word and Excel sounds attractive because they are cheap, but these tools are often not the best solution for you due to their limitations.

Do you have the skills to create a forecast in Excel? This is the first issue if you are going fully manual with Excel: you need to understand what you are doing, meaning that you need to have a solid background in accounting and finance to avoid making mistakes.

The second issue is trust. Even if you avoid making mistakes, will investors and lenders think you did? 

Now when it comes to writing the actual business plan, Word is great but you start from a blank page, without instructions, and have to do all the formatting which takes forever.

Hire a consultant to write your catering company's business plan

Outsourcing the writing of your catering business plan to an accountant or consultant may be a viable option for you if you don’t have time. 

The main advantage of this approach is that consultants and accountants are used to writing business plans and financial forecasts, and thus there is less risk of errors. 

However, this method also has its drawbacks:

  • It’s expensive: it costs a minimum of $2,000 (or £1,500) to get a business plan from a consultant.
  • Revisions required after the first version of the plan are often not included in the price.
  • Unless the consultant knows your industry by heart, they are unlikely to be able to challenge your assumptions, and to be able to sell your positioning compellingly.
  • Accountants won't touch any part of the presentation (they only help with the forecast).

Using an online business plan software

Another alternative is to use online business plan software . There are several advantages to using specialized software:

  • You are guided through the writing process by detailed instructions and examples for each part of the plan
  • You can be inspired by already written business plan templates
  • You can easily make your financial forecast by letting the software take care of the financial calculations for you without errors
  • You get a professional document, formatted and ready to be sent to your bank
  • The software will enable you to easily track your actual financial performance against your forecast and update your forecast as time goes by

If you're interested in using this type of solution, you can try our software for free by signing up here .

We hope that this article has helped you to better understand how to write the business plan for a catering company. If you still have questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

Also on The Business Plan Shop

  • How to write a successful business plan for a pizzeria
  • Coffee shop business plan template

Know someone in the catering industry? Share this article with them!

Guillaume Le Brouster

Founder & CEO at The Business Plan Shop Ltd

Guillaume Le Brouster is a seasoned entrepreneur and financier.

Guillaume has been an entrepreneur for more than a decade and has first-hand experience of starting, running, and growing a successful business.

Prior to being a business owner, Guillaume worked in investment banking and private equity, where he spent most of his time creating complex financial forecasts, writing business plans, and analysing financial statements to make financing and investment decisions.

Guillaume holds a Master's Degree in Finance from ESCP Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Business & Management from Paris Dauphine University.

Published on 20 Mar 2023 , last update on 21 Jun 2023 , as per our editorial standards .

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Catering Business Plan Template & Guidebook

Starting a catering business can be an incredibly rewarding venture, offering flexibility, creativity, and a unique opportunity to express your culinary prowess. To ensure your business venture is successful, it's important to create a comprehensive business plan. Fortunately, our Catering Business Plan Template & Guidebook is here to provide you with the most up-to-date information and resources you need to make your venture a reality. This comprehensive guide will walk you through each step of the process and provide invaluable advice on how to develop an effective business plan for your catering business.


Get worry-free services and support to launch your business starting at $0 plus state fees.

  • How to Start a Profitable Catering Business [11+ Steps]
  • 10+ Best & Profitable Catering Business Ideas [2023]
  • 25 Catchy Catering Business Names:
  • List of the Best Marketing Ideas For Your Catering Service:

How to Write a Catering Business Plan in 7 Steps:

1. describe the purpose of your catering business..

The first step to writing your business plan is to describe the purpose of your catering business. This includes describing why you are starting this type of business, and what problems it will solve for customers. This is a quick way to get your mind thinking about the customers’ problems. It also helps you identify what makes your business different from others in its industry.

It also helps to include a vision statement so that readers can understand what type of company you want to build.

Here is an example of a purpose mission statement for a catering business:

Our mission at ABC Catering is to create delicious, custom-made culinary experiences that bring joy, satisfaction, and lasting memories to each and every one of our clients. We are dedicated to providing outstanding customer service and creating unforgettable, high-quality catering experiences that will leave all of our guests delighted.

Image of Zenbusiness business formation

2. Products & Services Offered by Your Catering Business.

The next step is to outline your products and services for your catering business. 

When you think about the products and services that you offer, it's helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is my business?
  • What are the products and/or services that I offer?
  • Why am I offering these particular products and/or services?
  • How do I differentiate myself from competitors with similar offerings?
  • How will I market my products and services?

You may want to do a comparison of your business plan against those of other competitors in the area, or even with online reviews. This way, you can find out what people like about them and what they don’t like, so that you can either improve upon their offerings or avoid doing so altogether.

Image of Zenbusiness business formation

3. Build a Creative Marketing Stratgey.

If you don't have a marketing plan for your catering business, it's time to write one. Your marketing plan should be part of your business plan and be a roadmap to your goals. 

A good marketing plan for your catering business includes the following elements:

Target market

  • Who is your target market?
  • What do these customers have in common?
  • How many of them are there?
  • How can you best reach them with your message or product?

Customer base 

  • Who are your current customers? 
  • Where did they come from (i.e., referrals)?
  • How can their experience with your catering business help make them repeat customers, consumers, visitors, subscribers, or advocates for other people in their network or industry who might also benefit from using this service, product, or brand?

Product or service description

  • How does it work, what features does it have, and what are its benefits?
  • Can anyone use this product or service regardless of age or gender?
  • Can anyone visually see themselves using this product or service?
  • How will they feel when they do so? If so, how long will the feeling last after purchasing (or trying) the product/service for the first time?

Competitive analysis

  • Which companies are competing with yours today (and why)? 
  • Which ones may enter into competition with yours tomorrow if they find out about it now through word-of-mouth advertising; social media networks; friends' recommendations; etc.)
  • What specific advantages does each competitor offer over yours currently?

Marketing channels

  • Which marketing channel do you intend to leverage to attract new customers?
  • What is your estimated marketing budget needed?
  • What is the projected cost to acquire a new customer?
  • How many of your customers do you instead will return?

Form an LLC in your state!

business plans for catering business

4. Write Your Operational Plan.

Next, you'll need to build your operational plan. This section describes the type of business you'll be running, and includes the steps involved in your operations. 

In it, you should list:

  • The equipment and facilities needed
  • Who will be involved in the business (employees, contractors)
  • Financial requirements for each step
  • Milestones & KPIs
  • Location of your business
  • Zoning & permits required for the business

What equipment, supplies, or permits are needed to run a catering business?

To run a catering business, you will need the following equipment and supplies:

  • Commercial kitchen space or access to a commercial kitchen
  • Cooking vessels of various sizes
  • Industrial-grade ovens and stoves
  • Freezer and refrigeration units
  • Utensils for cooking and serving, such as tongs, spoons, and knives
  • Serving trays or platters
  • Food packaging materials
  • Pots, pans, hot plates and other cooking equipment
  • Food safety supplies such as thermometers and gloves
  • Transportation vehicles

You may also need the following permits:

  • Licenses for selling food in your area
  • Health permit to serve food in your area
  • Catering license or permit if required by your state/local government.

5. Management & Organization of Your Catering Business.

The second part of your catering business plan is to develop a management and organization section.

This section will cover all of the following:

  • How many employees you need in order to run your catering business. This should include the roles they will play (for example, one person may be responsible for managing administrative duties while another might be in charge of customer service).
  • The structure of your management team. The higher-ups like yourself should be able to delegate tasks through lower-level managers who are directly responsible for their given department (inventory and sales, etc.).
  • How you’re going to make sure that everyone on board is doing their job well. You’ll want check-ins with employees regularly so they have time to ask questions or voice concerns if needed; this also gives you time to offer support where necessary while staying informed on how things are going within individual departments too!

6. Catering Business Startup Expenses & Captial Needed.

This section should be broken down by month and year. If you are still in the planning stage of your business, it may be helpful to estimate how much money will be needed each month until you reach profitability.

Typically, expenses for your business can be broken into a few basic categories:

Startup Costs

Startup costs are typically the first expenses you will incur when beginning an enterprise. These include legal fees, accounting expenses, and other costs associated with getting your business off the ground. The amount of money needed to start a catering business varies based on many different variables, but below are a few different types of startup costs for a catering business.

Running & Operating Costs

Running costs refer to ongoing expenses related directly with operating your business over time like electricity bills or salaries paid out each month. These types of expenses will vary greatly depending on multiple variables such as location, team size, utility costs, etc.

Marketing & Sales Expenses

You should include any costs associated with marketing and sales, such as advertising and promotions, website design or maintenance. Also, consider any additional expenses that may be incurred if you decide to launch a new product or service line. For example, if your catering business has an existing website that needs an upgrade in order to sell more products or services, then this should be listed here.

7. Financial Plan & Projections

A financial plan is an important part of any business plan, as it outlines how the business will generate revenue and profit, and how it will use that profit to grow and sustain itself. To devise a financial plan for your catering business, you will need to consider a number of factors, including your start-up costs, operating costs, projected revenue, and expenses. 

Here are some steps you can follow to devise a financial plan for your catering business plan:

  • Determine your start-up costs: This will include the cost of purchasing or leasing the space where you will operate your business, as well as the cost of buying or leasing any equipment or supplies that you need to start the business.
  • Estimate your operating costs: Operating costs will include utilities, such as electricity, gas, and water, as well as labor costs for employees, if any, and the cost of purchasing any materials or supplies that you will need to run your business.
  • Project your revenue: To project your revenue, you will need to consider the number of customers you expect to have and the average amount they will spend on each visit. You can use this information to estimate how much money you will make from selling your products or services.
  • Estimate your expenses: In addition to your operating costs, you will need to consider other expenses, such as insurance, marketing, and maintenance. You will also need to set aside money for taxes and other fees.
  • Create a budget: Once you have estimated your start-up costs, operating costs, revenue, and expenses, you can use this information to create a budget for your business. This will help you to see how much money you will need to start the business, and how much profit you can expect to make.
  • Develop a plan for using your profit: Finally, you will need to decide how you will use your profit to grow and sustain your business. This might include investing in new equipment, expanding the business, or saving for a rainy day.

business plans for catering business

Frequently Asked Questions About Catering Business Plans:

Why do you need a business plan for a catering business.

A business plan for a catering business is necessary because it sets out goals, objectives, and strategies that provide direction to the business. It also acts as a roadmap for the business, allowing the owners and stakeholders to track progress. Additionally, potential investors or lenders may require a business plan before investing in or lending to the catering business. A well-written business plan can serve as an essential document for securing capital and launching a successful catering operation.

Who should you ask for help with your catering business plan?

It is recommended to consult with a professional business consultant or adviser with expertise in the catering industry. Additionally, local Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) often provide free or low-cost guidance and advice on creating a business plan.

Can you write a catering business plan yourself?

Writing a catering business plan is possible to do on your own, however it is best to seek the advice of a professional who has experience in crafting and managing business plans for small businesses. A professional can provide the help you need to make sure the plan is comprehensive and tailored to your business’s unique needs. They can also ensure that the plan meets all legal requirements and fits within the local regulatory framework. Additionally, they can provide guidance on marketing, pricing, budgeting, and other business operations issues.

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I'm Nick, co-founder of newfoundr.com, dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs succeed. As a small business owner with over five years of experience, I have garnered valuable knowledge and insights across a diverse range of industries. My passion for entrepreneurship drives me to share my expertise with aspiring entrepreneurs, empowering them to turn their business dreams into reality.

Through meticulous research and firsthand experience, I uncover the essential steps, software, tools, and costs associated with launching and maintaining a successful business. By demystifying the complexities of entrepreneurship, I provide the guidance and support needed for others to embark on their journey with confidence.

From assessing market viability and formulating business plans to selecting the right technology and navigating the financial landscape, I am dedicated to helping fellow entrepreneurs overcome challenges and unlock their full potential. As a steadfast advocate for small business success, my mission is to pave the way for a new generation of innovative and driven entrepreneurs who are ready to make their mark on the world.

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Catering Business Plan

trustpilot reviews

Every event or occasion calls for good food. And although the majority of people like good food, not everyone has the talent to cook the same.

And if you are someone who receives constant compliments for your cooking then you must have thought of having your catering business.

But having a catering business is much more than that. It all boils down to the quality of your service in the end, but before that, you need to have a strategy to attract your customers’ attention, build trust, manage your finances, and many more.

All of the above might sound a little overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. All you need is a catering business plan.

Catering Industry Highlights 2023

Here is an overview of the current state of the catering industry in 2023:

Market size and growth potential:

Employment scenario:, number of operational businesses:, major market drivers:, key market trends:, financial plan:.

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business plans for catering business

How Can a Catering Business Plan Help You?

The catering business is one of the most rewarding careers as it not only lets you pursue your passion, it has the potential to grow into a huge business by size and volume if planned properly.

A business plan is helpful for a catering business because along with great cooking skills, great management skills are an integral part of a successful catering business.

A business plan can help you conduct your daily business activities without chaos, have good finances, help you find your desired customers, and make your unique business idea a marketable one.

Things to Consider Before Writing Your Catering Business Plan

Make a list of items you can serve.

Having a list of items you will serve, helps you organize your services better. It also helps your customers understand what you can offer and decide if your service is the right one for them or not.

Figure out your location and staffing coasts

Figure out from where you’ll provide services, what would be the amount of rent you’ll have to pay, which location would be good for your business , etc.

Figure out where you’ll get your supplies from

Make a list of important equipment.

Although many catering services work on the go and prefer to rent equipment, it is a good practice to have the basic equipment in case of contingency. It would also decrease your reliance on other people, and pose fewer challenges while gathering supplies for new orders.

Now that you have done the research, let’s learn how you can write a business plan for yourself.

How to Write a Catering Business Plan?

A good catering business plan consists of a clear description of your business’s functioning, your target market, the services you offer, the size of your company, a pricing strategy, and a well-designed employee management system.

Now you might wonder, where to start from, how to go about writing a plan from scratch, and most importantly how to know if you have written a good one.

Well, you need not worry.

You can easily write a well-rounded business plan either through a pre-designed template or through online business plan software.

Moreover, online business plan software can help you write a flexible business plan that grows alongside your business.

Catering Business Plan Outline

This is the standard catering business plan outline which will cover all important sections that you should include in your business plan.

  • Keys to Success
  • Financial Summary
  • Legal Entity
  • Locations and Facilities
  • Facility Design
  • Boxed lunches
  • Buffet style lunches
  • Alternative Providers
  • Future Products
  • Internal Bright Future Customers
  • Nonprofit External Customers
  • For-profit External Customers
  • Market Analysis
  • Market Trends
  • Market Growth
  • Value Proposition
  • Competitive Edge
  • Distribution Strategy
  • Marketing Programs
  • Pricing Strategy
  • Promotion Strategy
  • Of Grape & Grain
  • Cravings Fine Foods
  • Ariana’s Deli
  • Fettuccini and Co
  • Napoli Restaurant
  • Brindiamo Catering
  • Wild Duck Brewery
  • Oregon Electric Station
  • Local and national grocery stores chains
  • Local and national sandwich fast-food chains
  • Strategic Alliances
  • Organizational Structure
  • Management Team Gaps
  • Personnel Plan
  • Other General Assumptions
  • Fundraising Strategy
  • Fundraising Programs
  • Funding Forecast
  • Start-up Summary
  • Income Statement (5-Year Projections)
  • Balance Sheet (5-Year Projections)
  • Cash Flow (5-Year Projections)

Although your plan will keep changing as your business grows, here are a few key sections that would form the foundation of your business plan:

1. Executive summary

This executive summary section would be the first one on your plan. It provides a summary of all that your business stands for. It can be divided into the following subsections:

  • Objectives : This segment would consist of the chief objectives of your company. What it aims to achieve, who it wants to serve, and where it wants to reach.
  • Mission : This segment includes the mission statement of your business, it consists of what market gap you plan on filling with your business.
  • Financial Summary : This segment will give a summary of the past and present condition of your finances as well as projected gains of your business.

A clear executive summary can come in handy if you need funding.

2. Operational Strategy

The operational strategy section helps you plan how to work toward achieving your business goals. It can be divided into the following subsections:

  • Day-to-day activities : In this segment, you’ll write an overview of the best way of carrying out your business from onboarding clients to fulfilling the services.
  • Long-term goals : This section would consist of long-term goals like serving a certain number of clients, growing your business to a certain size, and expanding to a certain number of branches, etc.

A good operational strategy would make your business activities less chaotic and prevent them from being all over the place.

3. Market Analysis

In this segment, you’ll write down every single detail you can find out about the market. It would include the following segments:

  • Market trends : Knowing about all the prevailing market trends can help you design a plan that would change as per the evolving market, and also help you maintain the foundation your company stands on. It would also give you an overview of what your competitors are doing.
  • Target Market : This segment would describe everything about your target market. The locations they prefer, the kind of cuisines they are into, how and when they procure catering services, etc.

This segment helps you understand what you are getting yourself into.

4. Services

This section consists of a detailed description of the services you offer. For example, the events you cater to, the volume of people you can serve, the food options your services have, what additional services you offer, etc.

This segment helps your target audience understand your services better, it helps them in deciding whether you are the right fit for them or not. So, make sure you describe your services in a clear and precise manner.

5. Financial Plan

The financial plan segment includes everything starting from the funds you need to start your business, the funds you need for procuring supplies and employing people, the projected cash flow of your business, expected profit, and loss of your business, pricing strategy, etc.

Download a sample catering business plan

Need help writing your business plan from scratch? Here you go; download our free catering business plan pdf to start.

It’s a modern business plan template specifically designed for your catering business. Use the example business plan as a guide for writing your own.

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.


Write your business plan with Upmetrics

A business plan software like Upmetrics is the best way to draft your business plan. This incredible tool comes with step-by-step instructions, customizable templates, and 400+ sample business plans to help you get started.

So, whether starting a catering business or planning to grow an existing one, Upmetrics is the tool you need to create a business plan.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning today!

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Frequently asked questions, how do i write a business plan for catering.

Writing a catering business plan from scratch requires a lot of research, but you can report it most effectively with the help of a catering business plan example. Using our business plan software, you can also quickly finish your plan in just a few hours or less.

What should be included in a catering business plan?

These are the key components of a business plan your catering plan must include to stand out to investors:

  • Executive summary
  • Business Overview
  • Products and services
  • Sales and marketing strategies
  • Operations plan
  • Management team
  • Financial plan

Where to find business plan writers for your catering business?

While many business plan writers are available to help you, believe it or not, no one knows your business better than you. So we recommend you write your catering business plan and outline your vision as you have in your mind. You can use AI business plan generators like Upmetrics to speed up the writing process.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a catering business plan?

Following are some of the common mistakes to avoid when writing a catering business plan:

  • Poor market research and ignoring industry trends.
  • Inadequate and inaccurate financial projections.
  • Undefined goals and lack of details.
  • Including outdated and irrelevant information.
  • Not proofreading the document for typos and grammatical errors.
  • Not regularly updating your business plan.

About the Author

business plans for catering business

Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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Catering Business

Back to All Business Ideas

How to Start a Catering Business

Written by: Carolyn Young

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by: David Lepeska

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

Published on October 27, 2021 Updated on November 28, 2023

How to Start a Catering Business

Investment range

$23,750 - $55,750

Revenue potential

$325,000 - $750,000 p.a.

Time to build

1 - 4 months

Profit potential

$39,000 - $75,000 p.a.

Industry trend

Your culinary talents make you and your family happy, so why not spread that joy to the rest of the world?

Take your cooking skills to the next level and embark on a new career in the wonderful world of catering. If you enjoy parties and specialized food preparation for events of all kinds, then let your entrepreneurial spirit guide you into starting your own catering business.

Starting a business takes planning and hard work, but if you follow this simple, step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to build your own catering business from scratch.

Looking to register your business? A limited liability company (LLC) is the best legal structure for new businesses because it is fast and simple.

Form your business immediately using ZenBusiness LLC formation service or hire one of the Best LLC Services .

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons.

Every business has its advantages and disadvantages, including running a catering business. Weigh each pro and con to find out if catering can work for you.

  • Invest in your passion – Share your culinary talents with your community.
  • Flexible – Work on your own time and in your own niche.
  • Simple – Uncomplicated business model with a consistent service offering.
  • Opportunity – There are always reunions, weddings, corporate events, etc.
  • Choose your clients – Choose your own clients and workload, with a high degree of client retention if you deliver good service and delicious food.
  • Rich networking capabilities – You never know who you will meet at an event!
  • Must satisfy – Even one dissatisfied or sick customer can hurt your business.
  • Health and safety – Food preparation means you are legally bound to focus on.
  • Weak profits – Catering industry offers relatively low profit margins.
  • Repetitive – Catering can be repetitive work, leading to high employee turnover.
  • Low scalability – Difficult to scale your business over time.

Catering industry trends

In the last decade, the catering business has grown faster than the rest of the US economy, benefitting from a larger urban population and more corporate events. 

Industry size and growth

  • Industry size and past growth – Market researcher IBISWorld values the US catering industry at $16 billion. The market has recovered from the pandemic slump, which brought the average annual growth rate to 1.4% over the past five years.(( https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/market-size/caterers-united-states/ ))  
  • Growth forecast – Market research firm Technavio expects the global catering industry to grow 4.5% annually through 2025.(( https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/catering-services-market-2021-2025-industry-analysis-market-trends-growth-opportunities-and-forecasttechnavio-301349349.html )) 
  • Number of businesses – There are around 145,000 caterers in the US.(( https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/number-of-businesses/caterers-united-states/ ))
  • Number of people employed – The industry employs nearly 300,000 people.(( https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/employment/caterers-united-states/ ))

catering industry size and growth

Trends and challenges

Trends in the catering industry

Tech design and education firm Harbinger Learning(( https://harbingerlearning.com/blog/catering-industry-growing-by-leaps-and-bounds-and-sustaining-beyond/ )) attributes the industry’s strong growth to four main factors:

  • Technological reach – Apps and websites put catering at event planners’ fingertips
  • Healthy consumer spending – The average catering order has increased in recent years due to larger corporate profits and a surge in consumer spending
  • Rise in catering avenues – Boxed lunches, catering out of a vehicle, interior decorating, and other non-traditional services have expanded industry offerings
  • Better packaging – New packaging that controls temperature and maintains food freshness has enabled caterers to be more mobile and flexible

Challenges in the catering industry include:

  • High level of competition
  • High employee turnover

catering industry Trends and Challenges

What kind of people work in catering?

  • Gender – 57% of caterers in the US are female, while 43% are male.(( https://www.zippia.com/caterer-jobs/demographics/#gender-statistics ))
  • Average level of education – 47% of caterers hold a bachelor’s degree and 28% hold a high school diploma.(( https://www.zippia.com/caterer-jobs/education/ ))
  • Average age – The average age of a caterer is 36 years old.

catering industry demographics

How much does it cost to start a catering business?

Entrepreneur magazine estimates the startup cost for a catering business at $10,000 to $50,000 , with an average of $30,000. The most significant costs include cooking equipment (~$15k) and potential furniture fixtures such as tables, chairs, and refrigerators (~$15k). And these costs are likely to increase as your business grows.

The right equipment is crucial for the successful launch of a catering business. You might consider specialty equipment for your particular menu needs. Here’s a list of some of the major items you may need to get started:

  • Kitchen equipment: ovens, stoves, grills, fryers, plates, bowls, trays, utensils
  • Holding cabinets (for easily transporting trays of food)
  • Chafing dishes (steel, lidded containers to keep food warm)
  • Food pan carriers
  • Hot food tables
  • Catering carts
  • Catering service trays
  • Ice beverage bins
  • Insulated beverage carriers
  • Punch bowls
  • Tabletop and buffet displays
  • Food and drink fountains
  • Ice sculpture molds
  • Buffet serving utensils
  • Concession equipment

Here is an overview of some of the likely startup cost estimates for a catering business in 2021, as compiled by Step by Step Research:

How much can you earn from a catering business?

A catering business can expect to make $30,000 to $50,000 in annual profits, with leading jobs site ZipRecruiter putting the national average at just over $42,000. A typical catering firm maintains a 10-12% profit margin, which may be low but is a sizable improvement on restaurants’ 3-6% margin.

A catering solopreneur could thus expect to take in $350,000 to $420,000 in annual revenue, and $35,000 to $50,000 in net profit. A catering business’s main source of revenue is the per-event fee, which varies based on the number of people being served and the extent of service.

Event catering can cost clients anywhere from $500 to $3,000 and above, depending on the number of people and the market niche of the caterer. To make $40,000 in annual profit, a catering firm would have to host around 200 events and charge an average of $1,800.

In your first year or two, you could work from home and do 15 events per month for $1,800 per event, bringing in $325,000 in annual revenue. This would mean about $39,000 in profit, assuming that 12% margin. As your brand gains recognition, sales could climb to 25 events per month and you could charge higher at $2,500 per event. At this stage, you’d rent a commercial space and hire staff, reducing your profit margin to 10%. With annual revenue of $750,000, you’d make a tidy profit of $75,000.

catering business earnings forecast

What barriers to entry are there?

The primary barriers to entry for starting a catering business include:

  • Startup capital – A catering business requires a kitchen, cooking equipment and possibly furniture, each of which requires significant monetary investments. Licenses, permits, and insurance are other initial costs.
  • Competition – The catering industry is growing fast and that means competition. Many restaurants perform catering services as well.
  • Logistics – Cooking a mass meal is one thing, but effectively packaging, transporting, and delivering it to an event is another. The logistics of catering can be a problem if you do not have the experience or equipment to effectively do it and maintain your food’s freshness and quality.
  • Difficult to scale – Due to the time-intensive work required, scaling your business enough to serve multiple events simultaneously is difficult.

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Step 2: hone your idea.

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a catering business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.

Why? Identify an opportunity

To begin as a prospective caterer, you should research your local market to identify what kinds of businesses are catering events, what kind of events those are, and what kind of equipment, fixtures, and logistics such events require. 

Consider the most common avenues of wedding catering and corporate catering. Other special events, such as graduations or birthdays, are also likely to use catering. Alternative niches in the realm of catering might include flowers, tables, or other non-culinary decorations and interior design.

What? Determine your products or services

Compare your local market’s needs to the food and beverage menus you’re capable of providing. Do you want to provide full-service, multiple-course meals, or just pastries, cookies, and desserts? Will you serve alcohol? These decisions could necessitate additional planning.

Determine your offerings by researching the most popular food and beverage products at the events you plan to serve. Examples of catering niches include:

  • Corporate lunches
  • Holiday parties
  • Rehearsal dinners
  • Anniversaries
  • Conferences
  • Award ceremonies
  • Bar mitzvahs
  • Box lunch events
  • Baby showers
  • Concessions
  • Dessert delivery

business plans for catering business

Adding some personality to your menu could also be a boon to your brand.

Maybe you provide the best brunch, vegan meals, or mobile dining. Traditional or cultural dishes could be popular in your market.

Consider how you’d like your dishes served — on plates, by servers, or in boxes. There are many options for your choice of food and its delivery. It is best to consider your market relative to your capabilities, both in terms of skill and equipment.

How much should you charge for your catering services?

Generally, catering services charge based on the size of the event. You should structure your pricing plan based on your expected expenses. Whether you are preparing mass meals or just delivering treats, you need to weigh labor and ingredient costs against your desired profit margin (avg. 10-12%).

Search site Thumbtack provides a handy guide on catering costs on a per-person basis. Their rates for weddings and other common events include the prices customers should expect to pay. On average, for the most common food station or buffet-style catering, they calculate that the customer will pay around $30 per head:

For high-end food and services, the prices will of course be higher. Formal plated meals with multiple courses, for instance, require more preparation time and more expensive ingredients. Here are some more example prices from Thumbtack:

Depending on your target market and specific catering offerings, this should get you started in brainstorming your own pricing plan.

Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

Your target market – whether it’s corporations, weddings, or another niche – will have different demands. You should adjust your menu and your services accordingly.

For example, weddings and rehearsal dinners are more likely to make specific requests and ask for certain dishes. Corporate events may be more informal, with generic food requests or adherence to your menu offerings.

If you are ready to customize your menu and include a capacity for your cooks to accommodate unique wishlists for meals, then perhaps you should seek out weddings, bar mitzvahs, and other personalized celebrations. If you intend for your meals to be more standardized, boxed, and templated, then corporate events and conferences may be a better fit. If you want to make extravagant meals fit for fine dining, then you should pursue the higher-end clientele looking for that type of service.

You should understand going in, no matter what type of cook you are, your menu will largely be determined by the desires of your target market.

Where? Choose your business premises

In the early stage of business development, you may want to operate your business from your home, assuming your kitchen is big enough. This will help you keep expenses in check.

But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out a physical storefront. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist , Crexi , and Instant Offices .

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:

  • Central location accessible via public transport
  • Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
  • Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed

catering business idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Catering Business Name

Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better
  • The name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for name suggestions
  • Including keywords in the name, such as “catering” or “foods”, boosts SEO
  • Choose a name that allows for expansion; “Tasty Temptations Catering” rather than “Wedding Bells Catering” or “Vegan Ventures Catering”
  • Avoid location-based names, as they may hinder future expansion

Discover over 450 unique catering business name ideas here . If you want your business name to include specific keywords, you can also use our catering business name generator. Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Find a Domain

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Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that set your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.

Step 4: Create a Catering Business Plan

Every business needs a plan, a rough outline that helps guide a startup through the launch process while maintaining focus on key goals. A business plan is also crucial for helping potential partners and investors understand your company and vision:

  • Executive Summary: A brief summary outlining the key points of the catering business plan, including its mission, objectives, and anticipated success.
  • Business Overview: A comprehensive introduction to the catering business, encompassing its mission, vision, location, and legal structure.
  • Product and Services: Details on the specific catering services offered, including menus, pricing, and any unique features that set the business apart.
  • Market Analysis: A thorough examination of the target market, customer demographics, and trends to justify the demand for catering services in the chosen area.
  • Competitive Analysis: An assessment of competitors in the catering industry, highlighting strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to inform the business strategy.
  • Sales and Marketing: Strategies for promoting the catering business, including advertising, promotions, and sales tactics to attract and retain customers.
  • Management Team: Profiles of key personnel in the catering business, outlining their roles, expertise, and contributions to the company’s success.
  • Operations Plan: Detailed information on the day-to-day operations of the catering business, covering logistics, suppliers, staffing, and facilities.
  • Financial Plan: Projections for the financial performance of the catering business, including revenue forecasts, expense estimates, and break-even analysis.
  • Appendix: Additional supporting documents and information, such as resumes of key team members, detailed financial spreadsheets, and any other relevant supplementary materials.

what to include in a business plan

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to catering. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Businesses come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your catering business shapes your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so it’s important to choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC , which just needs to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.

types of business structures

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization , and answer any questions you might have.

Form Your LLC

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business plans for catering business

Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number , or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more.

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate on a calendar year (January–December), or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

business plans for catering business

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist , and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

  • Bank loans : This is the most common method, but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans : The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan .
  • Government grants : A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Venture capital : Offer potential investors an ownership stake in exchange for funds, keeping in mind that you would be sacrificing some control over your business.
  • Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best options, other than friends and family, for funding a catering business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept. 

types of business funding

Step 8: Apply for Catering Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a catering business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting a catering business include doing business as (DBA), health license and permit from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ( OSHA ), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits.

For a catering business, you will potentially need state-level licenses, a business license, and local county or city-based health and food-handling licenses and permits. If you plan to serve alcohol, you will need to obtain a liquor license as well.

Additional permits may be required by your state, such as a general business permit or license. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary from state to state, so check your state government’s website or contact the appropriate person to inquire about licenses and permits needed to run a catering business. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package . They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account .

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your catering business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked but is vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your life and business.

Here are some of the different types of insurance to consider:

  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of any of the above insurance types.

types of business insurance

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business.

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, a number of excellent software programs and digital tools can help you with many business tasks. 

Several catering-specific websites and online tools can strengthen your business and boost efficiency. Here’s a list of top catering software offerings: 

  • FlexCatering
  • Total Party Planner
  • BetterCater
  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks , Freshbooks , and Xero .
  • If you are unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.

Develop your website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.

You can create your own website using website builders . This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization ( SEO ) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google. 

For your catering business, the marketing strategy should focus on showcasing your culinary expertise, versatility in menu options, and exceptional service quality. Highlight how your catering can enhance various events, from intimate gatherings to large-scale functions. The goal is to establish your business as the go-to choice for clients seeking memorable, hassle-free dining experiences for their events.

Kickstart Marketing

  • Professional Branding : Ensure your branding reflects elegance, quality, and the unique flair of your catering services, from your logo to your presentation style.
  • Direct Outreach : Network with event planners, corporate entities, wedding venues, and other professionals who can refer your services.

Digital Presence and Online Marketing

  • Professional Website and SEO : Develop a visually appealing website showcasing your menu offerings, past events, and customer testimonials. Implement SEO best practices to optimize your site for relevant search terms related to catering services.
  • Social Media Engagement : Utilize platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook to post high-quality images and videos of your food, events you’ve catered, and behind-the-scenes glimpses.

Content Marketing and Engagement

  • Culinary Blog : Share posts about menu planning, event-specific catering tips, and the latest trends in event catering.
  • Customer Success Stories : Highlight testimonials and case studies from successful events, focusing on your role in creating an unforgettable experience.
  • Catering Tips and Guides : Create helpful content for event planning, dietary considerations, and how to select the right caterer for different occasions.

Experiential and In-Person Engagements

  • Tasting Events : Host tasting events for potential clients to sample your menu and experience your service style firsthand.
  • Participation in Local Events and Expos : Get involved in local food expos, wedding fairs, and business networking events to showcase your services and build relationships.

Collaborations and Community

  • Partnerships with Event Venues and Suppliers : Collaborate with event venues and suppliers for mutual referral arrangements and package deals.
  • Community Involvement : Sponsor local community events or charities, demonstrating your commitment to the community and increasing brand visibility.

Customer Relationship and Loyalty Programs

  • Referral Programs : Implement a program that rewards clients who refer new business to your catering service.
  • Repeat Business Incentives : Offer special packages or discounts to clients who book your services for multiple events.

Promotions and Advertising

  • Targeted Advertising : Use digital advertising on wedding and event planning platforms, and local online communities to reach potential clients.
  • Email Marketing : Keep past and potential clients engaged with newsletters featuring your latest menu creations, event ideas, and special offers.

Focus on USPs

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your catering service meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your catering business could be:

  • Gourmet food on the go
  • Niche food expert
  • Organic and vegan meals
  • Traditional or cultural dishes
  • Well-planned; consistent and timely delivery
  • Cater to customized requests
  • Food presentation specialist
  • Day-of prep and delivery
  • Decorations, interior design
  • Cooking instruction; a micro-culinary school
  • Offer photography/videography
  • Airline / cruise ship catering
  • Cocktail catering

unique selling proposition

You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a catering business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in a catering company for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in catering. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. Online businesses might also consider affiliate marketing as a way to build relationships with potential partners and boost business.

Step 12: Build Your Team

You may not need to hire any employees if you are starting with a small catering firm run out of your kitchen. But as your business grows, you will likely need full-time employees to fill various job roles, such as:

  • Event planner
  • Busboys and dishwashers
  • Admin & HR

Your business may at some point need to hire all of these positions, or just one or two of them, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed , Glassdoor , or ZipRecruiter . Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Run a Catering Business – Start Making Money!

Higher consumer spending and corporate marketing budgets bode well for a catering business, so be prepared to step up once the opportunity comes knocking. 

To jumpstart word-of-mouth marketing, it’s wise to identify a niche market, such as product launches, meetings and conferences, and other corporate events. But you might also want to keep your options open and cater to a broader client base. Either way, cooking up a diverse and appealing menu is important to keep clients satisfied and inspire their loyalty.

You’re now ready to launch your catering business and start your entrepreneurial journey. Good luck!

  • Catering Business FAQs

Some licenses and permits are common to all businesses, such as zoning and sales tax. Other licenses/permits are specific to the food business and will need to be obtained through your state. You may need to register your business with the Food & Drug Administration and obtain your specific licenses and permits from there, depending on the type of food and beverages you plan to provide. Ultimately, it’s best to perform your own research to determine your specific business needs. State and local health departments can help you obtain the appropriate licenses and permits.

Startup food businesses do not need to build their own facilities and kitchens. Outside using your home kitchen, most areas offer many options for renting, or even co-renting, a professional kitchen. You could use an incubator kitchen , which are meant to nurture new food businesses, or a co-packer kitchen that will make your products for a contracted price. You could co-rent a kitchen facility alongside other caterers, or even rent out a restaurant’s kitchen on off-days or off-hours. Websites like The Kitchen Door provide search services for these and other options.

Food business owners should first and foremost understand the various food safety protocols, such as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). Many food safety procedures can be learned online and health inspectors can provide further educational recommendations and training materials. In general, preparing, packaging, and labeling your food appropriately is necessary to comply with food safety protocols.

The profitability of running a catering business can vary depending on factors such as target market, pricing strategy, and operational efficiency. Successful catering businesses have the potential for high-profit margins, but careful cost management and effective operations are crucial for profitability.

To attract more clients for your catering business, network with event planners and other professionals in the industry, build a strong online presence with an impressive website and social media profiles, encourage satisfied clients to provide testimonials or reviews, collaborate with local businesses for partnerships, and create appealing marketing materials.

When organizing a catering menu, consider your target market’s preferences, offer diverse options to accommodate dietary restrictions, consider seasonality and ingredient availability, create customizable menu packages, pay attention to presentation, seek client feedback, and regularly update your menu based on preferences and market trends.

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  • Decide if the Business Is Right for You
  • Hone Your Idea
  • Brainstorm a Catering Business Name
  • Create a Catering Business Plan
  • Register Your Business
  • Register for Taxes
  • Fund your Business
  • Apply for Catering Business Licenses and Permits
  • Open a Business Bank Account
  • Get Business Insurance
  • Prepare to Launch
  • Build Your Team
  • Run a Catering Business - Start Making Money!

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Catering Business Plan Template

NOV.11, 2016

Catering Business Plan Template

If you are planning to start a catering company, you need to have a professional catering business plan. OGS Capital can help you with that; we have a team of professional business personnel and writers who work with us on a daily basis to ensure that clients get customized plans for their business. We strive to make sure that we deliver the final copy of the business plans for catering companies  to the customer on time, and this has so far helped us to get referrals and returning customers.

Tips for Succeeding in Writing a Mobile Catering Business Plan

The quality of your catering company business plan will determine whether you will get capital from investors and financial institutions. Hence, it is important to make sure that every detail in the plan is factual and verifiable before presenting it to the investors or banks.

Here are four tips for writing a good business plan for your catering company.

  • Carry out an intensive study to understand the hospitality industry
  • Convey information about the firm in a professional, cohesive, conscious language
  • Layout the various sections clearly using headings and sub-headings
  • Proofread the catering business plan to ensure that it is free of any grammatical errors and typos

Adhering to these four tips will help you to come up with business plans for catering companies  that you will not be afraid to present and defend when pitching the business idea to the financial institution. Let us proceed and discuss the primary benefits of having an expertly written small catering business plan.

Assist in Decision Making

Every decision that you make will have a positive or negative impact on your catering business. It is, therefore, important to make sure that you consider all the plausible direct and indirect effects that a resolution may have on the enterprise before implementing it to avert regrets.

A good catering company business plan will act as a blueprint that will guide you through the decision-making process. Our team will work hard to make sure that each recommendation made is right for your business. Without a catering company business plan , rest assured that you would be prone to making hasty decisions that could plunge your business in deep financial crisis.

Proper Management of Funds

Unknown to most people is that a catering company business plan does not aim to discuss the business idea only. It goes an extra mile to provide precise details of how the funds will be spent at every stage of the business growth. For instance, it describes the total amount of money that will be used to acquisition equipment. Hence, it will be instrumental in helping you manage your funds correctly. Note that it only takes one financial mistake to compromise the financial stability of the business.

Fosters Transparency and Management

Transparency and proper management are the two primary virtues that set professional catering companies from their counterparts. Poor or lack of transparency results in losses and unnecessary disagreements. All this information will be included in the plan to not only increase your chances of getting funding but also to help you make informed managerial decisions.

Facilitate Setting of Sales Targets

The marketing teams need to have sales goals that they want to achieve after a given duration. Without these goals, they will be operating in a void, and you will also not be able to monitor their performance.

Our marketing professionals will not only help you to come up with a marketing strategy but also provide ideas on how you should set sales targets and objectives.

If you are looking for professional business plans for catering companies that will enable you to enjoy these four benefits, get in touch with us by filling this form. One of our customer care business consultants will get in touch with you to discuss our services in details.

Catering business plan for starting your own building firm

Catering is a business in which you provide food to remote locations to serve people at parties, ceremonies, events, filming sites, and hospitals, etc. The service can sometimes also include the provision of furniture, tables, chairs, utensils, and crockery.

If you are a person who wants to start a business that holds minimum risks, takes a small team and a little investment, then catering is the right choice for you. Besides, another good thing about this business is that it starts yielding profits as soon as it is launched.

What you need to do is just ensure that you manage and market your business plans for catering companies properly. For that purpose, the first step to take is making a business plan for catering. If you need any help regarding how to start a catering business plan, you can have it from here. Here we are providing a business plan for a catering startup, Marlon Caterers.

Executive Summary

2.1 the business.

Marlon Caterers will be a registered and licensed catering business in Atlanta. The business aims to help people celebrate their memorable events with an unforgettable dinner. Moreover, the business will also take care of the needs of patients in hospitals by offering them healthy and nutritious food according to their doctors’ advice.

The business will provide several types of catering such as buffet catering, sit-down catering, hospital catering, corporate catering, and more.

2.2 Management

Management is a very important factor in the catering business. It’s only through efficient management that you can ensure

  • The quality of your servings is intact
  • The food prepared fulfills the dietary and hygiene requirements of your clients
  • The order is delivered and served timely and perfectly

To maintain a good reputation among your customers, you must know all the difficulties and risks you can encounter. The risks may include budget disruptions due to sudden cancellation of orders, or any small/ large mistake during the business operations.

Before starting a catering business, you should study many catering business startup plans and then prepare a set up catering business plan for your business.

2.3 Customers

Our target customers belong to various niches. They will include the residential community, business organizations, film studios, government institutions, and hospitals.

2.4 Target of the Company

In this how to start a catering company sample business plans for catering companies we are enlisting the business targets set by Marlon Caterers.

  • To reduce our customer acquisition cost by 20% by the end of five years
  • To keep our customer churn rate below 5% throughout our service years
  • To achieve a net profit margin of $22k per month by the end of the third year

Catering business plan

Company Summary

3.1 company owner.

Marlon Redford will be the owner of Marlon Caterers. Marlon has acquired a degree in Business Administration from McDonough School of Business. Marlon has been serving on a managerial post in New York’s top luxury wedding planner company, Colin Cowie for four years. But a few months back, he decided to quit the job and start his own business.

3.2 Why the Business is being started

Marlon always wanted to have a career in which he could utilize his creative ideas to serve his community. He loved food and had an interest in cooking as well. So he decided to make a small team and start a business plans for catering companies .

3.3 How the Business will be started

The first step before starting a catering business is creating a description of catering business plan. Your catering company business plan should cover all aspects such as startup expenses, market analysis, sales strategy, personnel plan, and an extensive financial plan for your business.

In this catering company business plan example, we have listed the business strategy created by Marlon Caterers. Marlon devised his start a catering company business plan himself as he had adequate knowledge to do so. If you don’t know how to write a business plans for catering companies , you should either take help from this sample business plan for catering service. Or you should hire a professional person.

Marlon will rent a facility in Atlanta to set up his office there and keep the inventory. He will purchase luxurious crockery, flatware, tableware, chairs, tables, and sofas to host high-end events. To serve the other categories of target customers, inventory that comes in reasonable rates will also be acquired.

Besides, Marlon will hire the general staff, chefs, waiters, and some supervisors to help him run the business.

The start-up requirements, start-up expenses, total assets, funding, liabilities, planned investment, and other parameters for the successful launch of the business are given below.

Catering business plan

Before you start a business plans for catering companies , you must identify the services you can provide under the catering domain. Including your services in your business plan about catering, can help you in acquiring the right licenses, required inventory, and relevant staff.

In this template of a catering business plan we are enlisting the services provided by Marlon Caterers.

We’ll offer on-premise and off-premise catering in the following categories.

  • Plated Sit-down catering

In this catering, our waiters will lay out the food on individual tables. So, the guests will have to eat whatever is laid out on the plates for them.

  • Buffet Catering

In this type of serving we will serve the dishes and food in one place. The guests will have to prepare their plates themselves according to their needs and wants.

  • Cocktail Reception

Our wedding or party dinner will be preceded by a cocktail hour. Our cocktail servings will include Manhattan cocktail, Daiquiri, Margarita, Bloody Mary, Mojito, and Hurricane.

  • Snacks & Drinks For Production Sets

We will supply food, snacks, and drinks to film studios, production sets, and shooting sites located near us. As the film crew works on a particular site on a weekly or monthly basis, so we’ll offer them various weekly and monthly packages.

  • Hospital Catering

We’ll offer fresh, healthy, and nutritious foods to hospitals for patients. Our nutrient-rich meals will help them recover fast.

Marketing Analysis of Catering Business

If you are starting a business plan for catering companies , you should focus on doing accurate marketing analysis. Through market research, you can identify local trends and expectations. Besides, you can also select the most suitable location to launch your startup.

Marketing analysis should be completed before you create a business plans for catering companies . Because it will help you in recognizing your customers and setting your prices accordingly while also making sure that you are not running at a loss.

excellent work

excellent work, competent advice. Alex is very friendly, great communication. 100% I recommend CGS capital. Thank you so much for your hard work!

5.1 Market Trends

The demand for the catering business has been high in the last few years. Due to a boost in average household income, more people had started utilizing private catering services to hold events. However, there is a slight problem these days. Due to the coronavirus pandemic mass gatherings aren’t allowed. So, your business might suffer a loss in the initial phases if you only provide catering for wedding ceremonies and parties. Marlon found the solution to this problem as he decided to offer hospital and film catering too.

Overall, business is surely profitable. According to First Research, catering industries in the U.S. make up above $11 billion in revenue on annual basis. More than 12000 catering industries are running in the U.S. Moreover, Statista also reports that the market size of this business has reached $12 billion in 2020.

5.2 Marketing Segmentation

Before you think how to write a business plan for a catering business, you should consider who will be your customers. Knowing your customers will enable you to devise customer-oriented pricing and sales strategy.

In this sample of business plans for catering companies , we have listed the market segmentation done by Marlon Caterers.

The detailed marketing segmentation of our target audience is as follows:

Catering business plan

5.1.1 Residential Community

The biggest consumer of our services will be the residents of Atlanta. They are expected to avail of our catering services whenever they host birthday or anniversary parties, gatherings, wedding ceremonies, etc.

5.1.2 Corporates & Film Producers

The second category includes business organizations that will need our catering for their business meetups, events, and parties. They are also expected to contact us for arranging just a cocktail party as that contains light refreshments and drinks to boost the energy level of workers.

Moreover, film studios that happen to shoot in Atlanta will also be needing our services. This group usually spent weeks and months on a particular site and thus need catering service continuously for days. So to compel them to hire us, we’ll offer them various weekly and monthly packages.

5.1.3 Hospitals

The last category of our target customers include hospitals based in Atlanta. They are expected to contact us for making nutritious and healthy plated foods for patients.

5.3 Business Target

Our business plans for catering companies targets to be achieved within a specified time are listed below

  • To maintain an average rating above 4.75 on our website

5.4 Product Pricing

Our prices are almost within the same range as that of our competitors. However, we’ll be offering several discounts on our initial stage to attract as many customers as possible.

Marketing Strategy

Sales strategy is also an important component of a catering business plan proposal. Through this, you can reach your qualified customers and make them comprehend that you are better than all your competitors. To give you an idea of what to include in sales strategy, we are providing the sales strategy of Marlon Caterers in this example of marketing plan for a catering business.

6.1 Competitive Analysis

Our biggest competitive advantage lies in our customer service. We are highly customer-oriented and are always willing to go the extra mile to satisfy our customers. Secondly, we have developed a user-friendly mobile app that will allow our customers to

  • Make online bookings
  • Choose venue
  • Select dishes from our menu

Third, we provide on-premise catering in which we prepare the food on site. This will be a competitive edge for us as just two to three competitors are offering it.

6.2 Sales Strategy

  • We will offer a 35% discount on our services for the first month of the launch
  • We will develop an SEO website to show our business in the top results on searches
  • We will establish a strong social media presence
  • We will advertise ourselves through Google Local ads service, local magazines, and newspapers

6.3 Sales Monthly

Catering business plan

6.4 Sales Yearly

Catering business plan

6.5 Sales Forecast

Catering business plan

Personnel plan

While writing business plans for catering companies you should also create a list of your required employees along with their job responsibilities.

7.1 Company Staff

Marlon will manage the business himself. However, he will hire the following people

  • 1 Quality Manager to ensure the quality of service by active supervision
  • 1 Inventory Manager to manage and maintain the merchandise
  • 1 Accountant to maintain financial records
  • 2 Sales Executives to market and to discover new ventures
  • 5 Catering Assistants/ Catering Chefs to prepare the food
  • 4 Waiters to serve the guests
  • 2 General Assistants to bring ingredients daily
  • 1 Web Developer
  • 2 Drivers to provide transport
  • 1 Front Desk Officer to act as a receptionist

7.2 Average Salary of Employees

Financial plan.

As you make a catering business plan, you should also start analyzing your finances. Crafting a financial plan is an absolute need for a business as it maps the ways to minimize or even avoid loss. A good financial plan comprises a strategy to cover startup expenses with earned profits. Moreover, it also proposes a systematic approach to managing employees’ salaries, cost of business operations, and costs to cater for unexpected events.

To give you an idea of how a financial plan should look like, we are giving here the financial plan of Marlon Caterers.

8.1 Important Assumptions

8.2 brake-even analysis.

Catering business plan

8.3 Projected Profit and Loss

8.3.1 profit monthly.

Catering business plan

8.3.2 Profit Yearly

Catering business plan

8.3.3 Gross Margin Monthly

Catering business plan

8.3.4 Gross Margin Yearly

Catering business plan

8.4 Projected Cash Flow

Catering business plan

8.5 Projected Balance Sheet

8.6 business ratios.

Download Catering Company Business Plan Sample in pdf

OGScapital also specializes in writing business plans such as starting coffee roasting business plan , brewery startup business plan , confectionery shop business plan , bakery business idea , cookie business plan , bed and breakfast business plan and etc.

OGSCapital’s team has assisted thousands of entrepreneurs with top-rate business plan development, consultancy and analysis. They’ve helped thousands of SME owners secure more than $1.5 billion in funding, and they can do the same for you.

business plans for catering business

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What Is a Business Plan for Catering Business?

A business plan for catering business helps you navigate your way through all the stages of building your company. 3 min read

A business plan for catering business helps you navigate your way through all the stages of building your company. Business plans help entrepreneurs stay on target while cutting stress because there's so much to think about when creating a startup business. These documents are often used for financial purposes, such as trying to get a loan or approaching potential investors.

Important Sections to Include

Every business plan should contain four or five key parts. This makes sure the document includes important facts about:

  • Your vision and goals for the business
  • Expected start-up costs
  • Licensing you need to get started
  • Your planned marketing tactics

Expect your business plan to evolve and grow alongside your company. The most effective business plans are living documents that change with your business.

Why Catering?

The catering industry is thriving, and entrepreneurs can easily scale this type of business to fit their skills and financial situation. In just the US, catering is a 12 billion dollar industry that sees growth every year. Even during a struggling economy, the demand for catering increased 1.8 percent each year, giving it the reputation of being an almost recession-proof business to start. This is because people still have the life events that create a need for catered services even when the economy is at its worst.

Client Budgets

Another reason catering is seeing so much growth is the budgets associated with catered events. For example, as far back as 2012, the average cost of catered food at a US wedding reception was 3,579 dollars. On top of that, the market segment carrying the popularity of the catering trend is households with annual earnings of six figures or more.

No Corporate Domination

Entrepreneurs also find catering appealing for another reason. This highly fragmented sector of the food industry isn't dominated by an specific corporate entity. That lack of a big company hovering and waiting to grab all segments of the market means anyone who has the skill and drive to build a catering business can do it. Larger caterers have the ability to accommodate events of any size, and even cover more than one event at once, while smaller caterers are able to emphasize the personal touch they offer.

Food and Equipment Costs

Food and equipment are the main costs for small caterers, and they are fairly easy costs to control. Due to having a head count before starting to prepare food, a caterer only has to buy the amount of food needed. This cuts waste and costs at the same time. Equipment can be rented as needed for each job, and that cost should be calculated into the quote for catering services, so it's an expense the caterer doesn't have to carry. This cuts overhead in comparison to the costs of starting a traditional restaurant.

Steps to Starting a Catering Business

Get hands-on experience in the field by working for another local caterer. Test your skill as an event planner by volunteering. Try working as a personal chef for a while. After you've explored the field and understand the market, select the niche you want to move into as a caterer. List the things that make your offering unique in your business plan. Do some research on the market in your area to see how many caterers offer similar types of cuisine. If you find that niche is already being done by several others, you can adjust your offerings.

Some Key Parts to Include in a Business Plan

The executive summary , while written last, is the first part of a business plan. It describes the business and introduces it. The company analysis provides details about your business, such as the legal structure, milestones, and its current state. The industry analysis explains the size of the market and where your catering business fits in it. The customer analysis in your business plan examines your target market and tells investors who you plan to serve in that market.

There are two main reasons to have a business plan for your catering business. A business plan is like a map. It shows you where your business is now, and the goals for the next few years so you can plan out a strategy to get there. It helps you see opportunities and things that can throw your business off track.

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Catering Business Plan Template

Whether you want to start your own catering business or expand an existing one, you need a business plan. the following catering business plan template lets you know which elements you need to include in a successful catering business plan., fill the form to download business plan templates.

To ensure your catering business success in this highly competitive market, you need a properly structured catering business plan. With over 12 years of experience, we have helped over 5,000 entrepreneurs create business plans to start and grow their catering businesses. Using the following catering business plan template, you can put together an effective business plan.

Things to Know Before Writing a Catering Business Plan

The caterer’s industry is composed of companies that specialize in providing catering services for events. The companies usually have equipment and vehicles for preparing food off-site and transporting it to events.

There are many types of events catered by industry establishments, including graduation parties, wedding receptions, business luncheons, and trade shows.

Due to low entry barriers, this industry is highly competitive based on price and product offerings.

The Caterers industry revenue is expected to recover over the 3-year period up to 2024 as platforms that connect clients with caterers gain popularity and an improving economic climate contributes to the recovery. Overall, catering industry revenues will grow at an annualized rate of 1.7% to $15.5 billion by 2024.

The main products and services offered in this industry are

  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Food products that are ready to be consumed
  • Catering services on caterers’ premises
  • Food served at events on the premises of customers or third parties
  • No-service catering
  • Other services

Key Success Factors for Catering Business

Despite the challenges of the catering industry, We have identified 6 factors that can help you boost profitability, efficiency, and ultimately success.

A reasonable pricing policy is essential: The cost of food, drinks, and any other services provided must match the type of event being catered.

Accessing niche markets: Specialization or expertise in catering can give operators an edge.

Diversified location capability: Operators should be able to host events at different locations.

Multi-skilled and flexible staff: Having the ability to hire a qualified workforce is essential to ensuring quality employees.

Compliance with government regulations: Industry operators are required to comply with all government regulations, including health regulations.

The ability to control stock: Food waste must be minimized in order to reduce costs.

What is a Catering Business Plan?

Preparing quality food in large quantities necessitates extensive knowledge, expertise, experience, staff management, precision, and culinary talent that few possess.

A catering business plan is a road-map for starting and growing your catering business. Your business plan outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing strategy, and details your financial projections.

Any bank or investor you approach will require a catering business plan, so putting one together will be critical to securing funding.

In short,  writing a business plan  can help you succeed if you’re thinking of starting a catering business or pitching to investors or venture capitalists.

catering business plan template

Free: Business Plan Examples

Do you need help creating a business plan? Check out these six free, proven business plan examples from different industries to help you write your own.

Why You Need a Catering Business Plan

Catering business plans can be used to gain interest from potential investors or to secure loans from banks. They are also helpful to you as the owner. A catering business plan allows you to thoroughly analyze every aspect of your potential business.

A solid, detailed plan gives you a clear path to follow, forces you to examine the viability of a catering business idea, and may help you better understand your company’s finances and competition.

Catering business owners who have a business plan grow 33% faster than those who don’t, and 76% of fast-growing businesses have one.

A catering business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Funding Sources for Catering Business

No matter how large or how small your catering business is, you should think about your financing options. Below are four types of funding you should investigate:

Government Incentives

When  choosing a business location , you can consider different community incentives before making your final choice. Government incentives can help reduce operating costs and long-term overheads.

You can begin your catering business with the help of the U.S.  Small Business Administration (SBA).  You can find government resources about financing your catering business by using the website’s Loans and Grants Search Tool.

Many banks offer small business loans. See if a business loan is right for you by contacting your bank. Banks also offer business lines of credit and other resources to help you find the right option.

Equipment Financing

Worried less about payroll and more about having the right tools for the job? This is where equipment financing can come in handy. Catering business owners use equipment financing to finance purchases such as industrial ovens and serving trays, among other things.

Consider finding an investor or group of investors to finance your catering company. Be sure to do your research and have the numbers and information to back up your business before you contact an investor. You will need to show progress to investors, and they will do research and investigation concerning your catering business plan. In return, investors often desire ownership of a part of your company.

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How to Write a Catering Business Plan

To write a catering business plan, you don’t need to be an expert. Our step-by-step guide will show you how to write a catering business plan, or you can just download our proven sample business plan pdf  to get a better idea.

Catering Business Plan PDF and Word

Download our catering business plan in PDF and Word here.

Executive Summary

The executive summary is the most important part of the document since it outlines the whole business plan. Despite the fact that it appears first in the plan,  write the executive summary  last so you may condense key concepts from the other nine parts.

It’s a part that catches the investor’s eye and provides key information about your company’s overview and upcoming short- and long-term goals.

Tell them what kind of catering business you have and what stage you’re in; for example, are you a startup, do you have a catering company that you want to expand, or do you have a lot of catering businesses?

Finally, an executive summary should provide investors with a preview of what they may expect from the rest of your document.

  • Provide a high-level overview of the catering industry
  • The name, location, and mission of your catering company
  • A description of your catering business, including management, advisors, and a brief history
  • Discuss the type of catering business you are operating, Give an overview of your target customers., and how your company differs from competitors in the industry
  • Create a marketing plan that describes your company’s marketing strategies, sales, and partnership plans.
  • And give an overview of your financial plan

Check out these  executive summary examples  to help you write a perfect one for your catering business plan.

Free: Executive Summary Examples

An executive summary is the most important part of your business plan, and it need not be challenging to write. This is why we have put together some awesome free Executive Summary examples for you.

Company Analysis

The company analysis follows the executive summary as the second section of a catering business plan. Your company overview will be short and clear, similar to the executive summary.

Even if they just have a few minutes, your reader has to understand what your company does and who your customers are.

The following sections will be included in your business plan’s Company Analysis:

  • Company summary:  Your company analysis will describe the type of catering business you are running and its future goals. The type of catering business you might be focused on : Social Event Catering ,  Door to Door catering ,  Wedding Catering ,  Private catering ,  Concession Catering ,  Functions/occasional Catering ,  Corporate Catering ,  Mobile Catering ,  etc )
  • Company history:  When and why did you start your catering business?
  • What milestones have you achieved so far?  Your milestones could include served 100th customer, new fleet purchase, etc.
  • Legal structure and ownership:  Do you have  S-Corp  status? Is it an  LLC ? A  sole proprietorship ? Describe your legal structure.
  • Mission statement:  An overview of your catering company’s guiding principles. Learn  how to write a perfect mission statement .

Industry Analysis

You need to include an overview of the catering business in the industry analysis you performed before sitting down to write your catering business plan.

While this research may appear to be unnecessary, it helps you to build strategies that maximize business opportunities while lowering or avoiding the identified risk.

Furthermore, market research can improve your strategy, especially if it identifies market trends. As an example, if there is a trend toward low calorie catering options, make sure your plan includes plenty of healthy, low calorie options.

The third purpose for conducting market research is to demonstrate to readers that you are an industry expert.

Industry analysis can be presented as a  8-step process  when written as part of a company’s business plan.

  • Give a quick overview of the catering industry. Define the catering business in terms of size (in dollars), historical background, service region, and products.
  • Examine previous trends and growth patterns in the catering industry.
  • Identify the market’s major competitors.
  • Age, gender, and general lifestyle of the targeted market
  • Determine the factors that have an impact on the catering industry. These might include government regulatory rules and other businesses’ competitive activities.
  • Using research data, the industry forecast expected growth over the next five to ten years. Predictions should be made for both the long and short term.
  • Describe how your catering business intends to position itself in the industry. Concentrate on how your catering business can benefit from opportunities highlighted in the industry.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section is an important part of any catering business plan since it evaluates the consumer segments that your company serves. It identifies target customers, determines what those customers want, and then explains how your catering services will meet those requirements.

Customers can be categorized into the following segments :

Business to Business Catering ,  Social Events ,  Personal collaborations and Small events like personal gatherings ,  Cultural Organisations ,  Consumer Catering(birthday parties, weddings) ,  etc.

Customer analysis may be divided into two parts:  Psycho-social profiles  (why your catering services suits a customer’s lifestyle) and  Demographic profiles  (descriptions of a customer’s demographic qualities).

With regards to demographics, include information about: the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of your customers. When targeting businesses, describe what kind of business, size, and location your target customers are.

The psychological profiles of your target clients reveal their wants and needs. The better you understand and identify these demands, the better your chances of attracting and retaining customers will be.

Competitor Analysis

It is necessary to do a competitor analysis. Because you may use their data to define your goals, marketing plans, tactics, new product lines, pricing, and more.  Use competitor analysis to:

  • Identify the strength and weakness of your catering business competitors.
  • Search for opportunities to distinguish your catering from competitors.

The first step is to determine who your direct and indirect competitors are.

The direct competitors consists of other catering businesses that offer essentially the same catering services to the same people as you do.

Your indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors.

Among indirect competitors are Hotels, Restaurants, delis, supermarkets, and customers preparing food for events at home are all included.

Once you’ve identified the competition, concentrate on the direct, head-to-head competitors, since they are the most threatening to your catering business— but keep an eye on the indirect competition as well, just in case.

Provide an overview of each direct competitor’s business and detail their strengths and weaknesses.

You will be able to position yourself competitively in the market if you perform proper competition research. Perform a  SWOT Analysis  to learn your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, and competitive advantages in the following areas:

  • Prices –  Are they offering cheaper catering services or more costly than you and other competitors, what value do buyers get for that price?
  • Quality –  Are they offering premium catering products or services, the perceived worth in the eyes of the customers
  • Customer service  – How they respond to their consumers, whether they treat them poorly or well, and the degrees of satisfaction customers show
  • Reputation  — The sum of everything mentioned above: their credibility, how loved the brand is, and the loyalty of their customers

The final section of your competitive analysis should include a list of your areas of competitive advantage. for example: Are you going to offer premium catering services? Will you make purchasing your services easier or faster for customers? Will you offer better pricing or will you offer greater customer support?

Consider how you will outperform your competitors and include them in this portion of your catering business plan.

Free: SWOT Analysis Examples

Take advantage of our free SWOT analysis examples. Make your business future-proof by identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats using this free SWOT Analysis Template.

Marketing Plan

Creating a marketing plan for a catering business involves identifying the target demographic and finding catering service that suit their preferences.

As part of your marketing plan for a catering business, you should include:

Pricing and Product Strategy

Your catering business must offer the unique lovable catering services that are different from those of your competitors.

Research what your competitors offer and how they price their catering services. Unique catering services identifies your catering business as the place to go for unique catering services and differentiates it from others.

Placing and Promotions

Place explains all your distribution methods, such as retail stores, company websites, and third-party retailers.

Promoting your catering business is the final part of your marketing plan. In this step, you will document how you will drive customers to purchase your catering services. A few marketing methods you could consider are:

  • Free samples
  • Marketing on social media
  • Make your food look professional
  • Marketing by Banner and flyers
  • Web Marketing
  • Attend Events and bring samples
  • Word of Mouth & Referrals
  • Customers also depends on menu(what food options do you offer) you provided them

You should also think about your catering company’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP), which should explain why clients should choose you over other catering businesses. Ensure that your USP is reflected in your marketing.

Recommended Article: Learn how to create a marketing plan in a business plan to create a winning catering business plan.

Operations Plan

While the previous sections described your goals, your operational plan in business plan discusses how you will achieve them.

An operations plan is helpful for investors, but it’s also helpful for you and employees because it pushes you to think about tactics and deadlines.

Your operational plan should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Who  – Personnel in charge of completing specific tasks.
  • What  – A breakdown of the responsibilities of each personnel.
  • Where  – The location of everyday operations.
  • When  –The deadlines for completing tasks and goals.
  • How much  – The amount of money required for each department to perform their job.

Your operations plan should be divided into two individual parts, as seen below.

Your daily short-term processes include all the tasks of meeting prospective clients, drawing up contracts, providing catering services (set-up, serving, clean-up, etc.), increase daily net restaurant sales, improve your top-selling services, and procuring supplies, etc.

Long-term goals  are milestones you hope to reach. they might be growing your business, such as introducing new items or services, meeting particular sales milestones, and meeting other essential business-oriented goals like recruiting more staff, opening additional locations, and so on.

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Management Team

The management team section in a business plan outlines your management team, staff, resources, and how your business ownership is structured.

This part may be easily organized by dividing it into the following points:

Ownership Structure

Internal Management Team

External Management Resources

Human Resources

This section outlines your catering business’s legal structure. If your company is a  sole proprietorship , it may simply be one phrase. It might be longer if your company is a partnership or a  corporation . You should make it a point to clarify who owns what part of the business.

This section should not only outline who is on your management team but also how each person’s skill set and experiences will contribute to the growth of your catering business. Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct expertise in the catering business. If this is the case, highlight your experience and skills.

Think of these external management resources as your internal management team’s backup. Consider forming an advisory board if your team is lacking expertise and experience with catering business.

An advisory board would consist of 3 to 7 people who would serve as mentors to your catering company. They would assist in answering queries and providing strategic direction.

If necessary, search for advisory board members with expertise running catering business.

Describe all of your company’s external professional advisers, such as accountants, bankers, attorneys, IT experts, business consultants, and/or business coaches. 

The final topic to consider in the management area of your catering business plan is your human resource needs.

Financial Plan

As part of your financial plan, you should present a 5-year financial statement broken down monthly or quarterly for the first year, and then annually. Financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.

Pro Tips: Learn how to create a financial plan in a business plan to create a winning catering business plan

Income Statement

A profit and loss statement is more commonly called an income statement . It shows your revenue and subtracts your expenses to determine whether you were profitable or not.

As you develop your income statement, you need to develop assumptions. Will you serve 50 customers per day or 200? Will sales grow by 2% or 8% per year? Your choice of assumptions will greatly impact your business’s financial forecasts. Conduct as much research as possible in order to ground your assumptions in reality.

Free: Income Statement Template

Create a financial statement for your business by downloading our free income statement templates.

Balance Sheet

While balance sheets include much information, to simplify them to the key items you need to know about, balance sheets show your assets and liabilities.

The balance sheet shows your catering business’s net value at a specific point in time. It categorizes all of your company’s financial data into three categories:

  • Assets:  Tangible goods with the monetary worth that the company owns.
  • Liabilities:  Debt owing to a company’s creditor.
  • Equity:  The net difference when the total liabilities are subtracted from the total assets.

The equation that expresses the relationship between these financial data elements is  Assets = Liabilities + Equity.

Create a pro forma balance sheet for your catering business plan that highlights the information in the income statement and cash flow projections. A balance sheet is normally prepared once a year by a company.

Balance sheets indicate your assets and liabilities, and while they contain a lot of information, they are simplified to highlight the most important things you need to know.

For example, spending $500,000 to build out your catering will not result in instant revenues. Rather, it is an asset that should help you earn money for many years to come.

Similarly, if a bank sends you a check for $200,000, you do not have to pay it back right now. Rather, that is a liability that you will repay over time.

Cash Flow Statement:

Your cash flow statement will help you determine how much money you need to start or grow your catering business. In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a catering business:

  • Fees for registering a catering business
  • Equipment costs such as blenders, stoves, and refrigerators.
  • Taxes and licenses costs
  • Business insurance
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Facility rent and security deposits
  • Construction / remodeling
  • Start-up Inventory

Free: Balance Sheet Template

Create a financial statement for your business by downloading our free balance sheet templates.

List any additional material you cannot include elsewhere, such as resumes from key employees, licenses, equipment leases, permits, patents, receipts, bank statements, contracts, and personal and business credit histories.

Attach your full financial projections along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling in the appendix.

Bonus Tip: Learn what to include in a business plan appendix when writing a catering business plan.

Summary of the Catering Business Plan

A catering business plan is a worthwhile investment. As long as you follow the template above, you will become an expert in no time. By following the template, you will understand the catering business, your competition, and your customers. The plan will help you understand the steps necessary to launch and grow your catering business.

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Catering Business Plan Template [Updated 2023]


Catering Business Plan Template

If you want to start a Catering business or expand your current Catering business, you need a business plan.

You can download the Catering business plan template (including a full, customizable financial model) to your computer here.

The following catering business plan template gives you the key elements to include in a winning plan for your own catering company. In addition to this template, conducting market research for your local customer base will help you identify potential market trends and customer segments to better understand the viability of your catering business.

Sample Business Plan For a Catering Company

Below are links to each of the key sections of a sample business plan for a successful catering business.

I. Executive Summary – The Executive Summary provides an overview of your business opportunity and summarizes the business plan.

II. Company Overview – The company analysis includes information about your business concept, catering services and legal structure.

III. Industry Analysis – The industry analysis includes market research that supports your business and provides insights into market trends and the catering industry.

IV. Customer Analysis – The customer analysis provides an overview of your target market.

V. Competitive Analysis – The competitive analysis should identify your direct and indirect competitors and highlight your competitive advantage.

VI. Marketing Plan – The marketing plan includes your marketing strategy, pricing strategy and search engine optimization plan.

VII. Operations Plan – The Operations Plan includes information on your company’s day to day operations and processes.

VIII. Management Team – The management team section includes a profile of the business owner and business management, their experience and company responsibilities.

IX. Financial Plan – The financial plan includes financial projections, a cash flow statement, profit and loss statement and balance sheet.

Download the Catering business plan template (including a full, customizable financial model) to your computer here.

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Catering Business Plan Outline

catering business plan template

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Catering Business Plan Template

Catering Business Plan Outline

  • Catering Business Plan Home
  • 1. Executive Summary
  • 2. Company Overview
  • 3. Industry Analysis
  • 4. Customer Analysis
  • 5. Competitive Analysis
  • 6. Marketing Plan
  • 7. Operations Plan
  • 8. Management Team
  • 9. Financial Plan

Start Your Catering Plan Here

Catering Executive Summary

Business overview.

Fine Foods Catering is a newly established company that will provide catering services for a variety of events and clients in the Seattle, Washington area. Fine Foods Catering will provide catering for all types of corporate and social events, non-profit fundraiser events, business meetings, luncheons, and weddings. Our services will include menu creation designed for every clients’ tastes and requirements, bar services, food preparation, delivery, service, and cleanup. Fine Foods Catering is a full-service catering company who will deliver exceptional service at an unbeatable cost. Clients will receive ultimate value when choosing Fine Foods Catering for their next event.

Fine Foods Catering will be owned and managed by local Chef Dominic Gardea. Chef Dominic has over 20 years of culinary and hospitality experience and is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy. After apprenticing under some of the most world-renowned chefs in Paris, Dominic made his way back to Seattle and led the kitchen and catering departments of a large hospitality company as an Executive Chef. Chef Dominic’s attention to detail, creativity, and passion make him a popular and often-referred Chef for local catering events of all types and sizes.

Product Offering

The following are the list of services that Fine Foods Catering will offer:

  • Corporate & social event catering
  • Bar catering
  • Corporate catering for meetings and luncheons

Customer Focus

Fine Foods Catering’starget customers are businesses of all sizes, government entities, local non-profits, and individuals in search of catering services for their wedding, birthday, reunion, etc. Businesses are the main client of a catering company as they require catering services that range from small meetings and luncheons to large corporate gatherings, galas, and holiday parties.

Management Team

Fine Foods Catering will be led by Owner and Head Chef Dominic Gardea. Chef Dominic will manage client communication, pricing, menu creation, staffing, marketing, inventory, and personnel. Chef Daniel has recruited an employee that has worked under him at the hospitality company for the past seven years, Matthew Knowles. Matthew is a certified Sommelier and Lead Bartender. Matthew is exceptionally skilled at mixing fresh and exotic cocktails and cultivating an elegant wine menu that includes selections to satisfy all wine palates. Matthew will be in charge of leading the bar program for Fine Foods Catering.

Success Factors

Fine Foods Catering will be able to offer the following advantages over the competition:

  • Professional and friendly catering service at affordable pricing.
  • Owner who will meet one-on-one with each client to have them taste sample menu items and be able to create a unique menu based on their event.
  • Uniquely tailored bar program. Find Foods Catering will employ a certified sommelier who also has bar experience that can recommend and provide wine options upon request. He is also able to create professionally crafted cocktails for every type of event.
  • A training program for each employee to ensure they are fully qualified and capable to deliver the highest standard of customer service while paying attention to detail.

Financial Highlights

Fine Foods Catering is seeking $136,500 in debt financing to open the catering business. The funding will be dedicated to secure the commercial kitchen lease, professional insurance for bonding, working capital to cover supplies and personnel, marketing costs, van, inventory, and supplies. The breakout of the funding is below:

  • Commercial kitchen lease (3 months): $4,500
  • Kitchen Equipment, Supplies, and Inventory: $50,000
  • Utility van with Fine Foods Catering logo: $50,000
  • Bonding Insurance: $10,000
  • Working capital (3 months to cover hourly wages of staff, food, and supplies): $12,000
  • Marketing (includes print ads and website design): $10,000

The following graph below outlines the pro forma financial projections for Fine Foods Catering.

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Catering Business Plan

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Bright Future Youth and Family Services

Executive summary executive summary is a brief introduction to your business plan. it describes your business, the problem that it solves, your target market, and financial highlights.">, opportunity.

Society lacks resources for the less privileged or homeless youth population. Eugene, like all the other cities, has a migration of homeless teenagers who have run away from home. They are here for a few months of the year and then they hitch down to California during the winter for warmer weather. These are young adults who have no idea how to be part of society. They can’t provide for themselves and eventually they have children and the cycle continues.

We provide at-risk youth alternative education and career assistance in Lane County. We want to make this experience valuable for our clients. We do this through a series of curricula funded by the Lane Workforce Partnership, Oregon Youth Conservation Corps, Oregon Department of Human Resources, and the local school districts.

Our most recent program is a culinary arts program in which students learn about food preparation and safe handling and then put this knowledge to use by preparing lunches for their peers at the Chambers School. After completing the 9-week curriculum, students are placed with a local food service business for a 60-hour practical training where they can continue to develop their skills. Currently, the culinary arts program is available to five students per 9-week school term, or approximately 25 students per year. Students enrolled in the program are selected because of their sincere interest in the culinary field and their excellent attendance.

According to the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, “[a]t the heart of the Eugene economy are the homegrown small and medium-sized businesses. Most of Eugene’s businesses employ fewer than 20 workers. From specialty retail shops to financial service firms, from management consultancies to ethnic groceries, Eugene’s small business community is diverse, active, thriving and well-supported. Including sole proprietorships and limited partnerships, there are more than 10,000 businesses in and around Eugene.” Eugene/Springfield’s population has grown 3.95% on average since 1998 and this new growth has meant new businesses and expanding opportunities for catering companies who can serve these businesses’ needs.

Catering For Kids anticipates that Eugene/Springfield businesses have unmet demand for catered lunch meetings and other events. And unlike other restaurant and food-related businesses, business to business catering is not as cyclical as business to consumer catering. Businesses continue to have lunch meetings and employees who wish to purchase their lunches year round. In order to gain some insight into the market size and demand, we undertook some limited market research. An email survey was sent to 144 Lane County nonprofit organizations that requested their current or future demand for catering services and their interest in patronizing a nonprofit catering business. We received many responses like the ones that follow.

“I think that this is a great idea and could be a good resource for the community. Springfield/Eugene Habitat for Humanity does not host many lunchtime meetings, however there is a group of about 13 or 14 Executive Directors of Habitat affiliates that meet here about every three months that might use your service.” – Susan Brown, Volunteer Coordinator, Eugene/Springfield Habitat for Humanity

“…if we do have an event that we need catering we will call your program first. We have a policy of using nonprofit organizations for services first.” – Bob Smith, Exec Dir, Pacific Youth Corps of Oregon

“Our needs for catering are not very large, maybe a few times a year. However, you may contact me to discuss the program. My son attends Chambers School and I would welcome hearing more details.” – Mark West, Lane County Agricultural Museum

“We do have General Membership Meetings where we require a venue for 50 to 100 people. I’m not involved with arranging the meetings but do know that our organization is in need of a place to meet where food and beer can be served. Perhaps you will hear from Dave – I think the first meeting is usually in October.” – Emily, Graduate Teaching Federation Office


A number of other caterers offer boxed lunches for business clients. However, none of these businesses specialize in serving the nonprofit sector, nor are they themselves a nonprofit that benefits the local community. Catering For Kids will specialize in developing excellent relationships with its nonprofit clientele. We believe that this unique position, combined with competitively priced, fresh, high-quality meals will set Catering For Kids apart as the premier caterer for the Lane County nonprofit sector.

Catering For Kids is dedicated to providing at-risk youth with an opportunity to gain work experience and transferable skills by providing our customers with  healthy, homemade foods and excellent service at reasonable prices. Employees of Catering For Kids will be students who are enrolled in the culinary arts program at the Chambers School and Career Center and are interested in gaining work experience in the restaurant and food services industry. The experiences the students have while participating in this program will assist them in making the transition from school to work and will allow them to develop entrepreneurial skills that will be transferable to any job in the future.


The following benchmark chart indicates our key financial indicators for the first three years. We foresee slow but steady growth in demand for our services and consequent increase in operating expenses. During year one, Catering For Kids will serve its internal market only, as we ramp up to serving the external market in year two.

Financial Highlights by Year

Financing needed.

One of our revenue lines is grant funding, $15,000 annually. And we need and anticipate donations of $2,000 per month, plus some revenue from fees for lunches and event catering.

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  • Main content

Cadillac unveils its new entry-level EV due to launch in 2024

  • The US carmaker Cadillac is expanding its electric vehicle portfolio. 
  • The company has announced a new, more affordable model called Optiq, due for release next year. 
  • GM, which owns Cadillac, plans to become a fully electric company by 2035. 

Insider Today

Cadillac has announced that it will be adding a new model, named Optiq, to its portfolio of electric vehicles.

The company, which is owned by General Motors, said that it will "act as the entry point" for buyers and that it offers "spirited driving dynamics."

Further details will be unveiled next year, the company said in a press release .

Optiq, which will be Cadillac's fourth electric car, is being pitched as a more accessible model, and it is expected to come in at a lower price point than the Lyriq, which is currently their cheapest offering at $58,590.

At the upper end of the brand are the $130,000 2025 Escalade IQ SUV and the $340,000 Celestiq sedan.

The announcement comes as General Motors continues to ramp up electric vehicle production across all its major brands, including Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC.

In 2021, the US automaker announced an ambitious plan to embrace an electric future and stop selling all non-electric vehicles by 2035. However, supply chain issues and battery cell production have delayed their progress.

Recent strikes led by the United Auto Workers (UAW) were in part related to the risk of job losses caused by GM's electrification strategy.

The strikes, which were held in September and October of this year, cost General Motors $200 million a week, the BBC reported.

EV demand has plateaued in the US auto market this year, as the wave of early-adopters dies out and the electric vehicles remain too expensive for the average buyer.

EVs accounted for 9% of all sales through September 2023.

"No matter what claim somebody can make about the long-term ownership cost of a vehicle, if the entry point is $45,000-plus, that's still steep," Vince Sheehy, a car dealer in the Washington, D.C. area, previously told Business Insider.

business plans for catering business

Watch: The rise and fall of Cadillac

business plans for catering business

GMA News Online

GMA News Online

DITO Tel launches enterprise business

Posted: November 28, 2023 | Last updated: November 28, 2023

New major telecommunications player DITO Telecommunity Corporation on Tuesday launched a unit catering to enterprises to capture the growing small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.

At a press conference in Taguig City, DITO Tel chief administrative officer Adel Tamano introduced DITO Business—the telco’s foray into the business-to-business segment of the country’s telecommunications space.

This unit will cater to the still underserved SMEs, DITO Tel chief executive officer Eric Alberto said.

“We have nearly one million enterprises registered, 800,000 are active and operating… a lot of their requirements are still underserved,” he added.

Tamano said DITO Tel will officially introduce plans for enterprises by the first quarter of 2024.

“Choosing DITO Business means choosing a standalone 5G network architecture that is independent of existing legacy infrastructures. This will future-proof your business—we are the only telco in the country that can legitimately claim this,” Tamano said.

“Only DITO Business standalone 5G can unleash the full potential of 5G, offering enhanced speed, lower latency, and the ability to connect a massive number of devices simultaneously,” the DITO official said.

Alberto said that from one million subscribers in June 2021, “DITO now enjoys the support of more than nine million SIM -registered subscribers.”

“DITO has now successfully built over 7,000 base stations, covering over 830 cities and municipalities and exceeding 80% of our population network coverage. Given this, we are confidently on track to achieve the  5th and final  year hurdle of 84% on schedule in 2024,” the DITO Tel chief said.  — BM, GMA Integrated News

This article DITO Tel launches enterprise business was originally published in GMA News Online .

Nov. 28, 2023. Photo: Ted Cordero

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  1. Catering Business Plan Template Sample Pages

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  1. Catering Business General Staffing Tips

  2. 🕵️Pro Business Plans Review 2023

  3. Unveiling Business Success Secrets: Practical Guide to Business Plans

  4. A Business Plan Demo

  5. What makes your business plans so special ? #businessplaninhindi #businesstips

  6. How to start a catering business/ Measurements used / Tips and tricks by Revathy Shanmugam


  1. Catering Business Plan (How to Write & Template)

    A catering business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines the intended activities, objectives, and strategies for a new or existing catering business. It serves as a roadmap for effectively establishing and operating a catering business. How to Write a Catering Business Plan (Step-by-Step)? Step 1: Gather Important Information

  2. How to Start a Catering Business in 9 Steps

    Small Business How to Start a Catering Business in 9 Steps A catering business can be a tricky venture to run, but taking the right steps can improve your chances of success.

  3. How To Write a Catering Business Plan

    Build your catering business plan with this template.

  4. Catering Business Plan Template & Guide [Updated 2023]

    If you want to start a catering business or expand your current one, you need a business plan. Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 5,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their catering businesses.

  5. How To Write a Catering Business Plan w/ Templates (PDF, Word Doc)

    Start your business plan with an executive summary. This is a way to introduce your catering business so whoever is reading your business plan will know what to expect. This will include a brief introduction of your catering business, a description of your company, the services your catering business will be providing, and the customer focus.

  6. How to Start a Catering Business (12 Steps)

    7. Prepare a business plan "Cook it and they'll come" is a recipe for a failed catering company. You'll need clear plans for every part of your business in order to succeed. On top of including research you do into customers and competitors, a startup budget, and financial projections, your business plan should cover:

  7. Catering Business Plan Template (2023)

    What Is a Catering Business Plan? What Are the Main Types of Catering Businesses? What Are the Main Sources of Revenues and Expenses for a Catering Business? How Do You Get Funding for Your Catering Company Business Plan? What are the Steps To Start a Catering Business? Where Can I Get a Catering Business Plan PDF?

  8. How to Start a Profitable Catering Business [11+ Steps]

    Draft a catering business plan. Pick a business name & business entity that works best for you. Find ways to finance your catering startup. Open a professional business bank account. Set up your accounting & tax reporting. Obatin the necessary licenses & permits for your catering business.

  9. How to Create a Catering Business Plan (Plus Free Template)

    Threats to your business. Understand the catering industry better. As a result, you can create a strategic plan that will improve your business. 4. Discover New Opportunities. Another benefit of creating a catering business plan is discovering new opportunities to boost your business in ways you never imagined.

  10. How to Start a Catering Business

    4. Do your research and write your business plan. When you're finally ready to make a go of it and launch your catering business, the first thing you have to do is determine what makes your business unique. One way to describe this is your unique value proposition, or UVP.

  11. How to write a business plan for a catering company?

    The business plan details your company's aims and objectives and gives crucial information to potential lenders to make informed judgments about your catering business' borrowing capacity.

  12. The #1 Catering Business Plan Template & Guidebook

    How to Write a Catering Business Plan in 7 Steps: 1. Describe the Purpose of Your Catering Business. The first step to writing your business plan is to describe the purpose of your catering business. This includes describing why you are starting this type of business, and what problems it will solve for customers.

  13. Catering Business Plan Template: A Step-by-Step Guide (2023)

    Funding Forecast. Start-up Summary. Income Statement (5-Year Projections) Balance Sheet (5-Year Projections) Cash Flow (5-Year Projections) Although your plan will keep changing as your business grows, here are a few key sections that would form the foundation of your business plan: 1. Executive summary.

  14. Entrepreneur's 2023 Guide: Launching a Catering Business

    $325,000 - $750,000 p.a. Time to build 1 - 4 months Profit potential $39,000 - $75,000 p.a. Industry trend Growing Commitment Full-time Your culinary talents make you and your family happy, so why not spread that joy to the rest of the world? Take your cooking skills to the next level and embark on a new career in the wonderful world of catering.

  15. Free Catering Company Business Plan Template + Example

    Key sections in this catering company business plan: All of our sample business plans are complete and include all of the sections that bankers and investors expect to see. Every plan includes the following sections: Executive Summary: A quick overview of your plan and entices investors to read more of your plan.

  16. Catering Business Plan Sample [2023 UPD]

    Here are four tips for writing a good business plan for your catering company. Carry out an intensive study to understand the hospitality industry Convey information about the firm in a professional, cohesive, conscious language Layout the various sections clearly using headings and sub-headings

  17. 23 Best Catering Business Ideas to Start In 2023

    As a starting caterer, you can expect to earn about $30,000, while top caterers at high-end or established businesses often pull in upwards of $80,000, and established businesses are making $300,000 to $700,000. Here are 23 profitable and lucrative catering business ideas for you. So, Let's dive deeper and look at the ideas.

  18. What Is a Business Plan for Catering Business?

    A business plan for catering business helps you navigate your way through all the stages of building your company. Business plans help entrepreneurs stay on target while cutting stress because there's so much to think about when creating a startup business. These documents are often used for financial purposes, such as trying to get a loan or ...

  19. Catering Business Plan Template

    To ensure your catering business success in this highly competitive market, you need a properly structured catering business plan. With over 12 years of experience, we have helped over 5,000 entrepreneurs create business plans to start and grow their catering businesses.

  20. Catering Business Plan Template & Example [Updated 2023]

    Below are links to each of the key sections of a sample business plan for a successful catering business. I. Executive Summary - The Executive Summary provides an overview of your business opportunity and summarizes the business plan. II. Company Overview - The company analysis includes information about your business concept, catering ...

  21. Catering Business Plan Executive Summary

    Fine Foods Catering is seeking $136,500 in debt financing to open the catering business. The funding will be dedicated to secure the commercial kitchen lease, professional insurance for bonding, working capital to cover supplies and personnel, marketing costs, van, inventory, and supplies. The breakout of the funding is below: Working capital ...

  22. Catering Business Plans Deerfield Beach FL

    Try our best business plan writers online and make your venture successful. 15,000+ business plans are written with 100% satisfaction and unlimited revisions. Skip to content +1 954-573-3110

  23. Catering Business Plan

    One of our revenue lines is grant funding, $15,000 annually. And we need and anticipate donations of $2,000 per month, plus some revenue from fees for lunches and event catering. Your business plan can look as polished and professional as this sample plan. It's fast and easy, with LivePlan.

  24. Cadillac's Entry-Level EV Is Coming in 2024

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  25. DITO Tel launches enterprise business

    New major telecommunications player DITO Telecommunity Corporation on Tuesday launched a unit catering to enterprises to capture the growing small and medium enterprise (SME) sector. At a press ...