Sample Catering Business Plan

Before you know exactly what services you will offer, you have to research your customers to know exactly what they want to buy.This will require you to research local catering businesses to understand what products and services they offer, their prices, and how they market themselves.Researching the preferences and demographics of your potential customers will also inform your marketing strategy and pricing.

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Your business plan should contain four or five sections and include information about the your vision of the business, start-up costs, licensing and marketing strategies.

Describe your catering service and the types of foods you want to prepare in the first section of your business plan.

Contact local commercial real estate agents to inquire about available industrial kitchen space or contact local restaurants to ask if they rent out kitchen space during off-hours, which are usually late at night or early in the morning.

Working from home typically provides limited space to work unless you have a large kitchen, so keep this in mind when determining the amount of space needed to work comfortably.

Some catering services serve guests at the table while others provide buffet-style meals where guests can choose from a variety of foods, beverages and desserts, and, in some cases, serve themselves.

List specific types of food, such as Asian, Italian, German or American cuisine, as applicable and a sample menu if possible.Thus, you could tailor your menu to suit these preferences, especially if other catering businesses do not cater to them adequately.You will not simply copy what other catering businesses do―but learning what other businesses do and don’t do will let you fit your business into a competitive sector of the market.Indicate whether you plan to provide tables, table settings, chairs and other items needed for an event if requested by the client or if you plan to outsource this work to an event rental company.Determine the amount of space needed to run your catering business in the second section of your business plan.Because there is much to consider when starting a business, a business plan may help you stay focused and reduce stress.Business plans are commonly used when seeking financing from banks and other lending institutions.List all permits needed to legally operate a catering business in the third section of your business plan.Apply for a food dealer's permit if you plan to sell food to the general public.Next, you will describe the catering market you want to fit into and specifically describe how your services will be competitive in it.Elaborate on how you will offer specific services, such as corporate catering, for example, and how they will stand out from other catering services.

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