I am looking to start a catering business. Its actually a simple concep. Cooking burgers, Chicken, Hot Dogs, and Bratwurst on site on a grill. I need advise on start-up costs, Licensing and basically anything I need to get started. All help will be appreciated
#1. "RE: Starting a Catering Business" In response to Reply # 0
I recommend contacting City hall to find out what the laws are regarding food companies in your area. We food people are regulated to death, for obvious reasons and it's worse when you throw meat into the mix.
I know off-hand you will need at least three permits, one for handling and processing meat, another for selling off-site and another, what we call a "keep cold" certificate.
You will be inspected BEFORE you are allowed to be licensed for both the meat and the keep cold certs. (At least you are here).
In order to do "Barbecue", you will need an industrial barbecue. Contact Bull, they've got experts who will know exactly which machine you should use... And may have a unit that you can lease until you make enough to buy one. They come with built in sinks and running hot and cold water (you fill tanks) and they fit into the tailgate of a pickup or can be a trailer in and of themselves. Either way, they're entirely stainless steel and have to be scrubbed spotless EVERY time you use them.
I often think, the simpler the concept, the more difficult the setup.
#2. "RE: Starting a Catering Business" In response to Reply # 0
I would join a local Trade Exchange. You may be able to trade for some of your equipment and advertising. Email me if you need help finding a reputable excahnge in your area or need more info on how they work.
#3. "RE: Starting a Catering Business" In response to Reply # 0
Before you start looking into licensing and such, it seems you should survey your market as well as the competition. Will people in your area be willing to pay for your services? If so, how much? You can get a good sense of what people are willing to pay by calling other local catering companies.
Also, this may sound a bit harsher than I intend but, when I think of catering, I don't think of burgers and hot dogs -- that seems like "street" food and not "catering." Additionally, that is food that I can cook myself - why would I hire you? This is not to say that your idea will not work and I certainly do not mean to discourage you. I just think that you should do PLENTY of market research before looking into spending money on getting licensing and equipment.
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#4. "RE: Starting a Catering Business" In response to Reply # 3
There are 2 companies already doing this in this area. I have worked for one in the past.We are in a warmer climate that does not have harsh winters so this idea works year round. With the professional sports teams in the area, Tailgaiting is a big thing here and companies don't have the equipment or the time to do this on thier own. Summers bring company picnics and get togethers. This being Music City USA, the recording industry does a lot of this kind of thing.
As far as pricing goes, I have looked at the competition and know what they charge. I'm well aware that I have to think about licensing and equipment and food costs. Not to mention advertising. This is not anything I havent thought about.
#6. "RE: Starting a Catering Business" In response to Reply # 4
What are you going to do for equipment costs? Depending on how good your credit is you may look into leasing your equipment.
One of the more reputable leasing companies out there is Direct Capital. I worked for them years back and know they do a good job.
Like any leasing company they will skin you alive if you have weak credit. Unlike banks however with most leasing companies you can negotiate the lease rate they quote you. So don't forget to haggle the rate if you get that far.