March 5, 2017 at 6:21 am

What it Takes to Succeed at Catering

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a caterer but were not sure how to go about it? Like just about any kind of business you can name, there are catering companies that do okay and then there are some that just seem to not be able to do a thing wrong. They succeed beyond any expectations, and there is usually a good reason why.

It doesn’t really matter if they do BBQ Catering in Chicago or serve Italian dishes in New York City. For a company to really do well, there are a few basics they need to excel at. Of course, it all begins and ends with a willingness to work hard to get it all started. But if you want to know a few basics beyond that, here are some tips on what separates the hum drum catering companies from the ones that make you go wow.

Learn from the Best

No matter who you are or how good a cook everyone says you are, learn the catering business from those in the know. That means going and working at a local catering firm to learn the ropes first hand.

This will give you a firm understanding in what works and what doesn’t, what it takes to succeed and what kinds of pitfalls to avoid. Catering is so much more than the cooking and working at a local shop will show you just how much hard work is involved, and if you are ready for it.

Cook Like A Pro

If you want to produce anything in a kitchen for public consumption, you really need to do it in a professional kitchen. This does not mean your kitchen at home, but rather a commercial kitchen that you rent.

In fact, in some states you are required to produce anything you sell publicly in a commercial kitchen, so get familiar with the laws regarding food prep in your home state and town. This can include food that is prepared and sold at places like Farmers Markets, so think outside of simply the wedding circuit.


Rent, Don’t Buy, at First

Professional grade equipment can be expensive. This is why there is a thriving trade in the rental of professional cooking equipment. When you begin, you don’t even know if what you love to cook now is what you will specialize in, so rent the tools for the trade and learn.

Start with renting, bill your clients for the rental costs and slowly add the items you find you always need. By doing it this way you can slowly build up an inventory of the cooking tools you need most and don’t get yourself in debt trying to buy it all from the start.

Network, network, network

This is so important, especially when you are just starting out. Always have cards on hand when you go to event planning conventions as they are the folks who will hire you. Always be willing to give discounts to large organizations.

Hotels and convention centers tend to have a list of preferred caterers so you will want to network with them to get on that list. It will make the work of finding clients so much easier.

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