How to start a catering business

How to start a catering business

Business Development

Vakilsearch Staff

Vakilsearch Staff

11 Sep 2020, 10:29 — 6 min read

We all love our food, right? And herein lies the answer to the question- why is food catering business one of the most thriving businesses in India?


The catering business does not require too much of an initial investment. The food catering industry in India is said to yield an average annual growth of 25-30%. You can always have a humble beginning and then build on it as you get more clients along the way. Therefore, if you have any catering business ideas up your sleeves; it’s time to bring them to light.


Is your mind cluttered with too many questions? Are you confused as to where to start?


Fret not! we will tell you how to start a catering business in India. Here are some points you need to keep in mind-


1. Make a proper catering business plan

The first thing is to find your catering niche. Study the market, try to get authentic feedback from customers, and think about how you can ‘fill the void’. Some of the areas you can work on are contract catering for special events, private chef services, banquet lunch boxes, and so on. You can create a menu for each of the areas you have finalised.


Next, you should decide on the space you need and your storage requirements. If you are planning to have a full-time business, you require a permanent cooking facility and storage. If you are looking to start online catering services or a part-time business, you may rent kitchen space to suit your needs.


2. Decide on your budget & capital source

The next step is to decide on your budget & source of capital. The budget may vary according to your preferences. You must also make a plan to spend your money efficiently on on-site equipment, licenses, rental costs, transport, and other such expenses.


If you do not have enough money to start the catering business, you can start approaching investors. If you can present your business as a lucrative and promising one, you will be able to attract investors easily. These days, different Government departments offer schemes to small business owners. You can also approach these agencies/departments and avail loans and other financial benefits.


3. Decide on the equipment & suppliers

Base the purchase of your kitchen equipment on the menu you have finalised. For example, if most of your items are fried, you may need a couple of fryers. On the other hand, if a majority of your items are baked, installing more than one oven will be a better idea. Other important equipment you may need include storage cabinets, multiple-compartment sinks, refrigerators, heated & non-heated holding areas, utensils, etc.


Initially, you can buy your consumable products/raw materials from any local distribution agency/farmer. Once you grow a little bigger, you can have large and reputed suppliers working for you. You may also get a special deal from bigger suppliers once you become a prominent name in the market.


Also read: 7 ways how a Food Delivery App can help grow your restaurant business


4. Get your permits & licenses

You need to obtain different types of permits and licenses before starting your catering business. The Government of India issues quite a few licenses to businesses that deal with food items. But, the vendor registration with FSSAI is mandatory for any food catering business. In addition to this, you also need to obtain different licenses/clearances such as the Shops & Establishment license, sewage license, fire and water clearance, etc from the concerned authorities under the State Government, before you can operate.


Once you operate with these permits/licenses, there will be periodic inspections from the authorities to check whether you are maintaining the prescribed health, hygiene, and safety standards, among others.


 Also read: 10 things entrepreneurs should know about patents


5. Hire adequate manpower

Any new business needs dedicated and quality manpower. Initially, you can handpick people for head chef, junior cooks, and delivery people. When you have enough funds, you can hire an agency to provide you trained and experienced manpower.


6. Market your brand

You can’t afford to ignore the value of marketing your new food catering business. You can use the below-mentioned marketing techniques to generate leads and convert them into customers.

  • Word of mouth - This is very important for a catering business. Build a personal touch with your customers so that they spread good ‘word of mouth’ regarding your offerings/services.
  • Use the power of social media - Most of the millennials and event planners are available on social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram. You need to mark a consistent presence on these platforms and build fruitful connections.
  • Create your own website - By creating your own website, you can showcase your items to a larger audience. You can also have blogs on food items to engage potential customers and to build trust with them. 
  • Offers and campaigns - Organise campaigns in banquet halls, malls, and other prominent places. Provide offers to repeat buyers and look for referrals.


Also read: Legal requirements for starting an organic food business


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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker


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Vakilsearch Staff

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