If you are thinking of starting a catering business, there is no time like the present to start. With over 140,000 catering businesses in the US alone, there is a huge market and demand for catering services and catering business ideas.
There are different types of catering services you can offer your target market. However, the catering industry is enormous, and it is crucial to create your unique selling proposition to be ahead of the competition.
Key Takeaway - Choosing a unique idea that will grow catering business can be challenging with hundreds of catering business ideas. Several catering business ideas exist, from being a restaurant contract caterer to offering group catering services for team meetings.
Let’s look at some of the best catering business ideas you can adopt for your catering business.
5 Best Catering Business Ideas to Get You Started
- Mobile Catering Business
Mobile catering is a type of catering business in which meals are prepared and served from a vehicle. These trailers, also referred to as "lunch wagons" or "concession trailers," have refrigeration and heating systems with a kitchen unit installed.
A mobile catering unit might be employed as concession stands at a fair, a street vendor selling meals to passersby, or an emergency food delivery service. In addition, some caterers use these vans to serve their guests at event locations without access to a commercial kitchen.
However, most States do not allow the sale of food from mobile catering vehicles. Check the regulations of the state or municipality you want to operate your catering services before starting.
Tips For Starting a Mobile Catering Business
- Write restaurant business plan
- Design your catering business plan
- Secure mobile catering permits and license
- Register the catering vehicle
- Buy catering insurance
- Use catering management software
- Set your prices
- Get your mobile catering van and catering equipment
- Hire catering team
- Promote and grow catering business
- Event Catering Business
Event catering is one of the most common types of catering businesses. From birthdays and backyard barbeque events to small luncheons and retirement parties, event caterers cover various events and food.
If you have a flair for event planning and food, you can start an event catering business. However, in the long run, most event caterers become complete enterprise event planners and open an event management business.
However, it is essential to understand the basics of catering for different categories of guests and parties. Furthermore, to stand out in the event catering industry, you must be willing to put extra effort into planning your eCommerce marketing strategy.
Event catering also requires a large team of great employees, including bartenders, wait staff, and servers. Your team must be prepared to work most weekends and be on their feet.
Tips for Starting an Event Catering Business
- Build a relationship with other event vendors such as wedding planners, photographers, and bakery business owners
- Work with a great team
- Be great at organizing events
- Use professional wait staff uniforms
- Offer competitive pricing
- Make delicious food
- Lunch Catering Business
The lunch catering business involves preparing meals, especially lunches, for customers in a company. You may cater lunch for small teams within a department or the entire company.
With lunch catering, a company places a group order on your website or mobile ordering platform. Your team picks the order, and you deliver it at the set date and place. Lunch catering thrives on group orders.
It is crucial to be creative with the order management process. For instance, Jason Deli allows team members to choose their meals when they order. They can also decide if they want to split their payment or if one person pays for the group order.
Having a digital catalog and a well-planned menu is essential to the success of your lunch catering business. It is also important to use the perfect food packages and boxes to deliver food to customers.
Usually, lunch catering is an offshoot of a full-service catering business or a restaurant business. However, you can take advantage of this and become the go-to catering service for lunches.
Tips for Starting a Lunch Catering Business
- Invest in automated order management software like Revolution Ordering
- Use restaurant QR code menu
- Create flexible menu options
- Build a connection with the corporate community
- Try digital marketing to reach more customers
- Make a brand statement with your food packages
- Customize your shipment packing slip
- Work with the best delivery route optimization software
- Meals to Go Catering Business
Meals-to-go catering businesses offer customers quick meal options. This type of catering involves preparing dishes that customers can heat in an oven when they’re ready to enjoy the meal.
Tips for Starting a Meals-to-go Catering Business
- Research your niche market
- Use an online order management system
- Implement eCommerce marketing strategies
- Partner with the right wholesale restaurant food distributors
- Health Catering Business
Health catering is a specific-type catering business. You should consider starting a health catering business if you fancy cooking healthy meals and making healthy drinks.
With a particular target market, it’s easier to grow your brand name. For example, health catering businesses can partner with weight-loss groups, gyms, hotels, and other customers interested in eating healthy.
Tips for Starting a Health Catering Business
- Create the perfect healthy-food menu
- Partner with a nutritionist or healthy-food expert
- Build the perfect health-themed brand marketing plan
Frequently Asked Questions About Catering Business Ideas
Starting a catering business requires careful planning and consideration. Let’s answer a few questions about choosing a catering business idea.
What is the Best Food Business to Start?
You can start various types of food businesses depending on your skills, niche market, and budget. Here are some of the best food businesses you can begin:
- Food truck business
- Gourmet bakery business
- Sell baked goods online
- Restaurant supplies
- Meal kits
- Baking subscription box
- Coffee shop
- Chocolate and snacks shop
- Baby food
- Healthy food business
How Do I Start a Successful Catering Business?
Here are some tips on how to start a successful catering business:
- Write your catering business plan
- Choose your catering niche
- Research your target market
- Buy the best catering equipment
- Get necessary permits and licenses
- Partner with the best wholesale distribution companies for wholesale food products such as wholesale dairy, wholesale coffee beans, wholesale meat, and wholesale restaurant equipment
- Work with the best catering team
- Create the perfect catering menu
- Invest in the right catering software and business process flow automation tools
- Use restaurant management software to streamline operations
- Integrate restaurant POS system
- Use customer relationship management tools
- Streamline your billing processes with eCommerce accounting tools
- Track orders with order management tools
- Promote your brand and catering business aggressively
What are the 7 Types of Menu?
Here are the seven types of menus:
- Breakfast menu
- Prix fixe menu
- Luncheon menu
- Dessert menu
- Supper menu
- Dinner menu
- Beverage menu
Now the Real Work Begins
Choosing a catering business idea means you are one step closer to launching your catering business. Remember to prepare your business and marketing plans with several ideas available to start your business.
Having an idea is the easy part. Turning this idea into a business is a whole different ball game. But, with an all-in-one eCommerce marketing and restaurant business management software like BlueCart, it is possible to make your catering business idea a reality.