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The Startup Costs for a Catering Business

Mar 6, 2008
To cater a gargantuan wedding for a group of 200 or more as a new entrepreneur is not only daunting but probably impossible. Depending on the cash you have put in for your business, whether it's for restaurant equipment costs, baking supplies, or any of several kitchen items, you will often have to start as a business that operates from home catering for smaller audiences or work from a rental kitchen space until you are able to get some capital flowing.

Some polling has shown business owners beginning with as little as $500 or as much as $15,000. It really depends on the clientele that you are aiming for and what kind of equipment you are going to buy to prep food yourself. There will always be a need to at least prep most of the food before an event, even though many clients provide the kitchen for the final stages.

What Factors Determine the Cost

Having good catering supplies is essential for making quality food consistently. The following information will cover what items you may want to put on your checklist as far as ordering everything from uniforms to restaurant equipment.

Some major categories of items costs are:

- Kitchen and canteen equipment: baking supplies, utensils, pots, pans, knives etc
- Banquet supplies
- Hygiene equipment (very important as we will see later)
- Office equipment: accounting supplies, invoices, software

These are some of the tangible items, items you can go out and buy at a store or auction, or wherever a retailer may be. The other side of the business is getting the costs of permits and licenses for preparing food.

After you've written up a business proposal or plan of action, you will want to check with your local health department to discuss with a rep there. They will give you an idea of what sort of health risks you are to avoid, and what kind of cooking techniques and supplies are needed to make food safe for your clients. Remember that both federal and state mandated regulations are to be observed and followed.

Random example: The Salt Lake City Valley Health Department prints nearly 500 words for how hand washing should be performed. Food for thought.

Insurance needs to be purchased for liability concerns as well. And most in the business would advise to have a legal representative because a suit or claim against you could easily break your start up dreams.
About the Author
Art Gib writes for Able Kitchen (http://www.ablekitchen.com) who sells a large range of Restaurant equipment online. Able Kitchen houses a 35,000 square foot facility in Almonte, Florida making it an easy one stop shop for entrepreneurs buying baking or catering supplies.
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