Friends have always told you that you should do dinner parties professionally.

You’ve been hired to cook dinners for friends-of-friends, and on more than one occasion you have been responsible for the birthday cake for a 21st birthday party in the family.

When you’re genuinely talented and interested in cooking, and looking to make a career of it, it stands to reason that you might consider going into the catering industry.

But how do you know the best way to go about things, and when to do what? After all, catering isn’t just cooking – it’s running a business just like any other, albeit with a flavoursome twist, so you need to be prepared.

This handy guide to starting your own catering business has been prepared by the team at and will help you start your catering business so that you can target the events, people and parties that you want to. Let’s take a look!

Step One – Figure out what you’re going to specialise in

When you’re thinking about launching into the culinary world, you need to be aware that there are a huge number of people working in this space. Many of them are doing very well, and others are doing not so well.

The ones who are doing well have found their niche, figured out their point of difference and are doing their thing better than anyone else.

That’s what you have to do – figure out what’s going to make you the caterer to call for X service, or Y results. You might really love working with a particular ingredient, and you might have a contact or know a friend who happens to grow that item. Great.

You’re going to be able to source it for yourself cheaper and better than anyone else! You need to set yourself apart and pick a speciality such that it gives you an edge in the market. You need to be able to answer the question of why people will hire you.

Step Two – Figure out the logistics

While you might want to start cooking out of your home kitchen, you may find that you can’t until you get a health check done. Once this is in place you’re good to go – otherwise look for a commercial kitchen.

From there you just need to figure out table, linen and crockery/cutlery settings (the cost of which you can pass on to your clients until you’re ready to buy your own), and manage the food storage element.

Managing your stress during events is also really important – many people underestimate how time consuming it is to set up and pack down an event just for 20 people – let alone hundreds.

Step Three – Get the right staff

You want to be surrounded with the right people for your business, and know that you can trust people to work with you. You need to be paying yourself a wage in addition to paying anyone else who will be working with you, so knowing how to structure things will also be very important.

Step Four – Figure out the marketing

If you want to be able to be found online then make sure you have a kickass website. If you want to be able to be searched on Instagram, again, figure out the best strategy for that.

As a catering business you won’t be able to have a store that people can walk past or come inside and chat with you, so your online imagery needs to be spot on.

Step Five – Enjoy yourself

You’re starting your own business because you wanted to follow your dreams and do something you loved – so don’t forget about that when the nights are long and the people are difficult. You’ll always find that there’s something that can go wrong, but you’ll get past it!

Good luck with your catering start up. Don’t forget to get the right staff, to sort the logistics and to manage the niche that you’re going to aim for and you’ll do just fine.