How to Succeed in the Catering Industry

Last Updated: 

August 17, 2023

Much like any other small business, stepping into the catering industry comes with its challenges and advantages. If you want to succeed, then you need to know what mistakes to avoid and what opportunities to take advantage of.

Key Takeaways on Succeeding in the Catering Industry

  1. Niche Focus for Success: Identifying a specific niche within the catering industry allows for targeted marketing and improved service quality.
  2. Legalities and Licensing: Thoroughly research and adhere to all necessary licences and legal requirements to ensure a legitimate and smooth operation.
  3. Appropriate Equipment and Setup: Depending on your catering approach, acquire the right equipment and maintain proper hygiene standards for efficient and safe food handling.
  4. Diverse Catering Options: Consider offering specialised cuisines or services to stand out and attract a broader range of clients.
  5. Attention to Detail: Uniform standards, cleanliness, and proper transport methods contribute to a professional and successful catering venture.
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Find a Niche

You need to define your business before you can start trading.

There is always a market for the catering field, but the trick is to find the right niche for you. A generic catering company might be able to deal with a wider range of clients and jobs, but it comes with a cost.

Clients prefer companies that are more tightly geared toward their needs. If they feel as though you are a jack of all trades, they might doubt that you will be able to provide the best service possible.

Whether that’s true or not, finding a specific niche allows you to market more effectively to your target audience.

Potential niches include:

  • Event catering
  • Business catering
  • Party catering
  • Wedding catering
  • Commercial catering
  • Food truck

Another thing to consider is what kind of food to serve. Some catering companies stick to generic foods, but there’s something to be said for standing out and choosing a specific cuisine. 

Licences and Legality

One of the most important things to consider when opening any food business is licensing. You need to be licensed to prepare and sell food, which includes checks on health and hygiene in your working environment. 

But there are often other licences to consider. It’s important to do research in advance about all of the different legal requirements for your business and businesses in similar fields to you. These legal requirements can change depending on where you live.

It’s easy to make mistakes, which can result in your business being shut down. In the worst-case scenario, you might even be liable. Always do your research and make sure the paperwork is all above-board.

Equipment and Gear

Finally, you need to find the right equipment before you can start trading. Depending on your niche, you may need different types of equipment. For example, some catering companies cook all of their food off-site and take it to the client.

In this case, you will need a commercial kitchen location that is fully equipped and has been checked by a food safety professional. You also have to be able to transport food at specific temperatures. Use insulated containers to keep hot food hot and cold food cold. 

If you operate out of a catering van or food truck, make sure it’s fit for purpose. The van will need to have a clean cooking area that’s easy to work around, as well as places to safely store food.

But if you’re serving in a more formal setting, you may need to be equipped with catering glassware, plates, and cutlery to provide a professional service. 

Anyone working in a kitchen should follow uniform standards, including hairnets and clean clothing. It’s important to define what you need before you start trading, so you don’t encounter any setbacks on the job. 

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