Mobile catering businesses date back to the early days of hot dog vendors and roasted chestnut wagons, and they still offer a wonderful business opportunity for many culinary entrepreneurs. Operating a mobile catering business eliminates the need for the space and expense usually associated with traditional restaurants, and allows business owners to expand quickly as business grows. With some simple steps, nearly anyone with a little kitchen savvy and business sense can start a mobile catering business.
Things You'll Need
- Kitchen facility
- Catering equipment
- Catering vehicle
Set up catering kitchen facilities. If you plan to use your home kitchen to prepare food, check with the local health department for regulations and any inspections they may require. Most home kitchens are not up to basic health department standards and will need to be modified. Some common issues involve segregated storage and refrigeration facilities, dish-washing space, easily cleaned and sanitized surfaces and water temperature levels.
Establish menu and price list. Identify the type of food that your mobile catering business will offer, and put together a menu with prices. When complete, this menu will help you compute a food cost percentage for each item and establish inventory needs. This menu can be designed as a brochure, which can also double as an advertising flyer for your business.
Secure transportation. Mobile catering businesses can be operated using many types of vehicles, such as a personal automobile, van, truck or trailer. The type of vehicle necessary will depend on your menu, size of events you wish to cater, distance you expect to travel and any on-site preparation needs. If refrigeration is a concern during transport, plan room for large coolers or a portable cooling unit.
Advertise business. Market your catering business by handing out menus and brochures to local businesses. Make contact with the person responsible for booking company parties and holiday events, and ask about the bid process for upcoming events. Use your email list and the Internet to network with friends and family who might be able to help bring in new business. Set up a professional website to use for marketing and promotion of your catering business and events.