How to Start a Small Catering Business in Minnesota

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Opening a catering business is a way to share your passion for food while earning a living. From weddings to private parties, business lunches and more, there is always a need for catering in the state of Minnesota. But, before you fire up the oven, there's a few things you should learn about starting a small catering business in that state.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed money
  • Form a Minnesota corporation. When starting any new catering business within the state of Minnesota, you'll want to form a corporation. Forming a corporation will allow you to do things such as limit personal liability should there be a lawsuit against you, as well as limit your tax liability by deducting the full operational cost of the business before paying any salary to yourself. Go to the website for the Minnesota Secretary of State for information on how to incorporate your catering business.

  • Find a location for your catering business. With the help of a Minnesota commercial real estate agent, find a commercial space for lease. Try to look for a commercial kitchen which already has many supplies. This will limit the liability of your start-up costs. Also try and gain favorable terms such as a low monthly payment to start with a short term lease agreement.

  • Purchase additional equipment. A catering company will need additional items that aren't always found in a commercial kitchen space. These items include warmers, containers and cooking appliances that can be transported to the catering site. Find a Minnesota-based commercial kitchen supply store and purchase these items.

  • Get the appropriate food licenses. Minnesota charges $35 for a catering license as of August 2007. To get that license, the Minnesota Department of Health requires that your business meets a list of requirements, such as a stipulation that you must have one full time "food manager." Visit the Department of Health website for more information.

  • Hire staff for your small catering company. Remember that you are trying to keep this operation small, especially to stat the beginning. Hire staff only on an as-needed basis for catering events or when prep work demands it. Hiring staff from a Minnesota culinary school means that they'll share your passion for a food based business.

  • Advertise your event. From local Minnesota newspapers and magazines to local radio stations, make sure your catering business is known. Since you are a small operation, focus on the smaller jobs the other caterers might leave by the wayside. Small weddings, small business luncheons and small private parties are where you should focus your expertise. You are now ready to fire up the oven on your small catering business based in Minnesota.

Tips & Warnings

  • Minnesota does allow a catering business to operate out of the home, however, the catering kitchen must be completely separate from your living quarters. See the Department of Health website for more information.

References

  • Photo Credit shellfish image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com
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