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Starting a Catering Business in Sri Lanka

If you love to cook, you might want to open a part-time business out of your home providing food for events. A catering business is a great one to operate slowly and progress as you’re able to invest money into the business. The start-up costs are flexible based on the amount of business you’d like to take on from your home.

People who love food and love to cook will be perfect for this type of business. You’ll work for yourself, which is incredibly attractive to many entrepreneurs. When you work out of your own home kitchen, you have much of the supplies you’ll need, and the desire and drive to run your business will carry you far with your own catering business. Start small and book one event at a time until you get your business running properly. There have been successful caterers who have started out of their home kitchen to become extremely successful full-time caterers.

Types of Events
These types of events need caterers and are a good place to start your catering business. Be very aware of the number of guests and whether you’ll need to hire a person to help you cater large guest lists.

Large corporate events
Business lunches
Bachelor parties
Bridal showers
Graduation parties

Mentor with a Professional
Anyone who hasn’t had experience in catering should take some time to investigate the business before leaping into the business. When you work behind the scenes, you can see exactly what happens. You’ll see the inner workings of planning an event with a customer. If you can’t mentor with a professional, attend some catered events. Watch the catering staff to see what they do that’s both good and bad. Take note of the things that work for them, so you can incorporate that into your business plan. Note the mistakes too. This will help you avoid making the same ones.

Personal Chef
This can be a great way to introduce yourself to others. You can cook for family and friends who will recommend you to others. The requests to cater events should roll in if you’re providing great food cooked superbly. You’ll get experience cooking for others, and you can refine your menu and cooking style during this time. There’ll come a time when you have to market your business, but for now, you can get a jump start on the process.

Differentiate Yourself
To compete with other caterers who have been in business for years and have a steady reputation, you’ll need to make your business unique. You’ll have to make your business special so that customers will choose you over the rest. Think about why people should hire you. Do you make an amazing dish that no one else has? Is your food prepared in a unique way? Find a niche that hasn’t been overloaded with catering businesses. It’s best to narrow your focus to be noticed.

Stocking your Kitchen
When first starting, you can rent party supplies like buffet tables, or have the person who hires you provide them. Often, the venue will have many of the supplies needed like chairs and tables. An event planner could be providing table settings. These are details you’ll have to work out with the event planner. When you first start your business, you’ll need all your money for stocking the kitchen with food and food preparation items. You already have an oven and a refrigerator, but with a large event, you may need larger home appliances like large refrigerators. You’ll need microwave ovens and water purifiers too. Food warmers, plates and serving utensils for the event itself can be rented since you’ll only be using them for the event.

Purchasing Used Items
For the large ticket items, you can research and purchase these items used to save money. There aren’t a lot of new catering businesses that can afford brand-new appliances. There are great new and used equipment available on for a fraction of the price in other places. Later, you can invest in more expensive equipment when your business is more successful. Starting small is not a terrible idea since it will give you a chance to test the waters of the catering business before investing thousands of dollars into it.

Marketing Your Business
One of the hardest parts of opening a new business is attracting new customers. If you’ve cooked for family and friends, you will have a few people that will recommend you to others. It’s a great way to find recommendations and word-of-mouth marketing. Even though you’re small, the branding of your catering company shouldn’t be invisible. Think of a catchy name, print up business cards and menus. When you don’t have a physical restaurant for people to experience your food, you need another way to drum up visual interest. Take beautiful pictures of your food for brochures, or provide samples of your best items.

Meet the People
If your location is having a public event, find out if you can provide samples at the event. You want people to taste your food and become excited by your flavors. Small samples are a great way to get people excited to hire you to cater their next birthday party or child’s graduation. Make sure the samples represent your best flavors, and they can survive a few hours at the event without needing to be kept heated or cooled.

Opening your own catering business can be extremely exciting. If you love to cook and have always dreamed of feeding people at an event, a catering business can be the exact type of business that suits you perfectly. Keep in mind that you’ll need time for the business to pick up steam, but that’s why catering is a great business. You can start the business part-time while working a day job to see if it’s truly a good fit for you. Once you become successful, you can quit your day job and have a business that you love.

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