Do you want to make money off your passion for cooking but you don’t know what business to start? If YES, here are 50 highly lucrative catering related business ideas in 2017.
According to research, the catering business is a $70 billion industry. Even though more people are cooking at home to save money, there are still plenty of people who are too busy or lazy to cook healthy and delicious meals for themselves. If you are an entrepreneur that have got great culinary skills, this is surely a way for you to earn money by the side.
This does not mean though that you should start a full-scale restaurant, or even offer a full variety of meals, as you can always choose which area you want to focus on. You can decide to make homemade gourmet cookies, homemade gourmet jams, and such other kind of food. You can even choose to go into your business idea during particular seasons only.
Starting a business either part time or full time is a great way at earning quality income actively or passively. It might be a business that might turn into proportions you never even dreamed of. Moreover, if you choose a business that you have great passion in; it will provide you with leverage over those who are going into the business because others are.
Starting a Catering Business – Industry Overview
This trade has to do with providing individual event-based food services. Catering companies generally have equipment and vehicles to transport meals and snacks to events or prepare food off-site. Some of the events catered by catering establishments include; graduation parties, wedding receptions, business luncheons and trade shows.
- Interesting Statistics About the Catering Industry
The catering industry in the United States of America is a big one. As a matter of fact, it takes in about $7billion a year. A considerable amount of the sales in the industry is generated through weddings, birthday parties, corporate functions, funerals, holiday parties, and what have you.
Spending on catering services typically depends on the dispensable income of businesses and consumers. While there is always a demand for catering services, customers typically spend less during slow economic times. There is hardly any country in the world where one may not find caterers who are into full – time catering businesses.
Professional caterers do not only cater for big organizations, government agencies, institutions and parties, but they can also be contacted to handle home catering services for people who can the luxury. This means that people who host a huge number of visitors per time in their houses can relax and allow the burden of cooking to be taken off them.
In the United States of America alone, there are well over 10,000 registered catering businesses that employ about 150,000 people (both contract and full time employees), and most of them are thriving pretty well in the business because there are loads of business opportunities available to caterers in the United States of America, as well as l in other parts of the world.
Catering business is considered to be amongst the delicate industries, this is because they are involved in cooking food for consumption for a large number of guests per time. It is the reason why this business is subjected to regular inspection by relevant health officials from different local health departments. As one who runs a catering business in the United States of America, you are expected by law to comply with the laid down rules and regulations for the industry.
So, if you are looking to start a lucrative catering related business, then you may want to consider some of these business ideas that are being listed below.
50 Lucrative Catering Related Business ideas in 2017
- Gourmet Catering Delivery Business
This kind of business is a Do-It-Yourself kind, where clients get to pick on the meals they would want served, and then it is delivered to the party or occasion. This is a niche market where clients can create their own party package or menus, ranging from light foods, drinks, to any kinds of meals.
You would need to ensure that clients know about your services, and would need to create a good amount of publicity to that effect. You would also need to ensure that you have a wide variety of meals that clients could choose from.
2. Candy Making
Children and adult enjoy indulging in candy. Candies are consumed as a daily treat, on special occasions such as weddings and birthday parties, as well as during holidays such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Halloween. If you have been making candy as a hobby, then it is probably time you start earning money from it.
You have to carry out a research on the candy industry, and evaluate its growth, as well as competitors. You would also need to determine what kind of candy you will be making, and might have to partner with caterers so as to be able to provide them during the required occasions.
3. Chocolate Making
Chocolates are desserts that are consumed by children and adults alike, which is why there is always a huge market for it. Chocolate is produced from cocoa beans, which is always found in cocoa pods. Chocolates are a delight and can be in solid or liquid form. This is a catering related business that any entrepreneur can go into.
This type of business is also one that can be carried out nationally and internationally. You would need to partner with food technologists.
4. Homemade Gourmet Food
According to research, consumers are eager to try new products and the United States in 2010, had 14,000 new foods debuted. This is a market for any creative entrepreneur. If you have had friends and family raving over your homemade gourmet food, then it is high time you turn into a business.
You would however need to be aware of regulations regarding selling homemade food, and also seek out strategies that would ensure you get customers.
5. Wedding Cake Business
Cake design and creation might be regarded as art, but creative entrepreneurs can spin this kind of business to their own benefit. Wedding cakes cost far better than they cost, and the fastest way to get established in this kind of business is to ensure that you partner with caterers and event planners, even though it might mean splitting the revenue or selling the cake as wholesale and not retail.
You would however need to check local requirements as regards operating this kind of business from home, as you might require special permits.
6. Homemade Biscuits
You can consider starting this kind of business if you have perfected a recipe that constantly has family and friends constantly requesting or craving for. This business can be started by ensuring that those who have tasted from your biscuits help spread the word to others.
To stay in this business, you would have to constantly need to develop different flavors, and also add fruits and spices that would ensure that customers have a wide array of choices.
7. Donut Shop
Donuts business is regarded as big business. The estimated total revenue from donut sales as at 2009 was $647 million. This means that with the right start up supplies, you can start a business in the sweeter side of the bakery business.
However, you should note that your business can only gain a reputation based on its baking recipes, and so you would need to be creative as regarding recipes. Also, you would need a good location that will conveniently cater to your target customers.
Food trucks are designed to service all kinds of areas, especially in areas where it is not convenient for a traditional building. This is the reason food trucks have the advantage in places like campuses, sporting event centers, construction sites, office complexes and certain other places like that.
People like the convenience a food truck brings and even though it is a type of mobile catering, it is different. To operate this kind of business, ensure that you are fast in cooking as most food trucks come with cooking equipment so that one can quickly rustle up something once the food on the menu is finished.
9. Restaurant Catering Business
The restaurant catering is like any other business, and most times opens up opportunities into other catering fields and other industries. Restaurant caterers need to have a license that will enable them serve food in addition to the standard business license. The specifics of the license might vary across states; however some license might require special endorsements, especially if you will be serving alcohol.
There are times when you might be required to cater offsite, as a restaurant caterer you would need to be knowledgeable about the various ways you can heat or keep food warm without certain kitchen equipment.
10. Coffee Café
Catering is not limited to food services only but includes drinks and beverages as well. A coffee cafés is a good business for an entrepreneur who is looking towards making money, can start. So, if you are looking towards opening a business that does not need many funds, you should look towards opening a coffee shop.
The key thing for this kind of business is location; you would have to be located in an area where you can easily be accessed. However, if you do not have the finances for a brick and mortar building, you can open a mobile/cart coffee shop business, this might not be easy but it will save you some overhead costs.
Everyone loves cookies as they are regarded as the perfect snack, and since there are usually a variety of recipes, there is always something that would fit anyone’s taste. When starting a cookie business, you will need to decide where your cookies will be made, as some states have strict regulations on selling food that is made from home.
In starting this business, you would have to decide on the cookies themselves, and how you intend to make them not only special but always bringing in the much needed revenue, while also differentiating your business from other kinds of cookie businesses.
12. Food and Nutrition Blogger
Popular niche blogging is a cool way at making cash. If you have knowledge on food and nutrition, you could blog about this so that your audience would be educated as regards the food choices they make. This business is one that doesn’t need much capital to start up with.
You would need to constantly update your blog and remain consistent on the information you give, so that you could attract heavy traffic. Heavy traffic is always good for a blog, as this means that advertisers would be willing to advertise on your blog, thereby bringing in more income for you.
13. Competitive Cooking Show
This kind of show is different from a show where you teach people how to cook; a competitive cooking show brings together individuals that are already skilled in the art of cooking. This kind of show is usually on a high level, and requires panel of judges who assesses individuals on their ability to manage their cooking.
You can go into this business either as a retired caterer, or one who has knowledge on catering and the likes but would love for other people to show case their skills as well. This would not only boost the participants profiles but yours as well, as it would make you an authority in the catering and by large the food industry.
14. Catering Author
Not everyone like going online to find out information that they would need. Some people prefer the traditional ways of looking inside a book. There are those that would love to go into the business but need to know the challenges they might face. You could with your deep knowledge of the business, be an authority in this field, by becoming a catering author, and simplifying various aspects of the business.
You would need to research far and wide for resources, as well as met up with other caterers for insight. You can make more money if you continually update the book with more information.
This involves going on air to teach people how to cook by showing them the steps. It is much like an online cooking show, the difference here is that your audience might vary, and you would need to pay to get your own cooking slot. Also, you would need to offer certifications to those watching.
However, with this kind of business you would need to be creative, as you must have all your contents for the period you wish to run your program on air. It would be great if you do not get to repeat some of your editions.
16. Online Cooking School
If you are quite skilled in culinary arts, and can make local and international dishes, then you can engage in the business of teaching people how they can cook. If you had earned degrees learning these dishes, you can as well give out certifications for those that will be learning from your school
What this would require though is that you make a thorough research on the requirements that you would need to fulfill from regulatory authorities before issuing anyone a certification, so that you would not run afoul of the law.
17. Cafeteria Management for Schools
This is a catering related lucrative business idea that you can successfully go into as an entrepreneur. There are loads of organizations that need help in managing their cafeterias. Only caterers with relevant experience can help in successfully managing this kind of business, as it usually pertains being able to handle a diverse amount of people without much hassles.
Yu would however need to register a business name, so that you can comfortably offer your services to such organizations. This is a good way to make steady money.
Tables and chairs are an essential part of party planning – small and large scale events, such as weddings, meetings, conferences, and birthday parties; as well as the entertainment industry. Since purchasing table and chair is costly, most people often turn to rental facilities.
A smart entrepreneur can go into this type of business and provide the tables and chairs for a fee. Since most of these tables and chairs are used in situations where there is usually a caterer, it would be beneficial if you partner with one.
A good business you can also go into is carrying out a catering program on radio, if you do not have the financial capability to go on television. Your radio program will be to give out tips and pass on knowledge. However, since your viewers can only hear but not see you, you would have to be descriptive enough.
Your radio program could be interactive so that guests or upcoming caterers could call in and ask questions or clarify on things. Money is always made through advertisement and corporate sponsorship.
YouTube has made life easier for most entrepreneurs, as it is now easy to reach out to one’s audience via online through videos. A lot of people require videos that would teach them how to prepare certain food, if you are great with your culinary skills, you could not only help them out but ensure they pay for your videos as well.
You would need to make sure that your videos are unique and has recipes that people have always wanted either local or international, if not you might likely not make any sales.
21. Catering Training School
This is another lucrative business idea that an entrepreneur can consider going into, starting a catering training school. A catering training school is a place where people go to learn how to cook various local and international dishes, how to bake, and how to do several other activities that pertains to food.
However, this type of business usually requires a license and several accreditations from relevant authorities. You would also need to work with various experienced chefs so that your students can have a robust knowledge. You would also need to be located in a place that will be convenient for your students as well as potential students.
This kind of business usually involves giving out useful and practical advice as regarding nutrition. This would also be necessary if you have a robust experience in food and nutrition. There are always loads of individuals – parents, restaurants, caterers – who need expert advice on how to make food choices, or make their food businesses more profitable.
However, with this kind of business, you would need the necessary qualifications so as that will attract more clients that will not complain irrespective of your charges, as long as they get results.
23. Wedding Catering Services
This is a popular kind of business as most caterers are usually into wedding caterings. This involves preparing and serving dishes at weddings. This is a task that needs elaborate and a high level of skilled preparation, as certain meals in a wedding can be foreign, so while all caterers can cook, not all can cater at weddings.
As a wedding caterer, you would need to learn about certain foreign meals, and know how to prepare them, as you would need to offer suggestions to the couples as regards what they would need to serve their guests.
24. Corporate Catering Services
Corporate caterers are those that cater to various kinds of corporate events, such as seminars, conferences, stakeholders meetings and such others like it. They usually offer their food in buffet style. As a corporate caterer, you not only have to be proficient but you also would need to pay attention to detail as you would be catering to high-profiled individuals.
The products typically sold by a barbecue catering business are burgers, ribs, hot dogs, chicken tenders, pulled pork and corn. The business can be operated via a mobile cart, or in a traditional brick and mortar barbecue restaurant or store. You can even choose to offer your barbecue services onsite for business and private functions.
Weddings are usually a common place for barbecue caterers and can bring in a good amount of revenue for serious entrepreneurs. You would need to carry out aggressive marketing so that people would be aware of your services.
Clients usually might want certain meals but due to personal or professional reasons, may not be able to go out get such food for themselves. This is a niche in the catering industry, and involves sourcing for food on behalf of your clients, and then delivering it to them wherever they might need it delivered to.
This service often requires that you own a website or mobile phone, and a reliable car. This is so that you can deliver your client’s order in a timely manner. You would need to aggressively market your services to potential clients.
27. Meat Mart
Meat is generally consumed in all parts of the world except for people that do not consume meat and are regarded as vegetarians. This makes this kind of business a viable one, you might not need to go into butchering the meat and all that, but just handle the retailing of already cut meat.
You could go a step further and have different packages for different types of caterers from minced meat for baking to normal sized meat for catering purposes. However, you need to ensure that you are located in an easily accessible place, where customers can get to you.
28. Frozen Food Mart
Caterers make use of foods such as fish, chicken, turkey and so on, in preparing their meals, since not everyone can be caterers, this is a good business for any entrepreneur who is business savvy but not too adept in culinary skills. This kind of business will need you to partner with caterers in every industry, so as to be able to supply them when needed.
If you are looking to start this business, ensure that you have enough capital to buy cooling units, and also that your foods are hygienic enough to be consumed.
29. Ushering Service Business
Ushers are usually required for events and occasions, and any entrepreneur who isn’t good in catering but still wants to be active in the catering industry, can go into this kind of business. It is a business that would require that you create a business plan so that you could comfortably plot your direction.
Also, you would need to assess your competition, so that you would know what you would be up against. Your competition might already have access to certain event planners and caterers, and so you would need to provide a top notch service so as to get noticed as well.
30. Sale of Seafood
The seafood business is a very risky one, due to its elevated risks of food-borne illnesses and spoilage, and so it requires extra care from those in the business, and also attracts extra attention from state and local regulators. However, seafood is a popular food item amongst consumers, and is used by caterers in most of their meals.
This is a good business for those who cannot cater but would still like to be part of the catering industry. However, you would need to be aware that this kind of business has a substantial risk of lawsuits, and so it would be best if you contact your insurance agent on the best policy for your seafood business.
31. Pizza Restaurant
A pizza shop is still a business that has the potential of producing good profits depending on how careful you are and have carried out your research before starting the business. As at 2009, pizza sales in the United States totaled more than $36 million, which shows how lucrative this business can be if you do the right things.
Ensure that you carry out a research on the type of pizza restaurant you intend to open, and what will be on your menus. While it seems that most parties would prefer standard caterers, some still prefer to be served pizza.
32. Meals-to-go Catering
Most people like home meals and do not like eating out, but do not have the time, either due to a number of factors to make these meals for themselves, or like to do the actual preparation of these meals. This is therefore an avenue for any smart entrepreneur to make some money.
You can create regular popular dishes for keep it frozen and refrigerated, that clients can purchase and just pop into the oven whenever they want to enjoy a home cooked meal. Your charges can depend on the type of meals your clients are purchasing, and you could also carry out special order requests for clients, who want something that you don’t already have stocked.
33. Airline Catering
Airline caterers are specialists that cater to passengers aboard an airliner mostly commercial. The meals are usually of varying quantity and quality, depending on the airline and the classes of travel. The meals are generally frozen and heated on the ground before take-off rather than fresh.
Since you would be catering to a whole range of various people, you would need to be careful while preparing the food so that cases of mass poisoning does not occur, which could portray trouble for both you and the airline. Also, you would need to follow the guidelines that are specific for air travels.
34. Cruise Ship Catering
Catering for cruise ships is a highly tasking business, as you would need to churn out various meals for a large crowd thrice daily and for a certain period of time – which is as long as the cruise lasts. This usually requires a high level of experience as it is a stressful and tasking job.
As an entrepreneur going into this field, you would need to have built a profile that shows that you are able to handle this kind of job, and you also would need to have a vast knowledge on different cuisines.
35. Mobile Catering
Mobile catering is another convenient way for people who do not have the time to go out or prepare their own meals, to get something healthy into their system. Some mobile caterers use a food truck, but it is not limited to a truck. You can use a cart to carry out your business.
You would need to ensure that you go to areas where there is a high number of foot traffic, as you will likely get more people to patronize you there. Also, make sure you get the required permit and license before you embark on this business.
Bread is something eaten everyday in almost every home, and in some occasion, which is why it is such a fantastic idea for an entrepreneur who wants to try out other skills and make money from it. You could also go into the business of making the bread, retailing the bread, or both.
Ensure that people in your neighborhood are aware of your business, by handing out fliers to the right people. You could also send complimentary bread rolls with an introductory letter to the managers in offices and institutions near you, and ask if you can supply them with bread.
Running this kind of store isn’t just about the products in itself, but the location where the products are. The location of this kind of business is paramount to its success. The location of the store should have enough foot traffic so as to drive sales, as well as earn community support.
Apart from location, the strategies used in promoting the store could mean a whole difference between the success and failure of your business, especially as other stores such as grocery stores and vitamin shops also carry organic foods, thereby creating competition for your business.
38. Fruits Marts
There is always a large market for fruits. Caterers require fruits in some of their recipes, so if you do not want to be a caterer but still want to be in the industry, you could go into the fruits business, and supply fruits to caterers that would need it for their recipes. This is guaranteed to earn you a steady income.
Before starting this business, you will need to partner with fruit farmers as well as caterers and individuals. Your location is very important for this kind of business. You would also need to ensure that your marketing strategies are top notch so as to have a share in the market amongst stiff competition.
39. Lunch Catering
This involves providing meals for workers in a company, as not all companies have an in-house or external caterer to cater to their needs. You would however need to locate a company that has a sizable number of staff, and find out if they have a caterer, and if the answer is no, talk with the manager about getting a chance to supply lunch regularly to workers, so that they do not have to leave the business premises.
Once you have gotten the chance, ensure that you find out from the staff regular meals that they would like to see in the menu, and also make a provision for those who are vegetarians.
40. Social Event Catering
This kind of catering is the provision of delicacies for only social events, such as campus parties and birthdays. Every other day, a student sees the need to throw a party that would involve other students. The party could be to celebrate something or the need to just throw a party,
As an entrepreneur, you could cash into this market. Ensure that you place your information on noticeable school boards both offline and online, so that students can get in touch with you.
41. Transport Catering
These are caterers who cater to passengers who embark on a long journey mostly on the road, and mostly in trains. You could ensure that rains that go on a long distance have food for the passengers. You would need to enquire and carry out your research thoroughly to be able to start this kind of business, as trains usually carry different types of people, with different food habits.
42. Romantic Catering
This might sound so alien but it exists. Not every lover can cook a surprise romantic dinner and then set up the place with scented candles, flowers, as well as create the right atmospheres. There are people who are actually gifted in catering to every romantic dinner idea regardless of the setting. If you constantly have ideas in your head about how couple can have a romantic dinner, and have great culinary skills, then this is a business for you.
As a romantic caterer, you would need to offer lovers an unforgettable dining experience by not only cooking meals but creating the right atmosphere and mood, so that lovers can enjoy food in a most romantic way. You can ask that your clients refer you to their friends and families.
43. Welfare Catering
This kind of welfare is usually similar to special events and industrial catering, but the difference is in the kind of people you would be catering to. If you love working with the elderly, or for homeless people, then this is the kind of business for you.
There are usually religious bodies, relevant agencies and other such organizations in charge of these kinds of people, and so you would need to meet those in charge and offer your services for a fee.
44. Health Catering
This usually involves catering to people with special health needs, which could range from catering to diabetic patients, ulcer patients, to those who need to shed or gain weight. You would have to be highly knowledgeable about food and its nutrition before venturing into this business.
You could either have a restaurant that will cater to such people or work on a hiring basis. You would need to partner with hospitals and clinics, so as to have consistent clients.
The catering industry is not only for those that know how to cook; there are others that are involved in the industry as well, such as drivers, book keepers, and the rest. Selling and rental of catering equipment is another great investment opportunity for any entrepreneur.
You would need to ensure that your equipment are of the best and highest quality, as this would ensure that you do not continually buy new equipment, therefore wasting money on overheads.
46. Party Grills and Bars
During parties and events, people are not usually limited to just the food and drinks that is served; they also usually have varieties such as grills for fish and beef. As an entrepreneur, this is an opportunity for you to invest into a business of this sort. You would have to partner with major caterers, and put yourself out there.
Ensure you find out what is necessary in starting and operating this type of business, and you will also need to ensure that you are adept at the grills.
47. Special Event Catering
This kind of catering usually involves cooking for large events and public gatherings such as, sports, political campaigns and the likes. You would need to be able to handle catering for a large number of people, and this could make it very stressful, especially if you hadn’t gotten an experience beforehand.
You would need to have skills that can handle the large number of people you would serve, and also get people to work with you so as to successfully carry out your task.
48. Industrial Catering
Industrial caterers usually cater to large institutions like prisons, factories and the rest. They might not need to be proficient as wedding caterers, but they will need to be able to cater to a large number of people. As an entrepreneur, you could approach the manager of any hospital or any other institution close to you, and ask a chance to be their caterer.
49. Hotel Catering
Most hotels come with in-house catering departments, whilst very few contract their catering services out to third party caterers. This might be due to many reasons or it is their in-house policy. Either way, as a smart entrepreneur, you would need to find out which hotels do contract their services out
However, it is important to note that these hotels usually require a profile of jobs done before handing over business to you, so it might be wise for you to engage in other catering businesses that would raise your profile.
50. Drinks, Cocktails and Mock tails
The catering industry is not limited to the provision of food services only, those who provide drinks and various cocktails and mock tails, are also providing a service too. This kind of business involves, sourcing for various drink recipes, cooling them and serving them at parties. It is regarded as a very lucrative business.
You also would need to know how to mix cocktails, which means your knowledge of drinks must be very wide. However, if you are known for your skills and high proficiency, you are likely to be called for jobs.
These are just some of the many opportunities that abound in the catering related industry. There are still many more out there, and even some yet to be discovered. As you embark on any of these businesses, remember that apart from a thorough research, finances and location; the other thing limiting that would limit the business’s growth if you and your skill set. Do not be afraid to be creative or of failure, as you never know when success might come around.