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How to Start a Cocktail Catering Business

A cocktail catering business is a type of catering service that specializes in providing cocktail drinks and related services for events such as weddings, corporate events, and private parties. The business may offer a range of services, including providing bartenders, creating customized cocktail menus, providing glassware and equipment, and offering mobile bars and beverage stations.

Cocktail catering businesses may work with event planners or directly with clients to create a unique and memorable experience for guests.

They may also provide non-alcoholic drinks, food, and other services as requested. Available statistics show that the Global Cocktail Market size was worth US$ 86 million in 2022, and it is estimated that it will reach US$ 1.4 billion by 2028 with an annual development rate of 6 percent between 2023 and 2028.

Steps on How to Start a Cocktail Catering Business

  1. Conduct Market Research

Conducting market research is an essential step when starting a cocktail catering business. First, you are expected to identify who your potential customers are, such as wedding planners, event coordinators, or individuals hosting private parties. Determine their demographic characteristics, such as age, income, and location.

Next, you are expected to analyze their pricing, services, and marketing strategies to determine how you can differentiate your business. Conduct surveys or focus groups to understand what customers are looking for in a cocktail catering service. Ask about their preferences for drinks, pricing, and customer service.

You should also determine the cost of goods sold for each cocktail recipe and the overhead costs associated with running the business. Analyze pricing strategies used by competitors to determine what pricing structure will be most competitive and profitable for your business.

Lastly, based on your research, you should develop a marketing plan that targets your ideal customers and highlights your unique selling points.

a. Who is the Target Market for Cocktail Catering Business?
  • People who are hosting events such as birthday parties, anniversaries, and housewarming parties
  • Corporate clients
  • Wedding planners
  • Event planners who specialize in organizing social and corporate events.
  • Venue owners
  • Non-profit organizations.
b. Is Cocktail Catering Business a Profitable Business?

Yes, the cocktail catering business is considered a profitable business. As a matter of fact, the Global Cocktail Market size was worth US$ 86 million in 2022, and it is estimated that it will reach US$ 1.4 billion by 2028 with an annual development rate of 6 percent between 2023 and 2028.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

No, there are no existing niches when it comes to the cocktail catering business because the cocktail catering business is a niche idea in the catering industry.

d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • Aaah! Cocktails
  • Bartendo
  • Barchef
  • Black Lab Ventures
  • Blue Marble Cocktails
  • Bowtie Bartending
  • Brooklyn Bar Staffing
  • California Bar Service
  • Cocktails and Dreams
  • Cocktail Hour
  • Craft Cocktails Inc.
  • Elevated Bartending
  • Liquid Catering
  • Movers & Shakers
  • On the Rocks Bartending
  • Pour Me Bartending
  • The Cocktail Architect
  • The Cocktail Concierge
  • The Liquid Chef
  • The Traveling Tender.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Cocktail Catering Businesses in the United States?

Yes, there are county and state regulations and zoning laws for cocktail catering businesses in the United States. These laws can vary depending on the location of the business and the type of services it provides. Some common regulations include obtaining permits and licenses to serve alcohol, adhering to food safety guidelines, and following zoning laws for operating a business in a residential area.

f. Is There a Franchise for Cocktail Catering Business?

Yes, there are franchise opportunities for the cocktail catering business, and here are some of them;

  • Corks and Cuvée
  • Crave Bar
  • Tipsy Bartender
g. What Do You Need to Start a Cocktail Catering Business?
  • A Feasibility Report
  • Business and Marketing Plans
  • Business Licenses and Permits
  • Office facility or Bar
  • EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal Tax ID Number.
  • A Corporate Bank Account
  • Equipment, Machines, and Supplies
  • Employees
  • Startup and Working Capital
  1. Choose a Memorable Business Name

When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.

Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a cocktail catering business are;

Creative Cocktail Catering Business Name ideas
  • Purple Bar® Cocktail Caterings, Inc.
  • Bruce Lee® Cocktail Caterings, Co.
  • Chicago Guy® Cocktail Caterings, Inc.
  • Jennie Denzel® Cocktail Caterings, Co.
  • Sol Barnes® Cocktail Caterings, Inc.
  • Theo Black® Cocktail Caterings, Inc.
  • All Options® Cocktail Caterings, Ltd.
  • Harold Showtime® Cocktail Caterings, Inc.
  • Isaac John® Cocktail Caterings, Ltd.
  • Bennie Winnie™ Cocktail Caterings, Inc.
  • Click Glass® Cocktail Caterings Company
  • The Republic® Cocktail Caterings, Inc.
  • Drink Up™ Cocktail Caterings, Inc.
  • Ray Power® Cocktail Caterings, Inc.
  • Gees Corner® Cocktail Caterings, Ltd.
  • Rome Empire® Cocktail Caterings, Inc.
  • Bar Ten® Cocktail Caterings, Inc.
  • Ozone Bar™ Cocktail Caterings, Inc.
  • Tipsy Topsy® Cocktail Caterings, Inc.
  • Red Glass® Cocktail Caterings, Inc.
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Cocktail Catering Business?

The ideal business structure for a cocktail catering company is determined by a variety of factors, including the size of the company, the number of owners, the level of personal liability the owners are ready to accept, and the tax consequences of the various business structures. However, we normally advocate coming with minimal liability.

As a result, an LLC is a hybrid corporate form that provides the flexibility of a partnership while also providing its owners with limited liability protection. An LLC can have one or more owners, and the owners are not personally accountable for the debts or liabilities of the business. This business form is frequently used for small to medium-sized organizations.

b. Steps to Form an LLC
  • Choose a Name for Your LLC.
  • File Articles of Organization.
  • Choose a registered agent.
  • Decide on member vs. manager management.
  • Create an LLC operating agreement.
  • Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Cocktail Catering Business?
  • General Business License
  • Seller’s Permit
  • Food service permit
  • Liquor license
  • Zonal Permit
  • Signage Permit
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Open a Cocktail Catering Business?

You don’t need any certifications to open a cocktail catering business.

e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Cocktail Catering Business?
  • DBA
  • EIN
  • Business and liability insurance
  • Federal Tax Payer’s ID
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Seller’s Permit
  • Food service permit
  • Liquor license
  • Zonal Permit
  • Signage Permit
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

Whether a cocktail catering business needs a trademark, copyright, or patent will depend on the specific products, services, and branding associated with the business. Be that as it may, a cocktail catering business may want to consider obtaining a trademark for its business name or logo to prevent others from using similar names or logos that could cause confusion in the marketplace.

A cocktail catering business may also consider obtaining copyright for its original recipes, marketing materials, or other creative content it produces.

  1. Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Cocktail Catering Business?

The cost to start a cocktail catering business can vary widely depending on factors such as the size of the business, location, equipment, and supplies needed, staffing costs, marketing expenses, and more. However, a rough estimate could range from $10,000 to $50,000 or more, depending on the size and scope of the business.

b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Cocktail Catering Business
  • Legal and administrative costs (the cost of obtaining business licenses and permits, registering the business, and consulting with attorneys and accountants): $2,500
  • Equipment and supplies (supplies needed to prepare and serve cocktails, such as bar tools, glassware, portable bars, coolers, and more): $15,000
  • Staffing costs: $35,000
  • Rent/lease: $45,000
  • Marketing and advertising costs: $3,000
  • Insurance costs: $2,800
  • Miscellaneous Expenses: $5,000.
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Cocktail Catering Business?
  • The size of the cocktail catering business
  • The choice of location
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The cost of hiring and paying a business consultant and attorney
  • The cost of branding, promotion, and marketing of the cocktail catering business
  • The cost of furnishing and equipping the cocktail catering
  • The cost of the insurance policy covers
  • The cost of registering the business
  • Source of your supplies and ongoing expenses
  • Cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
  • The cost of the grand opening of the cocktail catering business.
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

It is not necessary to build a new facility for your cocktail catering business, but, if you have the required finance, it will pay you to build your own facility. The truth is that building or reconstructing a facility for your cocktail catering business will give you the opportunity to come up with a facility that will perfectly fit into your overall business goals and vision.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Cocktail Catering Business?
  • Rent or mortgage
  • Utilities (such as electricity, gas, water, and internet service)
  • Equipment maintenance and repair (such as refrigeration units, bar tools, and glassware)
  • Staffing costs (employee salaries, benefits, payroll taxes, and workers’ compensation insurance.)
  • Supplies such as mixers, garnishes, ice, and disposable supplies like napkins, straws, and cups will be an ongoing expense.
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Insurance
  • Accounting and legal fees (such as bookkeeping, tax preparation, and contract review)
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Event Coordinator – $45,000 per year
  • Bartender – $35,000 per year
  • Barback – $33,000 per year
  • Waitstaff – $33,000 per year
  • Kitchen Staff, $32,000 per year
  • Truck Driver -$30,000 per year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Cocktail Catering Business?

Here are some ways to obtain funding for a cocktail catering business:

  • Self-funding
  • Small Business Loans
  • Crowdfunding
  • Angel Investors
  • Venture Capital
  • Grants
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

Red Glass® Cocktail Caterings, Inc. is a premium cocktail catering business based in Las Vegas, Nevada, offering custom cocktail creations and exceptional service for private and corporate events. Our experienced team of bartenders and event coordinators is dedicated to creating unforgettable experiences for our clients.

Our unique approach to cocktail catering combines the art of mixology with the highest quality ingredients to create innovative and delicious cocktails that are tailored to the client’s preferences. We work closely with our clients to design a custom menu that fits their tastes, style, and budget.

At Red Glass® Cocktail Caterings, Inc., we understand the importance of building long-lasting relationships with our clients. Our goal is to become the go-to cocktail catering business for clients in the Las Vegas area and beyond.

b. Products and Service

We serve cocktails and in addition to our exceptional cocktails, we provide a range of services to ensure that every event runs smoothly, from setup and breakdown to staffing and logistics. Our team is committed to providing exceptional customer service and ensuring that every guest leaves with a memorable experience.

c. Mission Statement

At Red Glass® Cocktail Caterings, Inc., our mission is to provide exceptional cocktail catering services that exceed our client’s expectations. We are committed to using the highest quality ingredients, creating innovative cocktails, and delivering exceptional customer service to ensure that every event is a success.

Vision Statement

Our vision at Red Glass® Cocktail Caterings, Inc. is to become the premier cocktail catering business in Las Vegas, Nevada, and beyond.

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of a cocktail catering business are to combine the art of mixology with the highest quality ingredients to create innovative and delicious cocktails that are tailored to the client’s preferences.

e. Organizational Structure
  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Merchandise Manager
  • Event Coordinator
  • Accountant (Cashier)
  • Marketing and Sales Executives
  • Bartender
  • Barback
  • Waitstaff
  • Kitchen Staff
  • Truck Driver.

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
  • Experienced and knowledgeable team of bartenders and event coordinators
  • High-quality ingredients and innovative cocktails that set us apart from competitors
  • Exceptional customer service and commitment to client satisfaction
  • Strong relationships with vendors and suppliers for reliable and timely delivery of goods and services
  • Customizable menus to meet the needs of a diverse range of clients.
  • Limited brand recognition and market penetration in a highly competitive industry
  • Limited capacity for large events due to the size of the team and equipment
  • Reliance on seasonal events, which may impact revenue and cash flow during slower periods
  • Limited geographic reach due to the need to transport equipment and supplies to event locations.
  • Expansion of services to include catering for weddings and other large-scale events
  • Development of a strong online presence to increase brand awareness and reach new clients
  • Collaboration with other event vendors to offer bundled services and attract new clients
  • Expansion into new geographic markets to increase revenue and market share
  • Introduction of a mobile bar or pop-up event concept to reach new audiences.
  • Increasing competition from established and new cocktail catering businesses
  • Economic downturns and fluctuations that impact consumer spending on events
  • Changes in consumer preferences and trends that impact demand for specific types of cocktails or services
  • Changes in regulations or licensing requirements that impact the business’s ability to operate
  • Disruption of the supply chain due to unforeseen events, such as natural disasters or pandemics.
b. How Do Cocktail Catering Businesses Make Money?

Cocktail catering businesses make money by charging their clients for the services they provide. Typically, the business will charge a fee that includes the cost of ingredients, equipment, and labor required to create and serve cocktails at an event.

The fee may be structured as a flat rate for the entire event or as a per-drink fee, depending on the client’s preferences and the complexity of the cocktails being served.

c. Payment Options
  • Credit and debit cards
  • PayPal
  • Apple Pay and Google Wallet
  • Gift cards and store credit
  • Installment payments
  • Cash on delivery.
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Create a website that showcases your services, past events, and testimonials from satisfied clients.
  • Utilize social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to showcase your work, promote specials, and interact with potential clients.
  • Attend local industry events and tradeshows to network with other vendors, showcase your services, and promote your brand
  • Offer discounts or promotions to new clients or for referrals from satisfied customers
  • Build relationships with event planners and venues in your area to become a preferred vendor
  • Focus on customer service
  • Utilize targeted advertising campaigns on platforms such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads to reach potential clients in your target market.

Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for Your Product/Service?

The cost of a glass of cocktail in the US can vary widely depending on several factors, including the type of cocktail, the location, and the venue. Generally speaking, a standard cocktail in a bar or restaurant can range from $8 to $15, although more complex or premium cocktails can cost significantly more.

b. How Much Profit Do Cocktail Catering Business Owners Make a Year?

According to industry sources, some cocktail catering businesses may generate annual revenues ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 or more, depending on the size and scope of their operations. However, it is important to note that profit margins can vary widely depending on the business’s operating expenses, including the cost of ingredients, labor, marketing, and overhead.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the cocktail catering business and their sales volume
  • The location of the cocktail catering business is covering
  • The management style of the cocktail catering business
  • The business approach of the cocktail catering business
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the cocktail catering business.
  • The number of years the cocktail catering business is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Cocktail Catering Business Product/Service?

In general, a profitable cocktail catering business may have a profit margin ranging from 10% to 20% or more. However, this can vary widely depending on the specific business and market.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?
  • First Fiscal Year (FY1): $140,000
  • Second Fiscal Year (FY2): $240,000
  • Third Fiscal Year (FY3): $300,000
  1. Set Up your Shop/Office

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Cocktail Catering Business?
  • The demography of the location
  • The demand for cocktail catering in the location
  • The purchasing power of businesses and residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of cocktail catering businesses in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking, and security et al
b. What State and City is Best to Open a Cocktail Catering Business?
  • Washington, D.C.
  • New York City, New York
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Seattle, Washington
  • San Francisco, California.
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • Austin, Texas
  • Miami, Florida
  • Chicago, Illinois
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Cocktail Catering Business?
  • Bar tools – cocktail shakers, strainers, muddlers, jiggers, and spoons
  • Glassware such as martini glasses, highball glasses, and champagne flutes, to serve your cocktails.
  • Ice machines
  • Refrigeration
  • Bar stations
  • Serving equipment such as cocktail napkins, stirrers, and garnish picks.
  • Transportation equipment such as coolers, insulated bags, and carts to transport your equipment and ingredients to different locations.
  • Cleaning equipment such as brushes, sponges, and cleaning solutions to keep your equipment clean and sanitized.
  • POS (Point of Sale) system
  1. Hire Employees

Whether or not to hire employees for a cocktail catering business depends on the size and scale of the operation. If the business is small and operates on a small scale, it may be possible for the owner to handle all aspects of the business on their own except for servers who can be contract staff.

However, as the business grows and sales increase, it may become necessary to hire employees to handle various aspects of the operation.

  1. Launch the Business Proper

Launching a new business is key to how successfully the business can gain traction in the market space. So, you must make sure you organized a launch party that will attract key players such as event planners, venue managers, wedding planners, and corporate organizations in your target market locations.

a. What Makes a Cocktail Catering Business Successful?
  • Choose a good location and unique cocktails to launch the business
  • Make sure your services are top-notch
  • Throw an open house grand party before officially opening the cocktail catering business
  • Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your cocktail catering business
  • Leverage all available online and offline platforms to promote your cocktail catering business
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Cocktail Catering Business?
  • Preparing for events
  • Cocktail preparation
  • Serving customers
  • Cleaning and maintenance
  • Administrative tasks
  • Training and developing staff, scheduling shifts, and ensuring that all staff is following health and safety protocols.
  • Building relationships with clients and industry professionals.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Cocktail Catering Business?
  • Mixology expertise
  • Excellent quality control skills
  • Excellent customer services skills
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Health and safety knowledge
  • Accounting and bookkeeping skills
  • Business management skills
  • Bargaining and bidding skill
  • Work experience in a cocktail catering business environment
  • Experience in managing people