web analytics
Home Business Small Business

How to Start a Small Catering Business


Many people who love to cook often consider the idea of starting their own small business. Interestingly, most prefer to open restaurants or cafes and they overlook one cheaper to set up, but more profitable option – catering. Offering catering services does not necessarily mean cooking for 200 people. This is what the hotels’ catering services can provide. Some kinds of events demand a menu for 10, 20 or 50 people. Did we manage to provoke your interest? Here are some basic steps you must follow if you are considering to start small catering business.

Specialize in a Particular Sphere

Caterers can serve various clients and events – from small family parties to large corporate dinners. However, you need to start small. Even if you hire more staff, your lack of experience may lead to missed deadlines, undercooked or overcooked meals. Begin with something less formal and small-scale. For example, cater children’s birthday parties or wedding showers for friend and your neighbourhood. Later, when you warm up, you can switch to bigger events.

Home Kitchen, Commercial Kitchen or a Full-Time Kitchen

To have a small catering business, you will need a kitchen. Here you have three main options – home, commercial or full-time kitchen. A home kitchen means that you will have to work from home. That will allow you to have a flexible schedule and to save money on things like transportation and rents. Despite that, your home kitchen may turn out to be too small even for a small catering business. If that is the case with you, you can use a commercial kitchen. You can rent one for a few hours or an entire day. That is cheaper than traditional renting or leasing. However, sometimes you may not be able to find one available and this may put at risk you your clients’ event and your small catering business.

Business Plan

Time for some calculations! You need to set a budget by estimating the cost of your rent, equipment, bills, salaries and others. In addition, you need to put rates to the different services you offer. Be very careful since any miscalculations may affect your finances.


Find an accountant and an insurance broker. They will help you in the more administrative part of your small business. A public relations company may help you to obtain a business license, but before that you will have to make up your mind about what type of license you will need and where would you be based. If your small catering business will kick start in Dubai, the best place to start is the Dubai Economic Department.

Make a Sample Menu

You will also need to make a sample menu which you can show to your clients. Select your best dishes and include them in it. Also, if you are specializing in more than one type of events, you should make a sample menu for each of them. For example, create one menu for birthday parties and another for wedding showers. Don’t forget to add the prices of the dishes, as well as some alternatives from which clients can choose.

Equipment and Inventory

Just like the kitchen, equipment will also play a key role in your business. Buy things like ovens, dishwashers, pans, pots and etc.Another thing you will need to consider is setting up a storage space for your food and supplies as well as a software like Workday Australia to manage your inventory. In addition, you will need a car to transport all the food. In case you are just at the start or your small catering business, but a really passionate about cooking for many people, you may consider renting a professional kitchen. We advise you to research this option with SCAFA in the Jumeirah Lake Towers.

Connect with Vendors

Catering does not consist only of cooking. As a professional caterer you will be expected to provide things like utensils, glassware, linens and sometimes even chairs and tables. That is why you should find vendors that can help you with all of that. For kids parties and other smart-casual events alike, you may consider IKEA as a reliable supplier.

Marketing Program

Apart from the well-known marketing tactics like brochures, business cards, stationary, websites and blogs, in catering you can use other more original marketing methods. A good idea will be to order signature dishes or to add the name of your company on your catering van.

Finally, don’t overlook the opportunity to grow your small catering business. If you are really passionate and hardworking and your services become popular, you may soon expand into a bigger firm.


  1. Hi, Your article says that using a home kitchen is an option, but I understand from the DED that this is only an option for Locals.  If you are an Expat starting a catering business then I believe you need to do your cooking in a Commercial Kitchen.  Could you please confirm this?

  2. I would like to start a catering business using my home kitchen can u please tell me is this possible and can you give me some tips to make it successful.

  3. I would like to start a catering business using my home kitchen can u pleas tell me is it possible can you provide us some tips to make successful.

  4. I would like to open one small tiffin center in dubai .could you please give better way to open license and authorities approvals

  5. if you dont have commercial kitchen you can be arrange kitchen to those who have restaurant business, during their free hours you can arrange the schedule with them and rate they will give for using their kitchen.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here