If other people like your creativity, you can make a success of your hobby by starting your own catering business. Get some work experience with a catering or bakery company to understand the logistics associated to working with food. Then work your way up, eventually working in a rented kitchen and providing samples of your food throughout the community. You will have to grow when the market demands it. You should make sure you perfectly understand the legal requirements before you launch your business.
The business plan
You should find out your objective market, reasons for buying your product or service, and your intention to deliver it to them. In this plan, consider the anticipated costs for kitchen supplies and equipment, permits, utilities, food residue, accounting software, samples, insurance, packaging and marketing. Determine how much you plan to charge and where you plan to cover the costs. Then calculate your projected gross annual income. Search for examples of business plans online to guide you.
You can document why your idea will work. Have other people done something comparable and successful? Have you done a model? Take into account all the factors that can impact on the outcome or result of the idea. Show why some of the parameters do not work for you or explain how you intend to improve them. Start by getting to know your competitors. Be ready to list them and find out what will make you different (or better) than each one of them, keep in mind that you should not underestimate them.
You will need to secure some form of permission to handle food or a catering license, based on the type of business you are in. For example, in the United States in the city of Houston, you are required to obtain permission from a food supplier to have your food premises operated. If you are leasing a space in a licensed dining room, this might not be necessary. You also have to obtain a Certified Food Manager certificate. The health department in your state can help provide you with materials for study or practice hours and tests. You will then have to register your new business as a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company, a partnership, or a corporation, get a sales tax permit, and buy liability insurance.
Have all your paperwork and permits ready to open your food business before you start your operations so you don’t have any inconveniences. Remember to go to your town hall to request the requirements that apply in your area, as they vary from one to another. Prices also depend on where the application is made and the type of business.
Some procedures are free and will not take long. But for others you need to have money, patience and follow the instructions to the letter.
A majority of states request and require that food sold for public consumption be prepared in a licensed kitchen. In the United States, the Texas State Food Establishment Regulations affirm that a home kitchen should not be used for commercial food purposes. You may however rent the space in a licensed kitchen, for example, in a community center, cafeteria, church, or catering service.
Or You Can Purchase Commercial Space. This is particularly convenient if you are planning to market products such as baked goods and pastries, as you can set up a simple coffee shop or dining room. Just be sure there is adequate drainage, ventilation and garbage disposal, equipment room, conservation of energy and space for storage. If you are renting your kitchen, you must make sure it is safe and hygienic.
You can rent or own the property in which you will be selling the food and drinks. It is indispensable that the establishment has the adequate land use (commercial land use). To process it, they usually require you to comply with some criteria such as: operating hours, parking spaces, neighbors’ approval, etc. As the procedure is a municipal one, it is important that you ask for the specific requirements in your locality.
The single most essential part of this business is the food. You can experiment with different types of dishes and share them with family and friends. After you are completely pleased with the finished product, implement some quality measures to make sure you have a consistent time on the product and to prevent the growth of mold, fungus, discoloration, bacteria or a change in consistency or taste over time. Develop methods to avoid food spoilage and waste. Submit your products to a testing lab to determine shelf life.
In order to preserve the high quality of the products and consumables you sell in your shop, it is crucial to secure the sites and the suppliers that are the fundamental basis of the quality you offer. That’s why it’s not advisable to wait until the last minute to buy something you need on the run and suddenly you don’t get it of the quality that is imperative for your business. Neither buying at the last minute nor from anyone else. That’s why there must be an agreement or contract so that you can always have the possibility of getting the same price, the same quality, and the fulfillment that you require of the products.
Packaging and production
Your food is expected to meet the Food and Drug Administration’s laws for marking and labeling containers of food. Find out about the requirements of the nutrition label, the healthy claims you can and and cannot make, and the sizes of the portions. If you plan to supply retail stores or supermarkets, you will have to get a worldwide product code from the Uniform Product Code Council.
When deciding on plastic food packaging products, it is advisable to avoid PVC and ensure that they are free of Bisphenol A (BPA).
In the United States, BPA is found in some packaging for children’s milk, boxes of pizza, cans of soup, vegetables or fruit, and some polycarbonate plastic containers.
Dr. Sarah Janssen, a research scientist with the NRDC public health program, says, “It’s very sad to think that food is the main cause of this chemical in people who have it in their bodies.
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