A catering business can be a profitable venture, but it requires careful planning and preparation. If you’re considering starting a catering business, it’s important to understand how much money you will need to invest in order to launch your business successfully. This article will explore the various start-up costs associated with launching a catering business, as well as the ongoing expenses that must be taken into consideration.

Start-up Costs for a Catering Business

The first step to launching a successful catering business is to identify and budget for the necessary start-up costs. These include purchasing supplies and equipment, estimating food costs, obtaining permits and licenses, and acquiring liability insurance.

Necessary Supplies and Equipment

In order to operate a successful catering business, you will need to purchase a variety of supplies and equipment. This includes items such as chafing dishes, serving trays, utensils, linens, and other items that are essential for the proper presentation and service of food. According to the National Restaurant Association, the average cost of basic supplies and equipment for a catering business is $7,000 to $10,000.

Estimating Food Costs

Another important factor to consider when launching a catering business is the cost of food. When estimating food costs, it’s important to take into account the number of guests you will be serving, the type of food you will be offering, and any special dietary needs that may arise. According to the Small Business Administration, the average cost of food for a catering business ranges from $1.50 to $2.50 per person.

Licensing and Insurance Requirements

In addition to the start-up costs outlined above, there are several other expenses that must be taken into consideration when launching a catering business. One of the most important of these is obtaining the proper licensing and insurance.

Local Permits

Most cities and counties require catering businesses to obtain certain permits and licenses before they can begin operating. This typically includes a food service license, which must be obtained from the local health department. The cost of this permit varies by location, but can range anywhere from $100 to $1,000.

Liability Insurance

Another important expense to consider is liability insurance. This type of insurance protects your business in case of an accident or injury that occurs on your premises. Depending on the size and scope of your business, you may need to purchase additional coverage. The cost of liability insurance for a catering business typically ranges from $500 to $2,000 per year.

Hiring Employees and Personnel Costs

Once you have established your business, you will need to hire employees to help you run it. This includes both full-time and part-time staff, depending on the size and scope of your business. It’s important to factor in the cost of hiring and training employees when calculating the total cost of launching a catering business.

Types of Employees Needed

The types of employees you will need to hire will depend on the size and scope of your business. Generally speaking, you will need to hire chefs, servers, bartenders, dishwashers, and other kitchen staff. Additionally, you may need to hire administrative staff to handle accounting, marketing, and other business-related tasks.

Estimating Labor Costs

When estimating labor costs, it’s important to factor in wages, taxes, benefits, and other expenses related to hiring and maintaining staff. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average cost of labor for a catering business is approximately 30% of gross sales. This percentage can vary based on the size and scope of your business.

Advertising and Promotional Strategies

Finally, it’s important to factor in the cost of advertising and promotional strategies when launching a catering business. This includes things like creating a website, maintaining a social media presence, participating in trade shows, and offering referral programs. According to the National Restaurant Association, the average cost of advertising and promotion for a catering business is between 5% and 10% of gross sales.


Launching a catering business requires careful preparation and planning. This article has explored the different start-up costs associated with starting a catering business, including necessary supplies and equipment, food costs, permitting and licensing requirements, personnel costs, and promotional strategies. Ultimately, the cost of starting a catering business can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands, depending on the size and scope of your business.

Before launching your business, it’s important to research the costs associated with all aspects of the business, including start-up costs, ongoing expenses, and advertising and promotional strategies. By taking the time to properly plan and budget for your business, you can ensure that you have the financial resources necessary to make your business a success.

(Note: Is this article not meeting your expectations? Do you have knowledge or insights to share? Unlock new opportunities and expand your reach by joining our authors team. Click Registration to join us and share your expertise with our readers.)

By Happy Sharer

Hi, I'm Happy Sharer and I love sharing interesting and useful knowledge with others. I have a passion for learning and enjoy explaining complex concepts in a simple way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *