Re: Start up of in-house catering

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Posted by sam sears, cec on May 15, 19101 at 21:51:31 :

In Reply to: Re: Start up of in-house catering posted by Carl Jones on May 14, 19101 at 23:54:16 :

: : Due to a recent physical limitation, I can not leave the house easily, but am a marvelous cook and many tell me to strat catering for family and friends...Question #1 is "is this feasible"? and #2, how would one go about researching the idea. Thanks to all prospective posters!

: Sorry about your physical limitation, hope it is not too serious or permanent.

: On to your questions :

: 1. No, it is not feasible. Most states do not allow catering from home in any circumstance. In the states that do, such as mine (TN), there are very strengent laws and codes that would require you to spend more money remodeling your home than going out and renting a legal commissary. Honestly, knowing the business like I do, you would be setting yourself up for failure.

: 2. You have come to a professionals forum, such you are on the right track. Unfortunately, your first research has put you up against a brick wall.

: Should you decide to do it anyway, as many do, here are the risks: Health department finds out and they slap a big fine on you.

: State Sales tax people find out that you are selling a product or service without collecting and paying sales tax, then you have a huge fine from them, plus possible criminal charges. (you say you would pay them??) YOu have to get a business license to PAY sales tax. Before you made it home from the court house with your license, the health dept would be on your doorstep.

: Lack of insurance: Client "thinks" you made them ill. You dont have insurance. You spend 25,000.00 out of pocket defending yourself, and that is if you win...

: Should you get totally legal :

: Ok, you spend the bucks needed to get legal, then what?? It takes MUCH longer to establish a catering business than any other foodservice business. The average is 5 years to break even... 97% of all catering businesses fail within 5 years....
: Do you have the business savvy to be among the 3%???

: My advise :

: Catering is NOT the business you want to get into. Being a marvelous cook will not make you a success. Being a marvelous business person is what makes a successful cateing business. Few make it... You have to be SHARP!!!!

: We just lost another professional caterer in my city. This is her last month. She has been in business 3 years. Struggling. She is a fabulous cook!!! She gave me a little competition in the social market.... but, she didn't make it. Never broke even. This is a TOUGH business. very tough!

: If you have any other specific questions, feel free to ask. We would be happy to help you... Ok, Sam Sears, let's hear your advice.....

: Carl

Dittos to your advice Carl, myself as a life long cook & sometimes chef, I can tell you Steve, that a great cook &/or chef does not a successful caterer make, you must be a lucky, savvy and determined business person to succeed in the catering business......we purchased an on-going (over 40+ yrs) catering business in 1988, and it was a long road to the break even point 5.5 yrs, then it grew little by little and now in the last 4 yrs we have been very successful, but it is a long road and you must be prepared to live on little or nothing for a number of years..... and I wouldn't even think of the possibility of operating out of a residence, even if it is legal in your area, there are too many restrictions & believe me you would want to "get away" from you business every now & then......sincerely good luck in whatever endeavor you persue..........sam sears, cec

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