How to Fund a Catering Business

Check out these resources that'll have you cooking in no time

My husband and I have opened a catering business. We’ve assisted several churches and local companies with their catering needs, but a lack of capital is keeping our business from growing further. Can you suggest any funding resources or ideas?

—K. Paige
De Soto, TX

Start by reading Catering: A Guide to Managing a Successful Business Operation (Wiley; $45) by Bruce Mattel. An associate professor in culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America, Mattel suggests having at least $100,000 before starting your business, but this figure can vary. You’ll need it to secure permits, supplies, licenses, insurance, staff, etc.

To score jobs, cultivate your existing personal and professional relationships. Be sure you’re setting prices and delivery estimates that give you a profit; to save money, consider bartering and cooperative advertising (working with other neighborhood businesses to advertise). You can also curb costs by renting equipment and workspace for large jobs.

For financing, contact reputable small business microlending organizations such as Acción USA (www.accionusa.org). Be sure to have a solid business plan in hand detailing how you intend to make the business a success in the short and long term. Another industry resource is Catersource (www.catersource.com), which publishes a magazine and offers an annual conference and tradeshow. Get involved with local small business organizations, such as the DeSoto Chamber of Commerce (www.visitdesototexas.com) and the DeSoto Economic Development Corp. (www.dedc.org). The Dallas County Minority and Women Business Enterprise (www.dallascounty.org, click the Doing Business tab); North Texas Small Business Development Center Network (www.ntsbdc.org); Score (www.dallas-score-22.org); and the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (www.mbda.gov) are also great resources. Visit www.blackenterprise.com to read Edible Endeavors, a business profile that includes a cornucopia of information about starting a catering business. These tools, resources, and tips can help you cook up a recipe for business success.

ACROSS THE WEB
  • http://www.sharedaluv.com houston

    this is a great, inspiring story of helping the community on how to develop a small catering business in a bad economy. I would like to encourage alot of the readers to understand that if it’s a good quality product it will sell it self. the funding for start up is where a lot of small business have the biggest problem. there is a sight that shows you step by step how to get the funding from banks or from other creditors this what has kept my business afloat thru out this recession http://gboogie.net

  • mel washington

    Tennille, Accion is not the only microlender in Texas. In Dallas there is the Plan Fund, a microlender serving small businesses in that region and modeled after Project Enterprise in NY, the organization that I head.

  • Tennille Robinson

    Thanks so much Mel Washington for that additional resource…you can never have too many. I’ll send the reader a link their site: http://www.planfund.org. And Project Enterprise is a great organization here in NYC so I anticipate Plan Fund would be just as helpful if modeled after them.