Starting a catering business in Seattle requires that you have a clear understanding of city regulations and rules. While you may work your catering business out of your home, chances are if you have employees it will be under the purview of your home. If this is the case, then you will need to register a separate business name in order to use it on paper. A separate business name also makes it easier for you to get licenses, insurance policies, and financing for your business. On the other hand, if you are just a single person working solely out of your home, then you may consider simply listing your name as the business owner on all forms.
In order to ensure that your catering services are correctly listed and regulated, you will need to obtain an official business license for your specific location. The name of your catering license will appear on legal business documents such as contracts, income tax returns, and other paperwork. While you can operate your catering business out of your home, you must also think about incorporating, because this protects you against personal liability, like a sole proprietor or LLC.
If you decide to incorporate your catering business, then you will want to create a business structure consisting of a unique plan. You can do this by drawing up a written plan or using software that has a ready-make business structure. Many catering businesses today include a computer program that allows you to easily create your business structure, and then it can be implemented online. However, if you are not tech savvy you may wish to hire a small business planning company to help you with the design. They will help you put together a complete package including the legal forms required, employee identification, employee scheduling, and other supplies. While they manage the technology aspects of it, you can focus on other things such as hiring employees, deciding on types of menus, building a proper business model, and more. Since it is likely that you will need a ton of supplies to run your business, look for a source where you can find any restaurant supplies your business could need. This way, you won’t have to look to different vendors to procure items for different tasks, reducing the burden on you.
Once you have formed your company, the next step is to choose what type of catering company you want to be. The easiest way to do this is to choose a specific niche, or to start with a specific location. For example, if you start out focusing on wedding receptions, you may think about starting a catering company that specializes in that. In order to get a better understanding of how wedding caterers work, you can take a Canapes Catering service here. You might think about starting a catering company in a particular city or state, or something else entirely, depending on the scope of your business.
The next thing you need to decide is how to get customers. Depending on the niche of your catering business you chose, this might include advertising through newspapers, television, billboards, fliers, or even word of mouth. You might think about developing your own policy statements and distributing them to potential customers so that they know you take customer satisfaction seriously.
Your catering business may need licenses, especially if you plan to serve alcohol, and you will need to get those permits before you open for business. However, you may want to consider forming a limited liability corporation, also called an LLC, which can shield you from personal debts, losses, and liabilities to your customers if your catering business fails. Limited liability corporations are very popular, and many individuals find them to be preferable to sole proprietorships.
If you’re going to hire employees, make sure that you choose the right ones. Besides the usual seclection process and interviews, consider taking the help of firms like Checkr to get the necessary background checks done on these candidates in quick time. Do not refrain from getting the full story on your candidates who are on the verge of being employed. Do not hesitate from monitoring everything from criminal records to validating their qualifications and professional licenses. After all, you are investing your resources and money, so why not make it worth the time?
Besides this, many catering businesses have several categories of employees, and it can be hard to track their names and job description. Have employee ID badges distributed for better employee identification. Small businesses that lack creative freedom and don’t have a business plan often face difficulties hiring the right people and avoiding legal hassles. Consider working with an agency that specializes in finding caterers, or try to find local caterers who may not be as familiar with local laws.
Running a catering business can be fun and rewarding, but there are also many potential problems you’ll face along the way. Consider ways you can avoid them, and address them when they arise. If you follow these tips, you can ensure that your catering business does everything it should to be successful, while maintaining a level of creativity and originality that ensures your potential clients always remember your name.