We earn commissions if you shop through the links below. Read more

14 Catering Business Ideas

Written by:

Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

14 Catering Business Ideas

Everybody needs to eat, so demand for food — especially good food — will never go away. This helps explain why the food industry continues to attract entrepreneurs. Opportunities abound in catering and meal preparation, in food trucks and more. Opening a restaurant requires a significant investment, but it can also be financially rewarding. 

Check out our list of great catering business ideas below and your culinary skills might soon give off the sweet smell of success!

1. Catering Service

How to start a catering business

Offer a diverse menu ranging from appetizers to desserts, perfect for weddings, business events, and private parties. Focus on flexibility and customization to cater to various dietary preferences and themes. Invest in a reliable van and high-quality catering equipment like portable ovens and chafing dishes to maintain food quality during transport and service. Building a network with event planners can be a strategic way to increase bookings.

2. Candy Buffet

How to start a candy business

Specialize in colorful candy arrangements for children’s parties, weddings, and themed events. Consider offering a variety of themes and customizable options to match event decor. Use visually appealing display containers and decorations to enhance the setup. A compact car may suffice for transport, but make sure to have good storage systems to prevent spills and keep candies in perfect condition.

3. Chocolate Buffet

How to start a chocolate business

Create a luxurious selection of chocolate-based delicacies, including handmade chocolates, dipped fruits, and chocolate fountains. Offer options for customization in flavors and presentation styles to cater to upscale events. Ensure you have a temperature-controlled transport system to keep chocolates from melting, especially in warm climates.

4. Cakes

How to start a cake business

Focus on baking and decorating cakes tailored for special occasions like birthdays and weddings. Develop a portfolio of designs ranging from classic to contemporary to showcase your skills. A vehicle with ample space and equipped with stabilizers for smooth transport is essential to prevent damage to your creations. Offering tasting consultations can also help attract clients.

5. Cupcakes

How to start a cupcake business

Provide cupcakes for casual gatherings, corporate meetings, or as party favors. Experiment with a variety of flavors and decorative options to cater to different tastes and occasions. Cupcake carriers designed for transportation will be crucial to deliver your products in perfect condition. Marketing towards local businesses for regular orders can be a lucrative niche.

6. Meal Prep

How to start a meal prep business

Offer pre-planned meals for health-conscious individuals or busy professionals. Emphasize the nutritional value of your offerings and consider providing dietary specific menus such as keto, vegan, or gluten-free. Using insulated delivery bags and having a subscription model can ensure steady business flow and customer retention.

7. Food Truck (Mobile Catering)

How to start a food truck business

Operate a food truck with a menu that can be easily prepared and served in a mobile setting, such as tacos, sandwiches, or unique fusion cuisine. Invest in a well-equipped truck with efficient cooking and storage facilities. Participating in local food festivals and using social media for real-time location updates can greatly enhance your visibility.

8. Cottage Food

cottage food business idea

Sell homemade goods like jams, bread, or cookies, mainly at local markets or through online platforms. Ensure you comply with local cottage food laws regarding food safety and sales limits. Packaging plays a significant role in this business; attractive, eco-friendly packaging can appeal to consumers.

9. Donuts

How to start a donut shop

Offer freshly made donuts with a variety of glazes and toppings. Early morning deliveries to offices or coffee shops can be a key market. Equip your vehicle with racks that securely hold donuts in place to avoid any mess during transport. Offering custom donut orders for special events can also broaden your customer base.

10. Coffee & Espresso Catering

How to start a coffee shop business

Provide mobile coffee services at corporate events, weddings, or conferences. A van fitted with commercial-grade coffee machines and a portable water system will be essential. Offering a variety of coffee beans, such as organic or single-origin, can attract coffee aficionados.

11. Hot Dog Catering

How to start a hot dog cart

Serve gourmet hot dogs with a range of toppings and sauces at public events or busy street corners. A compact and mobile hot dog cart or a modified van with cooking facilities can be ideal. Focus on quick service and maintaining high hygiene standards to keep customers coming back.

12. Pizza

How to start a pizza shop

Cater pizzas using a mobile setup or through direct delivery, ideal for parties and casual events. A mobile pizza oven not only ensures fresh, hot pizzas but also adds a theatrical element to your service. Offering a variety of toppings and perhaps gluten-free or vegan options can cater to a wider audience.

13. BBQ

How to Start a Small Barbecue Business

Specialize in BBQ catering for outdoor events with equipment to cook meats to perfection on-site. A trailer with a built-in smoker or grill is crucial, and you should consider offering a variety of meat options and sides. Building a reputation for quality and taste is key to success in the competitive BBQ catering market.

14. Liquor Catering

How to start a liquor store

Offer bar services with a selection of drinks and professional bartenders for events. Ensure compliance with local alcohol regulations and acquire necessary permits. A well-stocked portable bar and an engaging menu of signature cocktails can set you apart from competitors.


Leave a Reply

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

14 Catering Business Ideas