Catering Business Plan Template

How to start a catering business plan template

Are you interested in starting your own catering Business?

Starting a catering business can be a great way to enter the foodservice industry. It can be a very rewarding experience, both financially and personally. But like any new business venture, there are a few things you should keep in mind before getting started. In this article, we'll cover the basics of starting a catering business, from writing a business plan to choosing a menu to marketing your new business. We'll also provide some tips on making your catering business a success. So if you're thinking about starting a catering business, read on for some helpful information.
Global Market Size
The global catering market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.64% during the forecast period to reach a market size of $558.9 billion by 2025 from $413.2 billion in 2019. The growth of the catering market is driven by the growing demand for ready-to-eat food and the increasing number of working women. The ready-to-eat food market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.42% during the forecast period to reach a market size of $365.4 billion by 2025 from $276.0 billion in 2019. The increasing number of working women is resulting in the growing demand for ready-to-eat food as they do not have time to cook meals. The growth of the hospitality industry is another major factor driving the growth of the catering market. The hospitality industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.78% during the forecast period to reach a market size of $1,842.0 billion by 2025 from $1,334.5 billion in 2019. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to be the fastest-growing market for catering during the forecast period. The Asia-Pacific catering market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.56% during the forecast period to reach a market size of $178.1 billion by 2025 from $116.2 billion in 2019. The growing population and the increasing number of working women are the major factors driving the growth of the catering market in the Asia-Pacific region. The North American region is expected to be the second-fastest-growing market for catering during the forecast period. The North American catering market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.09% during the forecast period to reach a market size of $172.5 billion by 2025 from $122.5 billion in 2019. The growing demand for ready-to-eat food and the increasing number of working women are the major factors driving the growth of the catering market in North America. The European region is expected to be the third-fastest-growing market for catering during the forecast period. The European catering market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.36% during the forecast period to reach a market size of $167.3 billion by 2025 from $124.2 billion in 2019. The growing demand for ready-to-eat food and the increasing number of working
Target Market
Assuming you would like tips on how to start a catering business: Before starting a catering business, it is important to understand who your target market is. This can be difficult to determine if you have not been in the catering business before, but there are a few key demographics to keep in mind. For example, are you looking to cater to corporate events or private parties? If you are looking to cater to corporate events, your target market will be different than if you are looking to cater private parties. Each type of event will require different types of food and services, so it is important to understand who your target market is before starting your catering business. Once you have determined your target market, you can start to research what type of food and services they will require. This research can be done online, through talking to people in your target market, or by attending events that are similar to what you will be catering. After you have gathered this information, you can start to put together a menu and plan for your catering business.
Business Model
The first step to starting a catering business is to determine what type of catering business model you will operate under. There are four common types of catering business models: mobile catering, event catering, contract catering, and in-house catering. Mobile catering businesses typically operate out of food trucks or carts and serve food directly to consumers at events or locations. Event catering businesses cater events such as weddings, corporate functions, and birthday parties. Contract catering businesses provide catering services to businesses or organizations under contract. In-house catering businesses operate within a single location, such as a restaurant, hotel, or college campus. Once you have determined what type of catering business you will operate, you need to develop a business plan. Your business plan should include your catering business’s mission statement, a market analysis, a description of your target market, a marketing plan, a description of your catering services, a description of your business’s organizational structure, and your financial projections. After you have developed your business plan, you need to secure financing for your catering business. You can finance your catering business through personal savings, small business loans, or venture capital. Once you have secured financing, you need to obtain the licenses and permits required to operate your catering business. The licenses and permits required for catering businesses vary by state, but they typically include a food service license and a business license. Now you are ready to launch your catering business!.
Competitive Landscape
In any business, it is important to understand the competitive landscape. When starting a catering business, this is no different. There are a few things to consider when thinking about the competition.
1. What other catering businesses are in the area?
2. What do they offer that is similar to what you plan to offer?
3. What do they charge for their services?
By understanding the competition, you can better position your own business to be successful. If there are already a lot of catering businesses in the area, you may need to differentiate your offerings to stand out. If there are few catering businesses, you may have an opportunity to be the go-to catering company in the area. In either case, it is important to understand your competition and what they are offering. This way, you can make sure your business is positioned for success.

Legal Considerations

Before starting a catering business, it's important to research and understand the legal requirements involved. This could include obtaining necessary permits and licenses, registering your business with the appropriate government agencies, and purchasing insurance. You'll also need to consider tax obligations, such as registering for a tax identification number and collecting and remitting sales tax.

Menu Development

One of the key components of a successful catering business is a well-developed menu. When creating your menu, it's important to consider the preferences and dietary restrictions of your target market, as well as the seasonality of ingredients. You may also want to consider offering customizable options or packages that can be tailored to your clients' needs.

Kitchen and Equipment

Running a catering business requires access to a commercial kitchen space, as well as a variety of cooking and serving equipment. This could include ovens, refrigerators, pots and pans, serving dishes, and utensils. It's important to research and invest in high-quality equipment that will stand up to the demands of a busy catering business.

Staffing and Training

To ensure that your catering business runs smoothly, it's essential to have a well-trained and capable staff. This could include chefs, servers, and event coordinators. You'll need to consider the qualifications and experience necessary for each role, as well as the appropriate training and certifications required.

Marketing and Promotion

Like any business, marketing and promotion are essential to building a successful catering operation. This could include leveraging social media platforms to showcase your work, creating a website to showcase your services and menu, and advertising in local publications or on community bulletin boards. You may also want to consider reaching out to event planners or other professionals who can refer clients to your business.

Financial Planning

Running a catering business involves significant financial considerations, from startup costs to ongoing expenses. When planning your business finances, you'll need to consider factors such as equipment and supply costs, staffing expenses, marketing and advertising costs, and overhead expenses. You'll also need to determine your pricing strategy to ensure that your business is profitable.

Customer Service

In the catering industry, excellent customer service is essential to building and maintaining a strong reputation. This could include responding promptly and professionally to client inquiries, being flexible and accommodating with menu and service options, and going above and beyond to ensure client satisfaction.

Event Planning and Management

As a caterer, you'll likely be involved in event planning and management. This could include coordinating with clients on menu and service options, arranging for delivery and setup of equipment and supplies, and ensuring that food is prepared and served on time and to the highest quality standards.


In today's environmentally-conscious landscape, many clients are looking for catering options that prioritize sustainability. As a caterer, you can reduce your environmental impact by sourcing local and organic ingredients, using eco-friendly packaging and serving supplies, and implementing waste reduction strategies. By prioritizing sustainability, you can not only attract clients who value environmental responsibility, but also do your part to promote a healthier planet.

If you're thinking about starting a catering business, congratulations! Catering is a great way to turn your love of food and entertaining into a successful and fulfilling career. Now that you know the basics of how to start a catering business, it's time to get started. First, decide what type of catering business you'd like to start. Then, develop a business plan and start marketing your catering business to potential clients. Starting a catering business can be a lot of work, but it's also a lot of fun. With some hard work and dedication, you can turn your catering business into a thriving success.

Why write a business plan?

A business plan is a critical tool for businesses and startups for a number of reasons:
  • Business Plans can help to articulate and flesh out the business’s goals and objectives. This can be beneficial not only for the business owner, but also for potential investors or partners
  • Business Plans can serve as a roadmap for the business, helping to keep it on track and on target. This is especially important for businesses that are growing and evolving, as it can be easy to get sidetracked without a clear plan in place.
  • Business plans can be a valuable tool for communicating the business’s vision to employees, customers, and other key stakeholders.
  • Business plans are one of the most affordable and straightforward ways of ensuring your business is successful.
  • Business plans allow you to understand your competition better to critically analyze your unique business proposition and differentiate yourself from the market.
  • Business Plans allow you to better understand your customer. Conducting a customer analysis is essential to create better products and services and market more effectively.
  • Business Plans allow you to determine the financial needs of the business leading to a better understanding of how much capital is needed to start the business and how much fundraising is needed.
  • Business Plans allow you to put your business model in words and analyze it further to improve revenues or fill the holes in your strategy.
  • Business plans allow you to attract investors and partners into the business as they can read an explanation about the business.
  • Business plans allow you to position your brand by understanding your company’s role in the marketplace.
  • Business Plans allow you to uncover new opportunities by undergoing the process of brainstorming while drafting your business plan which allows you to see your business in a new light. This allows you to come up with new ideas for products/services, business and marketing strategies.
  • Business Plans allow you to access the growth and success of your business by comparing actual operational results versus the forecasts and assumptions in your business plan. This allows you to update your business plan to a business growth plan and ensure the long-term success and survival of your business.

Business Plan Content


Many people struggle with drafting a business plan and it is necessary to ensure all important sections are present in a business plan:
  1. Executive Summary
  2. Company Overview
  3. Industry Analysis
  4. Consumer Analysis
  5. Competitor Analysis & Advantages
  6. Marketing Strategies & Plan
  7. Plan of Action
  8. Management Team

The financial forecast template is an extensive Microsoft Excel sheet with Sheets on Required Start-up Capital, Salary & Wage Plans, 5-year Income Statement, 5-year Cash-Flow Statement, 5-Year Balance Sheet, 5-Year Financial Highlights and other accounting statements that would cost in excess of £1000 if obtained by an accountant.

The financial forecast has been excluded from the business plan template. If you’d like to receive the financial forecast template for your start-up, please contact us at . Our consultants will be happy to discuss your business plan and provide you with the financial forecast template to accompany your business plan.

Instructions for the Business Plan Template

To complete your perfect catering business plan, fill out the form below and download our catering business plan template. The template is a word document that can be edited to include information about your catering business. The document contains instructions to complete the business plan and will go over all sections of the plan. Instructions are given in the document in red font and some tips are also included in blue font. The free template includes all sections excluding the financial forecast. If you need any additional help with drafting your business plan from our business plan template, please set up a complimentary 30-minute consultation with one of our consultants.

Ongoing Business Planning


With the growth of your business, your initial goals and plan is bound to change. To ensure the continued growth and success of your business, it is necessary to periodically update your business plan. Your business plan will convert to a business growth plan with versions that are updated every quarter/year. Avvale Consulting recommends that you update your business plan every few months and practice this as a process. Your business is also more likely to grow if you access your performance regularly against your business plans and reassess targets for business growth plans.


Want a Bespoke Business Plan for your catering Business?

Our Expertise


Avvale Consulting has extensive experience working with companies in many sectors including the catering industry. You can avail a free 30-minute business consultation to ask any questions you have about starting your catering business. We would also be happy to create a bespoke catering business plan for your catering business including a 5-year financial forecast to ensure the success of your catering business and raise capital from investors to start your catering business. This will include high-value consulting hours with our consultants and multiple value-added products such as investor lists and Angel Investor introductions.


About Us


Avvale Consulting is a leading startup business consulting firm based in London, United Kingdom. Our consultants have years of experience working with startups and have worked with over 300 startups from all around the world. Our team has thousands of business plans, pitch decks and other investment documents for startups leading to over $100 Million raised from various sources. Our business plan templates are the combination of years of startup fundraising and operational experience and can be easily completed by a business owner regardless of their business stage or expertise. So, whether you are a budding entrepreneur or a veteran businessman, download our business plan template and get started on your business growth journey today.
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Catering Business Plan Template FAQs

What is a business plan for a/an Catering business?

A business plan for a catering business is a comprehensive document that outlines the goals, strategies, and financial projections for the establishment and operation of a catering company. It serves as a roadmap for the business, providing a detailed analysis of the market, competitors, target audience, and potential risks. The business plan also includes information about the catering services offered, pricing strategies, marketing and sales plans, operational processes, and management structure. Additionally, it presents the financial forecasts, including startup costs, revenue projections, and profitability analysis, to attract potential investors or secure financing for the catering business. Overall, a well-developed business plan serves as a valuable tool to guide the growth and success of a catering business.

How to customize the business plan template for a Catering business?

To customize the business plan template for a catering business, follow these steps:

1. Review the template: Start by thoroughly reading through the entire business plan template to familiarize yourself with its structure and content. This will help you understand the sections that need customization.

2. Gather information: Collect all the necessary information about your catering business. This includes details about your target market, competitors, pricing strategies, marketing plans, financial projections, and operational processes.

3. Customize executive summary: Begin by personalizing the executive summary to summarize your unique business concept, vision, and mission. Highlight the key aspects of your catering business that make it stand out from competitors.

4. Modify company description: Tailor the company description section to provide a comprehensive overview of your catering business. Include information about your business structure, ownership, location, history, and any unique selling points.

5. Adapt market analysis: Customize the market analysis section by conducting thorough research on your target market. Identify your ideal customer base, demographics, purchasing behavior, and market trends. Analyze the competition and explain how your catering business will differentiate itself.

6. Adjust marketing and sales strategies: Modify the marketing and sales section to align with your specific catering business. Outline your marketing techniques, pricing strategies, and promotional activities. Identify the channels you will use to reach your target audience, such as social media, website, or partnerships.

7. Tailor operational plan: Customize the operational plan section to showcase your catering business's day-to-day operations.

What financial information should be included in a Catering business plan?

In a Catering business plan, the following financial information should be included:

1. Startup Costs: This section should outline the initial expenses required to start the catering business. It may include costs such as kitchen equipment, permits and licenses, initial inventory, marketing expenses, and any renovations or leasehold improvements.

2. Sales Forecast: This section should provide a detailed estimate of the anticipated sales revenue for the catering business. It should include projected sales figures for different types of events or clients, such as corporate events, weddings, private parties, and more.

3. Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): This section should outline the direct costs associated with providing catering services, such as ingredients, food supplies, packaging, and any other costs directly related to the production of food.

4. Operating Expenses: This section should include all other expenses incurred in running the catering business, such as rent, utilities, insurance, marketing and advertising, employee wages, licenses, permits, and any administrative costs.

5. Profit and Loss Statement: This financial statement summarizes the revenues, costs, and expenses incurred during a specific period. It provides an overview of the business's profitability and helps identify areas where costs can be reduced or revenues increased.

6. Cash Flow Statement: This statement tracks the flow of cash in and out of the business over a specific period. It shows the sources of cash (such as sales, loans, or investments) and how it is used (such as inventory purchases, operating expenses, loan repayments

Are there industry-specific considerations in the Catering business plan template?

Yes, the Catering business plan template includes industry-specific considerations. It provides sections and information that are specifically tailored to the catering industry, such as market analysis, target market segmentation, competitive analysis, menu development, pricing strategies, operational considerations, and marketing strategies specific to catering services. The template also includes financial projections and budgeting tools that are relevant to the catering industry, considering factors such as food costs, labor costs, equipment expenses, and pricing structures. Overall, the template addresses the unique challenges and opportunities that are specific to running a catering business.

How to conduct market research for a Catering business plan?

To conduct market research for a Catering business plan, follow these steps:

1. Identify your target market: Determine the specific demographics and characteristics of your ideal customers. Consider factors such as age, income level, location, and preferences.

2. Analyze industry trends: Research the current state of the catering industry, including growth rates, emerging trends, and competitive landscape. Look for opportunities and potential challenges that may impact your business.

3. Study your competitors: Identify and analyze other catering businesses in your area. Evaluate their offerings, pricing, target market, and marketing strategies. This will help you understand the competitive landscape and identify gaps or unique selling points for your business.

4. Conduct surveys and interviews: Create surveys or interview potential customers to gather insights about their preferences, needs, and expectations. Ask questions about their catering experiences, pricing expectations, and desired menu options. This information will help you tailor your offerings to meet customer demands.

5. Attend industry events: Participate in trade shows, industry conferences, and networking events to connect with professionals in the catering industry. This will provide opportunities to learn from experienced individuals, gain industry insights, and build valuable relationships.

6. Analyze online reviews and feedback: Examine online platforms such as review websites, social media, and forums to understand customer feedback about existing catering services. Pay attention to both positive and negative reviews to identify areas for improvement or potential advantages.

7. Gather local market data: Research local demographics, economic indicators, and population trends to

What are the common challenges when creating a business plan for a Catering business?

Creating a business plan for a Catering business can come with its own set of challenges. Some of the common challenges include:

1. Market Research: Conducting thorough market research to understand the target audience, competition, and industry trends can be time-consuming and challenging. However, it is vital to have a clear understanding of the market to develop a successful business plan.

2. Financial Projections: Estimating the costs involved in starting and operating a Catering business can be complex. It requires careful consideration of expenses such as equipment, supplies, labor, marketing, and overhead costs. Developing accurate financial projections is crucial for attracting investors and securing funding.

3. Competitive Differentiation: The Catering industry is highly competitive, and creating a unique selling proposition can be a challenge. Identifying how your business will stand out from competitors and attract customers is essential for success.

4. Menu Development: Designing a menu that appeals to the target market while considering cost, availability of ingredients, and seasonality can be challenging. A well-crafted menu is crucial to attract and retain customers.

5. Operational Planning: Developing a comprehensive operational plan that covers aspects like sourcing ingredients, staff recruitment and training, logistics, and health and safety regulations can be complex. This plan should address the day-to-day operations of the business and ensure smooth functioning.

6. Marketing Strategy: Creating an effective marketing strategy to reach and engage with potential customers can be challenging. Identifying the best channels to promote the Catering business, such as

How often should I update my Catering business plan?

The frequency of updating your Catering business plan depends on various factors, such as changes in the market, business goals, and strategies. As a general guideline, it is advisable to review and update your business plan at least once a year. This allows you to assess your progress, make necessary adjustments, and ensure that your plan remains relevant and aligned with your current business objectives. Additionally, it is essential to update your business plan whenever there are significant changes in your industry, target market, competition, or internal operations. By regularly revisiting and updating your Catering business plan, you can stay proactive and adaptable in the ever-evolving business landscape.

Can I use the business plan template for seeking funding for a Catering business?

Yes, the business plan template can be used for seeking funding for a Catering business. A well-prepared and comprehensive business plan is essential when approaching potential investors or lenders. The template will guide you in creating a professional document that outlines your business model, market analysis, target audience, marketing strategies, financial projections, and more. It will help you present a clear and convincing case for why your Catering business is a sound investment opportunity. Remember to customize the template to fit your specific business and include any additional information or research that may be required by potential funders.

What legal considerations are there in a Catering business plan?

When creating a Catering business plan, it is essential to consider several legal aspects to ensure compliance and protect your business. Here are some key legal considerations:

1. Business Structure: Determine the most suitable business structure, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. Each structure has different legal implications and requirements.

2. Licenses and Permits: Research and obtain the necessary licenses, permits, and certifications required to operate a catering business in your jurisdiction. These may include health department permits, food handling certifications, alcohol licenses, or zoning permits.

3. Food Safety Regulations: Familiarize yourself with local, state, and federal food safety regulations and ensure compliance in all aspects of your operations. This includes proper food handling, storage, preparation, and transportation to maintain health and safety standards.

4. Contractual Agreements: Develop contracts for various aspects of your business, such as agreements with suppliers, vendors, clients, and employees. These contracts should outline terms and conditions, pricing, liability, confidentiality, and dispute resolution procedures.

5. Insurance Coverage: Obtain appropriate insurance coverage to protect your business from potential risks and liabilities. This may include general liability insurance, property insurance, workers' compensation insurance, and product liability insurance.

6. Employment Laws: Understand and comply with local labor laws, including minimum wage, overtime, employment contracts, and workplace safety regulations. If hiring employees, ensure proper documentation, payroll, and tax requirements are met.

7. Intellectual