Starting a catering business in the Philippines can be ideal considering that the country has its fair share of delicious cuisines, which provides endless opportunities for business owners who are intending to go into this trade.
According to Statista, revenues of event catering and food services activities are expected to have continuous growth in 2023 and is forecasted to reach approximately 180.5 million U.S. Dollars by 2024.
While it may sound exciting and rewarding, the catering business can be challenging too. So if you are someone who loves to cook and has the intention to start a food business, do read on to learn more about this food service segment and how you can start your own catering business online in the Philippines.
What is a Catering Business
Catering is a type of business that provides food service to guests at a social affair, usually during events. The host will engage a food catering company where they will cook and prepare the food, before delivering it to the event location.
Advantages of Food Catering Businesses
Lower startup costs
Unlike a food restaurant business, the initial overheads are far lower since you do not need to hire additional staff to serve the food or as a cashier. You also do not need to rent a space to sell your food because essentially the catering business is like a delivery service. Hence, the food catering service usually requires lesser startup capital and the financial risk is lower.
Catering business gives you the freedom of running your food service operation without needing to abide by the standard operating hours or having to follow a rigid schedule. And by running it online, your catering business is technically operating 24/7 where you only need to prepare and cook the food when an order comes in and have it delivered by the selected date and time.
It also allows you to choose your job. If you’re starting it as a side or part-time business, where you can choose to operate your food catering business only on weekends or whenever your schedule allows.
You get to do what you like and turn your passion of cooking into business. Nothing beats generating revenue from doing something that you enjoy.
Disadvantages of Food Catering Businesses
Tough early start to build your business
Being your own boss requires you to work on almost anything. While the food catering business gives you the freedom to choose your clients, you also need to ensure that there are orders coming in. Just this part alone is very tedious, especially in the early stages where you need to build a brand out of nothing.
High energy consumption
Cooking for home and cooking for your catering business is completely different. You will need to prepare food that usually needs to accommodate more than 20 people so that can be really exhausting at the start if you are not accustomed to it.
More than just cooking
Catering is not just about food, but it also involves your company in terms of branding and presentation. Hence, there will be additional elements that you need to be focused on apart from cooking, such as coming out with different menus catered for different events, the presentation of your food and do you plan to set up your food counter at the event.
How to Start Your Catering Business in the Philippines
Now that you understand the concept of food catering and the advantages and disadvantages of it, you now need the right strategy in order for your food catering business to be successful. That’s why we’ve come out with tips to help you get started.
1. Getting a licence
Like any other business in the Philippines, you need to acquire a licence before you can operate your food catering business. Application can be done through your local Municipality.
Take note that before the licence is issued, the Health Department needs to inspect your place of business to ensure you meet the sanitation requirements. They will also conduct routine inspections even after the licence is issued. These inspections are to ensure you are practising good hygiene, sanitation and maintenance, which is very important for food businesses to prevent consumers from contracting food-related medical issues.
To help you, here are some things to avoid:
- Poor hygiene
- Inadequate cooking times
- Improper cooling
- Storage of food
Here is also a list of documents that you need:
- For Business Name Registration, visit Department of Trade & Industry (DTI)
- Apply for Mayor’s Permit/Resident Certificate & Sanitary Permit
- Tax Identification Number (TIN), visit Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)
2. Craft your business plan
Developing a food catering business plan is important because it can help to set the foundation of your business and how you want to run it. Your business plan should include the type of food catering service you want to offer, your target market, financial projections and how you plan to market your food catering business.
3. Focus on a niche market
Once you have your food catering business plan, it’s time to narrow down your options and specialise in a particular cuisine where you are able to offer top notch service and food quality.
There are 4 different types of food catering businesses so focus on one that best suits your business and target market:
This type of catering business is to provide food and beverages for corporate events such as business meetings and conferences.
Additional services: Table settings and event coordination
Wedding catering businesses specialise in providing food and beverages for wedding events. Unlike corporate catering, this type of business requires a wide variety of catering packages to accommodate different ethnic backgrounds.
Additional services: Wedding event planning and decoration
Event catering provides food and beverages not limited to corporate events but also to a wide range of other events, such as birthday parties, festivals, and fundraisers.
Additional services: Entertainment and event coordination
Specialty catering businesses focus on a particular type of cuisine. It can be based on dietary restrictions such as gluten-free.
Additional services: Nutritional advice or build your own menu
Different from the four types of catering business, mobile catering provides food and beverages from a vehicle, usually from a food truck or food cart. Variety of food is limited as this type of catering business usually specialise in a particular type of cuisine because the dishes have to be easy to prepare and able to serve quickly.
4. Plan your startup capital for equipments
You require catering equipment to operate your food business. Having these equipment will help you to serve not just quality food, but also prepare the food efficiently.
To reduce your startup costs, consider renting certain equipment such as ovens, tables and chairs. Only start to invest in better catering equipment when your food business has started to scale.
Here’s a list of equipment you require for your food catering business:
- Commercial-grade ovens and stoves
- Tableware and lines
- Transportable food warmers
- Buffet equipment (serving platters, heated display cases)
- Serving utensils
- Large refrigerators and freezers
5. Build an online food catering website
Once you have sorted out the operations part, the next step is to find a website builder platform to create a food catering business website. There are several websites that can let you create your own website but if you are tight on budget, there are free website builders that you can explore.
The requirements of an online catering website includes:
- Able to upload your food menu
- Able to include food pictures
- Payment integration
- Contact fields
- Able to create promotions
6. Marketing your food catering business
Apart from food quality, marketing and advertising are vital for your food catering business because you need to be able to first attract new clients before they can taste your food.
There are some effective marketing strategies that can help to build your brand reputation and get your name out there in the catering market:
- Networking with event planners and venue managers
- Creating social media accounts
- Offering promotions to first-time clients
- Offering coupons
Start Your Online Food Catering Business Today
By following these catering business tips, you will be in a good position to successfully set up your catering business in the Philippines. Now it’s time to create your own food catering website and if you want to try it out without forking out too much money at the start, be sure to visit Shopboxo, where it has all the required functions to help you create your website effortlessly.
Finally, you must always strived to provide high-quality food and excellent customer service as it will help you a lot in the food business industry in the Philippines.
Common Online Food Catering Business Questions
What qualifications do you need to start a catering business?
You do not require a specific education certification to start your catering business. But it will be a bonus if you have prior experience working in the kitchen so you know your way around it. And you should also have a real love of food or enjoy cooking.
What skills are required for catering?
The fundamental skills to start a catering business is to first know how to cook or at least be aware of the basics, which includes dietary restrictions. This will enable you to come up with menus based on client’s requirements.
You also need to understand how to handle food properly and safely in terms of its policies and procedures when it comes to food supplies procurement.