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Catering from Home

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I am a mother of three and although I am a professional teacher, I chose to stay home to take better care of my children. However, sometimes I long to have my own steady income. I am thinking of establishing a catering business from home since I am good at cooking a variety of foods such as American, Moroccan, Indian as well as Chinese food. I live in Chicago and I learnt that to be able to cater from home, one must go through few steps such as taking a food sanitation class and so on. But the most dicouraging requirement for me is having to have a commercial kitchen. I do not mind doing all I am required to do but I am not sure how wise it is to spend money for an idea that might not even work. I am desperately in need of your advice. Should I initially do the business " under the radar" until I know it is working then legalize it? I am too scared to even think about it since I do not think I can take such a risk. I am thinking of building a commercial kitchen in my basement, do you have any idea how much it would cost?:confused:

Thanks in advance
post #2 of 4
If you've never catered before, why would you want to start a catering company? Why not find a job with a caterer and see if you like the experience? It seems pointless to go to the time and expense of getting a commercial kitchen if you discover that catering isn't for you.

Should you do business "under the radar?" Absolutely not! Not only could the county health department shut you down in a heartbeat if they caught wind of your business but the negative publicity would shadow you for a long time.

Would you rather be known for the quality of the cuisine or the fact that the health department shut you down for running an unlicensed operation?

Instead of starting up a catering company, why not work as a personal chef? A personal chef goes into a client's home to prepare food. Since you'd be using the client's kitchen, the health department would not require an inspection. You would need a business license and you might want to be bonded for reasons of personal liability.

Here is some information about being a personal chef:
Personal Chefs Network - Become a Personal Chef
post #3 of 4
I AGREE with DC 100% . You state you want to take a few classes, A FEW ??
Well I have been doing this 40 years and I learn every day.
Are you ready to give up time with the kids, or holidays, or weekends? The catering business is 24/7 and it is not show business and not simply cooking, Its buying, cleaning, staffing, insuring,hauling, shipping,interviewing,accounting did I forget any? probably.
Do what DC says . The days of starting out like A Martha Stewart are long over. Good Luck :roll:
post #4 of 4
Yup, amen to all what the others have said.

I ran my own catering biz from '97 to '06, and did it completley by the book.

For the first few years I was always underbid by the smaller caterers operating out of homes.

What did I do?

I called the health inspector, gave them the business cards of the home based caterers and went on doing my business. From then on I only had competition from the legit caterers.....

Ditto what Ed said. Catering is only about 20% cooking, the rest is business savvy and survival.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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