vzank, I am in the "start-up" phase of a catering business and by choice I am going very slow. I've done a ton of research; there are books you can purchase on-line or you can go to B&N or the library. I picked up a book at the library and used several forms from the book on my first few events so I would have some legal contracts and proposals from the getgo. Here is a site you may want to check out as well: CaterSource
. The biggest advice I can give you is to know your competition, know what you are really capable of delivering, and set yourself apart. There is A LOT of competition. Then you need to know how to price your services. There's a lot that goes into an event besides the food and all of it needs to be reflecting in your price. The books should explain all of this.
The reason I'm going slow is because you can get overwhelmed very fast :eek: In fact, I'm still deciding if this is the avenue I want to go down. I agree with W.DeBord to some degree that's it is tough. But I don't know if it's the toughest :confused: Maybe just as tough? Maybe because it's not just about food. It's a lot about managing an ongoing relationship and taking care of a lot of things that can go wrong from start to end (which could span over weeks of time). For example, I just got off the phone with a client who was supposed to have an event today at 4:30. Well, Mother Nature decided that now was the best time to drop the most snow that Maryland has seen in years. His event is postponed until Monday but the food is already prepared and ready to go. What do you do? Well, some items will have to be made again and some will last. The client is very understanding and so am I, but thank goodness I don't have too full a schedule because I don't know if I could handle it otherwise since some items were rather elaborate and time consuming.
As far as the "building" aspect of your question, that's easy. If you do a great job people will take notice and will refer you to others.
Well, I hope I coudl shed some light in your direction. I'd like to hear what other information you're able to glean from other sources. Good luck!