Taking The Leap Into Catering?!?!

Business By ConfectionsByB Updated 14 Jul 2011 , 11:45pm by ConfectionsByB

ConfectionsByB Posted 2 Jun 2011 , 12:16am
post #1 of 7

I have viewed many posts on these forums and they have always been so valuable to me!

Five months ago I was bored one day and decided to make homemade fondant and do a cake for fun. Nothing more. From that picture on Facebook I had at least ten friends ask me to make cakes for them (for fun, not money). Five months later I now run a business. I offer parties (for kids), lessons, group lessons, and I will come into peoples homes and bake for them. I do not sell cakes from my home, but will go to someones home and bake a cake (from start to finish as required by law). The response to my business has been completely overwhelming. I had the idea to get a catering license, and start doing 1-2 weddings a month.

I currently have a municipal business license, liability insurance, CA State BOE Sellers Permit, ServSafe Certification, and will have the catering permit within a month. Today for the first time I really started to agonize if I was doing the right thing. I have been doing so well doing what I have been doing, not sure if anyone would buy a wedding cake from me. BUT I get calls almost daily about people who want just cakes/cupcakes no lesson, party, etcetera. So I really think I could do well. For this venture to be financially feasible I will have to place a $150 minimum on each order. (Still researching, but am estimating an average wedding cake would be about $450) Not really too many people in my area who do what I do. I like to take less clients, meet, talk, email, and make them really feel connected to the process. So far it has worked, but I am very nervous about taking this leap!

I think one of my biggest fears is that since it will be ME who does the cakes, what if something happens to me? What if I get into an accident on the way to a wedding? I suppose this kind of thing could happen to anyone, and thats what liability insurance is for. I am not planning on taking more than two wedding cakes a month. Any advice? Anything I might have missed?

6 replies
jason_kraft Posted 2 Jun 2011 , 12:34am
post #2 of 7

The biggest hurdle will probably be finding commercial kitchen space to work in, since it's probably not feasible to make a wedding cake from start to finish in the bride's kitchen or at the venue.

cakeguypa Posted 2 Jun 2011 , 12:45am
post #3 of 7

I was in catering long before I got into cakes. Sounds to me what you are doing is more along the lines of a personal chef rather than catering. There is lots of info online about the whole personal chef business and how it runs. jason_kraft is right to say that doing a whole wedding reception and cake from either a venue or home will be extremely difficult unless you specialize in very small weddings.

For other parties and events, however, you should find lots of great opportunities. Best to specialize in the beginning for just a couple of types of events and then grow from there. It's also good to form relationships with a few others who do the same kind of events just in case there is an emergency and someone else has to step in and take over the job. Good luck!!

indydebi Posted 2 Jun 2011 , 12:49am
post #4 of 7

I'm a little confused. You mention 'catering' but the post is mostly about wedding cakes. Are you talking about making wedding cakes out of a shop or are your contemplating doing food, dinners and buffets in addition to wedding cakes?

As a former caterer who also did cakes, the investment in each side is very different.

ConfectionsByB Posted 14 Jul 2011 , 11:30pm
post #5 of 7

Sorry to be confusing. In CA, it is my understanding that to do cakes legally out of a commercial kitchen, you must have a Catering License which would allow you to do anything, although I would only be doing CAKES (and confections). I still need a full blown catering license.
I actually completed the class, found a kitchen, signed a contract, and obtained liability insurance. Less than a week later, I booked a large wedding! I will only be doing wedding and large events, because my minimum needs to be $250 to compensate for the kitchen rental ($21.00 an hour).
I am still not sure about how to deal with the issue of injury or accident to myself. I have a Home Occupation Permit associated with my municipal business license, and it states no one can work for me unless they live with me, so I cant hire someone. Thoughts?

jason_kraft Posted 14 Jul 2011 , 11:39pm
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConfectionsByB

Sorry to be confusing. In CA, it is my understanding that to do cakes legally out of a commercial kitchen, you must have a Catering License which would allow you to do anything, although I would only be doing CAKES (and confections). I still need a full blown catering license.



This might vary from county to county. In Santa Clara County CA you don't need a catering license, just an inspection certificate from the Dept of Environmental Health.

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I am still not sure about how to deal with the issue of injury or accident to myself.



Your health insurance should cover injuries or accidents anywhere, whether you are working or not.

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I have a Home Occupation Permit associated with my municipal business license, and it states no one can work for me unless they live with me, so I cant hire someone. Thoughts?



Not sure why you have a Home Occupation Permit, aren't you working out of the commercial kitchen? That permit is typically for home-based businesses, which it doesn't sound like you are.

ConfectionsByB Posted 14 Jul 2011 , 11:45pm
post #7 of 7

In my city, unless you have primary control over the store front, you MUST have the HOP. They said that since I will be doing billing, taking calls, working on my website, that I am technically a Home Based Business. I spoke with the supervisor and he said I needed this, and explained I cant hire anyone. I think its a way to collect an extra $50.00. I do a lot of paperwork out of my home, everything but cooking.

My insurance did say that they would cover it, but I would have to be sued. For example for failure to deliver a cake, but that they would pay out. I am not super concerned about the financial issue, just the ethical issue of not providing a cake to someone for a wedding or large event.

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