As Dubai is home to people from over 200+ countries, it is not surprising that it has also become a global culinary hub. Entrepreneurs have rightly deduced that starting a business revolving around food can lead to a path of financial success.
With restaurants requiring significant financial and time commitment, catering is often a more suitable solution for many people entering the sector.
Throughout the many years that we have helped launch catering businesses, we have come across entrepreneurs who have found their talent within the field in unexpected ways.
Sometimes, it’s by catering to small family celebrations and work events that people have discovered their knack for this niche. Some of our clients started by hosting a birthday celebration for their children, and soon discovered that other parents were informally requesting that they help cater to their special occasions!
The Essentials to Start Catering Business
Before you decide to start launching your business, you will need to determine the scope of your business. Ask yourself, what type of clientele are you aiming for?
While it might be profitable to cater to large corporate events, do you have the capacity to compete with hotels and restaurants?
Do you focus on targeting niche social events within a specific expat community? What makes your catering stand out from what other established companies have to offer?
Once you have determined what type of catering business you want to start, you will need to look at the regulatory aspects of starting such a business.
The type of license that you will require will be a commercial license via the Dubai Department of Economic Development. There are a limited amount of free zones that provide catering licenses; however, due to the limitations imposed on such firms, it is not the most appealing method for most entrepreneurs.
When it comes to obtaining the necessary license, there are specific requirements relating to the size of the premise, equipment, building materials, storage, etc. that must gain approval from the Dubai Municipality.
If you are starting in a brand-new site, then you will have to get designs submitted via a regulated engineering firm. These amongst many other aspects are why a seasoned consultant can help you.
If your catering business requires certain delicacies and items from overseas, then you will also require a specific license in the import of food items.
Depending on the nature of the items, this can be a cumbersome bureaucratic process best handled by those familiar with the evolving rules and regulations in this sector. The Dubai Food Code is there to protect the interest of the wider public so that the food they consume is safe, therefore keep this in mind when looking for overseas suppliers.
Having a Successful Launch
Catering is about choice and the best way to show the wide selection that you offer is via a sample menu.
You may want to create a variety of sample menus catering for corporate events, weddings, birthday parties, graduations, etc. In a short period via client feedback, you will quickly discover the winning dishes and which ones require further work.
You will also need to establish strong relationships with vendors. As a caterer, you will be expected to provide glassware, utensils, tableware, and crockery. You might even be expected to provide specialty food items for people with specific allergies.
Instead of having to source items in a crunch, think of all the potential vendors that you can proactively reach out to so that when the situation arises, you can depend on someone that you already have a relationship.
From our many years of experience, we know that catering is ultimately a profession of passion.
Entrepreneurs start this business not only because they want to make money, but because they are truly passionate about providing great food. While you focus on creating the best possible food, let our consultants help you turn your dream into a reality. Speak to us today!