Outdoor Pizza Catering 101: Start Your First Business
Nearly everyone likes pizza. That’s why U.S. pizza restaurant sales exceeded 45 billion dollars in 2021. Furthermore, the industry is growing.
So if you want to claim your piece of the pizza industry pie, consider launching a pizza catering business. Master the craft of baking pizza at home and then start selling to interested customers. Here’s how:
- Create a business concept and menu
First, decide on the pizza type you want to specialize in. It’s okay to offer many different kinds of pizza, but it’s important to have a specialty so that you’re known for something. Factors to consider include crust style, toppings, and other unique ingredients. From there, you can start crafting a menu.
- Obtain necessary licenses and permits
Next, check to see what licenses and permits you need to run your pizza catering business. You may need health permits, food handlers permits, and zoning approvals. Consult a local attorney to ensure you are compliant.
In terms of financial structure, form a limited liability company (LLC) to protect yourself legally. You will also need to obtain a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) for tax purposes.
- Get the right equipment
At this point, you need to gather the right pizza-making equipment. This includes an oven (e.g. an outdoor pizza oven), tables, a fridge, dough mixers, pizza peels, utensils, etc.— whatever it takes to make professional-grade pizza.
- Collect ingredients and supplies
Get high-quality pizza ingredients: dough, sauce, cheeses, toppings, etc. You’ll need to estimate how much you need and assess different suppliers. Then get needed supplies: pizza boxes, napkins, plates, etc. Shop among wholesalers and distributors who can offer bulk discounts.
- Hire staff
Don’t try to run a pizza catering business all on your own. Instead, hire at least a couple of others to help. As business picks up, you can hire even more staff. Remember, it’s better to be overstaffed than understaffed.
- Set pricing and payment options
Set competitive prices based on the cost of ingredients, overhead costs, and your desired profit margin. This may require testing out the market until you land on the optimal price point. Then select which payment methods you’ll accept: cash, credit card, mobile payments, etc.
- Invest in marketing
If you haven’t already, choose a brand name and design a logo, signage, and other marketing materials to get your name out there. You can spread the word verbally to friends and family and online via social media, ads, and a business website.
- Set operations and logistics procedures
Plan out opening times, staffing schedules, inventory management, and cleaning routines. Create systems and policies that everyone abides by. Setting operations and logistic procedures may not be the most interesting part of running a business, but it’s crucial for success.
- Prioritize health and safety
Finally, as a business owner, you need to prioritize the health and safety of your staff and customers. This means adhering to food safety regulations regarding proper food handling, storage, and hygiene practices. It means regularly cleaning and sanitizing your company’s equipment and workspace. If you don’t take this seriously, you could face major legal challenges that could ruin your business.
The bottom line
Obviously, there’s more to running a successful pizza catering business, but this is a good start. As your business grows, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t. Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged. Creating a successful pizza catering business takes time. So be patient.