How to Start a Catering Business in Russia?

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Turn your cookery passion into an enterprise by starting a catering company. But it’s not as effortless as pre-heating your oven.

Creating a catering business can be a fulfilling way to turn your cooking aptitudes into a thriving business. While it can be rewarding to follow your passion, starting a catering business involves more than opening your recipe book and spreading the word.

Consider these five points before you hang a shingle.

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Upfront Expenses

Holding cash on hand allows you to invest in food and other caches before accepting your first job.

While you should request a promise from customers, you’ll probably have to pay some costs upfront.

“Some people pay the caterer after everything is prepared and delivered,” “Either set up invoice factoring, which is selling your invoice to a third party to get money instantly, or have a backer to get the money you need.”

What Type of Kitchen Do do You Require?

As an experienced caterer, you should know that you need a professional kitchen.

“Laws concerning catering services, it is good to check up to date in Russia,” says Valentina Khlavich, attorney, and co-founder of the law firm Valen Legal, in Moscow city.

Some community colleges and local bars and restaurants will rent their kitchens during their off-hours.

What Licenses and Permits Will Be Required

Food safety is an important issue, and you’ll need to comply with local regulations by obtaining permits and licenses from the city. Call your area’s business licensing department to find out what’s required. While requirements vary, you may need health permits, food-handling licenses, and a liquor license.

You’ll also want to have insurance to cover your risks, such as an employee slipping and falling while serving food to guests, transportation accidents, and people getting ill from eating the food you or your employees have prepared.

And use a written catering contract with every client to cover potential issues, such as the venue’s closure or an unexpected occurrence. “Be sure to cover all your legal bases,” says Winters. “You want to ensure that you and your customers are in full agreement on expectations and services.”

Define Your Specialty

Another issue to address is defining your specialty. Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, it’s best to create signature dishes that you can become known for. Use your expertise and the components that are readily available to you to shape your menu.

You could become known for a particular regional cuisine, such as Italian or Vietnamese. Or you could focus on a kind of meal, like brunch or picnic food.

You could also specialize in a type of customer. “It helps to choose a niche,” says Teodor Maxwell, co-owner of a catering business in Moscow. “When you first start, you may take every job that comes your way. Finally, [though,] you may decide to focus on a certain style of catering, like weddings or corporate luncheons. We cater to the entertainment industry.”

Marketing Your Enterprise

An online presence is required for long-term success because customers search for businesses online. Start by making a simple website and social media accounts with example menus. You’ll also want great photos of your food.

“People eat with their eyes,” says Teodor. “Make sure you take and share amazing photographs.”

And while existing on social media is important, word of mouth is your best form of marketing for food. Request feedback and testimonials from happy clients and share them on your website. You can also present a discount to anyone who refers a new customer.

“We market in various ways,” says Ivan Scholz, a Moscow restaurant owner who also offers catering. “When we opened The Vegie, the catering menu for that was stapled on the delivery bags for people who ordered dinner from Burger Bar or Sushi and Steak.”

Ivan also donates food directly to charities and charity occasions. This way, he contributes to his community while boosting name acclaim. “At charity events, guests can test food,” he says. “This method, in particular, has been a great method for us; as much as 80% of our catering comes from referrals.”

How to start your LLC for Catering Business in Russia

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