How to Start a Catering Business in Colorado: Business Ideas, Setup Cost, Requirements, and License/Permit

Catering businesses are becoming increasingly popular in Colorado. Colorado is a great state for starting a catering business. It is a great way to make extra money and provide delicious event food. Anyone can start a successful catering business with the right planning, licensing, permits, and insurance policies. Catering businesses have become increasingly popular due to consumers’ demand for unique experiences with well-prepared meals.

How to Start a Catering Business in Colorado

How to Start a Catering Business in Colorado

What is Catering Business?

Catering is the process of providing food and beverage services for events and gatherings. This can include everything from weddings and corporate functions to intimate dinner parties and large-scale events. Catering businesses typically provide a range of services that can be customized to fit the needs of their clients. 

How to Start Catering Business in Colorado?

Firstly, determine what type of catering services you want. There are many different types of catering, so deciding what niche you would like to fill is important. Once you have an idea of the catering type you would like to offer, you can begin to research the necessary permits and licenses required by the state of Colorado.

After obtaining all the necessary permits and licenses, you must find a commercial kitchen space to prepare your food. This can be done by renting a space in an existing restaurant or finding a standalone commercial kitchen space. Once you have secured a preparation area, you must purchase or lease all the necessary equipment for your business.

Once you have everything in place, it’s time to start marketing your new catering business! You must create a website and social media accounts so potential customers can learn more about your company and the services you offer. It would help if you also considered creating a menu or price list so potential clients know what they can expect from your business.

Benefits of Catering Business in Colorado

  • The state has a thriving food and beverage industry, so there’s a strong demand for catering services.
  • Colorado offers a great quality of life, with plenty of outdoor activities and attractions to keep your business busy year-round.
  • The state has a very supportive business environment, with numerous resources available to help you get your catering business.

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Indoor Catering Management

Select the Best Foods to Cater in Colorado

Corporate Catering

Corporate catering is one of the most lucrative segments in the catering industry. Businesses large and small often outsource their catering needs to professional companies. This type of catering requires a high level of organization and coordination and a culinary team that can execute complex menus.

Wedding Catering

Wedding catering is another popular type of event catering. Weddings are typically large, formal affairs that require an extensive menu and comprehensive service. Wedding catering can be quite profitable but comes with added pressure and responsibility.

Social Event Catering

Social event catering encompasses various events, from birthday parties and anniversaries to graduations and baby showers. This type of catering is typically less formal than corporate or wedding catering, but it still requires a high level of customer service and culinary expertise.

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Self Food Serving
Casual Catering

Casual caterings are more relaxed, often involving finger foods or buffet-style meals. This type of catering is perfect for smaller events or gatherings where formal dining is not necessary or desired. Casual catering can be less expensive than other types of catering.

Tips to Start Catering Business in Colorado

  1. To start a catering business in Colorado, you must obtain a food handler’s license from the county where you’ll be operating.
  2. Next, you’ll need to develop a menu and price list for your catering services.
  3. Once you have your menu and pricing set, you must promote your business by creating a website or social media profile and distributing marketing materials.
  4. To get started with catering, you must purchase supplies like tableware, serving utensils, and food storage containers.
  5. Finally, it’s important to maintain good relationships with your clients and suppliers to ensure the success of your catering business.

Requirements To Start a Catering Business in Colorado

Catering businesses provide food and beverage services for events. They can range from small, home-based businesses to large, full-service companies. Catering businesses typically have a culinary team that handles the food preparation and presentation and a service staff that manages the event set-up, service, and clean-up. The main step is determining what type of catering business you want to start.

There are many types of catering businesses, from weddings to corporate events. Once you know the type of catering business you want to start, you must obtain the necessary licenses and permits. The next step is to find a location for your business. You will need a commercial kitchen and a place to store your equipment. After you have found a location, you need to purchase the necessary equipment and supplies. The last step is to promote your business and get clients. You can do this by creating a website, printing flyers, and networking with other businesses in the area.

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Catering Service

Create Catering Business Plan in Colorado

1. It is important to research and know the industry to start a catering business. Once you have a clear vision for your catering business, it’s time to organize. Create a business plan that includes your business goals, marketing strategy, and financial projections. Getting the proper licenses and permits before starting your business is also important.

2. If you’re not sure about the best place to start, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has resources to help you through the process.

3. Your catering business will need a commercial kitchen where you can prepare food for events. You can rent space from a restaurant or other commercial kitchen facility if you don’t have a suitable kitchen.

4. You’ll also need storage space for supplies and equipment. When choosing a location for your business, consider the cost of rent and utilities and the proximity to potential customers.

5. The main step is obtaining a business license from the city or county where your business will be located. Once you have obtained your license, you must purchase liability insurance to protect yourself and your business from lawsuits.

6. After you have obtained your license and insurance, you will need to purchase supplies such as kitchen equipment, serving ware, and food. Once you have all your supplies, you must find clients by marketing your business through online directories or word-of-mouth.

7. You must also obtain liability insurance, register your business with the state, and obtain a business license from the city or county where you will operate. Additionally, it is recommended that you have a commercial kitchen in which to prepare food for your catering events.

Catering Business Set-Up Cost in Colorado

Catering business set-up costs in Colorado can be expensive, with the average startup costing around $10,000. However, there are ways to cut costs and still have a successful business. One way to save money is to use cheaper ingredients. Another way to reduce costs is to negotiate with vendors for better rates. Finally, consider renting kitchen space instead of purchasing or leasing your property. By following these tips, you can keep your catering business set-up cost in Colorado low and still have a thriving business.

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Food Served on Table

What Is the Target Market for A Catering Business in Colorado?

One potential target market for catering businesses in Colorado is corporate events. Companies often host large events and need catering services to provide food for their guests. If you’re interested in catering corporate events, you’ll need to be able to accommodate large groups and have a menu that offers a variety of options to please everyone.

Another target market for catering businesses in Colorado is weddings. Wedding receptions are often big affairs, and couples look to cater their reception to save them the hassle of cooking and serving food themselves. If you’re interested in catering weddings, you’ll need to have a menu that offers a variety of food options and can accommodate large groups. You may also need to be able to provide special dietary options for guests who have allergies or preferences.

No matter who your target market is, it’s important to have a well-thought-out business plan before starting your catering business in Colorado. This plan should include an analysis of your competition, proposed menu, pricing structure, and marketing strategy. With a solid business plan, you’ll be on your way to success as a caterer in Colorado.

Equipment Needed for a Catering Business

  1. Commercial kitchen appliances: If you plan on seriously cooking for your catering business, invest in commercial-grade kitchen appliances. This includes things like ovens, stoves, fryers, and refrigerators.
  2. Tableware and serving pieces: You’ll need a good selection of tableware and serving pieces to cater for events of all sizes. Ensure you have enough plates, silverware, glasses, and serving utensils to accommodate your expected guest count.
  3. Buffet tables and chafing dishes: Buffet-style catering is very popular, so you’ll need at least one buffet table and a set of chafing dishes to keep food warm during service.
  4. Linens and napkins: Be sure to have an assortment of clean linens on hand for tablecloths, napkins, and other needs.
  5. Decorations and centerpieces: Add some flair to your catering set up with decorations and centerpieces that fit your event’s theme or color scheme.

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Self Service Food Trays

Catering Business Ideas in Colorado

  1. Specialty food catering – With so many different types of cuisine available in Colorado, you could specialize in a certain type of food. This could be anything from Mexican to Italian or vegan and gluten-free options.
  2. Event catering – There are always events in Colorado, from weddings to corporate functions. Getting into event catering can be very lucrative as you can cater to high-end clients.
  3. Party catering – You could offer your services for birthday parties, graduation parties, and other special occasions.
  4. Outdoor catering – With all the beautiful scenery in Colorado, outdoor catering is a great option. You could set up at festivals and fairs or even make private event bookings for clients who want a dining experience.

Key Rules to Start Catering Business in Colorado

  1. Choose your business structure: sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation.
  2. Obtain the necessary business licenses and permits from the state of Colorado and your local municipality.
  3. Create a detailed business plan outlining your company’s organizational structure, marketing strategy, financial projections, etc.
  4. Find commercial kitchen space to rent or lease; this is where you will prepare food for your events.

What Licenses Are Needed to Start a Catering Business in Colorado?

You must obtain a few different licenses and permits before starting your catering business in Colorado. First, you must register your business with the Colorado Secretary of State. Next, you must apply for a food service license through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Finally, you must obtain a sales tax license from the Colorado Department of Revenue. Other licenses and permits for caterers;

  • A business license
  • An EIN (Employer Identification Number)
  • Food seller’s permit
  • Employee food service licenses are to be held by all employees to prepare, handle and serve food

How to Register an LLC to Start Catering Business in Colorado?

  1. Choose a name for your LLC. This name should be unique and reflect what your business does. It can’t be too similar to another business name already in use. Once you have your chosen name, you must file it with the Colorado Secretary of State and the Articles of Organization for an LLC.
  2. Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). You’ll need this number when filing taxes and opening a business bank account.
  3. Create an operating agreement for your LLC. This document outlines how the business will be run and who owns what percentage of it. All members of the LLC should sign this agreement.
  4. Register your LLC with the Colorado Department of Revenue by filling out the necessary paperwork and paying the required fees.
  5. Obtain any licenses or permits required by local ordinances or state law to operate your catering business in Colorado legally. For example, many caterers must obtain a food handler’s license from their local county health department before they can begin operating.

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Outdoor Catering Service


Starting a catering business in Colorado is an exciting and rewarding endeavor. Catering provides food and drinks to a group of people, typically at an event or party. When catering an event, you will likely need to contract with a caterer to provide all the food and drinks.



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