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

Catering businesses play a vital role and provide food and beverage services for events, parties, and other special occasions. Catering businesses have a wide scope of services that they can provide. Some cater to specific types of events, such as weddings or corporate functions, while others may offer a more general service.

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How to Start a Catering Business in Florida

Decide What Type of Catering Business You Want to Start in Florida

  • One type of catering business you could start is a mobile catering business. This type of business involves setting up a kitchen at events and serving food to guests. Mobile catering businesses often specialize in a certain type of cuisine, such as BBQ or Mexican food.
  • Another type of catering business you could start is a home-based catering business. This type of business involves preparing food in your kitchen and then delivering it to customers’ homes or offices. Home-based catering businesses often have lower overhead costs than other catering businesses but may have more limited menu options.
  • You could also start a commercial catering business if you have experience working in a restaurant kitchen. This catering business involves renting space in a commercial kitchen and preparing food for events. Commercial kitchens typically have more extensive menu options than home-based kitchens but have higher overhead costs.

Choose a Menu for Your Catering Business in Florida

  • Keep it simple at first – Don’t try to offer too many different items on the menu. Start with a few basic dishes and expand once you get a feel for what your clients want.
  • Make sure your menu is well-rounded – Offer a variety of different types of foods so that everyone can find something they like. Include both hot and cold dishes and vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.
  • Pricing is important regarding catering – Make sure you charge enough to cover your costs but don’t price yourself out of the market. Take a look at what other caterings businesses are charging and come up with a competitive

Obtain the Necessary License for a Catering Business in Florida

Firstly, you must create an account with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Once you have created a business account, you can log in and begin the application process. The application will ask for basic information about your business, such as the business name and address. You will also need to provide information about the owners of the business. You will need to apply for a business license with the county clerk’s office in the county where your business will be located.

If you plan on preparing and serving food, you must obtain a food service license from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). You’ll also need to obtain a health permit from the DBPR to handle any food preparation or service. If you plan on serving alcohol at any point, you must get an alcohol license from the DBPR. This is typically only required for businesses that serve liquor, but it’s always best to check with your local authorities to see their requirements.

Equipment Needed for a Catering Business in Florida

  • Firstly, you’ll need a commercial kitchen. This can be rented, leased, or purchased. If you’re starting a business, you may want to consider renting or leasing a kitchen space. This will allow you to see if catering fits you before making a larger investment.
  • Next, you’ll need some basic cooking equipment. This includes pots and pans, baking sheets, utensils, etc. You may already have some of this equipment at home, but it’s important to ensure that everything is commercial-grade and can handle large quantities of food.
  • In addition to cooking equipment, you’ll also need serving ware and tableware. This includes plates, bowls, silverware, serving platters, and utensils. Again, it’s important that these items are all commercial-grade and can stand up to heavy use.
  • Finally, you’ll need storage containers for your food and supplies. This could be anything from Tupperware to industrial-size refrigerators and freezers. You’ll need enough storage to keep your supplies fresh and organized to easily find what you need when you need them.

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Catering Equipment

Steps to Create Catering Business Plan in Florida

  1. Firstly, you’ll need to obtain a business license from Florida. This will allow you to operate your catering business in the state legally. Then, obtain a business license from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Depending on your county, you may also need to obtain additional permits, such as a food handler’s permit.
  2. Next, you’ll need to find a commercial kitchen for your business. This can be rented or leased space or even a new kitchen in your home. Ensure it meets all the health and safety requirements for a commercial kitchen.
  3. The success of your catering business will largely depend on its location. You will want to find a place easily accessible by potential customers and has adequate space to accommodate your needs.
  4. You’ll need to hire employees for your catering business. You may need to hire kitchen staff, servers, and sales/marketing personnel. Ensure you have the right training and tools to get started and be prepared to work hard to succeed in your business.
  5. You must stock your kitchen with all the necessary supplies and equipment to prepare and serve food. This includes things like pots and pans, utensils, plates, and silverware, as well as any small appliances you might need.
  6. You will need to purchase liability insurance for your catering business. This will protect you if something goes wrong with the food you serve at an event.
  7. Finally, you’ll need to create a menu of items you’ll be offering for catering. Be sure to include both food and drink items so that you can cater to any event.

Catering Business Set-Up Cost in Florida

The good news is that the set-up costs for a catering business in Florida are relatively low compared to other states. You will need to factor in the cost of renting or leasing kitchen space, as well as the cost of equipment and supplies. You’ll also need to budget for marketing and advertising expenses. Assuming you have the start-up capital required, you can expect to spend between $5,000 and $15,000 on setting up your catering business in Florida.

Promote your Catering Business

You can start by creating your business’s website and social media accounts. Ensure you include your website information about your services, menus, and prices. You can also distribute flyers and brochures in local businesses and community centers. You can also hold events or open houses to showcase your catering business.

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Catering Service


Catering businesses play a vital role in the community by providing affordable food options for special occasions. Catering businesses in Florida serve food to groups of people at special events like parties, weddings, and corporate functions. They usually work with a venue to provide food and drinks for guests. Some catering businesses also offer Event Planning services to help customers plan their events.


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