Starting Catering Business

How to Start Catering business in Nigeria 

What is catering all about?

Catering is just an art of “cooking” food for a large number of people usually at a gathering or an event.

Your job as a caterer is to cater for the food and drinks of those you are responsible for.

Since you are going to be preparing food for such large number of people and make money while doing it, you wouldn’t want to make any mistake, for such mistakes could actually cost you recommendation and new customers.

Hence this tutorial is meant to teach you catering and also guide you on how to set up your catering business.

Skills Needed To Start A Catering Business 

These following skill sets are prerequisites for you a successful catering business ventures.

Food Service:

To start your business, you need to be good at cooking.

The whole catering business is wound-up around food, so you have to step up your game before you set out.

Being able to cook great food is not the only criteria, your presentation also matters.

You must present your food in an inviting manner that makes the person about to taste your food salivating.

Thankfully creating great meals and setting them on dishes in an inviting manner is something you can learn.


You need organization skill in any kind of business and catering is not an exception.

Everything you do should be in an orderly manner.

You have to get all the right utensils needed and placed at the right place for easy access to them.

You must have perfected meal plans and your staffs must be aware of their duties, there shouldn’t be a question of who is supposed to do what on the D-day.

Cash Management:

You must be able to manage your expenses well; you should be able to get quality effects for your business as the lowest possible price.

You shouldn’t forgo quality for price; it would affect your business. And your price shouldn’t be too high, especially if you are just starting out. Your motto should be excellent service at an affordable price.

Time Management: 

You must be able to manage your time well; everything you need should be put in place ahead of time. You can’t afford to be late for an event or rush through everything you need done. Do everything you need to in such a way that you would have extra time to adjust, reset, add a finishing touch and time to assess your work.

Setting up a catering business 

In addition to having the required skill set, the following are what you need to get started in your catering business.

Office and Kitchen:

You need a kitchen and office as a caterer. For someone just starting out, you could make use of your home as both but as times goes on you will need to have an office where clients can come to for booking and enquiring plus having an office portrays you as a professional in this business.

So also you need a kitchen that set up and ready, where you can have your cooking done and also house all your utensils.


It is of importance that you acquire the needed utensils and materials needed for your business. You can make use of rentals when you are just starting out and as time goes by, you can start to buy them. You could also rent out utensils to other caterers as well.


You need two main sets of staffs; the chefs and waiters/waitress. You have to be thorough when hiring those who would help you with your cooking as well as those who would help you to serve at an event. You can hire directly the staffs you needed or you could go to agencies that provide such to get your staffs.

How to advertise and get noticed

As someone who is just starting out, you need people to patronize you and get your business to those who are in need of it. These are four ways to let people know what you do and get them doing business with you.

Word of mouth:

Inform friends and family about your business and as well as neighbors, people at your place of worship. Don’t shy away from informing them, you might be surprised at their willingness to patronize you.

People that know you would definitely want to patronize you and if you are thoroughly good at what you do they would recommend you to others and your customer base would start increasing.
Social media: Have a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account.

 Upload pictures of what you’ve done, send a shout out to customers you have worked with.

Hype all the events you’ve catered for and also leave information on how people can contact you.

You can also place adverts on these social media platforms. WhatsApp is also a great way to let people know about your business.


You can a create a website for business, where people could learn about what you do, book for your services and also upload testimonial from previous clients which would help to encourage new clients to patronize you.

Flyers and Posters:
Create flyers and posters to advertise your business, also include your website address if you have one and your social media accounts on our flyers and posters. Also create banners as well; they are a great way to get noticed.

Get connected: Get connected with event planners

Dos and Don’ts of Catering Business

Clients are always right; give your client exactly what they requested, no more, no less.

Dirtiness would kill your business, if you can’t do everything neatly, then this business isn’t for you.

Not being organized is a great way to discourage clients from patronizing you anymore or even recommending you to others.

Tardiness is a NO NO in this business, lateness is the best way to piss off your clients and lose them for good. You don’t ever want to be late for an event.

Always prepare a tasting section where your client can have a taste of what you plan to serve for their event, this way the clients can give their feedback and in case of any complaints, adjustment can be made.

Don’t over charge for your services; this would discourage people from patronizing you. But don’t ever forgo quality service for cheap price. Give people their money’s worth.

You motto should be Neatness, Time efficient, Quality services and Affordable.

Tools needed for catering business

  • Plate racks 
  • Glass racks
  • Salad bar item
  • Serving carts
  • Food pan and accessories
  • Gas cylinder and burner (outdoor)
  • Serving plates, bowls and trays
  • Spoons, knives and fork 
  • Refrigerator
  • Cooking pot of different sizes
  • Disposable catering plates and food boxes
  • Chafers, chafing dishes and chafer accessories 
  • Cutting board
  • Paper napkins
  • Toothpicks
  • Disposable bags

Once you’ve all of this covered then you are ready to start out. Check out the list below of popular food served at events in Nigeria.

List of popular foods and drink served at events

  • Fish Batter 
  • Pepper Soup
  • Cake; Cup cake, Chocolate Cake, 
  • Cake Icing and decoration; Butter Icing, Fondant Icing, etc
  • Bread Making
  • Donuts and it’s different dressing
  • Pizza
  • Shawarma
  • Full chicken preparation
  • Spring roll
  • Samosa
  • Jollof Rice 
  • Fried rice
  • Chin chin
  • Fish or meat pie
  • Chapman
  • Kunu
  •  Zobo drinks
  • Vegetable Salad
  • Fruit Salad
  • Barbeque 
  • Assorted peppered meat
  • Stick meat
  • Moin Moin 
  • White soup
  • Ogbono soup
  • Banga soup
  • Efo riro
  • Egusi soup
  • Coconut rice 
  • Groundnut soup

Hope this helps

1 comment:

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