Originally Posted by nrok2118
So is there a PROFIT to be made from casual catering? Can I justify this investment with the notion I can at least make my money back doing parties and small events? From there hopefully I get a name out and try to go full legit and be able to feed the general public (I might have an IN with the HD, or at least someone to help me out) Though as I say that, how much money roughly does it cost to go legal?
Not sure about PA but I can give you feedback from my experience in Upstate NY.
PROFIT from casual catering - depends on what you mean by casual but I would say no. Unless you are sourcing all the products you need from a very, very cheap source and charging high markup.
How much to go legal - We put together a business plan to get financing froma bank. We calculated our start up expenses and costs for Year 1 around $30,000 (based partly on feedback from others on this forum.) These costs, however, get us enough equipment to be a mobile kitchen so we can do impropmtu vending as needed in the event profits are lagging for any given week or month.
Our projections have that paid back at the end of Year 1 but not from doing "parties and small events." Our profits are based on large events like food and music festivals and weekend vending. Also, my partner and I are basically working for free in Year 1. We won't make squat but we will be out of debt.
Even if you plan on doing small events (at least in NY) you still have to be a Level 2 certified ServSafe, have the county permits, have insurance, have a DBA & Tax EIN, and worker's comp and unemployment insurance depending on the corporate make up of your organization.
Not sure about PA's legal requirements, but I doubt you will be buying a cooker off of Craig's List and up and vending next week.