Turning Your Love of Cooking Into a Career? Here’s Why Catering Is An Ideal Career Path

Do you love cooking? Have you considered turning that into a business? Not a lot of people do, and yet it is in so many ways an ideal career opportunity. It’s endlessly in demand (people have got to eat, after all), and there are plenty of opportunities to stand out, through quality, innovation, and effective business management.

It’s also a relatively low-cost business to start up, and you can begin small and scale, if you’re worried about the risk of jumping all-in from the outset. Indeed, there are almost unlimited reasons that starting a cooking business is a pathway to a dream job for so many people, but here are ten of the best of them.

Why catering can bring joy to a career

  1. You love food – It’s perhaps the most simple reason of all, and yet it’s resonant. Working with food is for most of us a hobby, so finding a way of turning that into an income is giving you the opportunity to indulge your hobby at all times.
  2. You love people – If you’re an outgoing, people-orientated person, then you’re going to love all the interactions that you have with your customers. What’s more, the service that you’re providing – food – is one that brings joy to people, which is a hugely rewarding validation for your work.
  3. You can control your own destiny – You don’t need a large staff to run a profitable food-based business. Indeed, it’s one of the best job opportunities available to sole traders. You’ll be able to control your product, your hours, and while you may well work long hours, you will ultimately be in control of your work, which is hugely satisfying.
  4. You can get started, now – Because it’s relatively inexpensive to start up a food business (especially if you start out in delivery or catering), you don’t need to deal with banks to secure loans, or spend years saving up the necessary capital. You can start on your career sea change immediately.
  5. No two days will be the same – You’ll end up with a wide variety of interesting clients, the ability to continue adjusting the menu to take advantage of new trends, and, basically, you’ll be doing something different every day. Nothing staves of boredom quite like a job that will never deliver the same day twice.

Why catering is good business

  1. It’s a low risk business opportunity – If the business doesn’t work out for you, the most you’ll be out is some kitchen equipment and, potentially, some bulk-purchased food items, and both of those can be sold on. Many other small businesses or sole trades need to take on some significant debts and risks to start up, meaning that if the business subsequently needs to fold, there can be some massive financial consequences and liabilities.
  2. It’s a career to ease into With so many careers, you need to go in with all your chips to have any hope of making it work, but with catering it can be a side hustle as you build up experience, contacts, and opportunities. Many of the best opportunities will be on weekends and evenings, so test the waters to see how viable your idea is before you leap in.
  3. The profit margins are good Catering businesses in particular can enjoy profit margins well over 50 per cent, and food trucks and restaurants can also be highly lucrative with the right workflow and business strategy. Because there’s no need to build factories, source expensive materials, and set up a logistics chain, you can keep the business relatively simple – pay for the ingredients, rent and wages, and mark up the food enough that you can pocket the difference.
  4. There are growth opportunities While you can (and should) start out small, there are plenty of opportunities to turn your business into some true entrepreneurism. If your idea takes off you can look to franchising opportunities, for example, or start recruiting second or third teams to broaden the number of clients you can reach. For anyone interested in developing a business as well as food, there’s a strong synergy of opportunity.
  5. You won’t be going this alone There are plenty of associations for those that work in the food industry, where you can access resources and support to help your business grow. Additionally, as a small business in a vibrant field, the networking opportunities that you will find at your local business organisations are extensive.

Finally, you don’t need a great deal of experience to turn your love of food into a business opportunity. There are some best practices, regulation (particularly around alcohol) and business skills that you should work to acquire, but there are also courses that you can take that will give you all the knowledge that you need to succeed, with no prior experience to sign up to the course. Therefore, there is no reason to hold off on taking those first steps towards a vibrant career with the food that you love.

Obviously, having a love of food is an essential ingredient in a career in food. If you have that passion that you want to grow into a business, ICI has the catering course that will get you all the qualifications that you need to take that first step into catering.

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Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.