"This post includes affiliate links for which I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase."

Thinking of hiring a freelance Business expert? Ditch the expensive agencies and head to Fiverr. Access a global pool of talented professionals at budget-friendly rates (starting as low as $5!) and get high-quality work for your money.

Fiverr Logo

The Cost of Hiring a Catering Business

When planning an event, one of the biggest decisions to make is how to handle the food and beverage service. While some may choose to prepare the food themselves, many opt to hire a professional catering business to handle the important task. However, it’s natural to wonder how much it will cost to hire a catering business. In this article, we will explore the factors that affect the cost of hiring a catering business and provide some insights on how to make the most out of your investment.

Factors Affecting the Cost

The cost of hiring a catering business can vary significantly based on a number of factors. Some of the most common factors influencing the cost include the type of event, the number of guests, the menu, and the level of service. For example, a casual backyard barbecue for 50 people will naturally cost less than a formal sit-down dinner for 200 guests. Additionally, the complexity of the menu and the level of service (e.g., buffet vs. plated service) will also impact the overall cost.

Types of Services and Their Costs

Catering businesses typically offer a range of services to accommodate different needs and budgets. The most common types of catering services include drop-off catering, buffet-style catering, and full-service catering.

Drop-off catering is the most budget-friendly option and involves the caterer preparing the food and dropping it off at the event location. This type of service is ideal for casual events such as office meetings or small gatherings.

Buffet-style catering involves the caterer setting up a buffet table with a variety of dishes for guests to serve themselves. This is a popular option for events with a larger number of guests and offers more variety in menu options.

Full-service catering is the most comprehensive and expensive option. In addition to preparing and serving the food, full-service caterers also handle event setup, service staff, and clean-up. This level of service is common for formal events such as weddings or corporate galas.

Cost Breakdown

On average, the cost of hiring a catering business can range from $15 to $150 per person, depending on the factors mentioned above. Budget-friendly drop-off catering services typically start at around $15 per person, while full-service catering can cost $150 or more per person for a high-end, multi-course meal at a formal event.

When determining the cost, catering businesses consider various expenses such as food and beverage costs, labor costs, overhead expenses, and profit margin. It’s important to note that some catering businesses may have minimum guest requirements or minimum spending amounts, so it’s essential to discuss these details with potential caterers during the planning stages.

Maximizing Your Investment

To make the most out of your investment when hiring a catering business, it’s important to communicate your budget and expectations clearly from the beginning. Be open to exploring different menu options and service styles that can align with your budget without compromising on quality.

Additionally, consider the value-added services that the catering business can provide. For example, some caterers may offer event planning and coordination services, rental equipment, or custom menu options. Taking advantage of these additional services can help streamline the planning process and ensure a seamless event experience.


Hiring a catering business can be a significant investment, but the cost can vary based on factors such as the type of event, the number of guests, the menu, and the level of service. Whether you’re planning a small gathering or a large-scale event, it’s essential to consider the various services and costs associated with hiring a catering business. By understanding the factors that influence the cost and maximizing your investment, you can ensure a successful and memorable event that leaves a lasting impression on your guests.