Online Class: Catering 101

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Course Description

If you are the kind of person who...

  • thrives on cooking for your friends,
  • wants everyone to come to your house for dinner,
  • feels like you have more party food ideas than you could ever possibly execute in your own home

...then you might want to start your own catering business.

Caterers cook and transport food for other people's parties. Unlike restaurants where all the cooking and serving happens at the same location, caterers have the added logistical challenge of transporting food from their kitchen to the party venue.

Caterers work closely with their clients to develop a menu and a party plan that meets their clients' desires and budget. To be a successful caterer, you must have business savvy, be great at dealing with people, and able to handle stress.  Additionally, you'll need be an excellent cook as well as be creative, organized and efficient. Some caterers have several of these qualities when they start out, but they have to develop the others as they go along.

This course discusses in detail the critical aspects of management involved in running a catering business like how to get the appropriate licenses and permits, what kind of kitchen you need, basic food safety practices, party planning, cooking for a crowd, planning meals, dealing with customers, understanding how to price your services, and moving the food safely from one location to another.

If you are passionate about food and you feel like you have what it takes to start your own catering business, this course can help you understand the critical steps involved in starting off on the right foot.

Course Requirements

The course is open to everyone. There are no required books. All material will be given online and through netlinks. You'll need a high school reading level though.

Course Topics


Lesson 1: What is Catering?

Lesson 2: State and Local Regulations

Lesson 3: Food Safety

Lesson 4: Business Planning

Lesson 5: Getting Started

Lesson 6: Marketing

Lesson 7: Party Planning

Lesson 8: Meal Planning

Lesson 9: Shopping

Lesson 10: Timing and Kitchen Efficiency

Lesson 11: Logistics: Getting the Food to its Destination on Time

Course Materials

All the course material required to complete this course is included.

Grading Policy

Each lesson will include a practice assignment and lesson review quiz that will directly apply what you have learned.
Students will successfully complete this course by mastering all learning outcomes with 70% or higher overall grade.

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define what is catering.
  • Know state and local regulations.
  • Describe food safety.
  • Describe the business planning process for successful catering business.
  • Know getting started techniques and procedures for your catering business.
  • Identify marketing techniques for a successful catering business.
  • Describe party planning and the role of catering.
  • Know meal planning.
  • Identify shopping needs for a successful catering company.
  • Know timing and kitchen efficiency for a successful catering.
  • Recognize logistics in a successful catering business, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Assessment Guide

Assessment Points
An Introduction1
Lesson 1. Introduction. What is Catering?10
Lesson 2 Assignment2
Lesson 2. State and Local Regulations10
Lesson 3. Food Safety10
Lesson 4. Business Planning10
Lesson 5 Assignment2
Lesson 5. Getting Started9
Lesson 6. Marketing10
Lesson 7 Assignment2
Lesson 7. Party Planning10
Lesson 8. Meal Planning10
Lesson 9. Shopping7
Lesson 10. Timing and Kitchen Efficiency9
Lesson 11 Assignment2
Lesson 11. Logistics: Getting the food to its destination on time10
The Final Exam55
Total Points:169

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