Per Plate Catering: A Lucrative Business Option

Photo by Charanjeet Dhiman on Unsplash

Per plate catering is a business you would probably find in your city or town. But this is a lucrative business option that anyone could start at a low investment. In this blog, we look into the concept of per plate catering, the opportunities, and how you could build a successful small business.


How does the per plate catering business work?

“Per plate” literally means the number of plates served to an individual. The total number of these plates at the end of a gathering or an event decides how much money you will make. So what are the things to keep in mind to make the per plate catering business work?

  1. Headcount: When a client approaches, get the total count of the attendees for the event. Make sure you are available on the date that the client is looking to host the occasion to avoid any conflicts between the dates.
  2. Menu: What can you offer on a client’s auspicious occasion is important. Get the complete requirements from the client including the count of people who would prefer vegetarian and those who would prefer non-vegetarian food. Share the menu, sit with the client and go over your offerings in detail.
  3. Portion size: A perfectly planned service would see you prepare the right amount of food for everyone and ensure there is only minimal food waste.
  4. Service: Good service is very important and can be tricky as well. Ensure everyone is served and at the same time there is enough food for everybody at the event.


Setting up your business

Much like any small business in the hospitality and catering industry, setting up a per-plate catering business requires planning and adhering to laws and regulations.

  1. Register your business
  2. Obtain an FSSAI food business license
  3. GST registration is mandatory if your annual turnover exceeds 20 Lakh rupees

I would recommend seeking professional guidance on matters related to business registration, GST, and licensing.


Launching your per plate catering business

As I mentioned before, per-plate catering is a business that every community needs and therefore this is a competitive market. But launching it with a well-defined marketing strategy can help you to get your business off to a good start.

  1. Advertise on local newspapers
  2. Get your menu printed and distribute
  3. Distribute flyers at local events and community centers
  4. Partner with local events as a sponsor
  5. Spend money on signage and branding and ensure the message is clear
  6. Identify your unique strength and what sets you apart from your competition


What else can you add to your plan to ensure success?

Now that you understand how the per-plate business works, let us see what are the final ingredients required to make sure you are building a per-plate catering business that is sustainable.

  1. Use fresh ingredients
  2. Make sure you build a team who are skilled and experienced.
  3. Keep exploring what is new, what does the customer want at a party or an event
  4. Offer an amazing service right from the start to the end


Custom pricing

The best part of the per plate catering business is the flexibility in pricing that you can offer to your client. You can start from as low as ₹200 per plate and increase it to ₹2500 and beyond as your business grows.

Considerations (Challenges)
What problem do you solve?
Customisable menu, timely service and seamless coordination with other vendors
Per plate cost
₹200 to ₹2500
Profit margin
15% to 30%
Ease of launching
Relatively easy than launching a full-fledged restaurant
Risk level
Complexity to operate and manage
Initial investment
Relatively lower
Scaling the business
Relatively easy

Remember, offering the best customer experience is the key here to succeed. Play around with the pricing as per the client’s requirements and make sure you provide value for money.