Monthly Expenses for a Catering Business

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Catering business monthly expenses

Thinking of starting a catering business? It’s important to know about the monthly costs you’ll face. This article breaks down the expenses you can expect, from ingredients to staff wages, so you can manage your budget effectively and keep your business running smoothly. Be sure to incorporate these insights into your catering business plan to better guide the success of your company. Let’s dive in!

Monthly Expenses for a Catering Business

Understand the key monthly expenses required to run a successful catering business and manage your budget effectively.

Facility Costs

Rent or Mortgage

One of the largest fixed costs for a catering business is the space from which it operates. Whether you rent a commercial kitchen or own a space, this cost varies widely depending on location and size. For example, rents in urban areas are generally higher than in rural areas. Typical monthly rent for a decent-sized commercial kitchen could range from $1,500 to $5,000, making it a significant part of the startup costs of a catering business.


Utilities include electricity, water, gas, and garbage disposal. These are essential for daily operations, especially as catering requires significant use of kitchen appliances. Monthly utility bills can range from $500 to $2,000, depending on usage and local rates.

Food and Supply Costs


The cost of ingredients is variable and depends heavily on the menu items selected for events. Purchasing seasonal and local ingredients can help reduce costs, but a caterer can expect to spend anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 per month, depending on the number and scale of events catered.

Kitchen Supplies

Aside from food, other kitchen essentials such as cooking utensils, disposable items (napkins, straws, etc.), and cleaning supplies are regular expenses. This can cost between $300 and $1,000 monthly.

Labor Costs

Salaries and Wages

Labor is another significant expense. This includes the wages for chefs, servers, dishwashers, and administrative staff. Depending on the number of events and staff size, this could easily range from $3,000 to over $10,000 per month. It’s vital to also consider additional labor costs such as overtime, benefits, and taxes, as these can significantly impact the profit margins of catering business.

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Transportation Costs

Vehicle Maintenance and Fuel

Transportation is crucial for delivering equipment and food to event locations. Costs here include fuel, maintenance, and possibly payments on company vehicles, ranging from $500 to $1,500 monthly.

Marketing and Advertising


Attracting new clients is essential for the growth of the business. Expenses for marketing might include online advertising, print brochures, and attending networking events, costing anywhere from $300 to $2,000 a month.



Insurance premiums for liability, property, vehicle, and worker’s compensation are non-negotiable expenses that protect the business from unforeseen incidents. Monthly premiums can vary but typically range from $200 to $800.

Administrative and Miscellaneous Expenses

Software and Office Supplies

Software subscriptions for scheduling, inventory management, and accounting, along with office supplies, can cost between $100 and $500 per month.

Professional Services

Services such as accounting, legal advice, and consulting are important for maintaining business compliance and growth strategies. These services can add an additional $200 to $1,000 to monthly expenses.

Depreciation and Equipment Maintenance

Regular maintenance of kitchen equipment and depreciation costs must also be considered. Setting aside $100 to $500 monthly will help manage these expenses without causing financial stress when large repairs or replacements are needed.

Summary of Costs

To summarize, here is a quick overview of potential monthly expenses for a catering business:

  • Facility Costs: $2,000 – $7,000
  • Food and Supply Costs: $2,300 – $11,000
  • Labor Costs: $3,000 – $10,000+
  • Transportation Costs: $500 – $1,500
  • Marketing and Advertising: $300 – $2,000
  • Insurance: $200 – $800
  • Administrative and Miscellaneous Expenses: $400 – $2,000

Total estimated monthly expenses can range from approximately $8,700 to $34,300, depending on the scale and efficiency of the operation.


Running a catering business involves a diverse range of monthly expenses. Understanding and managing these costs effectively is crucial for maintaining profitability. Successful caterers not only excel in the kitchen but also in their financial management practices, ensuring their business can thrive in the competitive food service landscape. By carefully planning and regularly reviewing these expenses, caterers can ensure they keep their operations efficient and their plates, and pockets, full.

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