Important questions about running a business in the restaurant industry

Starting a business

1. What should I be aware of if I want to start a catering business?

The first thing you need to be aware of is the rules. Whether you want to start a bed & breakfast, food truck, catering from home or another catering company, you must always abide by the rules. Think first of all about the zoning plan. And you must have a liquor and catering license if you serve alcohol. Sometimes you need to have a parking permit for your food truck. And when preparing food and drink, work hygienically according to the HACCP safety system.

Step-by-step plan for a good catering start

Use this step-by-step plan as a guide for your catering start. More information about the hotel industry can be found at industry associations. See also figures on the catering industry. They give you insight into the development in turnover, operating profit and the number of new catering companies.

Financing and money matter

2. How do I get financing for my catering business?

Most small business entrepreneurs are positive about the future. This is less the case in the restaurant industry. In recent years, entrepreneurs in the restaurant industry have had a relatively unfavorable view, built up more debt and needed more loans. Economic Survey 2021 (CBS and KVK) shows that both catering entrepreneurs with good prospects (15.9%) and catering entrepreneurs with unfavorable prospects (3.7%) need financing.

Financing options in the catering industry include, for example, bank loans, SME loans or crowdfunding. But there are probably other financing options that you have not yet considered. It is important that you make a plan in advance and have all the numbers in order. This way you have a better chance of convincing your financier. Financiers also have requirements and criteria. Review them carefully before submitting an application. There are also schemes that you may be able to take advantage of. Check the applicable rules.


Do you have a residual debt after financial support from the government such as NOW, TVL, Tozo or special payment deferral? You have to repay some schemes and state aid. And if you have a tax debt, you have to pay it off.

3. I can not pay the rent. What can I do?

When you rent, you remain bound by your contract. Even if your business has not been doing well for a while. The contract contains the rights and obligations of all tenants and landlords. But of course one can always discuss whether something is possible. Sometimes you can get deferred payment or (partial) remission. You may also want a (temporary) tenant discount or permanent rent reduction. At least talk to your landlord to see if you can arrange something.

Do you need legal advice? Then you can contact industry associations for the restaurant industry or a lawyer. There is also mediation to resolve a dispute through mediation. There is no need for a judge.

4. How much does it cost to lay off staff, and how does it work?

Dismissal always comes with a price. And it may turn out to be more expensive than you think. It can be cheaper to make appointments with your employee. For example, if you choose dismissal after mutual consent, you are not required to pay a transitional payment. But your employee can also know and take this into account when negotiating. You show good employer if you resolve your dismissal in a way that is acceptable to both parties. See the costs associated with laying off staff and tips for saving.

Runs a catering company

5. How do I adjust my business model?

A crisis immediately shows you the vulnerabilities of your catering company. It may help to choose a different or customized business model. What do you want to leave as it is and what do you want to improve? Look at companies around you for inspiration and use Business Model Canvas to find out. You go through 9 steps and immediately make a strategy for your business. You map your customers, customer value, channels, customer relationships, revenue, assets, core activities, partners and cost structure. This makes it easier to improve your business operations.

6. How do I approach my marketing in times of crisis?

When the economy goes down, catering entrepreneurs often cut back on their marketing budget. There is a risk in that because you are less visible to your customers. You can use the period when it is operationally quieter to investigate why customers mainly choose your business. And even with a smaller budget, you can invest in your customer relationship. Restaurant Van ‘S in Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel, for example, actively offers site visitors the opportunity to order a gift card or a tapas box for the home. This idea is similar to the broader Support Your Locals initiative. You can sign up if you offer local products.

7. How do I handle GDPR, data and privacy in a digital customer system?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) determines how you may handle privacy data for customers and staff. The size of your business and your activities determine what GDPR measures you take. Based on 10 questions, you decide what actions you need to take to comply with the law. You must already take this into account when you send out offers, invoices and (digital) newsletters. Or if you keep track of agreements with customers, customer contact information or staff information. Data related to IP addresses, cookies and e-mail addresses also fall under the law.

Quit your business

8. How can I stop or sell my catering business?

Stopping your hospitality business is a difficult decision. But if your catering business is no longer viable, or if it is no longer financially viable, it is a good decision. This limits financial damage to yourself and creditors and prepares you better for a fresh start. Follow the steps in stop or continue step-by-step plan if you are unsure. Discuss your money worries. Think of possible solutions or a different future with people you trust. Do you decide to stop? Remember that it is also an opportunity to sell your catering business.

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