How to Start a Catering Business

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Starting a Catering Business
Dawn Burgess
Mercer University

The History of Catering
Introduction
Did you ever wonder when catering began?
Most people have been to an event that was catered by a professional catering company. Catering enters peoples’ lives during some of their most important times: weddings, baby showers and anniversary parties, just to name a few. Have you ever wondered just when catering actually started? Catering can be traced back to the 4th millennium BC in China. During this time in China as well as in Ancient Egypt, Greece and the prosperous times of the Roman Empire, catering was used to provide food for soldiers on transportation and trade routes. It was also critical in the Christian Pilgrimages to Rome and other food for soldiers and travelers but for entertainment purposes for the upper classes. Catering and food service became so popular in the 14th and 15th century that Germany was the first country to put laws in place regulating quality of both food and beer (Catering University of Connecticut, 2009). Catering continued to flourish and in the mid 1800’s Alexis Soyer invented the first catering boiler which used steam to help keep food warm. During the 19th and 20th century many more technical innovations, improvements in transportation, and growing populations helped catering become an important part of the national economy. Today’s catering has evolved from simply providing food for travelers. Catering companies now pride themselves on not only providing appetizing food but also a visually appealing atmosphere, from the presentation of food to linens and decorations. Although the intent of catering has changed throughout the years, it continues to be a vital part of our society (Catering University of Connecticut, 2009).

What is catering? According to Webster Dictionary, Catering is the activity of providing food and beverage for events. Caterers, which are either...
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