How to start a catering business from home

Do you love cooking, baking cakes, and making snacks? And would you like to turn your hobby into a business? It is perfectly possible to start your catering business from home, even alongside your job. Read all about cooking and baking from home, HACCP regulations, takeaway and delivery of food, registering with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK, and tax matters.

When selling food from home, it is sometimes difficult to answer the question: are you an entrepreneur or not? According to the law, you have a business if you independently provide goods or services to others, with the intention of making a profit. Check whether your activities meet the criteria for a business.

Catering from home: what you need to arrange

Many new catering businesses sell food from home. They start working from their own kitchens. Of course, you could also choose to start a little bigger, for instance by converting your garage. In either case, the following advice applies:

  • Check the conditions set by your municipality
    You will probably have to report to your municipality that you want to sell meals from home. Find out if your plans fit within the environment plan.
  • Arrange your registration in the NVWA register
    If you produce, process, or sell foodstuffs, you must register with the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA).
  • Check your mortgage or tenancy agreement
    In your mortgage agreement or tenancy agreement you can read whether you are allowed to start a business in or at your house. 
  • Check your insurance policies
    Your household insurance and buildings insurance are for private belongings and the house itself. They do not cover damage to business assets or the work space. Therefore, you probably need to extend your current insurance policies. Check with your insurance company.
  • Learn about the HACCP regulations
    If you start a catering business, you must comply with the HACCP regulations, also known as the Hygiene Code. This is a set of rules that helps you handle food safely. For example, when it comes to separating raw and prepared meat. You will also find rules for your workspace in the HACCP regulations. For instance, rules on the recommended temperature of refrigerators and on how to keep track of when appliances have been cleaned.
  • Get to know the conditions for delivery
    Do you want to deliver food or drinks to your customers with your own transport? Then make sure that this means of transport is clean. Hot food must remain at a minimum temperature of 60°C before delivery. Chilled goods must remain at a maximum of 7 C°. Food contact materials, such as packaging, must be suitable for the storage of food and must not be a threat to food safety.
  • Follow the rules for disposable plastic food packaging
    Since July 2023, you are no longer allowed to give disposable plastic packaging free with orders. And you must offer reusable packaging. Do you want to use disposable plastic containers or cups? Then your customer will have to pay separately for them. 

HACCP and Social Hygiene diploma

Note: The Hygiene Code (HACCP) is often confused with the Social Hygiene diploma (Verklaring kennis en inzicht sociale hygiëne). The Social Hygiene diploma is about the safe sale of alcohol. The Hygiene Code is about the safe preparation of food. 

Working part-time

As a home baker or event caterer, you can choose to start a business alongside your paid job. Part-time entrepreneurship has advantages and disadvantages. You run less risk because you still have a fixed income, but you are more limited in the time you have available.

Want to talk through how to cleverly combine your job with entrepreneurship? Call the KVK Advice Team.

More tips

  • For bigger jobs, you can turn to a professional kitchen. Think of a community centre, sports club, elderly facility, or educational institution. They do nt use the kitchen every hour of the week.
  • Collaborating with other entrepreneurs in the cooking or baking industry is smart. With joint activities, you attract new audiences and share costs for location, advertising, and catering.  

General information for starters

In addition to the above, as a start-up caterer you will (possibly) also have to deal with: