Starting a Charcuterie board business, like a grazing board business, has grown increasingly more popular these past few years.
Grazing and charcuterie boards are excellent choices for parties or social gatherings. Attendees can pick the food themselves and nibble away while enjoying drinks or refreshments.
But, a good grazing board can make or break a party. The board and offerings must be arranged with expertise, care, and attention for a perfect evening.
A grazing board business provides personalized charcuterie to any event that hires them. This business is like a specialized catering company, only they specialize in grazing boards.
A grazing board business brings all the food and supplies on the event day, and will set up thee display. They can even clean up afterwards if this is part of the contract!
If you want to start your own grazing board business (see also ‘How To Start A Loaded Tea Business‘), you’ll need to learn a lot beforehand.
This guide covers all of the basics to help you launch your new venture.
What Is A Grazing Board?
A grazing board is much like a charcuterie board, but it has more food and variety than a charcuterie board (see also ‘How To Start A Coffee Roasting Business‘).
A charcuterie board is technically a board with meats, though they may also have cheese.
A grazing board might include meats, cheeses, hot cheese like camembert, dips, chips, bread, breadsticks, veggies, fruit, and/or snacks. And they are often served with wine or champagne.
With a grazing board business, you will often cater parties with multiple boards. The plates and number of servings will depend on the venue and the type of event.
While some grazing board businesses will operate for small gatherings or date nights, others do large events like engagement parties, birthday parties, or even weddings.
So, how can you start your own grazing board business? Read on and learn!
How To Start A Grazing Board Business
Form A Business Plan
The first step to starting any business is to form a business plan. Write down your goals, cost estimates, demographic and audience, and a marketing plan.
Consider what your business name will be, and check to see if the name is available on social media outlets.
Once you know the availability, set up social media accounts and purchase the domain to build a website.
A website will allow you to take bookings, and clients can make orders on your website.
Next, think about what you want to achieve in the first few months of opening. Make a budget and a proforma with estimates of income and expenses for the first year. You’ll need to know what these projections are so you can see if the estimated profits make the business viable.
You also need to choose a legal structure for your business. Will it be a sole proprietorship, corporation, S-corp, partnership, or an LLC (limited liability company?)
Ensure you have this important detail worked out in the beginning, to protect you in legal issues or disputes.
Register Your Grazing Board Business
You will need to register your business in your state and city or county. Once again, you will want to verify the name is available locally so you can legally use it.
If you are planning to expand to other nearby areas, you will want to register there as well.
There are many licenses and permits for handling food (see also ‘How To Start A Luxury Picnic Business’). Be sure you explore these safety measures and health permits, so you obtain them when you are ready to operate.
When dealing with food, dairy, and meat products, you must work in an FDA-approved kitchen. You may also have to pass a food handling course to ensure you know all of the health and safety measures needed to prepare the foods and sell them.
You will also need a license or permit to sell alcohol products with your charcuterie boards to the public.
Find a nearby supplier for your meats, cheese, alcohol, and other products you plan to include in your grazing board business.
Tally up how much food each board will use and what the estimated costs will be. You’ll need this information so you can set your board prices according to the cost of the ingredients and desired profit.
You will also need to set up a system for processing orders. This can be done on a website that will handle transactions, or you can take the calls yourself or hire someone to do it.
When you are catering events, you need a booking and scheduling system. So get this important part set up from the start. To help you do this, here are 21 appointment booking WP plug-ins you can use today.
Determine how the boards will be delivered and who will do the deliveries. While you can deliver the boards yourself, at some point, you will need extra help – especially if you need to be onsite to assist with the party.
Insurance & Finances
Finally, you will need to have excellent insurance for your business. A good business policy will protect you in case there are legal issues brought against you.
And if you are hiring employees, you will need a worker’s compensation insurance plan. You will also need to pay employment taxes, so account for these items in your budget.
Lastly, invest in an accounting system to keep track of accounts payable and receivable, and invoices. If it has a way to track your inventory, that’s great too!
Startup Costs For A Grazing Board Business
There are many startup costs to consider when opening a grazing board business. These costs will depend on the location and scale of your business, so be sure to consider these categories when developing your financial plan.
Allocate money for filing for an LLC or other legal business structure. Expect to spend at least $500 for this, and possibly more depending on the type of entity you plan on forming for the new venture.
SETUP & LICENSING
Depending on the requirements in your area, you will need to budget for licenses, classes for food handling, software, office supplies, etc.
Before starting marketing, you will need to know your costs for the food items you’ll use with your grazing boards. Strike a deal with local suppliers for your meats, cheeses, veggies, etc. Break down the products you plan on using for each type of grazing board you are offering, and price them based on the costs. And don’t forget to add extra for profit and overhead, plus potential losses due to accidents/spoiling/etc. Once you know what these costs will be, you can determine the asking prices for your grazing boards.
You also have to buy the boards and trays for your grazing boards, bowls, plates, tongs, food containers for storage, cocktail forks, napkins, tablecloths, and more. You want to display your grazing boards attractively, so be creative and resourceful, but budget accordingly. ($300). You could always opt for simple Charcuterie board sets to get you started.
This will include the costs for the commercial kitchen (if needed); electricity, gas; transportation; special equipment (lease or own?) to store the food.
Social media is cheap, and so is word of mouth! Networking with local Chambers of Commerce and business groups is an easy way to meet potential customers and start having them spread the word for you. You might also have printed materials like business cards to leave out at each event.
To set up a website, you must purchase a domain, get hosting, hire a web designer, and add a booking system.
Supplies To Start A Grazing Board Business
- Multiple-sized boards (extra large boards, grazing board sets)
- Cheese knives and slicers
- Small Serving Bowls/Plates
- Serving Tongs
- Business Cards
- Food Storage Boxes
- Meat/cheese/grocery suppliers
- Gloves for handling food
- Vehicle to transport food to events
To summarize, a grazing board business can be an excellent idea if you have a flair for arranging the ingredients and love helping with parties.
It can also be very profitable if it costs less to make and deliver than it does to purchase the supplies.
For instance, many grazing boards are priced at around $30-$50 for small boards, $60-$120 for medium-sized boards, and between $125-$250 for larger boards, depending on the number of people. (These costs vary depending on where you live and what food costs are in your area!)
If catering for events, you can easily charge from $500-$1000, depending on the number of guests.
A few events per week or fortnight could easily make this a very profitable business. So if you enjoy getting artsy with food arrangements and like being involved in planning parties or social events, starting a grazing board business might be perfect for you!