How to Increase Catering Sales

If you are running a business, of course you want to have as many clients as possible. More sales means more money, after all. It can be difficult, though, to maximize your sales and profits.

How can a business increase catering sales? There are many tips that a catering business can follow to increase sales, mainly focused on maximizing customer satisfaction, smart marketing, and accruing referrals.

Of course, in business, there are no guarantees. No matter what, there is always a chance that your target demographic won’t respond to your efforts. However, if you make sure to cater to what they want, you will maximize your chances of success in your catering business.

How Can a Business Increase Catering Sales?

There are many ways that a business can increase catering sales. Mainly, it would help if you focused on doing what you can to be as attractive as possible to your customer base. This can take several different forms.

Marketing Innovation

Nowadays, many people focus on online marketing when they are trying to promote their businesses. However, traditional marketing tactics can be very important, as well. If you put out print ads and put up flyers, this can help spread awareness of everything your catering business has to offer.

Many other catering businesses do this. So really, it’s a given that you should be doing these things as well. What you need to try to do is stand out from the competition to secure your client base. For example, you can offer something other than catering, even if it is something small. Just a tiny signature product that people can associate with you can help them remember your business first the next time they have catering needs—refrigerator magnets, candies, pens—useful small items that will help you stand out.

It’s vital that you get into the head of your desired clientele. You should try to know as much about your target demographic, including how much money they make, where they live, and what they’re looking for. Yamil Francisco, the author of Double Your Leads and former marketing director for a catering company in Miami, Florida, emphasizes that it is crucial to know precisely who you are trying to serve.

You need to be able to seek them out in every way possible, including different events where you can find them, the internet, and social media. It would be beneficial to learn about search engine optimization and various types of ads where you will be able to present yourself to your desired clientele.

Giving Them a Taste

Of course, hosting tasting events will cost money in the short run. However, it can be a great way to build relationships with potential clients. It will allow them to see how well you can present your food, and they’ll be able to taste all the items on your menu as well.

To advertise for your tasting event, make sure that you send out appealing invitations that showcase the personality you’re trying to offer. You can send the invitations to a specific target demographic, such as people who are part of large organizations that are going to need catering services frequently.

Once you let these people know about the details of your tasting event, some of them will likely be interested in seeing what it’s all about. Once they are at your event, you can introduce them to everything you have to offer, as well as the details of the items on your menu. You can let them taste the food as well, which will show them just how delicious your menu items are.

You must have business cards, brochures, or some other item with your business name and logo to give them. You want them to have something to look at that reminds them of your business so that they can easily keep you in mind the next time they need catering services.

Be Able to Handle Walk-Ins

With everything being as digitized as it is nowadays, many businesses focus on handling orders via their websites and apps. However, some customers will want to meet you in person before they book you for their events. Therefore, anyone who works with your business needs to be able to handle catering requests that happen in person.

Referrals Matter!

Make sure that you reward customers who give you referrals. Repeat business is a big part of the backbone of what keeps you going. However, it’s also vital to acquire new clients whenever you can. This will help you build your brand and expand your business.

It’s (obviously) very important to satisfy your customers. Not only do you want repeat business, but you also want to follow up with them afterward and ask for referrals. If you’re using a website or app for your business, you should create a page that is dedicated to your referral program. It should be very user-friendly and allow your customers to submit referrals easily.

To encourage your customers to submit referrals, you should offer an incentive, like a gift card or a menu item upgrade.

Organize, Organize, Organize!

You may not think that this is very important, but you do need to stay organized with your business. If you don’t have an organized system for keeping track of your catering orders, this could stop you from succeeding in your business. It can cost a lot of extra time to find things that you are looking for, and in some cases, you can even miss an order and end up with an angry customer.

Look for catering software to help you streamline your process. It can be a great way to organize your orders and even save you enough time and energy that you’ll be able to do more to promote your business and increase your profits. It can also minimize miscommunications that can take place between your team members because all the information is right there. Check out this article for a list of five excellent catering software products.

Personal Is Better

Many caterers use third-party delivery services, such as DoorDash. However, most clients will prefer working directly with the catering service. Sometimes, delivery services can charge too much. You also lose a lot of control over how the food will appear when it shows up. Clients prefer a catering service that delivers the food directly to them and helps arrange it and make it presentable.

Don’t Give Up!

Many caterers will tell you that it’s almost inevitable that you will burn out and get frustrated during the process of trying to set up your catering business. Don’t let frustration overwhelm you. If something goes wrong, don’t be too hard on yourself.

Does It Make a Difference If You Are a Restaurant?

Although there are independent catering businesses, there are catering businesses that originate from restaurants. If you already have a restaurant, catering is a natural next step. This can be a great way to expand your customer base.

In some ways, it’s easier to build a catering business that originates from a restaurant. After all, you already have a client base. You also already have a lot of menu items that you can probably use in your catering. However, keep in mind that you will probably need to come up with some things that are just for your catering business since not all your regular menu items will work with large crowds.

Gerry O’Brion of What Big Brands Know suggests that a restaurant employs a charismatic person who is going to be around during the busiest times. That person is there to scope out those who are likely to need catering for large groups of people. One good clue could be a name badge. He states that catering in a restaurant is “a business within a business.” He gives some very valuable tips for restaurants in this video.

Even though you already have a thriving restaurant, moving into catering will be a challenge. You’ll have to balance the duties of your restaurant and your catering. One common mistake is spreading yourself too thin. You will also have to double down on organization. Finally, going offsite will be a challenge for a restauranteur who is used to having everything right there at your disposal.

Final Thoughts

Building and growing a catering business can be a big challenge, although it can also be very rewarding. It takes a variety of skills – you need to be able to make food that people will like, deal well with customers, and keep everything well organized. If you follow the above tips, you should be able to maximize your sales and profits.

Overall, there will be challenges, whether you are an independent catering business or a business that branches off from a restaurant. You’ll need to find your rhythm and learn how to build the best possible relationships with your clients to achieve maximum success.

Matt Roberts

A 20+ year veteran of the Restaurant Industry, Matt is the Founder and Owner of Restaurant Ninjas. He is also a giant geek of epic proportions who somehow convinced his wife to name their firstborn child Luke Skywalker.

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