The propagation of your catering sales is an extensive task and needs a proper strategy, to begin with. Unlike a dine-in restaurant, a catering business does not thrive on footfall and incoming customers. The entire dependence on increasing your revenue for your catering business is on your event catalog, on your growing network and how you showcase your business online.
A catering business can be too tricky to handle if you don’t get enough leads to prospering your business. The identification of the right audience and using the right marketing strategies will help you increase your catering sales. You might face a little hard time in making important contacts and build your network. But once you’re in the game, it would become easy for you to cover up.
7 Catering Sales Lessons That Will Pay Off
Before starting with increasing your catering sales, you need to identify a format to be absolutely clear with your clients. Different catering services include private parties, office events, serving for corporates, or weddings. For instance, if you want to take up weddings and office events both into your profile, you need to have a catalog and brochure accordingly.
Selecting your format also involves careful research and marketing strategy. Different events also require different kinds of efforts from your end. Delivery events are easier than private parties and weddings to carry out. Whereas full-service catering is the most difficult to carry.
Once that is sorted for you, work on your menu and specific brochures to go forward. Only after these steps should you think about enhancing your profits. Here are a few steps that you could follow to increase your catering sales.
i) Work On Your Marketing Strategies
Building upon your marketing skills will help you big time in increasing your potential catering sales.
a) Word Of Mouth Marketing- The Traditional Way: While starting a catering business, word of mouth works wonders for you. You need to make little appearances at high profile events to make contacts, get potential leads like engaged couples and offices who want to host parties.
b) Hosting Events Like Wine-Tasting To Engage With Customers: You could start hosting small events like a ‘tasting event’ and call your potential customers to these events. Host these events exactly the way you want your work to be showcased, with the right food presentation and ambiance decorations. Additionally, you could also offer discount coupons to those who give you catering project orders through your event.
c) Spread A Word Through Newspapers/Magazines: Another great way of marketing is traditional, yet effective which is through newspapers, magazines, and posters. Collect extensive customer data from platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Just Dial. Using your potential customers’ data to send them birthday and anniversary emails, or even mails that congratulate them on being engaged would bring your catering brand to their notice.
d) Engage Your Customers By Upping Your Catering Menu: You must never miss out on your potential customers that walk-in your office. You need to train your staff to be able to handle such customers. You should have your menu’s and catalogs handy to be given out to customers who come to you. One example of a brilliant catering menu that catches the customer’s attention right away is here.
ii) Approach Offices And Events
Being proactive here could change the game for you. You need to start approaching newer offices and ask them if they have an in house caterer. You can even ask the people organizing a corporate party whether it happens on a frequent basis.
Keeping an eye on the high-profile events happening around as they have a large crowd coming into is another idea. Increase your network by connecting with office owners online, on LinkedIn or Instagram. Reach out to new venues and maintain a list of your potential orders.
iii) Increase Your Network By Contacting Real Estate Developers
You must have thought about this while registering your business itself. Having a network with real estate developers will help you take more requests from people you can’t reach to organically. This is because real estate developers have people who’ve contacted them for an office building to rent, or a banquet to rent for an event at that.
iv) Listing Your Brand On Different Platforms
Registering your brand on multiple platforms that have a collective database of catering businesses, just like yours would help you reach more and more customers.
For instance, if you list your business on Justdial, you would have a list of inquiries from people who are looking for catering services. By contacting these leads, you can find their intention for inquiring, and then decide which stage can you put your lead-in. If the lead sounds interested, you make him a potential customer.
v) Build Your Customer Trust To Enhance Your Catering Sales
The golden rule for prospering your catering sales is to have the right network and a great brand image. This can be achieved by gaining your customer’s trust in the first few of your events itself. Have a regular social media engagement, so that people get to notice you. You could join different groups on Facebook to be able to look for more potential clients. Comment and post on groups about your business, and let them know about your specialties.
Along with that, a strong social media presence would increase your chances of reaching out to the audience multiple folds.
“One of the things that we’re always challenged with is being able to convey what we do and where we come from,” says Kevin Caples event coordinator at Arbor Catering in Chicago. “Our approach is unique from other catering companies. We’re flexible, so we’ll start with what the vision is for the client and what they’re trying to accomplish,” he adds.
While working on your social media platforms, you must try to engage with most of your customers. A great way to achieve that is by asking for reviews, and replying to the comments given by the customers. No matter if it is a positive review or a negative one, you must be able to assort all the reviews and reply to them in the most humble manner. Here is one such example.
vi) Build A Reward Structure Who Refer Other Customers To Your Business
Plan a reward structure, that includes some incentives or promotional deals for the customers who refer your business to the new ones. These rewards could include a discount, a special menu made at a relatively lesser price or even a small gift. You need to be able to think outside the box while finalizing these gifts, as they would instigate the buzz you want to create.
Social media and newsletters are techniques that everybody talks about. Your reward structure could also include giving out discounts for future events for people who have already given you catering events to handle.
a) Run Loyalty Campaigns Using Your Restaurant POS to enhance sales. Your regular customers must be provided with rewards and discounts on a scheduled basis.
b) You could try giving out points to a customer after each event, like a discount on their upcoming events. This way you tend to retain them for a long time. Having a website/online presence for the same becomes essential.
c) You could also try maintaining a membership card for your customers, which would include a package of events. For instance, a birthday card could include free birthday sweets at a party for the customer, etc.
vii) The Incorporation Of Software Makes It Easy For Your Business
Using restaurant management software helps to streamline your operations and increase your revenue. This is because the software would help you break the ice between you and your potential clients by constantly organizing communications and organize events.
Catering management software helps to manage a calendar that has different events, which only makes the workflow easier. It helps to escalate your catering sales by helping clients to view proposals, menus and paying online. This is why having the right POS software can change the game for you entirely. By the right POS, we mean the one with the ideal features, billing, event calendar, recipe management, so on and so forth. It also helps to manage your recipe and thereby reduce your food costs.
Summing up, we would like to suggest to you while thinking of increasing your catering sales is that you really need to find the missing element in your target market. Provide your clients with something unique and creative with each event you host, and you’ll gain fame in no time.