Growing your catering business is a process that includes more than just preparing delicious food. If you’re wondering which parts of your business you need to focus on and improve in order to create an edge and become a successful caterer, we have you covered.
Of course, food is extremely important. We believe you already have a handle on how to cook and prepare delicious meals, side dishes and desserts that will make people fall in love.
However, there are a lot of things happening behind the scenes that, if not done properly, will make your delicious food undiscovered by potential customers. You need to offer far more than just food; for starters, you need to be active on social media.
Since digital communication is limited when it comes to tasting, pictures and videos are some of your best on-screen tools for showcasing your delicious offerings. You need to make sure that everything you post looks amazing.
Finally, you need to analyze your competition in order to understand your place in the market and educate your servers so that they provide the best service.
Let’s jump in and discuss how to grow a successful catering business with these 5 actionable tips.
As we’ve already mentioned, food is the most important part of your business, but it can’t be the only thing you offer. You need to focus on creating a whole experience for your customers.
Here’s what we’re talking about when we say “whole experience:”
The love you have for food should be evident in everything you do, down to the smallest detail. Your customer service must be amazing. The way you and your workers dress during an event must be professional, and all other aspects of your service should be immaculate.
People will hire you for your food and service, but they may also ask you for input and advice in organizing their events so you need to be proactive and forthcoming with your comments. At the end of the day, that’s what people will remember about you, and they’ll want to work with you again.
The event industry and Instagram are a match made in heaven. It’s common practice for event planners to look for inspiration on Instagram, so you have to have a beautiful grid.
A great way to do this is by investing in professional photography and beautiful decorations. Your photos will not only look amazing on your own social profiles, but also on other profiles when people inevitably share your content.
Image Source: Pexels
This is a great way to attract new customers, so make sure that all of your catered events are Instagram-worthy and invest in a photo wall where participants can take pictures. You can even encourage them to use a specific hashtag when they post about you.
The more times you appear on Instagram posts, the more brand recognition you build.
If you want to be successful, you have to differentiate yourself from the competition with a unique selling proposition, or USP. You need to identify that unique factor that differentiates you from all other catering businesses.
It can be a signature dish, a famous chef, the best service, vast options for different dietary restrictions or something else. Once you find it, focus on it and use it in all your marketing strategies and campaigns.
If another restaurant is already famous for having the best coffee selection, don’t try to copy them. Find your niche and get proficient in it.
We’re assuming you didn’t choose this industry because you love to fill in paperwork and all the busy work it comes with it. If you want to focus on providing the best service for your clients, you’ll want to automate a part of your business.
Our tip is to automate the way you win new clients. A good and reliable proposal writing software will help you create professional-looking proposals that you can send to your clients safely.
Better Proposals, provider of proposal automation and resources, offers a great variety of proposal templates you can easily customize to your needs. Once you create your proposal your clients can sign it with a digital signature that will turn your proposal into a legally binding document.
You can even incorporate a payment method that will let your client pay the first fee as soon as they agree to your proposal.
Image Source: Better Proposals
Beyond automating proposals, there are other things you can consider as well. For example, it’s possible to use email marketing software so that every time you get an email inquiry on your website, you can automate a sequence to reply and attempt to close a deal.
No matter the type of event you’re catering, your servers need to be professional and helpful. For family events, corporate events and everything in between, they need to help people have the best experience possible.
We suggest you train them in pairing food with wine, working with children, answering any questions about the menu, and maintaining a positive outlook when working through challenges.
If people have a great experience with your staff, they will ask for referrals. Don’t hold back on investing in formal training for your service staff. That investment will pay off in word-of-mouth referrals and repeat business from your satisfied clients.
The more work you put into your business the more clients you will get. This seems like a logical equation, but if you don’t know which parts of the business to focus on, it can be a hard task.
Now that you have some information on how to differentiate yourself and build a brand people will want to work with, you can get started on making some changes.
Petra Odak is a Chief Marketing Officer at Better Proposals, a simple yet incredibly powerful proposal software tool that helps you send high-converting, web-based business proposals in minutes. She's a solution-oriented marketing enthusiast with more than 5 years of experience in various fields of marketing and project management.