CATERING BUSINESS – 101 by Stu Leventhal
Your catering sales will grow when you design specific menus and craft specific services to satisfy the specific needs of a specific type of customer. Put yourself in the shoes of your target customer then solve the customer’s problems. For example; if you are going after the business lunch market, make it easy for businesses to create corporate accounts with you so their secretaries can pick up the phone and call to order and the billing is all taken care of automatically. The less hassles the more orders!
Adding a delivery service with free set up included will set you apart from every competitor who doesn’t offer those conveniences. Remember you are selling the whole package deal. Having exotic sandwich choices might sound impressive but they will never win out, in the long run, over the caterer who concentrates on selling a service first and menu selection and price a far 2nd and third.
Know who your buyer is and market to them! The decision to order-in, may come from any number of higher up members of a business organization but the details of what to order and from whom are generally delegated to a subordinate. Most times the chore of ordering lands in the lap of a secretary. Secretaries, receptionists, management assistants and human resource personnel (who plan a lot of catered employee appreciation events for their bosses) want three things: 1 – To have to do as little as possible. 2 – To get dependable outstanding results every time. 3 – To be able to take all the credit for all your hard work. Decide that you are going to dedicate your catering service to fulfilling that very purpose better than anyone else and the fanciest chefs in the world won’t be able to steal your accounts away.
Design your catering business lunch menu so it is not a hassle if a business customer telephones wanting to order lunch for 12 at the last minute. That means not having items on the list that will set your kitchen staff and chefs into an uproar! Business lunch offerings should be simple and fast to make, easy to transport and deliver and simple to set up, serve your-self style. The items should be made from combinations of ingredients you always have plenty of on-hand and can get quick access to extras if a surprise order or unusually large order comes in at the last minute.
Okay, now that you know the basic concept. Use this blue print for whatever catering niche you are going after. Design your marketing to promote your services not the menu choices and especially not the prices. Inform your sales team to get your message out to whatever niche you are selling to. Explain, how they won’t have to lift a finger! We’ll deliver, set up, serve (if need be). We supply napkins, all serving utensils, eating utensils, a wide choice of beverages with beverage dispensers (if needed). We have food warmers to keep hot food piping hot and chillers to keep cold foods cold! And we have a big choice of desserts. We truly are the one stop shop for your catered event or party.