Tag Archives: Catering

PERFECT PARTIES!

EVENT PROBLEM SOLVING!

ONSITE PARTY SOLUTIONS!

THROWING PERFECT PARTIES!

SOLVING CATERING PROBLEMS ON THE FLY!

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HOW CATERERS STAY COOL UNDER PRESSURE!

By Stu Leventhal

The best way to solve catering problems onsite is to prepare for the worst in advance. Knowing what usually goes wrong with events and preplanning solutions for the most common problems, just in case, will cut down on the gravity and drama of handling difficulties when they arise.

Let’s look at the most common catering problems and fears that all caterers must face at some point during their careers. Then we’ll discuss how to avoid them! As well as how to overcome them, when you find yourself involved in these often party ruining dilemmas! Now obviously we cannot tackle all of the problems that arise in the field here, so let’s look at the three most common problems. Our goal is to mold your way of thinking so you prepare for everything and expect anything because problems do and will pop up during a catered event! But if you do not panic and get a little creative, you can save the day. Your clients will be grateful and your legacy as caterer extraordinaire will grow by leaps and bounds!

  1. Handling Inaccurate Guest Counts – Your client orders service for 50 people but 75 guests show up!

Many times more guests arrive than RSVP’d. Sometimes this is due to a customer trying to trick you, the caterer, by giving you a phony head count. Other times it is due to the inexperience of the party thrower. Forget about the reason. Last minute surprises need to be welcomed and celebrated as the gifts they are. NEVER TURN THEM AWAY!

So, what is the solution?

First, straight from the gate, at the time of the sale, it is important that you stress for the party to be RSVP by a certain date and deadline. RSVP’s cut down on a large amount of surprise last minute guests. Next, make sure your customer knows unannounced last minute show-ups cost more and be firm about a twenty percent increase per each extra head. Only by letting your customer know they will pay with real money, will you get their full participation in getting all those RSVP’s answered by the deadline.

Make it clear that accurate head count is the most important thing for pulling off a great party! Stress, how running out of food is not going to make them, as the host or hostess, look very good!

Now, it may seem tacky but you must position your own greeter at the door who is counting the guests as they arrive. The earlier you know about the increase in guest count, the easier you can adopt to accommodate the extra people! If your home kitchen is nearby, you can simply call home base and have someone bring out more of whatever you need. On party day there should always be someone stationed back at the kitchen, just a phone call away, for this reason, as well as in case you forget to pack something that is needed.

For parties that are too far away from home base you should always check before the day of the event where the nearest food stores are located so you are prepared for these types of emergencies. Immediately send someone to the nearest store to purchase emergency filler items which do not have to be cooked and are inexpensive. Extra, lettuces are perfects for quickly bulking up or making an additional salad. Lettuce is good for lining the bottom of plates to make plates look fuller. Rolls are inexpensive, low maintenance and usually can even be purchased at convenient stores. You can cut up the rolls to make them go further. Anything that does not have to be cooked or takes little work to prepare will be a good stand-in as a quick last minute addition to the meal.

If meals are being served on platters, you will have to give smaller portion and add more garnishes to fill the plates thus stretching the food. You should always over prepare and bring along a little extra of the inexpensive side dishes for this purpose. Expensive main courses will have to be cut smaller to cover all the additional guests.

The magic tip for stretching out buffet style meals is to place your own personnel as servers at strategic spots of the buffet, usually at the most expensive items or at items that you know go fast. Your servers can be instructed to regulate the portions of any item that you do not have a lot of. This will assure the food lasts much longer than allowing the guests to self-serve themselves.

  1. The second biggest problem caterers have to deal with on the day of the event is when staff is scheduled to work but do not show up or call off last minute. Obviously, the solution is hiring good reliable people upfront! You should stress at the time of hiring, that you have a strict rule; anyone who does not show up for working a catering event is automatically      fired. Be strict about this and you will cut down on the last minute call outs. But, sometimes things happen and the best solution is to always schedule at least one extra person who drives and has access to a car to be on call the day of a party. This person will get paid a small amount regardless of whether you call them in to work or not. When they are called in allow them to keep the extra amount for their inconvenience. Remember we also talked about having someone scheduled back at home base that can run out additional items when needed. This person can also be called on to drive over to fill in when you need an additional staff member onsite.

As soon as you know you are going to be short staffed you should immediately call the crew together and notify them that they will have to up their game to cover for the missing person. The show must go on! Offer the staff an extra bonus as incentive for extra hustle.

  1. The third biggest mistake or difficulty that caterers are often faced with is  when someone forgets to pack something!

We have already discussed the importance of having the extra person stationed back at home base that can be called on to run stuff to the site when absolutely needed.

The best way to avoid having to call someone to bring out forgotten utensils and supplies is to have loading check lists that at least two people have to sign off on before the delivery vehicle leaves home base. Having three people signing off is even better.

Your delivery vehicles should also be loaded with emergency kits that have a few extra of each item loaded in case something is ever forgotten or something breaks or is lost in transit. Your vehicle supply should include; serving utensils, extra table cloths, center pieces, aprons, uniforms and white gloves if necessary…

Planning solutions ahead of time, anticipating difficulties and having back-up plans are what make the special caterers look like geniuses. Whenever possible, always do a pre-event visit to the actual site of the party. Many problems can be uncovered by a pre-party visit such as the need to bring long extension cords since there are no electrical outlets in an area where you need to plug in equipment. Pre-event meeting with staff can allow you to make sure everyone knows their role on game day! If the event is a very complicated one you may even consider having a dry run rehearsal. Thorough preparation is the key to throwing stunningly unforgettable events every time! Hiring and training a quality team is also paramount to your catering success!

Remember most party situations change from the time they are first being perceived and ordered to the actual day they are thrown. Keeping in constant contact with your client especially as the big day nears will help you cut down on the stress of managing last minute adjustments.

References:

http://www.philadelphiarestaurantconsultant.wordpress.com restaurant and hospitality management mentoring and business advice for food and beverage owners and management professionals. Our restaurant doctors will help you cure whatever is ailing your hospitality company. Marketing is our specialty! For a free consultation, E-mail: anewtale191@live

http://www.anewtale.com When you are at a loss for how to word your marketing campaigns, check ‘A NEW TALE’S’ many copywriting tutorials. Author Stu Leventhal has been writing engaging copy for many years. Stu Leventhal has filled his website with tons of free creative writing advice and tips perfect for new writers and experienced writers looking to up their writing game. If you need to hire an experienced restaurant copy writer Stu Leventhal has been writing reviews for restaurants in the Philadelphia Pennsylvania and the surrounding area for many years he knows how to write so readers will taste your delicacies. Your restaurant, catering company or bar will sound irresistible!

PCMA – Professional Convention Management Association

The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) is dedicated to professional convention management and advancing the meetings industry. Here is a resource for top-notch education tools and instruction for meeting planners, plus networking contacts for planning events, catering and much more… http://www.pcma.org/

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Building a Catering Companies Brand Image

by Stuart Leventhal

There’s no such thing anymore as ‘spare no expense’! Today, even corporate giants, staples of business and industry icons are counting their pennies. Certainly caterers need to be able to put together respectable meal packages that fit into their clients’ budgets. But, planning your catering marketing strategy around having the lowest prices is a grave mistake. You are in an industry that thrives on prestige. You want your company name and brand to be known for playing an important role in throwing the best parties and events in town!

Becoming known as the go to budget caterer will limit your customer base extremely. There will be tons and tons of potential customers who will never want their events, parties and reputations sullied because they are associated with the cheapest catering service in town. Remember, as a caterer, you service celebrations. Celebrations usually honor someone or something; a person worthy of praise, a happening of distinction or an over and above accomplishment. If you were the party thrower, would you want everyone talking for years about how you hired a low budget catering company to cater your boss’s prestigious award banquet? Or worse, never being able to live down how bad the food and service was for your favorite Aunt and Uncle’s 50th anniversary bash that you planned!

No matter how inexpensive you make your catering service, you cannot afford to advertise, promote and market low price as the selling point. Catering is an industry where reputation means everything. The more you advertise how cheap you are, the more you tarnish your reputation! Instead, shout about how good your food is and how ideal your services are. Cultivating a classy, professional and reliable image then take that message to the streets! I’m assuming, of course that you already serve great food, have great menu choices and most importantly deliver great service.

Yes, everyone today is faced with a discretionary budget. Celebrations, events and parties, which you service, are considered frills. Today’s small and medium business owners have cut down considerably on the number of meetings events and parties they throw out of necessity to maintain their bottom line. This means you have to work harder to establish yourself as the premier caterer in the land. No longer can you sit back and rely on repeat business from your long time loyal customers. During these economically challenging times it is more important than ever to wage war with your competitors in order to draw in as many customers as you can.

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We already talked about how lowering prices will soil your reputation and be the long term death of your business. And, increasing advertising is too costly during slow times. Besides, traditional advertising methods are no longer working. People are no longer responding to commercials like they did in the past. Today’s caterers need new methods for reaching their customer base and innovative techniques of persuasion if they are going to grow their profit margins and succeed in today’s market place. When your owner or upper management is asking you to cut the advertising budget and ordering you to scale down traditional commercials on a large scale, what can you do? You are being pestered to raise profits and grow customer counts. Your back is against the wall! The question is, are you going to fold and throw in the cards or rise up to the challenge? Yes, you can do everything your bosses are asking of you and more! How?

Every marketing plan today, catering included, must prioritize leveraging the most modern networking tool in man’s history, the internet. The technological information super highway is loaded with plenty of efficient marketing methods. Many are low cost and a lot are even free. The number one internet promotional method based on effectiveness and cost is social media. Now is the time to grow your presence on the web. Leveraging the proper social marketing avenues will expand your reach quicker and more effectively than any other form of advertising or promotion paid for or otherwise. Your catering business will grow and you’ll save money as you cut out the old, much more costly, traditional advertising; TV, radio, newspaper ads and the yellow pages that are not working anyway.

Evidence shows that today, people go online to search for goods and services rather than pick up a phone book. People want to know where they’re going and as many detail they can get prior to heading out the door. That is why catering businesses need to create an online presence if they are going to attract new customers and retain their regular customers. People are getting used to the convenience of having instant, available information, online customer service, plus the ease of phoneless order placing.

You don’t need to hire someone with a degree in internet marketing, you don’t need to sign up for night courses in internet marketing and best of all you don’t need a large budget. But, you do need to get started now before your competition passes you by!

The secret to growing profits in a catering business is developing your ability to find clients then convince them to hire you. Promoting online is not difficult or expensive. But, getting good consistent results can be confusing and even mysterious. If approached properly, internet marketing can be learned quickly and accomplished with a minimal amount of time and money invested.

Yes, I realize that most caterers do not have the knowledge or the time to invest in mastering online marketing. Some of you may choose to hire someone to implement your online promotions for you. Of course, like anything else, that option will cost you money that really isn’t necessary to spend. All that is needed is a little determination to learn something new; a new skill that I promise will earn you dividends for years to come. The internet is not going anywhere. It just keeps getting bigger and more efficient.

So, what do we have to do?

Local internet marketing means getting your catering business on the web and in as many places as possible, to create a positive professional online presence. You first need a website and then some marketing tools which will help people find your website. First we create a website then we rank your website well in the search engines like; Google, yahoo and Bing. What is important to note here is that the closer we move your website to the top of the search engines list of results, the more people will click on your link and visit your catering information on your website. A basic course on this can be purchased for $5 at:

http://a.5rr5.co/s/3pfaph

There are also numerous businesses you can pay to handle all your internet marketing needs. How you choose to set up, grow and maintain your internet presence is up to you just know that neglecting or putting off your internet marketing campaign can be deadly to any local business, especially a catering business. Besides your website, you will need to create a customer engaging blog with which you communicate with your customers on a regular basis. Free advice on blogging can be found here:

http://anewtale.com/blogging.html

It’s easy and free; if you write the blog post yourself, which I highly recommend. Although you can also contract out your blogging which won’t cost much if you hire a computer savvy student.

A social media course as well as free tips and other tools to help you increase the traffic to your website can be found here: http://anewtale.com/tweeting.html

The real trick to internet marketing is to structure your website, blog and social media accounts to all help build your email campaign. As a local catering operation it is much more effective to email your catering list a coupon, for example, than to post the same coupon on your website or blog. Your blog course, website building course and social media course will teach you tricks for capturing your visitors’ email addresses. Once you build a large email list you can contact your catering customers at your own convenience. A good email building course can be found here:

http://a.5rr5.co/s/3p62k2

*re-cap – The three components to a successful internet campaign are; setting up a website, maintaining a blog and engaging in social media. The mission of these three tactics is to gain prospects contact information, especially their email address so we can contact them at our convenience. The easiest, most effective and cheapest way to maintain contact with our customers is through a properly launched and maintained email campaign.

*More tips and advice about each of these important online marketing methods as well as other online promotion and advertising ideas and tricks of the trade will be coming soon since we need more room to do each of these important subjects justice.

Developing Your Catering Sales Specialist

by Stu Leventhal

Sales people should specialize in a type of customer. They should work towards being an expert at servicing their particular niche. Never assign territories to your catering sales personnel based on location, instead assign customer niches. One sales rep can specialize in Wedding Affairs, another business lunches, another children parties and celebrations. Whether they are selling on-premise catering events or off premise parties and celebrations does not matter either. What matters more is who they are selling to. A Catering Sales Specialist specializes in selling to a certain type of purchaser not a certain style of food, a price bracket or catering technique such as buffet style verses full service events.

Your sales person has to be armed with a full arsenal of options when they walk into a prospect’s domicile. They need to be able to talk with confidence and authority. They must be able to handle any objections at the time they pop up. They need to be able to offer suggestions. If price is the issue maybe we’ll cut out a few of the frills and go to serve yourself buffet style instead of us supplying the waiters and servers. It is easier to train and teach a sales person how to handle one type of customer at a time than expecting them to be able to sell all the very many various types of catering to everyone and anyone. Of course if you are just getting started with catering then your sales force may be one individual. Frequently during catering start-ups that individual is you. Whoever your Catering Sales Experts are they will have to be organized into thinking in terms of niches and niche marketing.

Catering niches are generally defined by the type of event being planned or celebrated; birthday parties, holidays, weddings, seminars, business luncheons, retirement parties and family events and gatherings like graduations, welcome home or religious celebrations. Also defining the niche are the types of attendees being served. Children’s events are designed totally different from events where the guests are all professional business men and women. Social and religious celebrations where family and friends will be attending have to be designed to please all age groups and taste buds. Your sales pitch will be tailored differently for each of these markets.

No one person can possibly know everything they need to know about every conceivable party, event, celebration or occasion that comes up. But you must be thoroughly knowledgeable about what your organization can do and can’t do. Sure nothing is written in stone and a good catering organization must be able and willing to bend and get creative if they wish to WOW customers and guests and foster that fantastic word of mouth advertising that really can’t be purchased. But, the catering specialist also has to know their establishment’s limitations too. Never promise something you aren’t absolutely certain you can deliver!

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To sell off-premise catering, you don’t need tons of innovative ideas and you don’t have to have exceptional presentation skills. Sure experience counts, doesn’t it always? But, we’ve all been to parties and plenty of family gatherings, business and social events. Your customers will come to you already having at least a vague idea of what they are looking for and wishing to achieve. As the parameters you are working within reveal themselves; what the occasion is, the date and time, number of guests, your customer’s budget, your passion for planning events and natural enthusiasm will have the catering suggestions popping out. Together you and your customer will build a great buffet, set up a stunning evening gala or put together a convenient, economical and healthy themed professionally organized business box lunch or luncheon.

Most importantly, you MUST display a professional demeanor and attitude when communicating with social, corporate and institutional clients who are shelling out large sums of money. Speak with authority and confidence.  Understand the importance of consistently offering exceptional customer service. Sell the benefits of your service rather than price. Catering sales can come in many forms; social functions, corporate events, home parties. There are institutional clients, high end formally served and catered galas and simple pick up platters. Whatever the event is, your job is to sell your customers peace of mind.

Model your catering business around ease of ordering. Make it easy for customers to contact you. Do you have online ordering yet? It may be a good idea to Invest in a twenty four hour answering service. Being known as the reliable go to caterer for last minute special catering needs could be the determining factor to landing large corporate and educational institution accounts which frequently plan events with very little lead time. Design your menus so they are easy to understand and it doesn’t take a math genius to figure out the final bill amount. Once the sale is initiated, stay in constant contact. There are always last minute changes and you want to be made aware of them as early as possible if things are going to run smoothly on the day of the event.

It’s easy to grow catering sales when you concentrate on becoming an expert at selling to one particular niche at a time. Develop and execute a marketing plan, on how to maximize revenue and sales based on the current market trends in your local and your immediate competition. Set your catering business apart. If there are already three kosher caterers within a five block radius of your facility then it might be hard to break into the Bar and Bat Mitzvah market. Yet, perhaps there is an opening for a vegan caterer in your immediate vicinity. Finding a supplier who manufactures all natural, meat alternative products and putting together some tasty organically grown vegetable platters, wheat and whole grain pita sandwich trays, add some all natural, zero meat, zero dairy, casserole meals served with brown or wild rice and featuring entrées like stuffed cabbage and vegan chili could be a way to capitalize on an under serviced market. “All the taste and nutrition without the saturated fats, cholesterol, hormones, antibiotics and preservatives could be your mantra.”

*Your Catering Sales Specialist should establish and maintain contact on a regular basis with all area hotels and convention centers, banquet sales departments and event planning services departments through presentation and cold calls in order to obtain referrals and promote your current catering programs. They should promote your establishment, services and products with local community groups, tour operators, area hotels, destination companies, convention & Visitor bureaus, political meeting planners and other relevant groups. They should network with other businesses that service parties and events like; disc jockeys, entertainment and band managers, flower shops, party supply an party rental companies. You should offer referral incentives.

Marketing pieces, promotional literature and an advertising campaign needs to be developed to targeting specific purchasers in each catering niche. Investment and Insurance communities, corporate catering, employee appreciation events, galas and seminars, schools and daycare centers all need different, specific marketing developed. To sell to businesses, your emails and literature must speak directly to the VP of HR, Facilities Managers, Office Managers and Assistant Managers most of who are delegated the chore of planning their bosses business catered events.

*It’s worth the time spent, developing relationships with receptionists and administration assistants who do most of the ordering and organizing of business and corporate events.

Investing in specialized catering equipment designed specifically for servicing a particular type of party or event can set you apart from all your competition in that sales niche.  Also, not cutting corners when it comes to employing the highest caliber of staff and spending money and time to train your staff so they operate at a much higher level than all the other caterers in town can be a very beneficial strategy.

It is easier to become the best at one, two or three aspects of catering than trying to compete in all the many different catering niches at the same time. Being known as an expert in one or a few catering functions is far better than being known as just another caterer. Mediocre caterers close most of their sales by discounting and haggling. Their customers have zero loyalty and zero respect for them. Expert caterers, have customers who rave about their experiences working with you and your company. Word of mouth spreads quickly in small communities especially when you are in the business of servicing large parties and events. Concentrate on throwing great parties and giving your customers great, exceptional experiences and everyone will want to know who the caterer is! The best advertising in the world is having the whole town talking about you, the caterer who handled the Smith Wedding!

Want more catering and restaurant advice check out: http://www.philadelphiarestaurantconsultant.wordpress.com

For great business sales copy writing tips go to: http://www.anewtale.com/business.html

Catering Buisness - 101

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.

Ways to Increase Catering Sales

By STUART LEVENTHAL
The best way to increase catering sales has always been through networking with as many businesses in your neighborhood who share the same customers as you do. That virtually means partnering up with any business in the towns you service that are not a competing caterer. Wedding planners, florists, event planners, party supply stores, costume shops, photographers; all sell to or service people who are your potential customers too. The idea is that by joining forces and working with another business who shares your target customer, together you can both benefit in a number of different ways.

SALES TIPS FOR CATERERS

First off you can each swap customer lists which will double your list of customers with no effort at all. This means that if you have 5,000 customers who you send your menus and coupons out to each month and a photographer has a list of 5,000 customers, instantly you now both have 10,000 customers to send your promotions to. That is a huge jump. But, now imagine how big your customer list will grow if you swap lists with five noncompeting businesses, each with five thousand customers on their lists. 5 X 5,000 = 25,000!

Catering Sales Ideas
There’s a big difference between sending out 5,000 menus and coupons and sending out 25,000 menus and coupons. You are going to get a lot more business back from the 25,000 mailing! Now, if you were mailing your promotional materials out yourself, it would cost you a bundle to mail 25,000 envelopes. But, when all five businesses put their promotional materials in the same envelope, you each pay only for mailing your original 5,000 envelopes plus just a little more to cover the additional weight of the others’ materials. While each of you benefits because 25,000 envelopes are getting mailed each with your menu and coupons in it as well as the other four businesses marketing items too!

Now, if all five of you decided to join in on taking a newspaper add out together, you could purchase a whole page at a discounted rate then divide it up into five equal parts and you would end up paying a lot less for your portion than if you tried to buy the same size adds individually!

Whenever I’m working on advertising or marketing campaigns, I always try to exhaust all my free or almost free ideas first, before I start considering paying for advertising. This is because there are so many free advertising and promotional ideas which only take a little time to implement and they are quite effective. So it is silly to start right off the bat, paying for news, radio or Television advertising when half the time you get little or no return on your investment anyway. There is no reason to start worrying about marketing budgets when you have promotional ideas that take just a little effort on your part to implement for free.

One free idea that is very easy to do is simply for all five collaborating establishments agreeing to post each other’s marketing materials on their premises. You give them each a pile of menus with coupons stapled to them and they give you a stack of their promotional literature with their coupons. You can each set up a small area or display table for interested parties to take the literature they are interested in. Or you each could simply place a set of each of your four partners marketing materials in your customers’ bags at the check out counter.

Think of your Collaborating businesses as partners. You all are looking to gain the same thing; additional business. You are all also seeking low cost marketing ideas. You all are promoting to the same customers, let’s say newly engaged couples, just for an example. You are the only caterer in the group. There’s only one photographer in your group, one tuxedo rental company etc. We’ve talked about how you can use your combined buying power to get discounts from advertising venues. We’ve discussed sharing each other’s customer lists and displaying each other’s marketing literature in each other’s place of business. Now, let’s take it up a notch. Let’s plan to put together some marketing events in which all of our businesses will take part. The events will specifically target newly engaged couples who are gathering information about planning their wedding.

1. Your newly formed group can promote total package deals. One low price for all our services! Planning a wedding is hard work. You will be taking away a lot of stress by offering the solution of ‘One Stop Shopping!’ All it takes is for all the businesses involved to sit down and put together a few attractive package deals.

2. You can take turns hosting an event on each of your premises, switching each month. Or you can all share the costs of renting a hall to throw your shindig in each month. Everyone can set up a booth or table with all their marketing literature. There would be a flower shop booth, a DJ spinning music for the affair as well as giving out his or her business card. You, as the group caterer can show off your catering hors d’oeuvres give out samples tastes, put out a small buffet if you can handle the costs, as well as display an array of photographs of past events you’ve catered with testimonials from all your happy customers. The photographer can have albums highlighting his masterful photographs displayed on a table with business cards and contact info. He can set up a small studio type booth for snapping a few quick free give away photos of the circulating love birds who attend the show. Wedding dress and tuxedo establishments can put on a quick fashion show or bring brochures and samples of the hottest new wedding outfits. You can each take fifteen or so minutes to formally address the crowd from a podium promoting your goods and services. (Remember, any target market can be substituted here for this technique, just pick companies to partner with who specialize in serving the same chosen niche.)

As a caterer, you have many niches that you can market to. Pick one niche at a time to specialize in that is best suited to your interests and particular neighborhood situation. Build up your contacts related to that market niche. Do your homework. Network, then form partnerships with the very best, affiliate businesses in your area, who service that chosen niche. It will defeat your purposes to associate yourself and your catering business with businesses with bad performance records or faulty reputations. Once you’ve conquered one niche then by all means tackle the next niche.