The catering business can be extremely profitable when the food and the service is world class. That will always be your best calling card, but great food and better service won’t cut it all by themselves. You need to market yourself to your local community and region so that people know about your business and how great your food happens to be. You’ve taken the first step on your journey of success by providing a quality outcome. Now you’ve got to take the next steps.
It all begins with your ability to be versatile. If you just accept one type of clientele, then you’ll be limited to that one solitary demographic and potentially overstay your welcome. Have a wide enough range of services to target multiple groups, yet don’t try to be everything to everyone because you’ll burn yourself out if you try.
Catering Marketing Ideas
1. Have a Great Logo
People might love great food, but they remember a great logo because it becomes associated with your great food. Your logo should fully communicate everything that you do visually, yet still have a basic message that communicates your value.
2. Have a Responsive Website
A lot of people today don’t have time to call in an order for your catering, but they could make a few moments to book you through your responsive website. A good user experience with the ability to book your services is an essential part of any modern successful scenario.
3. Get the Media Involved
Invest some time in creating quality press releases that can be distributed to the local media. The obvious place for this is for your grand opening, but a good PR can help get exposure for a menu change, new recipes, or even awards that your food might have won.
4. Word of Mouth Is Important
Tell everyone that you know about your catering business, even those who are just casual acquaintances. More people equates to more opportunities for word-of-mouth referrals and that often leads to an increased level of bookings.
5. Create a Great Email Campaign
Email marketing for a catering business is a gold mine that is just waiting to happen because you’ve got so many options available to you. You can share cooking tips. You can put together recipes for people to try on their own. You can offer exclusive discounts. There is so much value that you can provide people for a very small time investment that you can quickly build a level of expertise that will not be matched by other organizations.
6. Network with Event Planners
There are countless weddings and parties happening in your region right now that are being planned professionally. If you network with event planners and form professional relationships with them, you’ll create a place where you can sub-contract some catering services and expand your business model with very little work beyond creating a valuable relationship.
7. Stamp Your Supplies
Every plate, cup, and utensil that you have your customers use is a place where you can reinforce your branding. Stamp your logo on everything in a way that looks stylish, but not gaudy. It should work with the product, but still catch the eye.
8. Let Your Vehicles Talk For You
Catering vans have a lot of room for advertising on them, but the advertising that is place is in a place that isn’t useful for most circumstances. A parked van can be seen from the side and provide your details, but what about while you’re driving? Put your key contact information on the back of your vehicles to provide the most exposure possible.
9. Attend Local Events
You don’t need a catering contract to enter a local food festival and gain exposure for your business. Get a table, cook your best recipes, and have plenty of samples ready. Those samples will turn into your success story in time.
10. Companies Love Samples Too
If you’re looking for more commercial contracts, then take the initiative and go to the business with samples that can be enjoyed. Call ahead to make sure it’s ok to do and then set up shop and provide employees with a treat. You never know – one of those employees might have an event coming up and your food is what they’ve been trying to find.
11. Be Strategic With Your Advertising
A lot of advertising opportunities turn out to be a black hole of wasted cash, but there are some wise ways to spend your budget that will work. Target event magazines that are regionally distributed and lock into event planning keywords for local PPC campaigns so you can have your branding in front of local internet searchers who are looking for your quality food.
12. Work With the Food Bank
What do you do with your leftovers? Instead of just pitching leftover food from a contract, package it up and donate it to local folks who are in need. You’ll be doing a good thing and because your branding is on all your products, you’ll also get a little extra exposure.
13. Provide a Monthly Free Event
Not everyone can afford a hot meal these days and that’s the perfect chance for you to do something good for your community. Sponsor a monthly free event that you cater and invite everyone on down to your location. You can partner with local businesses to do a tour of the community or you can setup your shop at the local shelter if you prefer. Either way, you’ll turn hungry stomachs into grateful smiles and you’ll create lots of exposure for less money than a typical radio spot.
14. Find Great Venues
The best partnerships you can create come from profitable partnerships where your catering business can be utilized. Film studios, local hotels, country clubs, and even museums all have exclusive events that often need catering. Talk with each manager, show them the value in what you provide, and don’t forget to have this meeting over a lunch that you’ve provided.