While the industry is growing at a breakneck pace, it takes a little more than a knack for food to stay afloat. You need to lay the groundwork, polish your business management skills and use the right software to operate a profitable business.
In this article, we will share the secret recipe behind building and leading a wildly successful catering business.
10 Tips to grow your catering business
A business may start with passion, but you need a plan and systems to run it smoothly. The plan includes everything from your mission, vision and target customer, while systems consist of tools and frameworks to make your workflow easier.
Below are 10 tips to create and ace your business with robust planning and systems:
Choose the right software
Whether it is handwritten staff requests on wrinkled paper or sticking the new schedule outside the kitchen door, caterers often lack management and organization skills. The absence of these skills creates a huge time strain and causes simple tasks to consume most of your time.
To avert this, invest in an event staff scheduling software that centralizes all your employee requests and facilitates cohesive communication. You no longer need to skim through a gazillion excel sheets to keep everyone in a loop.
Every new schedule gets rolled out to the staff, instantly assigning the job sites and resources. Moreover, you can access timesheets that accurately capture clocked hours for transparent compensation.
Not to mention that lost emails and erroneous punch-in and punch-out updates are now a thing of the past. You will be able to run your event smoothly by conveying all the required information in real-time.
One downside of managing a catering business is its irregular schedules. You need to be on your toes constantly and check every minor task unless you’ve built a vigorous communication system.
Communication doesn’t mean assigning daily tasks to the staff and bidding adieu. You need to audit their workings and provide them constructive feedback.
To give pragmatic feedback, cut the noise and use impactable phrases that stimulate the performance review mechanism. Refer to this list of phrases and adjust your performance review communication according to individual needs. But always remember words have weight; use them cautiously.
To make the feedback system more transparent, pair your constructive feedback with actionable ways of improvement.
Chalk out a robust business plan
“Cook delicious food, and they’ll come.” This mindset won’t get you far. You need to have a detailed business plan for every step to success.
Create a blueprint outlining how your company will lead its path towards profitability. Start with a mission statement and then lay out the competitor analysis report, your business plan should cover:
- Business overview: Includes the business background, location, licenses required, and other key details.
- Financial allocation: An overview of the financial resources available and their allocation.
- Operations plan: Describes the operation of your business.
- Marketing Summary: Description of the marketing strategy to be leveraged.
- Management: Skillset and job description of the management team.
This fool-proof business plan not only helps you give a clear direction about the business efficacy but also plays a crucial role while obtaining finance.
Identify your target market
There are 144,560 catering establishments in the US alone as of 2022. With this fierce competition, you ought to stand out. A target market helps you achieve a USP, and you stand out amongst competitors.
When you cater to a particular audience, you gain insight into their specific desires. All of this builds customer loyalty and brand recognition.
For instance, if you want to be a corporate caterer, your target market would be offices. They regularly order for office parties, events, etc. So the menu would consist of quick bites.
On the other hand, if you want to be a wedding caterer, you should target individuals who’re planning events like weddings or family reunions and would like main courses and traditional dishes.
Also, a specific market helps you create an efficient strategy to market your service. For instance, you can run ads for keywords like ‘office catering’ or ‘wedding caterers’.
Create an attractive menu
Whenever a potential customer searches you, the menu is the first port of call. An enticing catering menu is a crucial step toward building a successful catering business.
Include puns in the name. For instance, Plummy Pancakes or chiffonade bacon.
Make sure to have a diverse menu that looks appetizing to your target audience. Even though your clients may be from a certain background, they often want to add variety to their menu. So, don’t limit to showing a client only specific options based on their background.
Add a succinct description of your food to help readers understand what it is and make it mouthwatering for the readers. This is especially important when your menu is diverse. Your clients may not be aware of a food item.
While seeing the ingredients doesn’t tell them how it tastes, they can still get an idea of what to expect. It also helps them determine if a food item is vegetarian, vegan, or kosher. This can be a key factor in clients selecting a specific food item from your menu.
Collect efficient equipment
Efficient equipment helps you with faster delivery. The variety of equipment usually depends upon the scale of your business, and the cuisine served. The better the machinery, the more efficient you will be at your job.
Employ a competent staff
You might have the best menu lined up, but you could miss out on repeat business and potential leads without the right staff. Despite its grave importance, recruiting competent staff is an overlooked component of leading a successful catering business.
Before catering your first event, handpick staff for cooking, delivering, and packing food. All the staff considered for a position should be adequately vetted to ensure a seamless guest experience.
Train newbies to make sure there are no loopholes. They should be well-versed with the new procedures, rules, and technological updates of the organization.
Do your research on the average pay range and other expenses incurred for hiring. And if you’re constantly looking for staff with different skill sets, it’s better to collaborate with a local agency that has various candidates registered with them.
Use the power of social media
Don’t worry, you don’t need to buy a Super Bowl ad to spread the word about your catering business. Interactive technologies with over 4.65 billion users, a.k.a ‘social media’ will do the trick.
Use social media to establish a direct connection with your customers. In the long run, a solid social media presence adds credibility and legitimacy to a brand.
Devise a social media strategy to be consistent. Use SEO tactics to reach more of your target customers. Don’t post just for the sake of it. Write good captions to ensure a personal connection with your target audience.
You can also set up a blog or video marketing strategy to share updates and behind-the-scenes. A strong marketing strategy can take your business to another level.
Network with event planners
Social media is great, but to spread your wings in an untapped market, networking is the most effective path. By joining professional networking groups and collaborating with event planners, you can make meaningful connections that lead to future opportunities.
Direct your attention towards event planners as they constantly organize parties and professional events–all of which require your catering services. You can form a pact and offer them a commission on every conversion.
This way, event planners will act as a salesperson for your company. They will drive awareness of your catering operation, bring in more customers, and ultimately contribute to your revenue goals.
Provide impeccable customer service
Apart from cooking those scrumptious meals, you need to put great effort into customer interaction and service to satisfy your customer.
This helps you gain positive reviews and word of mouth. Providing impeccable customer service includes:
- Addressing their pain points
- Catering to an individual’s needs
- Gathering customer feedback on food and service
- Setting up a hassle-free communication system
Lead a successful catering business
No business can survive without systems. The above-mentioned aspects would help you streamline your business operations with efficient systems. Get your flames burning and follow our secret recipe to build and lead a successful catering business.
Source: Plato Data Intelligence: Platodata.ai