You already put together the catering business of your dreams — a kitchen fully equipped with cooking tools and supplies, a spacious catering van for seamless transportation, a fantastic staff to support you during operations, and a considerable amount of clients to work with. Yet, perhaps, you still ask yourself if all of these things are enough to succeed in such a competitive industry. You’re still in question of what makes a catering business successful.
In this article, I’ll tell you some of the most critical components of a successful catering business and how you can work towards acquiring them. Are you ready? Let’s start.
We can all agree that food plays a major role in the success of any catering business. As a caterer, the quality of your food says a lot about your overall brand. With that said, you must consistently impress your clients with the taste and presentation of your dishes. Let them see your passion and creativity through the foods you serve them.
Also, when people are in love with your cooking, they help you build your business. Because aside from becoming repeat customers — happy, satisfied clients tend to refer others to your service and promote your brand for free.
According to IBISWorld, there are more than 130,000 catering businesses in the U.S.alone as of January 2021. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a heavy competition to me. And unfortunately, if you cannot keep up with the contesting, your business will be short-lived. So that’s why it’s crucial to find a niche.
Deciding on a target market lets you have less competition and high customer loyalty. Plus, when you cater to a particular audience, it’s easier for you to develop the products and services they will like the best. Because you have a clear vision of what they need and desire. If you haven’t found a niche yet, here are a few ideas for you:
This is a known fact — catering businesses with impeccable customer service stay and thrive in the industry. Aside from your cooking, you must put great effort into the way you serve, interact, and take care of your clients.
Make it a habit to anticipate their needs and do things that’ll make them feel appreciated. Hear their requests out and surprise them with subtle gestures of kindness. Try not just to meet their expectations; go above and beyond instead. Because meaningful customer relationships significantly contribute to a business’s success.
Moreover, clients are more eager to leave glowing online reviews for your business when they experience exceptional customer service. Such customer testimonials are essential for your business growth and success. So again, impart great value to your dear clients.
Do you want to level up your customer service? Check out these tips:
Successful catering businesses have one thing in common — effective marketing. Honestly, all of your efforts will only go to waste without clients availing of your services. And how do you get customers? By promotion!
Today, there’s a plethora of marketing channels you can choose from to reach your target audience:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If you want people to find you easier and quicker online, SEO is the way to go. By investing in SEO, you can generate more qualified traffic and leads to your website. So whenever a customer would type in “best catering business in *your town*,” your business will show up at the top of the results. SEO can be pretty daunting to try, but its long-term benefits for your business are unmatched. Here’s another article to discover the importance of SEO to your food business.
Social Media Marketing is one of the most powerful types of marketing today. With over 3.6 billion global users, social media most likely houses the majority of your potential clients. So, create an account for the most in-demand social media sites today, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube — and open countless doors of business opportunities. For example, you can post photos of your food, updates about your company, and behind-the-scenes of your operations through your SM pages to create meaningful customer relationships and increase your engagement rate. Compared to your official website, social media offers you a more personal approach to reach out to your future customers by having real-time interactions with them.
Recently, there’s been a circulating notion that email marketing is dead, but I beg to differ. Launching an email marketing campaign can be pretty profitable to a catering business when done right. As long as you send personalized, relevant content to your email list, you’re going to attract new business. In addition, email marketing is also a good way to be in contact with your previous clients. You can send follow-up emails to your past customers to encourage them to avail your services again or request feedback and referral.
If you have been in the industry for quite a long time now, but your online visibility is still seemingly nonexistent — it’s time for you to do paid advertising. As the name suggests, it is an advertisement that you need to pay for. You have to pay publishers (local search engines & other websites) each time someone clicks your ads. This marketing lets you reacher a broader audience. So if you have the budget to do so, make sure to give it a shot.
The kind of marketing you’ll do is up to you. However, keep in mind that you must prefer the type of marketing best suited to your business goals and needs. And since no company needs are identical to another, you must tailor your own marketing strategy. So sit down with your staff and discuss the plan of action you want to take. Study your analytics and formulate marketing tactics.
If you struggle to do so, don’t ever hesitate to call marketing experts to back you up. Most businesses hire and collaborate with a professional marketing team to achieve better marketing results. Invest in your advertising campaigns and marketing strategies, and I’ll assure you it’ll be worth it.
Preparing and serving food for other people is undoubtedly a beautiful, fulfilling job. But please remember that it also comes with occasional consequences. For instance, cooking in a poorly maintained kitchen can result in several setbacks like accidents, food mishandling, or even food poison. Therefore, food safety must be among your top priorities to avoid such unfortunate events. See to it that you always observe the up-to-date food safety rules and regulations given by Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Also, encourage your team to take training and acquire certifications for proper food handling and preparation. This way, all of your staff will be capable of delivering safe and delectable food to your clients.
Throughout your catering career, you will serve different kinds of people. So naturally, you have to deal with varying requests and needs that will satisfy your diverse clients. As a result, you have to modify your menu items from time to time according to your customers’ dietary restrictions, food allergies, and other personal preferences.
On top of that, you have to come up with a pricing that will be enticing to your customers but will not adversely affect your profit margins. Because let’s face it — most people gravitate to affordable alternatives nowadays. So if your pricing is more reasonable than that of your competitors, you’ll likely win more clients.
Now, this is where you can outshine your competitors the most. Why? Because creativity and uniqueness are attributes that cannot easily be acquired, it’s something innate. So take a moment to conceptualize your events. Then, get creative with your settings, spreads, and presentations. Impress your clients with your innovation and let them realize that your service is like no other! Don’t stop reinventing and discovering different food trends and catering ideas that’ll make your client’s events more memorable.
But honestly, there’s no definite answer to what makes a catering business successful because we all use varying metrics to determine ‘success.’
Some companies use technical ways such as specific KPIs to see if they’re hitting their goals and heading to success. In contrast, others based their success on the value they give to their customers and the number of worthwhile relationships they make. Either way, I hope that you found this article helpful.
For professional help with marketing your catering business, contact Al Shan Marketing. We provide a client-focused, customized catering marketing plan to attract more clients and bookings. Give us a call at (949) 424-7824 or mail us at [email protected]
Open your new catering business to endless growth opportunities. Contact Al Shan Marketing today!
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