Providing catering service is a great way to drive large ticket sales and expose new potential customers to your location and products. Offering “Food To Go” is the easiest form of catering.
Catering should be undertaken carefully and planned out to ensure you have all the elements required to promote and offer the service to your customers. See Catering for all the considerations. Once you’ve decided “Food To Go” is appropriate for your business, here are the elements you will need.
- Menu: Determine what items on your regular menu you would like to offer for your Catering Menu.
- Delivery: Will you offer delivery? Will it be free or will there be a charge? What’s your delivery zone?
Work with your Restaurant Supplies Company to make sure you have all the needed supplies for large “to go” orders based on your Catering Menu.
- Cups and lids
- Trays and Platters for displaying/serving
- Disposable plates and bowls
- Utensils for serving and eating
- Appropriate Condiments and Seasonings
- Beverage/Coffee Dispensers
- Boxes and Bags for carrying the orders away
Ensure as many elements as possible are branded with your logo (cups, napkins, boxes, bags) so everyone enjoying the catering knows it came from you!
Consider your target market for your catering.
- Parties: from birthdays to anniversaries to graduations to bridal showers
- Business Meetings
- Community Meetings
- School Lunches
- School Events
- Thank You Gifts
- Welcome to the Neighbor Gifts
Promoting Your Catering
Now that you have all the elements arranged you can start selling your offerings.
- Develop a Catering Menu and Brochure. Display prominently in your location.
- Create appropriate signage to display in store.
- Create a “Catering” section on your website.
- Be sure to add “We Offer Catering!” to all your marketing materials and menus.
- When launching your Catering service, put together a promotion to get the word out using all the ideas suggested here.
- Give away a monthly or weekly “breakfast or lunch for the office” by collecting customers’ business cards. You can also ask these customers if they would like to opt in and be added to your eMailing list.
- Staple Catering Menus and Brochures to any to-go orders.
- Employees can suggestive sell the service when appropriate, especially at the holidays.
- Spend an afternoon out in your Trade Area delivering your brochure / menu to appropriate local businesses including office buildings. Bring your business cards and maybe even samples of a product that is easy to carry (cookies, muffins, etc…).
- Ensure employees are trained on catering pricing and preparation, delivery and service if you intend to provide those as well.
- Schedule extra staff when needed to help prepare catering orders.
For more helpful tips on making catering work for your business, check out Catering and Catering: Off-Site Preparation!