4 Strategies to Boost Catering Sales

November 30, 2023

Boosting restaurant catering can be a significant driver of year-over-year growth for restaurants. Especially during the holidays, potential customer searches for “Christmas catering services” and “Corporate holiday catering” surge, while “Special occasion catering” remains popular year-round for events like weddings.  Mastering and planning for a few critical strategies outlined below can make your catering services both successful and stress-free as they continue to grow.

Understanding Your Target Audience

First and foremost is identifying your market. Are you catering to corporate clients, event planners, or families? Each segment has unique needs and preferences. For example, families may prefer take-out options, while corporate clients might value full-service catering for events. If you are worried about taking employees away from the restaurant, families may be more likely to take catering to go after stopping for a meal themselves. On the other hand, while corporate clients may request delivery, they are typically willing to pay far more for bigger orders, and delivery fees as well.

Creating Efficient Operations and Processes

Staffing for food preparation, delivery coordination or pickup, and food inventory to keep the restaurant running – let alone adding in catering can all be stressors for restaurant owners. Once you have identified your target catering market,  developing a streamlined process can take all the additional stress away.

Efficient Staffing

Managing staffing effectively is crucial. Consider hiring dedicated catering staff or training existing staff for dual roles. This ensures your ongoing restaurant operations are not compromised while catering orders are fulfilled efficiently. Utilizing dual training can be a reward or additional growth opportunity for employees as well where they feel they are progressing through the company and becoming a more valuable employee.

Streamlined Operations

Create streamlined processes for food preparation, order management, and delivery. This could look like a dedicated space to assemble orders, store orders and potentially a specific delivery car as well. When the space for assembling can be separated from the regular restaurant operations area, it can reduce stress and the potential of messed up orders as food can get confused between the two orders.

Inventory Management

Balancing food inventory for both the restaurant and catering services is vital. Implement inventory management techniques to ensure adequate supplies without excessive wastage. Making sure your inventory specialists/orderers are aware of all upcoming catering orders is vital. Clear communication on needs and expectations can create smooth operations in the world of inventory management.

Brand Building: Creating Lasting Presence

A strong brand is essential in attracting catering customers throughout the year. You want your brand to be the first that comes into the mind of a potential hungry customer. Billboard advertising cannot be skipped, swiped past, or completely hidden by spam blockers. This creates a powerful medium of strong visibility and extensive reach as you can spread your messages on billboards throughout your city. At the top of your marketing funnel, billboards can create brand awareness that can prime the rest of your marketing efforts for better success.

Blip’s flexibility allows users to start billboard campaigns within just a day or two. If you have a holiday special or catering event that you would like to promote in the upcoming week, we can help you get that message on a local billboard in no time. No back-and-forth negotiating is needed and impressions are delivered with ease and speed. Restaurants have seen great success with Blip, such as Mr. Charlie’s Chicken Fingers who saw a direct increase in sales at their original location and their new location that opened up nearby.

Once the Holiday promotions have wrapped up, swapping billboard designs for general brand advertising is quick and easy. Once the next promotion comes around, you have built that brand recognition and can feature deals quickly.

Improving Google Ratings and Online Reviews

The impact of online ratings and reviews is playing more and more into customer decision-making especially for catering. If a corporate assistant is planning a big holiday party and deciding between multiple options, there are extremely slim chances that they would choose a 2 star average restaurant over a 5 star with thousands of reviews. When one hasn’t experienced a restaurant for themselves, there is a level of trust placed on reviews that can not be replaced. Encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive reviews each time they visit your website can have an astronomical impact on returning revenue as well as new customer revenue.

Responding to feedback can show potential customers that you value feedback and are committed to continuous improvement. Strive to actively respond to both the positive and negative reviews that come in.

Ongoing Success and Maintenance

Brand building as a whole needs to be a continual play for your brand to stay top of mind for customers. In the restaurant industry, there is a lot of noise surrounding various eateries, and you want yours to stay on top. Keep your marketing content fresh and updated. Regularly update your website and photos on your menu to stay up to date.

By understanding your audience, building a strong brand, and leveraging online reviews, you can significantly enhance your restaurant’s catering sales. These strategies are essential for not just short-term gains but also for long-term success in the competitive catering market. Explore these strategies to expand your restaurant’s catering services, and watch as your sales and brand presence grow stronger with each season.