Set Your Business Apart From All The Rest with These Smart Tips
Industry experts say that in 2021 the catering business cashed in $6.5 billion in sales*. That number was up by 66% over the pandemic year of 2020 but still 60% below the industry’s best year in 2019 of $10.7 billion. These numbers add up to every caterer searching for fresh ideas on how to grow their business by setting themselves apart from the rest. Here are seven tips for boosting your business in 2022.
- Be On the Lookout! Put out a BOLO for new venues for catering both special events and weddings. Let’s face it, 71,000 restaurants closed because of the pandemic, so there are plenty of new spaces and new places where a catered event could become a reality. For example, look for new breweries or distilleries for a partnership for catered events as well as other venues such as barns and outdoor spaces. Nothing is more exciting to customers than to hold their special event in a fresh, unique venue.
- Add Some Creativity to Your Drink Options. From hot cocoa with special fixings in the winter to beverage stations with unique aperitifs of wine herbs and spices, to teas and waters. While not overserving guests before dinner, it can add easy dollars to the invoice while aiding conversations among your guests.
- Reimagining Bread. The pandemic loosened the belt when it comes to the glorious gluten so think about indulgent and unique bread trays. Experiment with snack stations during pre-dinner cocktails as well as bread trays at tables. Crusty breads with exotic, colored salts are trending and so are shaped and flavored butters. From beautiful shaped balls of butter to Pop Out® Roses by Butterball® Farms has the broadest selection of specialty prepared butters.
- Call Out Local Foods & Beverages. Everyone is on board with supporting local small businesses, so look where locally grown or produced foods and beverages fit in your plans. From produce to meats, craft brews or distilled spirits, your guests will be impressed by your support. Be sure to call out that support in table cards and other signage that denotes your support.
- Prep Serving Platters Ahead of Time. Get out all the serving platters and bowls you plan to use at the party. Grab serving utensils for each item, as well. Some items can go in the serving dishes ahead of time. For example, you can place dips into the corresponding serving bowls as soon as you’re done making them. Cover the bowls with plastic and place them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve them.
- Rebuild Your Service Level & Menu Templates. The pandemic changed customer expectations for the level of service and menus. Take another look at your service and menu options and pricing templates (based on inflation in food and labor costs) to make some necessary adjustments. For example, there is greater interest in functional foods, so increase options for seafood and nutrient laden vegetables. Add plant-base protein options as well as globally inspired items such as Asian, Latino, and Middle Eastern fare.
- Drive More Business by Updating Your Website and Social Media. Take a long look at your existing website and update it with recent photos and descriptions of your service offerings. Remember, Google algorithms look for recent updates to website with words that are most relevant to the user’s search. Pay special attention to your navigation buttons and headlines to each section of your site. For example, you should have a navigation button specific to Wedding Catering and your headline should have those two words as the first as your headline (e.g., Wedding Catering Is One of Our Specialties). The more relevant the words on your site to a user’s search the better. For social media, consider separate campaign specifically targeting weddings, corporate events, etc. rather than one generic campaign for your offering alone.
2022 is shaping up as a banner year for special events for caterers. Be sure your marketing and menus are ready for the rush.