Preparing Your Catering Business for the Festive Season
October 15th, 2018
The holidays are fast approaching and, if the local supermarket is anything to go by, it’s never too early to start prepping for Christmas catering season!
Getting your catering business ready for the festive season
For those in catering, the festive season is one of the biggest times of the year and needs careful planning. With Christmas, work break-ups, corporate end-of-year functions and the New Year, there’s a lot on the plate (pun intended).
Successful holiday marketing will secure past clients and entice new ones to have you cater their event, as well as promote your business and drive sales.
To ensure you make the most of this time, begin by reviewing past years’ performance and looking at any factors to improve upon. From there, it’s time to take the necessary steps to prepare your catering service for the best festive season yet.
Here are a few suggested actions you could take:
1. Follow-up with clients
If you’ve received good feedback from clients at past catering events, chances are they may wish to secure your services again for this festive season. A great way to maintain client relationships is by sending a holiday greeting via your email-marketing platform. If you haven’t already harnessed email-marketing for your catering business, make sure you do so, as it’s a fantastic tool for generating repeat and new business.
Make your communication festive, thank them for their past service, and wish them happy holidays. Mention that you are catering for the holiday season and feature photos and promos of your sample products.
For an added enticement, you could consider offering a free Christmas promo or discount code for use of your services over the holiday season.
2. Develop a Christmas marketing strategy
As demand for catering services grow during the festive season, so too does the competition. Make your catering company stand out by maintaining a solid online presence and being creative with your marketing strategy. You want to be targeting businesses, venues, and clients who want catering for their end of year function or Christmas party.
Develop a Christmas promotion that stands out by updating your website and marketing materials such as pamphlets and business cards to cater for the holiday mood. Maintain a ‘Christmas’ theme by changing the colours of your website, dressing up your product samples in Holiday-themed decorations, and by developing a Christmas-specific brochure or catering menu.
3. Create a holiday menu
Show off your catering flair by planning and developing a special holiday menu that features unique items specific to Christmas and the festive season. Introduce tried and tested favourites such as fruit mince pies, Christmas cakes, and themed cookies. You can also get creative and think of menu items that will entice old and new clients.
In this modern ‘foodie’ age, it’s a wise idea to be able to cater for people with a wide range of dietary requirements. This includes vegan, vegetarian, and paleo, as well as offering a gluten-free menu for those with intolerances. This way you are catering for a broader reach of people and perhaps offering a service that others aren’t.
Assemble your sample holiday menu and promote it on your website, marketing platforms and social media.
4. Harness social media
Alert past and potential customers to your holiday menu and Christmas catering packages through social media. Your catering business should have an active Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter account to ensure maximum exposure. Post regularly, and include high-quality photos of your menu items.
When it comes to food, it’s all about being visual and offering up mouth-watering images to attract customers to your service and food items.
You could also run a social media campaign with your holiday packages to entice customers to inquire about your services. Be sure to target a location-specific audience so as to market your service to your catering area.
Essentially, you are in the food industry and want to maintain a voice of superiority. Achieve this by networking with other food businesses as well as reaching out to local food Bloggers.
Connecting with people is the key to your catering success. As it comes up to the festive season, think about approaching local offices and businesses and requesting to leave your cards or menus in their stores. Sweeten the deal by bringing along some of your sample food items to offer a free tasting. That way, potential clients can find out exactly how good your menu is. Some ideal targets to market your menu to include local banks, law offices, advertising agencies, and co-working spaces.
6. Supply and demand
The festive season is one of the most profitable times in the catering business. It’s important to take advantage of this and provide efficient ways to supply the demand. Decide if you want to be providing full-catering to events, or if you only want to provide “drop-off” catering.
Be sure to have all of your menu items clearly listed along with prices of each item or package so that potential customers can see straight away how much your service is worth and what they will be having to budget if they want to use your services.
And if you intend to provide a full-catering service over the holidays, make sure you have a full list of staff available. If you are short on waiters or service people, think about advertising for temporary workers to help smooth line your production over the busier period.
Provide successful catering solutions for this holiday period
Success in the food-service industry comes down to the quality of service you provide. By integrating clever marketing strategies and learning to use social media as a way to promote your business, you can help to increase your productivity and boost your sales and service over the festive season.
And take advantage of technology to make your life easier! For example, FoodStorm’s catering software is a valuable and efficient tool for any catering business aiming to increase productivity and organisation; especially ahead of the festive season.