Many a foodie has turned to a career in catering in order to turn their passion for food into a career. However, being a caterer means more than creating mouth-watering food. The truth is without the proper organizational, communication and business skills, all the mouth-watering food in the world won’t help you become a rockstar in the catering industry. Here’s what will turn you into the resident celebrity chef in your business with tips from a leading corporate food services agency. Keep reading to learn more.
It’s All in the Taste
There is a lot of talk about making good content in content marketing circles these days, the idea being that if you create good content, then people will more willingly buy your wares.
So what does creating content have to do with developing a successful catering business? Just this: The food you create is your content. It’s the food equivalent of a tasty blog post, so make sure it’s delish and that it’s shareable. You want people to talk up your food.
That might mean you’re known for certain dishes. It also might mean you have to venture off into new territory in order to win new clients.
It’s especially important to remember this if you get requests outside of your area of expertise. Rather than telling potential customers that their requested menu item isn’t your thing, consider how you might make something comparable.
It’s all about making your food a key part of your customer service experience.
Customer Service Made Simple
Consider this: Being willing to try new recipes that your clientele requests builds a connection with customers.
Often, when a person asks you to make a special dish, it’s because they have a nostalgic connection with the dish. For example, it might have been their grandma’s specialty. According to the Harvard University Press, we remember special meals because from an evolutionary standpoint, we need to. That’s why food memories are so powerful.
In light of that, if you make a customer’s favorite meal, or something even close, then there’s a chance that the good memories that client associated with that food will eventually be associated with you.
This allows you to attract people who will give you repeat business, which is something that a successful catering business needs.
Develop Your Brand
When you think of brands, like Disney, what do you think of? Does images of Mickey come to mind? Or a certain color scheme or look? It’s likely that this is the case. You can do no less for your business.
Your logo and your business marketing materials, like brochures, business cards and promotional postcards, should have a unified look.
The same goes for your staff. Do you dress them in matching uniforms? Do they look sharp and clean? Or do their outfits look shoddy and a bit dirty? Your clients will make mental associations with these elements, often negative ones if you aren’t mindful of the presentation.
For example, unkempt uniforms might make them question the cleanliness of your kitchen, and it probably goes without saying that you can’t allow people to think that you run a less-than-sanity operation if you’re a caterer. It probably also goes without saying that you need to run a sanity operation from both a branding and a health department standpoint.
Basically, you want your potential customers to look at the indicators of your brand, like your employees’ clothing, like your logo and business materials, like your organizational abilities and be confident when they set up a catering gig with you.
Mind Your Business
From a purely numbers and business standpoint, it isn’t just one thing that makes a catering business successful. Many different components determine how successful you are.
Creating a successful catering business means that you:
- Keep your prices competitive while still keeping profits high
- Watch business expenses
- Offer excellent service
- Possess admirable management skills
- Know how to communicate effectively
- Can organize memorable events
- Use industry-specific technology, like Total Party Planner, to your advantage
These components in principle may be obvious to you. However, if you’re like many business owners, then how they manifest in practice can sometimes be a challenge.
For example, it’s one thing to say you need to keep your business expenses low. It’s another thing to know how to do that. To that end, you might get bids from several food vendors; the goal is to get the highest-quality food at the lowest prices.
You might also look at the different events you have coming up and ask yourself if any of the ingredients for the menus for these events are the same, like maybe three of your events require rigatoni noodles and garden vegetables. If they are, then you can buy the ingredients in bulk and save money on costs.
Finally, you may need to develop a solid organizational system or use industry-specific software, or really understand what people are looking for in a food service company, in order to see how all of the separate pieces of your business plan fit together. If you do this, then you may find that you spend more in one category but less in another. You may also find despite spending more on some categories, you still wind up paying less overall.
That’s the advantage of using the proper technology and the proper business acumen at the same time. You get a total picture of your business, from the recipes you use to how much you pay out in wages and salaries.