So you’ve decided to expand your restaurant by offering catering—smart business move! Now you can count on more revenue through off-premise sales. You have your catering-specific menu with pricing and have even ironed out the operations and logistics. All systems go? Not so fast! Customers won’t magically start calling in orders. How are you going to let customers know about your new service? It’s not as simple as printing out a pretty menu and calling it a day.
Effective promotion is vital and it comes through strategic planning. Word-of-mouth can only get you so far and you wouldn’t want to get off to a bad start with your new catering venture. So, what are your options? Give your new catering program the marketing attention it deserves. Let’s go over some pointers and areas you need to cover:
• Packaging: Extend your marketing onto your takeout boxes and bags, but be sure to keep it on-brand.
• Online ordering and delivery: Consumers are craving convenience. Make ordering online possible, whether through a third-party site or on your dedicated website. Give the customer an estimate on when the catering order will be ready as well as where and how they can pick it up. Offer delivery? Emphasize it—it’s a great time-saving feature!
• Dedicate a page on your website just for your new catering menu. Feature it on your homepage and add the menu on your Yelp profile, too.
• Get social: A no-brainer in this day and age, but we had to mention it! Let your followers know about your new catering program. Reach out to local businesses to inform them you have catering available for their office parties and events.
• Cross-promotion: Cross-promote all services from in house dining, catering, takeout/delivery, and private dining, especially if you have a loyalty program with marketing features.
• Create an email campaign and send out an offer: Get your customer base aware of your new catering service by sending them a message. They signed up for your emails because they want to know about promotions and news about your restaurant! Remind them of the kind of events your catering menu can serve and consider an exclusive discount for first-time catering orders.
If you’re looking for a professional catering marketing strategy, call Synergy’s off-premise sales and catering specialist, Monica Challingsworth-Lyons. With over 15 years of industry experience and over $16 million in catering sales, Monica can help develop an off-premise sales program that will elevate your offerings and ultimately, your revenues! !