How Do I Market My New Catering Menu?
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! !
How To Implement Catering at Your Restaurant
Convenience is huge in the foodservice industry. Think about how many restaurants you know that offer online ordering and delivery. 34% of consumers utilize , options more often than a year ago, according to a recent survey conducted by Technomic and the National Restaurant Association. The same study also found that 39% of consumers say they use drive-thru more than they did a year ago. Clearly, to-go dining accounts for a substantial portion of off-premise sales.
But say you’ve got that covered—you’ve partnered with a third-party delivery service, and you even have a drive-thru window. However, you’re still looking for ways to increase off-premise sales. It may make sense for your restaurant to expand into catering. Offering catering to your patrons gives them yet another avenue of convenience, whether they need large meals for office luncheons, holiday parties, birthdays, or other special occasions. David Meiselman, CMO of ezCater stated that catering makes up 18% of sales on average at restaurants that offer it. Did you know that KFC and Chic-fil-A offering catering? The sandwich chain Potbelly has rolled out delivery and catering in all its locations. But how feasible is it to integrate a catering program into your sales strategy? What about the costs and logistics? Here are some things to consider:
- Choose your format: Figure out whether you want to offer full-service catering, carryout, drop-off, or all.
- Simplify your catering menu: You don’t want to allow your guests to order anything en masse from your menu. Limit your catering menu to a few items, including your best sellers and sides, to allow for quicker and more efficient cooking and prep time.
- Calculated pricing: When thinking about how to price your catering items, consider the fees associated with catering and factor them in. These costs may include transportation, packaging, and other expenses as it relates specifically to your catering operation. It’s a good idea to see what your competition is charging, too.
- Get your kitchen ready: Make sure your kitchen has adequate space and equipment to accommodate large orders. This includes counter space, refrigerators, cookware, ovens, burners, and more.
- Don’t forget to market: You won’t get a catering order if you don’t market it! Make it known on your website, emails, printed menus, Yelp, social media profiles, banners, and signage that you offer catering.
It’s a strategic move to transition into catering, but not necessarily an easy one. However, when done correctly, it’s a decision you’ll be glad you made. If you’d like professional advice on how to implement restaurant catering into your operation, please contact Synergy.