How to be a Restaurant that Caters: An External POV

For a very long time, there existed a clear divide between running a Catering business and running a Restaurant. Fulfilling large, off-premise food orders was its own niche in the food industry, kept entirely separate from in-house food service. Yet as the restaurant industry evolves, there has been a spike the wonderful idea that is “a restaurant that caters”. If you’ve got your unique brand and the food to show for it, why not cater? It is a bold business move, but with the right systems in place, catering can grow your internal revenue quite exponentially. If you’re a restaurant owner looking to dive head-first into Catering, here are a few things you’ll want to know before you take the leap.

The Consumer will determine your success

Current data shows that $23 billion goes to consumer catering. In 2015 alone, catering sales made a whopping $52.3 billion, a 20% skyrocket from 2012. In developing a strategic plan for your catering service, you want to remember to brand yourself in a way that generates consumer interest. Start a conversation with your consumers; excite them. Make yourself their initial thought when in need of a catering service.

Here are a couple of ways to go about doing this:

Branding

One of the main attractions in selling anything is creating and maintaining a brand. Your brand is the way customers will differentiate you from your competitors, so it’s in your best interest to make your brand aesthetically pleasing, strategic, and effective. A catering business provides an exceptional opportunity to spread your brand into your community. If your catering service is trusted and admired by those in your community, the consumers will choose you over your competition based solely off the image your brand provides. So once your strategic catering plan is in place, perfect your brand. Give consumers a visual representation of your amazing service, and the service will advertise itself.

Media  

Media plays a huge role in consumer influence. Luckily for us in the catering business, the idea of “healthy but quick” food is already constantly being showcased on media outlets such as the radio, television, billboards, and the internet. Still, it is important to take control and portray your brand amidst all this talk. A few ways you can take control of your brand’s presence in the media is to advertise, be consistent with updating social media, regularly update your website, and be aware of your customer reviews. The media is a powerful tool in generating consumer interest, so do not ignore its ability to bring in sales.

Delivery will seal the deal

There are many third-party delivery platforms being used in off-premise sales today. Think Uber, Door Dash, Postmates — all great services for smaller scale orders. But for larger catering orders, it may not be as simple as going third-party. You must consider things like packaging, transport, supplies, and execution. Remember that catering will be a great way to extend your brand, and the delivery will surely seal the current and future deals with that customer and their guests. Before settling for a permanent delivery method, try a few things that may work for your business in executing the order, generating maximum revenue, and maintaining your image.

Your consumers want your food outside of your 4 walls, and your catering service will give them that. The love for your food will definitely do you justice in generating sales, but it is your image, reputation, and uniqueness that will differentiate you from your competition and create real success for your business. Catering will not only boost your sales and generate revenue, but will spread the word of your business to your community, their community, and all communities surrounding. We at Eustress and Demeter are here to help, so contact us if you’re looking to be a restaurant that caters.