Whether you started as a brick-and-mortar restaurant or a food truck, dipping your toes into the world of catering can open up new and exciting profit streams. As you identify your target audience and start to see business take off, it’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day details of orders, food preparation, and fulfillment. Yet, catering is one area of the hospitality industry where there’s a lot of growth potential. Follow this guide to find out how to grow your catering business in six easy steps.
1. Get Your Own Vehicle
If you’ve been depending on delivery drivers to fulfill your catering orders, it’s time to get your own vehicle. Once you have a branded catering truck, you automatically have more credibility with your customers. You also have free advertising whenever you’re parked and on the road. With your own vehicle, you can control every aspect of order fulfillment and avoid costly mistakes by third parties.
You don’t have to get an injection of new investment to get a vehicle. Instead, apply for an auto loan so that you can access the vehicle of your dreams that will help you expand your business.
2. Ramp Up Digital Marketing
You should already have a website and a presence on Google, but after that, you have to ramp up your digital marketing efforts. Don’t underestimate the power of a sponsored post to reach your target audience. The majority of consumers start their search for a new business by looking online. From well-functioning SEO content to effective social media posts, digital marketing can completely change the outlook of your business.
3. Find a Cloud Kitchen
If you want to chase after very large orders on a regular basis, you should find a cloud kitchen you can use for your catering business. A cloud kitchen is a space that is designed to help business owners fulfill their food orders. Cloud kitchens are equipped with all the things you need to whip up your delicious cuisine, including ovens, mixers, fridges, fryers, and more. These spaces aren’t connected to any one restaurant, but instead, you can book your time ahead and use the space when you need it.
4. Let People Try Your Food
When you’re just starting out, you have to give people the chance to try your food. If customers have no idea what your food tastes like, they are less likely to make an order for catering. Look out for opportunities to join community events such as a farmer’s market or a local holiday parade celebration. While this might take up some of your resources at first, it’s a great way to get your name out there.
5. Collect Customer Feedback
To grow your business, you need to collect customer feedback and take action accordingly. Encourage your customers to leave reviews online and create a simple online survey for everyone to fill out after you complete an order. Find out what works and what doesn’t and where you can improve your food and service.
Without this customer feedback, it’s hard to know where things are going wrong. Plus, your customers will appreciate the fact that you care about what they think. You might even consider starting a customer loyalty program that rewards people for recommending your services.
6. Diversify Your Menu
As you get into a rhythm with your catering business, think about diversifying your menu so that you can appeal to a wider target audience. For example, if you mostly do sweet treats and desserts, you could expand your menu to include gluten-free and low-sugar options so that people with health concerns can access your services.
Another important consumer segment to target is the business crowd. If you don’t have quick and easy lunch options as part of your catering menu, then you’re probably missing out on catering business lunches and conferences.
Don’t get overwhelmed by the responsibility that comes with running a catering business. Follow these simple steps to level up your game, and you’ll see renewed growth in no time.