Growing corporate catering revenue requires professional business-to-business (B2B) selling skills, as well as a quality product. However, if your customers don't know you're in the business of catering, they will only think of your services as they are now, which might be limited to in-store dining, your take-out program, or your drive-thru operation.
Getting the word out about your catering program can be a difficult task. Your employees may have little, if any, experience selling catering services. But, if done correctly, your brand's specific catering message can be used in every area of your business, making it easier for employees to effectively communicate these services to customers.
10 Catering Service Marketing Tactics
If 80 percent of your customer base lives or works within a 10-minute drive of your location, your store's physical environment can serve as a key marketing tool for your catering business. In addition, try incorporating these 10 tips into your marketing plan to help grow your business:
- Earn customer confidence with predictable and reliable services across all service channels for your brand. Customers expect consistent service from all of your locations.
- Focus on a great experience. All of your customer touch points must make the ordering experience predictable and easy for your customers.
- For multi-unit restaurant operations, institute a centralized order entry point, which will ensure that your clients receive a consistent, controlled, and positive experience from team members who know the subtleties of your catering offerings and services.
- Hire "catering specialists" where possible. Efficient, accurate order entry is the front line when it comes to catering orders.
- Follow up after each catering order with a call from your catering leader. Each customer will feel that their order is important to you and that they are receiving personalized service. Any unresolved issues may be addressed and future business discussed.
- Conduct surveys and provide rewards to customers so they take the survey while the experience is fresh in their mind. Ongoing research can provide you with valuable insight into why certain business areas are not performing well.
- Engage your customers regularly. Staying in contact with your customers on a regular basis keeps your service in the front of their mind. Hire a catering sales team to maintain relationships and pursue new ones.
- Don't forget to look after sleepy clients. These customers order less than once per month. It can be easy to forget to touch base with them, but they can make up a large part of your revenue, especially around the holidays. You can contact them with special offers to entice them to order more frequently.
- Reward loyalty with a rewards program. B2B catering is big business, and companies spend a lot of money on feeding their guests. Rewards lets them know they are valued customers, which can help to maintain an ongoing relationship with them.
- Send handwritten thank you notes. Sending your customers a thank you note shows how much you value them. Make sure the note is personalized and tailored to that specific customer, so it does not look mass produced. Personal touches are key to making your catering customers feel special.
These catering marketing tactics can be applied to any food service business, such as a restaurant or delicatessen, to ensure consistent customer satisfaction. Providing consistent quality food and personalized catering services to your customers can bring in additional revenue and contribute to the overall success of your business.