Christmas is a food-centric holiday that offers plenty of catering opportunities for holiday parties, end-of-the-year events, and corporate end-of-the-year functions. Get your fair share of the holiday season catering business with these ten ways to boost your catering sales this Christmas:
Follow up with old clients
Send a holiday greeting to all your past clients wishing them happy holidays, thanking them again for their business, and mentioning your catering menu and packages for this season. Feel free to include a small discount or perk if they wish to use your catering services again, after all, they are loyal customers.
Advertise in your restaurant
If you run your catering company out of a restaurant, you already have a pool of customers who may be potentially interested in your catering services. Include advertisements for your catering services on menus, placemats, and signage throughout the store. If people already love your food, they will probably think of it when they need to provide a food source for their event. You could even consider approaching regular customers and offering them a loyalty discount if they would like to use your catering services.
Around the holidays, workers tend to lose focus and drive as their minds wander to the holiday festivities they are excited to attend or the shopping lists and preparations they need to do before out of town family comes to visit. Executives recognize that this is the time of year that is most difficult for employees to show up to work and put in consistent effort, so they often look for treats and rewards as a way to keep employees motivated as well as thank them for another excellent year. Be the savvy catering company who snatches these opportunities and contact office executives to offer catering services for sandwich plate surprises at lunch, breakfast spreads to kick off the morning, or the big-time holiday party. Even if these offices did not have this idea before, they may be thankful from the positive response from their employees after trying out the idea from you.
Plan your menu
Make it simple and consistent with holiday classic foods, but be clear that you are open to personalization. Be sure to include your most popular and signature dishes along with the holiday classics but keep the menu easy to navigate and easy to choose. Consider items that are easy to prepare in a variety of settings so you do not have to turn a customer down because their venue does not have the appropriate equipment.
Create a variety of catering packages
Many people are hosting several parties throughout the year and just need a little help (think mashed potato bar) or a full-service catered event. Be sure to create a full-service catering package for large holiday events, but keep the everyday consumer in mind too. Remember that many people would be happy to incorporate a few of your items into their Christmas dinner spread to save on time and hassle, so be sure to advertise this option to give more customers a chance to consider it.
Find seasonal events and figure out how to get involved
Many cities offer holiday markets, tree-lighting ceremonies, or parades. Try to get involved by offering small, discounted (or free) samples to hand out to the public along with your catering menu. This gains exposure for your company at moments when they are already thinking about their holiday plans.
Reach out to local venues
Many venues provide their customers with a list of preferred vendors when someone books the venue for an event. Contact the popular wedding and event spots in your area and figure out how you can become a preferred vendor. This may mean a little extra work on your end to obtain the necessary licenses and insurance that each venue might require, but if you are one of a few preferred options for a large event, the payoff is worth it.
Offer a catering open house/holiday party
Give your customers an appreciation party and market your catering business at the same time. It’s up to you whether this is a free event or if you want to sell tickets, but set up a catering experience that will demonstrate your capabilities to potential customers. Be sure to advertise your services like crazy at this event and make sure everyone leaves with a copy of your catering menu. Creating a positive, fun, and delicious experience for current and potential customers will ensure that you are the first to enter their minds when they are preparing for an event.
Use social media and email blasts
Alert customers to your holiday menu and catering packages by posting to your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Send email blasts with more detailed information and include customer testimonials. Remember all those holiday events you’re planning to go to in order to showcase your catering business? Include a drawing to win a catered lunch or dinner for a certain number of people and have people enter the drawing by providing their email addresses. Those are instant potential customers that you can contact (though you should limit your email blasts to once per week maximum). Interact with users on social media who write posts about planning upcoming parties and events and reach out to them with your catering services.
Prepare your staff to create the best possible customer service
You can do all the marketing and outreach you want, but if your catering business doesn’t provide excellent service, you are not going to succeed. The holiday might mean a boost in your company’s catering gigs, so now is the perfect time to check in with staff to make sure everyone is up to date on expectations and is ready to go for the holiday catering season. Consider hiring a few extra hourly employees to make the operation run more smoothly and don’t forget to meticulously cover and document every detail of each client’s order so that no mistakes are made on the day of the catering event.
What do you do to boost your catering business’s sales during the holiday season? Let us know in the comments section below.10 Ways to Boost Catering Sales This Christmas Chad Halvorson