Your passion for preparing food for others to enjoy has grown into a catering business. Once your calendar is regularly booked, how do you keep your business growing? Consider some of these top ways to expand your catering business.
Offering customized menus that play to your strengths as a chef can open new market opportunities for your catering business. For example, if you have a signature dish from a particular cultural cuisine, expand that into a full-blown menu.
If you have particular strength in serving those with food sensitivities or who prefer vegan or vegetarian foods, create and promote menus that demonstrate those skills.
Promote Locally Sourced, Sustainable Menus
Sustainability was never a trend or a fad: it’s a serious choice that more and more people are making in all aspects of their daily lives. If you haven’t already done so, develop relationships with local producers to obtain fresh, local ingredients grown and packaged sustainably. Partner with local agricultural producers to create farm-to-table events that showcase your sustainable menus.
Reward Referrals and Create a Loyalty Program
Find out your state’s laws about referral rewards. Some states prohibit such rewards entirely, while others allow rewards within specified boundaries. States may limit the reward’s value, prohibit making it contingent on the referred customer making a purchase, or prohibit rewards where insurance or government money would pay for the service.
If your state allows you to offer rewards for referrals, establish a procedure for follow-up with clients, seeking their input and offering a gift card for referrals of prospective customers.
Loyalty programs offer discounts to repeat customers, freebies added on to the menu, or special menu customizations. One top way to expand your catering business is to identify local organizations, employers, and venues that routinely use catering services and turn them into repeat customers.
Enticing visuals of menu items are central to any catering business’s marketing. Invest in photography by a professional that specializes in capturing the appeal of your signature dishes and desserts. The visual imagery on your website and in your marketing materials must be top-notch to grab the attention of potential clients. Their mouths should water in anticipation of tasting your gorgeous food! Make sure you’re part of the business marketing trend of presenting a visual experience of your business through stories told with images and video on social media.
Rent a Ghost Kitchen
Ghost kitchens became necessities for many restaurants during pandemic shutdowns when preserving their business depended on expanding carry-out, curbside, and delivery services. You may not have the capital to expand your own kitchen with additional equipment and space right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build your business. Rent a ghost kitchen when you need extra space to prepare food for larger events.
Whatever approach you take, it’s wise to seek professional marketing advice to help you achieve your catering sales goals on a manageable timetable and a scale of your choosing.