As things have settled down and are opening back up after the worst of Covid-19, people are looking to connect again. Not only that but there were many events like weddings and reunions that were canceled and postponed during the past two years. Those events are being rescheduled for this year, and some prognosticators think it could be the busiest for these types of gatherings in history.
That means there might never be a better time to enter the catering business. It’s a great way to create food that you love, manage a team, and build a strong business that will last for years to come. Catering means operating in many different settings with many different types of people, so there is always something new and exciting happening. Want to take that step? Here are seven tips for a new catering company.
Offer Great Food
This almost goes without saying, but it’s important to remember. Your clients will choose you and recommend you to friends and family because of the food. If you are opening a catering business, then there’s no doubt that you have a passion for cooking and for seeing others enjoy what they are eating. However, you should always be ready and willing to step outside your comfort zone as a caterer.
If a client is looking for something specific, then do whatever it takes to accommodate. If you don’t have the skills or equipment to make something, then try something similar to see if the client likes it. Do everything you can to provide great food to your clients every time.
Host a Tasting Event
If there’s one thing that’s true of human nature, it’s that we love free food. So one of the best ways to get potential clients is to offer just that. Host an event for corporations, halls, couples, and anyone else who might be interested in catering services. Offer samples of your best dishes, and have your staff on hand to answer questions and provide excellent service. Make sure you have plenty of business cards, menus, and brochures to hand out to anyone who asks. After the event, follow up with all of your guests by asking for feedback and letting them know you are available for their next event.
Customer Service is Key
Being a caterer means that you are in the service industry. However, that doesn’t mean you only serve the guests at events. You are serving the client who hired you. Whether they call, email, or walk into your establishment, you and your team have to provide excellent customer service every step of the way. Make sure that your staff are trained to treat everyone with respect and kindness. Clients want a caterer that they can trust to provide service on the day of their event, and if you can’t get it right with them, they won’t hire you.
Pay Attention to Details
There are a lot of caterers out there, and they all make great food. However, the attention to the little things that add to an experience can often set one apart from another. It could be that you provide a little extra pizzazz to a dish or that you can customize dishes more creatively than your competition. It might even be something small but crucial, like using fancy toothpicks instead of standard ones. You need to examine every aspect of your operation, from big to small, and make sure that everything is perfect and geared towards customer satisfaction.
Be Obsessed With Sanitation
There is nothing that will kill a catering business faster than guests who get food poisoning. Once that hits your social media reviews, you will have a hard time getting new customers. Therefore, you need to be very strict with santifation. This is especially important since you may be moving cooked food from one location to another, keeping food warm, or cooking in places where you do not normally do so. Never take anything for granted, and ensure that your staff has extensive food safety training. If someone doesn’t abide by your standards, then you should have a progressive discipline process for them.
Trust is important when it comes to choosing a caterer. If you aren’t dressed professionally, then your clients will have no reason to trust you or consider you seriously. Not only that, but every event is a chance to impress the guests, any of whom could be future clients. Make sure that your team is coordinated in how they dress. You can either invest in uniforms or ask everyone to wear certain colors and types of clothing. Everything should be clean, unwrinkled, and free of debris like lint and dog hair. Professional attire will not just make you look better to clients but also put workers in the right state of mind to do their jobs.
Automate What You Can
Running a catering business means having many things that you need to keep in order. For example, you have to schedule events, plan menus, schedule staff, manage your finances, and deal with any number of things daily. Using software to automate some of those things will save you time and keep you more organized. Using sticky notes and physical calendars is more likely to lead to human error or things getting missed or lost. The right software will keep everything in one place, allow for collaboration, and save you time and effort.
If you have a love of food and enjoy working with people, then a catering business is the perfect fit for you. Follow these tips to make your life easier and to grow your business into the success you’ve always wanted.