Catering For The Right Crowd
Small businesses catering for individual clients can make a large profit, especially if they know exactly what the client needs, and how to get them to come back for repeat business. It’s all about a high level of communication combined with a little bit of imaginative flair. But what can you do, as a catering company, to make sure your costs stay low and your margins are high, whilst still giving your customer what they need?
Successful networking and publicity, adding value to a client’s experience and making sure you really understand what your client needs are all great places to start.
At every function, your goal is to make sure the food that reaches the guests is the very best it can be, but as a caterer looking for the next order, you also have another, more discreet job to do.
Try to engage with as many people as possible, find the balance between pushy and professional and make as many new contacts as you can, every time you take your product to a new place. Don’t be awkward about reaching out to potential clients, just do it in a sensitive and appropriate way.
Then you’ve got to stay in touch and keep your brand fresh in their mind through targeted social media use and direct contact, making sure that next time they need a caterer, you’re the one they turn to. This kind of networking is as much a part of the job as cooking, if you’re going to turn one job into four or five!
Adding a little bit of magic to a menu, or even including some treats that fit the bill but weren’t expected by the client can help you build a great reputation and is sure to earn you repeat business. Although it might seem counter-intuitive, spending a bit more on a few surprises and treats, or doing more than you were paid for once or twice can lead to some significant long-term profit.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and talk directly to your client as many times as you need to before the event. The one thing that guarantees repeat business is getting the brief right, and your client will appreciate your attention to detail. Do your research, make sure you know exactly what they want, don’t substitute or take short cuts, and your reputation will soar. It’s those kinds of relationships that are vital for an independent catering business and will help make yours a real success.
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