In today’s digital world, it’s easy to overlook the importance of good old-fashioned word of mouth marketing. But if you own a catering business, or planning to start a catering business, word of mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal—and it’s also one of the most cost-effective.
Here are 10 tips for using word of mouth marketing to grow your catering business:
1. Get involved in your local community.
When most people think of catering, they think of weddings or corporate events. But the truth is, catering can be a great way to get involved in your local community and grow your business. One great way to get involved is to get to know your local event coordinators.
Get to know your local event coordinators.
If you want to get involved in your local community, one of the best ways to do so is by getting to know the people who coordinate events. These are the people who decide which caterers to use, so they’re a great resource for finding out about upcoming opportunities. Attend local events and introduce yourself to the coordinators. Ask them about their event planning process and what they look for in a caterer. Once you’ve established a relationship, they’ll be more likely to keep you in mind when an opportunity arises.
2. Make it easy for happy customers to spread the word about your catering business.
Happy customers are your best advertisement. They’re the ones who will spread the word about your great food and service, bringing new business your way. But how can you make it easy for them to do so? In this tip, we’ll explore a few simple ways to harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing for your catering business.
Make it easy for customers to leave reviews
The first step is to make it easy for customers to leave reviews on popular platforms like Google and Yelp. Include links to your business’s profile page on these sites on your website and in your email signature. You can also include physical copies of these links in takeout bags or delivery boxes.
Encourage customers to share their experience with their network
Once you’ve made it easy for customers to leave reviews, encourage them to share their experiences with their friends and family. You can do this by including social media sharing buttons on your website and email newsletters. You can also send thank-you cards after an event or meal, asking customers to recommend you to their loved ones.
Give customers an incentive to recommend you
Finally, give customers a incentive—like a discount or freebies—to recommend you to their network. You can promote this offer on social media, your website, or through other marketing channels. Make sure the offer is compelling enough that customers will actually take advantage of it!
3. Focus on quality and customer service.
When it comes to running a catering business, there are two things that you need to focus on above all else: quality and customer service. Get those two things right, and you’ll be well on your way to success.
Quality comes first
The quality of your food is always going to be the most important thing. No matter how great your customer service is, if the food isn’t up to scratch then people aren’t going to come back. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you’re using only the freshest and best ingredients, and that you’re constantly striving to improve the quality of your dishes.
Customer service is key
However, even if your food is of the highest quality, if your customer service isn’t up to par then you’re still not going to be successful. Catering is a very personal business, and people want to feel like they’re being taken care of. That means being friendly and attentive, and going above and beyond to make sure that every event is perfect.
Remember, the key to success in catering is all about quality and customer service. Focus on those two things, and you’ll be well on your way to making your catering business a success.
4. Host special events and open houses.
If you’re in the catering business, chances are good that you’ve considered hosting an event or open house at some point. After all, what better way to promote your business than by showcasing your skills to potential clients? But what are the benefits of hosting these types of events, and is it really worth your time and effort? Let’s take a closer look.
The first benefit of hosting events and open houses is that it allows you to show off your skills to potential clients. When you’re able to showcase your work in person, it gives potential clients a chance to see what you’re really capable of. This is especially important in the catering business, where presentation is everything.
Another benefit of hosting events and open houses is that it helps you to build relationships with potential clients. When you take the time to meet with potential clients and get to know them on a personal level, they’re more likely to remember you when they need catering services in the future. In addition, becoming personal friends with some of your clients can give you an inside edge when it comes time to bid on their business.
Finally, hosting events and open houses is a great way to generate word-of-mouth marketing for your business. When potential clients see how professional and polished your events are, they’re likely to tell their friends and family about you. This word-of-mouth marketing can be extremely valuable in growing your catering business.
Get involved in local politics
Getting involved in local politics is another great way to raise awareness of your business while also building relationships with influential people in the community who can help promote your business. Whether you donate catering services to a politician’s campaign event or host a fundraiser at your restaurant, getting involved in the political process is sure to pay off for your catering business down the line.
Hosting events and open houses is a great way to promote your catering business. Not only does it allow you to showcase your skills to potential clients, but it also helps you build relationships with those clients and generate word-of-mouth marketing. If you’re not already hosting these types of events, now is the time to start!
5. Get involved with local foodie groups and food swap meets.
Participating in foodie groups and food swap meets is a great way to network with other like-minded individuals and promote your catering business at the same time. When you attend these events, be sure to bring along plenty of business cards and some samples of your best dishes. And don’t forget to wear a t-shirt or hat with your company’s logo!
Make sure you’re prepared
Before attending any event, take some time to research the groups or meetups that will be present. This way, you’ll know what kinds of foods will be popular and you can plan accordingly. You should also have a good understanding of your own catering business so that you can effectively promote it to potential customers.
Bring plenty of business cards
Attendees of foodie groups and food swap meets are often interested in trying new things, so they’re likely to be open to hearing about your catering services. Be sure to have plenty of business cards on hand so that you can give them out to anyone who expresses an interest in your company.
Bring samples of your best dishes
Another great way to promote your catering business at these events is by bringing along samples of some of your best dishes. This will give attendees a chance to try your food and see for themselves how good it is. Just be sure not to bring too much food, as you don’t want it to go to waste.
Wear attire with your catering company’s logo
Attending these events is a great opportunity to market your catering business, so make sure people know who you are! Wear a t-shirt or hat with your company’s logo on it so that everyone who sees you will know exactly what you do.
Participating in local foodie groups and food swap meets is a great way to network with other like-minded individuals and promote your catering business at the same time. These events provide an excellent opportunity for you to get the word out about your company and introduce potential customers to your delicious dishes.
6. Participate in local food festivals and fairs.
As a caterer, you have a unique opportunity to participate in local food festivals and fairs to promote your business. By showcasing your food and demonstrating your catering skills, you can attract new customers and increase awareness of your brand. Here are a few tips for how to make the most of these local events.
Choose the right event
Not all food festivals and fairs will be a good fit for your catering business. When selecting an event to participate in, look for one that aligns with your target market and marketing goals. For example, if you cater primarily to corporate clients, you may want to participate in a business expo or trade show rather than a neighborhood block party.
Offer free samples
One of the best ways to get people interested in your catering business is to let them sample your food. Set up a booth at the festival or fair and offer free samples of some of your most popular dishes. Be sure to also have your catering company’s menus available so people can see what else you have to offer.
Promote special deals and discounts
Use the opportunity of participating in a food festival or fair to promote special deals and discounts on your catering services. This is a great way to generate new leads and bookings while also showing potential customers that you’re flexible and accommodating.
Another way to get involved in your local community is by sponsoring events. This is a great way to get your name out there and show that you’re invested in the community. Plus, it’s a great way to build relationships with other businesses in the area. When you sponsor an event, make sure to promote it heavily through your own channels so that people know you’re involved.
Network with other vendors
Participating in local food festivals and fairs is also an excellent opportunity to network with other vendors in the area, including restaurant owners, event planners, and wedding coordinators. These connections can lead to referrals and future business opportunities down the road.
Promoting your catering business at local food festivals and fairs can be an effective way to attract new customers and grow your brand awareness. Keep these tips in mind as you plan your participation in these events so that you can make the most of each opportunity.
7. Make use of social media platforms that cater to food lovers such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.
In the past decade, social media has become an increasingly important tool for businesses of all sizes to reach out to and engage with their customers. As the world of social media has continued to evolve, so too has the way that businesses can use it to their advantage.
One industry that has particularly taken advantage of the rise of social media is the food catering business. With platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat that cater specifically to food lovers, catering businesses have been able to reach a wider audience and promote their services in a way that was not possible before.
The Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Catering Businesses
There are many benefits that catering businesses can reap from utilizing social media platforms in their marketing efforts. Some of these benefits include:
Increased Visibility for Your Catering Company
Social media provides an opportunity for your catering business to increase its visibility and be seen by a larger audience. By creating engaging content and using relevant hashtags, you can ensure that your business pops up in users’ feed when they are searching for catering-related content.
Greater Engagement with Customers
Social media also provides an opportunity for you to directly engage with your customers and get feedback about your service. This is valuable information that you can use to improve your business and better meet the needs of your target market. Additionally, by engaging with customers on social media, you will be able to build a relationship with them which could lead to repeat business down the road.
Improved Search Engine Rankings
Finally, utilizing social media can also help improve your catering business’s search engine rankings. This is because search engines consider social signals when determining which results to display first. So, by having an active presence on social media, you will not only be reaching out to more potential customers but you will also be helping your business rank higher in search results.
8. Give back to the community through charitable events and causes.
Another great way to get involved in your local community is by working with charitable organizations. Many charities host events that need catering, so this is a great way to give back while also growing your business. Plus, working with charities can help you develop a positive reputation in the community, which can lead to more word-of-mouth referrals.
Volunteer your time and catering services to local charities and non-profit organizations
Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community that supports your business and it’s also an excellent marketing opportunity. Many non-profits are always looking for caterers for their fundraising events, so this is a great way to get your name out there while also helping a worthy cause.
Sponsor a local youth sports team or other community event
Sponsoring a local team or event is a great way to show your support for the community while also getting some valuable exposure for your business. Many people who attend these events will see your company name on the jerseys or signage and will be more likely to think of you next time they need catering services.
9. Collaborate with other businesses in the food industry.
Join a local business association or chamber of commerce. By joining a local business association or chamber of commerce, you’ll have the opportunity to network with other businesses in your area, many of which may be looking for a catering service for their events. You’ll also be able to stay abreast of what’s happening in your community and be seen as a leader in the business community.
10. Keep your pricing competitive without compromising on quality or service.
In the catering business, it’s important to keep your prices competitive without compromising on quality or service. After all, your customers are looking for a great value when they hire a caterer. But how can you achieve this balance?
Know your costs
This may seem like an obvious first step, but it’s one that is often overlooked. Make sure you know exactly how much it costs to produce each dish, including ingredients, labor, and overhead. This will help you determine a fair price for your catering services.
Compare your prices with others in the industry
Take a look at what your competition is charging for similar services. This will give you a good idea of what customers are willing to pay in your market.
Offer discounts for early bookings or large orders
If you’re able to offer a discount for customers who book their event early or order a large amount of food, this can help you stay competitive without cutting into your profits too much.
Focus on quality and customer service
Even if your prices are slightly higher than your competitors’, you can still attract customers by offering superior quality and customer service. Make sure your food is fresh and delicious, and that your staff is professional and courteous. These factors will often be more important to customers than price alone.
Develop a niche focus
While weddings and corporate events may be the first things that come to mind when you think of catering, there are other opportunities out there if you’re willing to think outside the box. Consider developing a focus on a particular type of event or cuisine. For example, you could specialize in catering for baby showers, sporting events, or holiday parties. By focusing your catering business on a specific niche, you’ll be able to better market your business and attract the right clients.
By following these tips, you can keep your pricing competitive without compromising on quality or service. By focusing on quality and customer service, you can attract customers even if your prices are slightly higher than those of your competitors.
Related Catering Articles
If you’re interested in becoming your own boss and using your passion for food and hospitality to make a living, then starting a catering business could be the perfect opportunity. But before taking the plunge, it’s important to understand exactly what running a catering business entails – from the possible pitfalls to the potential rewards.