5 Steps to Increase Your Restaurant Sales With Catering
You’re looking for ways to increase restaurant sales. Getting into catering is a great way to boost sales by reaching new clients that might not have known about your business otherwise. In fact, once AAamazing Salads, a local restaurant in Toronto, joined Foodee they saw 20 to 30% of their sales revenue come from corporate catering.
How can restaurants get catering clients and increase sales? When you’re working with a limited budget and even less free time, it’s best to make use of the resources at your fingertips. Because Foodee’s in the business of corporate catering, we’ve seen first-hand that how and where restaurants like yours market themselves is half of the job done. In other words, rather than paying to reach your clients, use free tools, tips, tricks, and partnerships that make it easy for your clients to find you. Get in the circles where your eaters are. The other half is making delicious food that people want to eat, but we’ll leave that part to you.
How to Increase Restaurant Sales by Getting Into Catering
Consider this your 5-step master class on how to set your restaurant up for success with catering. We’ll show you practical tips and tricks to attract more clients (eaters) and gain additional revenue streams for your restaurant by offering catering.
1. Define Your Target Market
Find your people and go to them or make it easy for them to find you. To do this, first define your target market and audience. Think of who your ideal clients are and do some research into who they are, what they like, and where and how they want to connect. If your restaurant makes fun mac n’ cheeses and deep fried pickles, your target audience might be Gen Zers and Millennials, who are all on social media––and you should be too.
Other ideas to consider before getting into catering:
- What’s your local food culture like?
- What are the trending cuisines and restaurants in your market?
- What are they doing differently?
- Who is your target market and what do they want?
- How can you set your restaurant apart?
- What’s missing in your local food scene?
Better yet, what do you do best? Blue Basil in Austin, Texas, for instance, is a popular Vietnamese-Thai food truck and Foodee restaurant partner. Co-owner and Thai chef Pranom Chudmaroeng brings her home-style cooking to the food truck. Everything is made with love, right down to her hand-ground spices. That’s what sets them apart––and that’s why clients keep coming back.
2. Create an Online Presence for Your Restaurant
Every business needs an online presence. It’s how clients find you and learn more. It’s also how your business becomes discoverable online. If someone in your area searches “sushi catering near me,” and your website mentions those keywords, you’ll appear in the search results. The greater your online presence, the more reach your business will have.
Where your business should be online:
- Your restaurant’s website
- Social media: Facebook and Instagram recommended
- Google My Business Page
- Yelp Reviews
- Other sites to consider: TripAdvisor, Zagat, Zomato, and Foursquare
Helpful links for getting started on building your online presence to increase restaurant sales:
- List of affordable (but good and user-friendly) website builder sites
- Helpful guide to marketing your restaurant on social media
- Tips and tricks to creating an SEO-based website for your business
3. Invest in Good Food Photography
People remember about 10% of what they read or hear, but when paired with a relevant image, they remember 65%! That’s why, when it comes to food, a picture is worth a thousand words. In fact, 82% of people would order a meal based on how it looked in a photo, regardless of whether they wanted it in the first place or not. It makes sense. We’re visual creatures and love to take photos of our food. Show off your dishes and share them online to attract more clients by either:
- Investing in a food photographer
- Learning how to take great photos of your food
- Asking someone you know who is good at photography to help
- Encouraging customers to tag your business in their photos
Your best bet is to do a combination of all of the above. That way, you’ll have a wide variety of food photography styles to share. If you tag the photographer and they reshare the post, then you’ll reach their audience on top of your own. Use those delicious photographs on your website, Facebook profile, Instagram, and so on. Keep them coming!
Here’s a helpful how-to video to hone your food photography skills:
Tips from Shopify.com’s Food Photography 101––it’s all about:
- Plating: How you arrange food on your plates
- Lighting: How you use light (including natural light) to make your food look good
- Composition: How you style your scene from dishware to surface and props
- Editing: How you edit and set the tone of your photographs
4. Join Your Local Catering Association
A great resource for how to get catering clients is to join a catering association. Membership often gives you access to a library of useful information and tools for success. They often share current industry trends, tips on how to retain staff, market your business, increase restaurant sales, and so on. Consider this an opportunity to learn from others.
Where to look for catering associations:
- International Catering Association (ICA)
- National Association for Catering & Events (NACE) (US)
- Restaurants Canada food services association
- Research local catering associations in your community
5. Be Where Your Restaurant Clients are
Lastly, go where your clients are. Secret: they’re online. In fact, 77% of diners visit a restaurant’s website before deciding whether to go to the restaurant or not. Plus, 93% of people look at online reviews for restaurants. That’s why it’s so important to be present on social platforms, apps, review sites, and websites where your potential clients are active and searching for services like yours. But you can’t do it all—and certainly not alone.
Foodee is here to help you increase your restaurant sales with corporate catering. We have thousands of corporate clients in local communities across North America looking for local restaurant caterers like you. Our restaurant partners focus on food, while we handle the marketing, sales, delivery, logistics, ordering platform, and client services. We make it our business to help restaurants like yours go where the clients are—and reach new markets (and increase sales because of it).
Find out more about becoming a restaurant partner with Foodee office catering.Learn more
Filed Under: Foodee HQ