Preparing for Holiday Catering

 
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The holiday season is one of the hottest times of year for catering businesses. This holiday season may be the perfect time for your restaurant to start adding to the menu by offering catering services. It may seem like a huge amount of work, but with a little advance prep, you can start adding catering to your online ordering system without a large amount of pressure and stress. Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to increasing your business by offering holiday catering and beyond.

Create Your Catering Menu

In many cases, all you’ll need to do to create your catering menu using family sized and larger portions of your already existing menu. You may want to add some dishes that do really well in large batches as a special catering offering. Be sure to have a nice mix of main dishes, sides, and desserts on offer to your catering customers. You may even want to consider adding beverages, as well.

Then, you’ll need to come up with the pricing for your catering menu. You want to prices to be enough to make this new venture worth doing, but you’ll also want to make sure that they’re not so high that you’re scaring away customers. In this instance, you may want to check out your competition to see how they are pricing their catering menu and the portions that they offer. Over time, you’ll be able to evaluate what options are doing well on your online ordering for catering and which items should be removed.

Order Proper Catering Equipment

The next thing you want to start considering when starting catering for your restaurant is making sure that you have the proper catering equipment. You may find that your current set-up in the kitchen may be able to handle a certain level of catering, but there is still equipment that you may need to purchase. This is especially true if you plan on doing set-up and other services beyond just delivering the meal. This may take some investment, but you can always start off purchasing small to see how well your catering business takes off online through your online ordering system.

Staffing Concerns

The next consideration that you have to keep in mind is that you’ll need to hire extra staff during your busy catering season. The holidays may mean a lot of holiday parties and catered events. You need to wonder whether or not your current staff will be enough to handle this business. Will your kitchen staff be able to keep up with the demands of the restaurant along with being able to handle your catering business? There’s also the additional deliveries that will need to be made between the deliveries for your regular customers and the catering. In addition, you may need to think about whether you’re offering set-up and other services as part of the catering business. Keeping all of this in mind, you need to consider hiring staff that can be brought in when you have additional work. A temporary agency may also be a good idea when it comes to finding new staff members for your beginning efforts in catering.

Marketing Your Catering Business

The final consideration that you need to have in mind is marketing. You need to market your catering business to your existing customers and potential customers. This is your chance to introduce them to your new catering menu, and that they can start sharing the food that they love about your restaurant with their friends and family member. Without marketing, your catering business will go nowhere. If you want to start getting orders through your online ordering system quickly after starting to offer catering, you need to get the word out.

You can do this by posting signs up around your restaurant to let visitors know that they can use your restaurant to feed their family gathering or work holiday party. You’ll also want to let your customers know that have signed up for your newsletters.  Send out an email, and you can even add a coupon code to get the ball rolling. The same is true with your social media marketing. This will get the word out, and can easily be shared and liked to get attention from your followers’ social network.  More attention means more potential catering clients.

At the end of the day, you need to find ways to continue growing your restaurant business. Adding holiday catering to your offerings is a surefire way to start getting more attention to your restaurant. People enjoy the ease of being able to order large amounts of food to handle their holiday gatherings. No one wants to have to worry about that along with all the other aspects that go into party planning. Take it off their hands, and they’ll be grateful for the good food that keeps their guests happy. If you’re not already offering catering, you should seriously think about starting it up this holiday season to grow your brand and expand your restaurant’s reach. Contact us today and see how we can help you with your catering efforts.

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Preparing for Holiday Catering was last modified: December 19th, 2016 by Rafi Cohen

Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.

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