At its simplest, marketing is spreading the word about your catering business. But at its best, marketing captures the attention of customers and drives the growth of your catering business. To achieve that kind of success you’ll need to root your marketing endeavors in a solid strategy. If you’re not up to speed with marketing, here are four lessons to make sure you’re approaching marketing the right way. When you treat marketing your business as important as the food and drink you provide, catering sales will rise.
One rule of thumb for creating a realistic marketing budget for catering is to look at your restaurant’s marketing budget. Let’s say that annual budget is $100,000; set aside an additional 10 percent ($10,000) to market your catering services.
If your company is small, you likely control the budget and can make that decision unilaterally. But if you work for a large chain restaurant company, prepare to lobby a committee for those dollars. One strategy I used in the past was partnering with our restaurant’s marketing team. I asked the group, “How can I partner with you and add a catering message to your existing advertising campaigns?” I explained which customers I wanted to target to unlock their ideas for the appropriate channels I should use.
Truth be known, I then begged for even more funding—and got it.
If you already spend on radio ads for your restaurant, update your marketing message to say “We cater!” The same goes for television ads: have the words “We cater!” pop up in the commercial. Add that same graphic to your website and social media messages.
Your qualified customers are already sitting in your restaurant, so don’t miss an opportunity to pitch catering to them. Use some or all of the following marketing tactics:
Choose the right marketing tactics to reach your target customers. Got older, high-income customers? Facebook and Twitter campaigns probably won’t reach that customer base. That segment is much more likely to engage with television and radio ads and email and direct mail marketing. On the flip side, younger customers are largely disconnected from television networks and spend less time reading print newspapers than their parents. But they love social media and the ordering apps on their mobile devices. Plus, they’re amenable to email offers.
Here are some other valuable marketing channels:
Finally, start small to see what marketing tools and tactics work best. Begin with two marketing channels, evaluate their success, and decide whether to add a third or to devote your efforts to one channel. This method allows you to focus your efforts while limiting your investments of time and money.
In the end, marketing is simply getting the word out. So, make the process of telling others about your catering brand fun for you and them.
Are you actively marketing your catering business with online ordering?