Jan 10 2018
Steven Becker
3 Minutes to read

Right after the holidays can be a slow time for caterers. And as Restaurant Hospitality points out, you have to think creatively about how to promote your catering business during that “hibernation” period. One way is to generate restaurant promotion ideas. Rethinking your marketing strategy and your menu can go a long way to keeping your restaurant profitable throughout the year. Here are four ideas to consider during your traditionally slower times.

1. Start an Email Marketing Campaign

When brainstorming how to promote your catering business, definitely consider email marketing if you’re not already. This is a restaurant promotion idea that stands on its own — but it will also help you communicate all your other ideas.

The first step is to build your list. According to the National Restaurant Association, “The goal is to funnel all guest data from all of your sources to one clean, easy to access email marketing database.” If you haven’t already, now is the time to set up an email marketing software system. PC takes you through the pros and cons of some of the best. But remember to pick something that fits your needs for the size of your business. The challenge of how to promote your catering business is how to get in front of the people who actually place catering orders like administrative assistants and office managers. Use your list to give them what they’re looking for so they think of you when they make their next order.

2. Create Healthy New Year Menu Selections

The new year is healthy eating resolution season. Everyone is trying to lose a few of those holiday pounds. Take advantage of this with a restaurant promotion idea that suggests your customers have a “Day of Healthy Eating” for their employees and staff. Create a few healthy low-fat, low-calorie catering specials like:

  • “Fit for You Sandwich or Panini” using gluten-free bread, low-fat cheese, lean protein, and veggies.
  • “Southwest Shaker Salad” using whole grain pasta, black beans, sweet corn fresh bell peppers, tomatoes, and green onions. These are salads in a clear plastic cup with a dome lid or use a reusable mason jar to eliminate waste.

The sky is really the limit to what you can offer, so think creatively. Bring plenty of menus to pass out. And have calorie, fat, and carb counts for each new menu item. When your customer has their day of healthy eating you will undoubtedly be their caterer of choice.  

3. Promote Your Menu with the National Food Day Calendar

Another great idea on how to promote your catering business during slow times is to create menu items around the National Food Day Calendar. Every day gives you an excuse to experiment with a new dish or promote an old favorite. Some great examples are:

  • National Homemade Soup Day – February 4th
  • National Pizza Day – February 9th
  • National Sandwich Day – November 3rd

And, of course, don’t forget the big holiday week long celebrations like Valentine’s Day, St. Patty’s Day, or Cinco de Mayo. There is a national food day for every day of the calendar year. And, because they are plotted out in advance you can use your downtime to plan restaurant promotions ahead. If you want to play up your gluten-free specials, you know exactly when National Gluten-Free day is. (It’s January 13th). So you have time to get together any marketing or an email campaign.

4. Offer Social Media Contests

One of the cheapest restaurant promotion ideas is to use social media to get your customers involved and create conversations around your offerings. But you need something to get that engagement started. Offering a contest could be your way in. Small Business Trends offers a few ideas to get you started. Examples could be a creative food photo contest, trivia, or recipe contests.

Offer some prize for getting the right answer, or for sharing your post. Maybe it’s 10 percent off their next order. Or, if it’s a bigger contest, you could offer a small intimate meal with your chef. Remember that the point is to get the word out — and to get your customers talking about your food. Keeping that engagement alive ensures they will think of you first when they are ready to place their next order. And that way everyone wins.

Looking to grow your catering business? Sign up with ezCater.

Start here

Written by:

Steven Becker

Steve Becker is a second generation caterer and restaurateur. As owner and CEO of St. Louis' most prestigious hospitality company, Steven Becker Fine Dining, he developed two award winning and exclusive banquet facilities. Mr. Becker's full time focus is now on consulting for restaurants, coffeehouses, off premise catering, special event venues and hotel catering departments specializing in improving operations to increase profits.

Posted in: Food at WorkRestaurant

Tagged with: Catering, Marketing