As a restaurant operator, you want to see your brand succeed and grow. And there’s one thing that brings in high-value customers and drives revenue considerably: business catering. With an increasingly high demand for catering business lunch and learns, morning meetings and even client meetups, now’s the time for you to dive into the industry.
If you’re considering adding business catering options to your restaurant — or improving your existing catering sales — here are four tips to ensure you win in this high-demand industry. To learn even more, scroll down to see our full report on how restaurants can feed the workplace.
Dive into delivery
Delivery can make or break your business catering sales.
You’re not just delivering to one person at their home, but often 20+ people in a professional setting. One late or cold order can affect your reputation and jeopardize the possibility of future catering orders.
Customers prioritize reliable delivery practices — and so should restaurants. According to data from ezCater’s latest report, the top catering customer priority is on-time food delivery. Because businesses rely on meetings that run on-time, they don’t food to arrive too early or too late. Other customer priorities include order confirmation and delivery tracking, which typically means integrating GPS and technology that can provide real-time delivery status.
However, our survey found that only 14% of restaurant operators are updating their delivery management software. This means there’s an immense opportunity for your restaurant to set itself apart from the competition by offering updated delivery tracking capabilities for your customers.
Investing in reliable delivery practices pays off. Not only can it create repeat customers, but most companies are willing to pay for the convenience of workplace delivery — especially when done well. ezCater customers pay anywhere from less than $5 to over $40 just in delivery fees, but the most common price is between $20 and $25. For restaurants, these fees can help offset the cost of delivery labor and technology.
Invest in online ordering
Delivery management software isn’t the only technology investment that restaurant operators should consider. ezCater research found that nearly three-fourths of catering customers order online, so restaurant operators must ensure a positive online experience. This goes beyond creating a user-friendly interface and simplifying the ordering process — although those are essential considerations.
Our survey found that about half of customers struggle to stay within their budget and order the right amount of food. So restaurant operators must consider those pain points and update their online ordering platform to better meet customer needs. For example, the website should clearly show the cost per head and the amount of food customers need for their entire party.
Maximize the menu
There’s no doubt about it: Customers like personalization.
One way to win, whether you’re catering business lunch or breakfast, is to maximize your menu options to meet some of the most in-demand options. That doesn’t necessarily mean expanding your cuisine options, but rather, just getting creative with your menu.
For example, the most popular category on the ezCater marketplace is the packages, buffets and bars option, which allows for personalization. Instead of making catering clients choose between a few dishes for their large group orders, you can offer a buffet option — like taco bars or a pasta buffet — so everyone can pick and choose what they want. Plus, these options make it easier to accommodate dietary restrictions.
Speaking of dietary restrictions, another way to maximize the menu is by offering individually packaged gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan or vegetarian meals. And individually packaged meals aren’t just for people with dietary restrictions. Their popularity skyrocketed during the pandemic and has remained one of the top choices since.
Another simple way to maximize your menu — and drive growth — is to offer beverage and dessert options. These are some of the most popular categories on the ezCater marketplace (after the buffets and bars, of course), and adding them to your catering menu can help customers build complete meals for their employees and clients.
Market through channels like ezCater
Business catering brings in high-value customers and consistent revenue. However, finding those customers can be tricky. Traditional restaurant marketing strategies target individuals and in-person customers, not organizations looking for catering options.
The best way to reach high-value catering clients is to use third-party marketplaces like ezCater. And restaurant operators agree, saying it’s the number one way to drive catering revenue.
These marketplaces work because they offer a variety of food options, which is a priority for 46% of business catering customers. When organizations want to place a catering order, they visit marketplaces and browse the different restaurant options — and you want your restaurant to appear in those searches.
ezCater can help make that happen. When you join the ezCater marketplace, we showcase your brand and help connect you with local business catering clients. And with enough stellar ratings, you can even become a part of our Reliability Rockstar program, which will help you stand out in search results and receive more orders.
Start winning with business catering
Restaurants have long turned to catering to grow their businesses and expand revenue. The trick is knowing how to draw in the high-value business customers and to meet — or rather exceed — their expectations. If you start with the tips above, you are well on your way to driving growth with business catering. But there is still more to learn about the business catering industry.
Download ezCater’s 2023 Feeding the Workplace report today to learn even more about the industry and discover how you can boost your restaurant catering business.