Adapt. Evolve. The Four Things You Need to Do Before Opening Your Catering Business

As states start to easy social distancing restrictions, offices and employees will slowly begin coming back into the office and our opportunities to serve some of our most valued customers will return.  Before this happens there are several things that are critical to making the most of this upcoming opportunity.

  1. Update Your Menu – The menu you have used in the past isn’t going to meet the needs of so many of your customers in the present.  The convergence of group ordering and catering is going to one of the biggest trends you will see.  If you already have lunch boxes or individual meals on your catering menu great, but you can still do more.  One, Push these to the top of your menu and online ordering portals.  Two, review how you have them named, lunch boxes should be individual meals as an example, words and descriptions matter and help your customers to match up what they are looking for with your offerings.  Three, expand what you have to offer for individual meals. Finally, ensure your packaging is safe and secure.  A unique sticker that briefly explains the safety and care you take to ensure the safe food handling is a confidence booster for your customers.

  2. Own Your Systems – If we learned anything during Covid its that you need to have direct channels for your customers to order.  You also want to have as much control and engagement as you can directly with each customer, before during and after.  If you don’t have these in place you are losing both opportunities for profits and repeat business.  Online ordering portals that includes loyalty, account creation, payment storage, and other features should be at the top of your list, even if you use third party vendors.

  3. Service Matters – Service will continue to be even more important than before, your ability to have quick, personal, custom interactions is even more important than prior.  Centralize your phone calls so you never miss a call, so they are handling by dedicated and well-trained staff for both catering and other off=premise channels. If you are not doing your own delivery then put one together. Self-delivery increases customer satisfaction and retention, customers continue to prefer self-delivery over third party.

  4. Increase Your Digital Footprint – Even if you have a sales team still out there hunting and calling they can’t talk to people that aren’t there and the only way to reach your customers is by increasing your brands awareness online.  Right now, everyone has increased their time spent online and this is the best way to reach your existing and new customers.  Make sure you are highlighting how you are handling new Covid safety guidelines, make sure your order channels are front and center, highlight your individual meals and new menu options.

  5. Bonus – If you ordering platform doesn’t allow for group ordering, as well as some other enhanced features around off-premise sales channels then seriously consider an upgrade. Group ordering functionality is complex and many online systems don’t yet offer this feature. Also, curb side has been one of the big winners for restaurants and the needed functionality of having a “I am here” button is the best way to create a great experience.

Navigating all these decisions and initiatives can be overwhelming, especially for smaller restaurant brands, especially when you have so many other operational decisions and logistical concerns to work through.  Cater Cult can help you navigate these decisions and turn complex problems into solvable solutions.  Whether you need advice, self-delivery role out plans or sales execution help, we can be an affordable and all-encompassing resource for your off-premise needs.


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