A lot of restaurants are creating an action plan to increase sales in a restaurant. Boosting sales can be done in multiple ways, from offering discounts and rewards to catering. Restaurant catering is one of the most lucrative options because you’re making larger sales.
How to Grow Catering Sales Using 7 Proven Methods
1. Prune Your Menu to Remove Less Popular Food Items
When was the last time that you revamped your restaurant catering menu? You should take a long look at your menu and do the following:
- Simplify the menu
- Make sure high-selling items are listed
- Remove items that don’t sell well
Catering menus require you to have a lot of ingredients in stock. If these items aren’t selling well, the ingredients go to waste. Don’t be afraid to remove 20% of your menu items if, for some reason, items aren’t selling.
Certain dishes may have unique ingredients that aren’t used in any other dish you offer. If this is the case, it’s very difficult to eliminate waste if the items do not sell well. Your catering menu revamp should make the menu simpler, include high-selling items, and remove items that are rarely part of catering orders.
2. Meals-to-Go Solutions
In 2020 and 2021, there are still gathering restrictions that are keeping large gatherings and meetings to a minimum. If you want to know how to boost sales, you need to think outside the box.
Offices are reopening, and family gatherings are starting to be held again.
A lot of people want meal-to-go solutions that don’t necessarily meet the high catering requirements of the past. Instead, people are looking for smaller solutions of 8 to 200 serving options that they can pick up as boxed meals.
Individually packaged meals are selling well, and they can still be sold in bulk or priced separately. Pickup and delivery options add to the ways to increase restaurant sales.
3. Market to Schools, Cities, and Corporate Headquarters
Catering with individually wrapped meals is a major bonus because it opens a lot of possibilities for large groups. Want to know how to increase restaurant sales? Market to large audiences. A few of the entities that thrive well in the single packaged catering industry are:
- Corporate offices
- City offices
By offering prepackaged options, it’s possible to meet the growing demand of individual diets and nutritional needs. For example, people are vegan, pescatarian, vegetarian and more. Single packaged meals in catering offer more opportunities to make people happy with the food choices available.
4. Host Tasting Events
Adding new menu items is great for business, but you also need to allow the people that use your restaurant’s catering supply to taste your goods.
Want to know how to increase restaurant sales without advertising?
Tasting events. Customers love tasting events because they can taste the food well before purchasing it for their event. The event should take time to plan and develop. You'll want to focus on your list of potential catering leads and invite them.
Your list may include:
- Corporate targets
- City officials
- Couples getting married
Promoting your event is possible via email and social media, or you can promote it locally. Ask potential guests to reserve their seats and introduce your catering options during the event. Prospects will attend for the free food, but you want to also make sure that they walk away with:
- Business cards
Want to increase the chances of someone ordering? One method that works well is offering a special discount for people that attend the tasting event. By appealing to corporations and city officials, you might secure annual catering opportunities.
5. Reward Referrals
Restaurant sales statistics show that a lot of business is generated through word-of-mouth. Business partners or decision-makers will talk amongst themselves and recommend services that they’ve used in the past.
Creating a referral program can make your existing referral network expand greatly.
A lot of restaurants start off with the following steps to get the ball rolling:
- Reach out to past customers via email to introduce the referral program
- Create an online portal that referrers can sign up for to recommend your catering service
The next step is deciding what reward will be given to the people that refer your catering business to others. You can offer an in-house discount or other exclusive offers, such as a gift card, as a way to entice referrals.
Of course, referral networks also demand high-end customer service.
6. Improve Your Customer Service
Restaurant catering is all about good food and even better customer service. You'll want to make sure that you do a few things right to improve customer service drastically:
- Train staff on promoting catering. Most people that walk into a restaurant won’t need catering. But there are some individuals that will ask about catering, and your staff needs to know how to answer their questions. Train all wait staff members and managers on how to properly promote your catering options.
- Inquire about customer experience after the event. Send out a survey or call a customer after the event to see how you and your team did. You'll want to use this feedback to improve the customer experience in future sales. You're also showing how much your business cares by personally reaching out to customers.
If you focus on making your customers happy, your restaurant catering business will flourish.
7. Invest in Catering Software
Streamlining your catering business is a must. You don’t have the time or resources to spend on catering operations that can be handled via software. The right solution will:
- Accept orders
- Accept payments
- Reduce miscommunication issues
- Reduce overhead when running your catering business
The right software organizes all of your operations in one easy platform. You'll even be able to send and accept proposals for custom catering needs.
Restaurant catering is a growing part of the business. If your restaurant plans on offering catering or already does and wants to increase sales, the seven tips above can help. A robust catering division can bring in bulk orders and also lead to sustained business.