Tag Archives: Catering

Catering is not just for caterers.

It’s that time of year.  In the Midwest, when we feel that first nip in the air, generally our foodie minds turn to homemade soups and chili and baked apple goodness.  However, when you are a seasoned veteran of the catering industry like me, my foodie mind turns to holiday parties!

What can we do as foodservice professionals to bring in more business during this very busy time of year?  If you’re a restaurant owner, you can consider seasonal specials, or perhaps opening your restaurant to groups for a new day part in which you are normally closed. Group business is good for business especially when you control the menu, production and staff required. Offering the corporate customer a way to bring in a group for a special breakfast, lunch or even cocktail hour celebration in addition to dinner business is a win-win for you and your customers.

Catering is another great option for the holidays. Your customers are busy this time of year and will appreciate the opportunity to order some of their favorite items from their favorite restaurants.  If your kitchen can handle the prep in the off-peak hours, and you’ve got enough refrigeration and space to assemble, why not consider putting together a limited catering menu for pick-up and/or delivery?  If you can offer curbside pick-up, it’s even more appealing to the customer.

Here’s what you need to think about in the short run. Peruse your menu and pick a few items you know can be prepared a bit in advance, and which will transport and hold well.  Instead of preparing individual portions as you would for carry-out, prepare larger quantities of these items to share and offer your specialties by the tray and platter.  Figure out how many each will serve and price accordingly. Ask your vendors what they have available for packaging and see what your options are.  Include warming and serving suggestions with every order.  Keep the menu small.  Stick to your specialties that will heat, hold and travel well.

Promote catering within your operation via table tents, menus or server suggestions.  Promote it in email marketing, social media and on your website. If it works well for the holidays, think about how you can turn catering into a more permanent revenue stream year round.  If you do it well, catering will help you to build your relationships within the community and will drive more business into your restaurant. 


Spring into Catering

It’s raining here in Chicago and I would like to suggest that you put on your catering hats!  What I mean is that as April showers bring May flowers, so arrives the party season and the best time for all things catering.

With Communions, Mother’s Day, Graduations and summer entertaining around the corner, it’s an opportune time to think about catering. If you are a restaurant owner without a catering sector, it might be time to consider how catering might impact your business.  If you are a restaurant owner with a catering sector it’s time to take a look at your catering menus and see what needs to be done to improve and fine tune.

Catering for restaurants is a great way to build relationships with your existing customers, to make use of your kitchen in low traffic periods, to allow your culinary staff to flex their culinary muscle with new ideas and creativity and to create a broader revenue stream with a very good ROI.

Catering is not right for every restaurant but if you think it can work in your environment, now is a good time to check the competition and conduct a little market research.  Talk to your staff and see what they think, explore the items on your menu that might transfer well to catering and start small.  You can always add to a catering menu and in fact, catering menus are best when they change with the seasons.


A New Year Begins

New Year, new blog, sweet beginning.  My resolution is to write more often and to have some tasty fun with it.

It was a wonderful holiday season.

My clients were busy and their events and festivities were grand and successful.  Most are approaching this new year with a positive outlook for more business opportunities, and the time to learn and grow.

I was busy assisting current clients and fielding inquiries for new opportunities.  I feel great about what lies ahead, and I am excited about the many possibilities to expand my reach and my spheres of influence.

Let’s all get busy with our strategic plans for 2013.  Let’s take the time to set our intentions,  and create the opportunities we are seeking instead of letting our businesses flow over us.