Catering Marketing Suggestions

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Joined Dec 28, 2018
I started the catering program out of a unique restaurant (the restaurant is a nonprofit, pay-what-you-can model; catering proceeds support the mission of the restaurant) a bit less than a year ago and growth has been pleasantly steady just due to people who know and like the restaurant, want to support the mission, have attended events and been impressed, and word of mouth. To this point I've done no advertising or marketing, except occasional social media posts on the restaurant's facebook/instagram. Now that we've got some solid staff members and a lot more of our ducks in a row (read: actually ready to grow), I'm looking to implement a solid marketing plan. Any recommendations on where to start? I know next to nothing about marketing and am curious to hear what has and has not been effective for some vets in the business. Thanks!
 
1,214
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
Do you want to market the restaurant or the catering business or both?

What sort of budget do you have for marketing?
 
4
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Joined Dec 28, 2018
I'm looking to market the catering business. Budget is modest, maybe 500/month to start, but I'd like to hear any suggestions that people have, regardless of cost.
 
1,214
746
Joined Mar 1, 2017
Well, if you operate the catering business in an area that has a good amount of professional businesses, you could start by distributing copies of your menu to these places and perhaps augment that with a food sample. Medical and legal offices are probably the most likely to want things like catered lunches etc. My wife works for an oral surgeon and they order lunch for the whole office at least once or twice a week.

If you have friends or family that are in need of a caterer for a wedding, a party or perhaps they own a business, you could get your name out there by catering their event at cost in exchange for the exposure to other potential clients.

Get in touch with your local churches. They will often hold events that require catering services such as pancake breakfasts etc. They don't pay much and this would be a great way to make your name known. Plus, since its a religious organization, you can use the event to create write off on your taxes (assuming you are in the US).

Social media pages across all of the popular platforms. But, I'm sure you already thought of that.

Local message boards are a good and cheap way to get your business out there.

Many cities still have a local newspaper and if you live in a city that actively promotes locally owned businesses, they will often have programs that are free or with little cost that will help promote your business.

Get involved with local food competitions and other events.

If you have vehicles, you can put your logo on your vehicle and not only get some cheap advertising out of it, but, the vehicle not only becomes a business write off, but, an advertisement write off as well.

A mid range goal may be to work towards getting a food truck up and running. They aren't cheap and they have their own brand of issues, but, they are a great way to maintain your business' presence in you local area.

You could hire a web design firm to design and market a web page for you that will show up on key searches. These are especially beneficial because it gives you an opportunity to feature your menu and any particular services.

Radio spots are generally economical and will reach a large audience. Typically, the radio station will produce the spot for you and charge you a flat rate in exchange for a guaranteed number of times the ad is run throughout the day. You could target morning hours in the hopes of catching lunch time business and afternoon hours to catch dinner rush business.

I hope this helps. :)


Good luck.
 
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