Marketing Your New Catering Company - Building Clientele

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by amazique, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. amazique

    amazique

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    Sous Chef
    What's the best way of going about the Marketing aspect of the Company? I was thinking of joining the local chamber of commerce as a start. I have been passing out brochures, business cards and using word-of-mouth recently. Ive only been opened for a couple months but Ive only got a couple clients. Web-site is being constructed as we speak. Any Ideas??? - ( Ive also visited local wedding planners but I feel as though most of them already have their "ideal" caterers they would like to hand these jobs too). Getting frustrated but not going to give up!!
     
  2. inverse

    inverse

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    Professional Caterer
    Yeah... Getting the same problem here...

    It just so difficult if we're really new in this area, unless we got someone that can bring it in.
     
  3. amazique

    amazique

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    That seems to be the norm. Had a meeting this weekend with a potential business partner. Wants to work together and do joint catering under a different name. Gotta start somewhere!!
     
  4. panini

    panini

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    Owner/Operator
    Partner /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif    For real?

    Join every meeting planners group. Network. Smuze, spend a little to make a little.                                                                                        When someone tells you or seems to have a reliable source they are usually telling

    you they don't have to worry about your part. Make sure you pitch them that your highest

    priority is to emiminate their catering worries and make them look good.

    pan
     
  5. susan brown

    susan brown

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    I Just Like Food
    You need to be patient when it comes to business.Initially you may face problems but don't worry everything will be fine.Try searching for more advertising opportunities may be that will help you............
     
  6. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    What type of catering are you looking to do, ie corporate, social, wedding, small dinner parties, non-profit, low-end mass feeding, high end formal?

    What's your specialty? ie do you bake, do you buy locally raised food, do you have nose to tail menus, do you decorate tables well, do you have a set menu or are you flexible?

    My mother had an advertising marketing company for years in Memphis, she had several national accounts....so what I gleaned from her is:

    Define yourself, then you know who your profiled clients would be....ie you'd not market your high end services at a VFW hall or blue collar church dinner, nor would you try to sell 2 meats 3 sides for $8 in chafers to wealthy customers....

    If you've not done it send out comprehensive press releases to media<print, bloggers in your area, television, radio>

    Join professional culinary groups, make sure they know who you are and what you do......volunteer to cater one of the meetings ie ACF have monthly dinners or events, dames escoffier, culinary society, slow food, etc....whatever is applicable to your business...in other words if you open cans you'd not join SLOW FOOD.....it could be as simple as serving aps, or desserts or whatever...most times they've got a nominal budget for food at meetings that cover the cost.  

    Make sure family and friends know what you are doing.....ask for their help.....kinda funny how that little bit really can make a huge difference.

    Pictures, oodles of pictures of your work.....

    Open House when you feel it's time.

    Many many long time caterers have a "bread and butter" thing.....where they sell cookies or pastries to small grocery stores or coffee shops, personal chef for a couple clients, sell at farmers' markets, teach cooking classes, food style...EVERYONE I've known has slow times, even large long time caterers....so think about what could be your bread n butter.
     
  7. chefedb

    chefedb

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    NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK  And read what Mushroom girl has said in her answer to you. Good Luck
     
  8. gbautista

    gbautista

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    This is an OLD Thread forgive me I am just discovering this Forum. For the benefit of anyone still looking into this I would suggest Digital Marketing which can be a lot more effective in finding your ideal clients than Mass Media Marketing. Facebook for example knows pretty much everything about a person and its the HUGE up and coming player in Advertising, I implement a simple step by step procedure to get my clients those clients that they are looking for, they are certainly out there.
     
  9. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Old thread, yup.

    What I personally had success in was the office crowd.  We specialized in sandwich platters, fruit platters, veg platters, salads and homemade desserts.  Our approach was a bit different:

    We would cold-call office managers of large companies--engineering firms, law firms, investment firms, etc., and arrange a brief "show and tell" session with the office manager.  Once we got the appointment, we would show up with samples of pretty much everything.  A brief explanation of who we were, what we made, and pricing, and 9 times out of ten we got our foot in the door.  Once we got into the company, office mangers from other floors/depts, would "snoop" out our stuff  and usually would use us as well.

    While this is a fairly expensive and time consuming way to get your foot in the door, it is a long term relationship, and it pays off after the first few months.  We had some of those accounts for well over 5 years, AND got Christmas/office parties, bbq's and special occasion cakes as well.

    A caveat:  With the office crowd, variety is the spice of life.  What that means, is that no matter how good your food is, if the Smith meeting goes for 5 days, they'll get tired of your food by the third day.  Only cater for two days and suggest the office mangr to use another caterer or several for the week.  One of the reasons we could keep accounts for 5 years.....