This is my first post. Long time food service worker transferred into the catering world. Help

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by [email protected], Sep 11, 2018.

  1. Lucas@bacatx

    [email protected]

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    Catering Manager
    So a touch of back story, I have been in the industry for about 10 years now. I’ve managed, cooked, tended bar, banquet captained and now my newest task is building a catering business for an existing restaurant.

    I now as I still am the lead Bartender for our restaurant. My plate is rather full. I have now successfully built a corporate menu and now I’m stuck trying to get a clientele. My owner (boss) had purchased a lead list over 2 years ago and as of this mourning I have now called all of the list. Only to get a couple of inquiries that didn’t even produce. I feel like I have wasted a lot of time and energy on nothing. The obvious question is where do I start on getting more leads.

    I live in a very tech influenced city that is full of tready businesses that love good food. There is huge potential here and I don’t know how to tap into it. I have made some good connections through my personal life and they have turned into good things, but I need to generate more. Any help from you pros will be greatly appreciated.

    TLDR; I’m in a new position. I need to produce more for moar money, live in a trendy city with good startup business and I want to tap into that.
     
  2. davidjren

    davidjren

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    1 years
    You should take a photo and share every social (Facebook, foody, app mobie..etc). And ads this.
     
  3. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    Professional Cook
    Print up copies of your catering menu and drop them off at nearby businesses. People may not know you offer catering. Have catering menus available in front of house for everyone to take a copy with them.
     
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  4. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    Retired Owner/Operator
    Create a variety of samples that are good representations of your menu, package them up and drop them off "gratis" at a few businesses along with some menus sometime before lunch. Pick 2 or 3 businesses each day or a handful each week. This could be especially good for you now since many businesses start planning and booking their holiday parties this time of year.

    Good luck. :)
     
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  5. Cdp

    Cdp

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    18 years Chef recent promo to Sous
    HI
    maybe looking at local charity/movement for the area that will be requiring a venue looking to align next to a current trend for the area and that will support you is it for a new casino or opening a new developed bridge between to ports who knows

    out yourself in the we can cater for that give them what they need it is a time and patience game but it will pay off.

    by doing this it is a tax write off plus you get a meet and greet
    also the top dogs who are there are the ones you can poach to play in your sand pit ...
     
  6. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Retired Hospitality
    Pop ups are a great way to get your food out there.
    Ideally you could do a lunch onsite (target business)...a nice seasonal menu for 25 or so people.
    Circulate the menu the week before and maybe even sell tickets.
    Bring plenty of help so things run smoothly and prove you can deliver .
    In my experience the charity circuit can be treacherous.
    Most of the major causes are well oiled machines with a long time relationship with a caterer.
    The rest are notorious for nickel and diming you to death.
    So be very selective re who and what and how often in order to not be labeled as the "value" option.
    Weddings and other celebration events can be cash cows but can be very hard to break into depending on how saturated your market area is.

    Luck...mimi
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
  7. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Retired Hospitality
    Pop ups are a great way to get your food out there.
    Ideally you could do a lunch onsite...a nice seasonal menu for 25 or so people.
    Circulate the menu the week before and maybe even sell tickets.
    Bring plenty of help so things run smoothly and prove you can deliver .
    In my experience the charity circuit can be treacherous.
    Most of the major causes are well oiled machines with a long time relationship with a caterer.
    The rest are notorious for nickel and diming you to death.
    So be very selective re who and what and how often in order to not be labeled as the "value" option.
    Weddings and other celebration events can be cash cows but can be very hard to break into depending on how saturated your market area is.

    Luck...mimi
     
  8. jeffcaters

    jeffcaters

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    Professional Caterer
    Im not sure about what lead list you used, but I have found that 90% of the time sales meetings/company parties/holiday parties/retirement parties etc are handled by the HR (Human Resources) department. Its critical to get this persons name and then stay in front of them. Build a mailing list and an email list. Make sure they get real mail and/or email once a month. Make a personal visit twice a year. Once you have a name and are sure they order food on a consistent basis offer a free sample meal for say 8-10 people. The law of reciprocity is strong. Drug reps are a good source of consistent luncheon business if you are near a hospital. I have one rep who uses me for luncheons that are only 10-15 people on average and I have done over $40,000 in sales for only ONE person. Find places that have a venue to rent, but do not cater themselves. Offer them a free dinner at your restaurant for every client they send you. Maybe have an additional menu that isnt trendy but more meat and potatoes and basic. MY menu is very basic, comfort food style but top quality and hand made. Not every bride wants trendy food or can afford it. Businesses like finding a place that gets them their food, disposables, pop/water and dessert. Makes the HR persons job easy. I have some letters I used that I can share with you if you wish. Im sure you could change them to better fit your food/business.

    Good luck, I find catering much more enjoyable than the restaurant part of my business, and much easier to control the quality.
    I know this is new and you have bills to pay, but be careful about working too much IN the business, and not enough ON the business. Landing one customer for 50 guests is going to make you way more than a shift of bartending.
     
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