The economic downturn has swiftly changed the restaurant businessâ€”but there is a silver lining when it comes to catering. Consumers are still looking for good food and will respond to the right menu, especially if they see a value. Being flexible enough to shift with customer demand can mean introducing new catering opportunities for your operation.
Many restaurants are finding new ways to tap into catering even during these difficult times. It’s a great gap filler to make up for lost sit-down business. Restaurants such as Maggiano’s, Panera, and Subway are leading the way by implementing new catering menus to function for both business and at home.
Fancy and formal are out. Casual and quick are in. Customers are looking for new opportunities that provide great food but with value, and introducing a unique catering program is a great solution.
Here are some tips on how to structure your catering approach.
Employers are moving away from 2-hour $50-a-head lunches. Instead they are hosting weekly business celebrations in-house for less than half the cost. They still want quality food, however, and you can meet that need. The best way to do it is to offer flexible plans and prices.
You probably should be more aggressive. Target beyond the traditional office market with e-mail blasts and use free samples to entice customers on the street.
Take a critical look at your menu. Offer more flexible menu packages, lunch specials, or maybe even box lunch programs.
Make sure you stay top-of-mind with your best customers. Let them know you’ve changed and have new ideas and accommodating prices.
In-home entertaining is increasing, and it can help grow your business.
According to a new report from consulting firm Technomic, catering to the growing number of consumers choosing to eat and entertain at home is a largely underserved sales opportunity for restaurants. It also found that 4 in 10 consumers surveyed planned to entertain at home more often in the coming year. And when hosting social gatherings at home, consumers said they are just as likely to buy food from restaurants as they are from other food retailers. It’s an opportunity you don’t want to pass you by.
For catering, both for businesses and in-home, MonogramÂ® can help you cut costs and be more flexible.
Monogram steam table pans are recyclable and microwavable, retain delicate flavors, and enhance food appearance. Their superior temperature conductivity allows them to bake foods evenly. They are great for preparing, transporting, and keeping food fresh. And they require minimal storage space.
Elegant, secure, and durable trays are available in black and a variety of sizes. Features snap-tight lids for ease of transport and to keep food safe.
Plastic Plates (pdf)
Add quality to your catering presentation with Monogram plates. They come in good, better, and best quality levels to offer you maximum flexibility. Choose foam or nonfoam. With nonfoam options you get superior cut resistance and 40% less cube. Try the new Monogram premium plates for highest quality and best presentation.
Monogram napkins add style and presentation to your catering in a variety of waysâ€”and they are competitively priced. Paper napkins are reliable and strong with a high degree of moisture protection. Linen-like napkins add a rich, elegant touch, and their soft texture actually feels like linen.
Plastic Cutlery (pdf)
Strong, durable, and sanitary, Monogram plastic cutlery saves time and moneyâ€”all with style and elegance. Available in medium-weight, medium-heavy and heavyweight, in white, champagne, clear, and black.
With a flexible menu that brings value to your customer, you can jumpstart your sales with catering.