Getting your business prepared for a catering event requires a lot of organisational skills, teamwork and planning. But the final results are very rewarding, if all goes according to plan, not only you have an additional happy customer, but he/she is more likely to recommend your company to others.
How to set up a successful catering event? It depends on your definition of success, a business dictionary defines success as
Achievement of an action within a specified period of time or within a specified parameter.
So what are the actions you want to achieve in this case? We think that the following three goals must be achieved in order to declare a success without hesitations.
- Run the catering for the event effectively: you must cater for your clients’ events in a sufficiently satisfactory manner.
- Quality outcome: you must provide an overall good quality, in terms of food, utensils layout and personnel.
- Happy customers: your end customers and the other guests must be satisfied with the service received during the event.
10 things you need to knwo for a successful a catering event
- Establish a good relationship from the beginning: it may not seem relevant to you, but good business pairs with good relationships from the very first phone call. Your customer must have a positive feeling about your business. So make sure, your staff is well trained to handle incoming enquiries. If your client doesn’t have a good first impression of your business but still decides to give you the job, consider yourself lucky, but you might have a hard time trying to please him/her.
- Estimate cost wisely: the cost estimation for any catering business is not straightforward. So resist the temptation to give away even a price range during the first phone call, because you don’t want to disappoint the customer at the beginning. Take your time to think and provide a meaningful quote. To do so, you must visit the location and see what equipment is there and what you need to bring, this will have an impact on the price too. Then make sure you do include everything requested and needed and then calculate the price and call the customer.
- Make a list: list all that you have to bring on site, from the number of trays up to disposable flatware and napkins. Then make a list of the food to be prepared and make sure that what needs to be prepared is done on time. You can find here a useful checklist.
- Make the right order: when you go to order the accessories for the event such as napkins, candles, flowers, plates, make sure you pick the best quality. For example, you can’t order bamboo cutlery if your guests need to be able to cut hard food, in this case you should order heavy-duty disposable cutlery. Quality of the items and of food, of course, is fundamental to the success, because the final customers don’t know how much you pay for things and they may feel you overcharged them, so get the best quality, it reflects the quality of your work.
- Set the venue nicely: make sure you arrive at the venue at least one hour before the event, but take extra time if you have little staff and many guests. Arrange the tables, the decoration and make the neceessary arrangement for the kitchen.
- Be present: make sure there is always at least one member of your staff at disposal, in case someone has any request. Then keep an eye on the tables and make sure that there is no rubbish around, collect used glasses, plates and control the level of food. You must be careful not to intrude too much in the event so, be present without being invasive.
- Great staff: a polite and trained staff is another key element to a successful event, appearance is important too, so ensure they are wearing a uniform or the same style of clothing. In this way, not only they will look more professional, but they will also be more recognisable.
- Collect feedback: it’s always good at the end of the event to collect feedback. There are a variety of ways to do so, you can ask during the event before leaving, but also it is a good idea to send an email out and request a testimonial either for your website or for Google or for your Facebook page. Reviews will help to develop your business and trust in your services. Also, constructive criticisms is a way to improve your business and provide a better experience next time.
- Go the extra mile: as said one of the cornerstone of a successful catering event is making the customers happy, to do so, you must have already in mind something to surprise him/her. For example, add an extra dish or dessert that wasn’t supposed to be on the buffet or provide some branded bowls or cups, anything that can create a WOW effect. And remember, your customer will normally pay the final balance after the event, so you should really try your best to impress.
- Choice: the choices you make are very fundamental for determining your success. For example, the choice of the food, it affects the cost directly but also the satisfaction. If you are aware that your staff is not skilled in certain preparations avoid them, convince your customer that there are other options. However, if your client really wants it, just hire an extra cook to dedicate to the task.
You have many choices to affect the course of the events, you are the master of the success, so you can maneuver the fate to be more favorable.
Now you know what you need to bear in mind to run a successful catering event!
And you, restaurant owner or catering business owner, do you have any tip for success?
What’s the ONE thing it takes to be successful in this business?
Leave a comment, please.