The 5 Pillars of Catering Success

Catering generates revenue during off-season months, slow days of the week, and even when the pizzeria is bustling.

  • Catering is so profitable because it boosts incremental sales using ingredients you already have on hand in your restaurant.
  • Catering also introduces your product to people who would not otherwise know about your pizzeria.

Related: 5 ideas for boosting your catering business through direct mail

It’s no secret that catering can bring in revenue on the side, with many restaurants aiming for about 20% of system sales, according to catering consultant Erle Dardick. “Catering is so profitable because you already have everything else [in terms of ingredients],” he says. “There are higher incremental sales because there are fewer transactions from fewer people, and the cost of production and distribution is much lower.”

Additionally, catering generates revenue during off-season months, slow days of the week, and even when the pizzeria is bustling—if you have enough staff on hand. You can take care of your normal lunch crowd and deliver a catering order at the same time. Catering also introduces your product to people who would not otherwise know about your pizzeria.

If your catering orders are not at the level you’d like them to be, review Dardick’s five pillars of catering success:

  1. Choose a leader. Someone must be in charge of the catering side of your business, such as a catering manager. This is the person who will handle sales and marketing, write contracts and deal with callers (some of whom may be in a delicate emotional state) looking to make catering arrangements for weddings, funerals, etc.
  2. Canvass the neighborhood. Build sales by canvassing the neighborhood and building relationships with fellow business operators, knocking on doors, giving samples and converting customers. For catering, you are tapping into a different audience, which is more business-to-business than business-to-consumer. You’ll have a lot more options.
  3. Centralize your services. Organize your phone systems to route catering calls directly to the catering manager, not the store. The catering manager should be trained to work directly with those placing large orders for special events.
  4. Get organized. Execution of catering is completely different than advance notice on orders. Ensure that your operations are in order to handle catering. Your execution needs to be flawless.
  5. Offer world-class delivery. Pizzerias already know how to ace this, but now you’ll be delivering more than pizza. Make sure your crew always arrives on time with everything needed for that event—the right food, the right equipment and the right attitude!

This article has been edited and updated from the original article appearing in the June-July 2014 issue of PMQ Pizza Magazine.