How to boost catering sales – it’s a year-round challenge for pizza restaurants. The holiday season offers a big opportunity, thanks to office parties, sporting events and other occasions, but you don’t want to stop there. Delving into the PMQ archive of catering articles, we’ve put together some quick tips that can help you boost catering sales at your pizzeria during Christmas and well into the coming year:
Let’s start with some tips shared by veteran foodservice consultant Erle Dardick, author of “Get Catering and Grow Sales!”
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!
Looking for additional advice to help boost catering sales? Here are three more tips for catering success, provided for a previous article by Lisa Storey, owner of Roux World Kitchen/MaMa Lisa’s Little Italy (mamaslittleitaly.com) in Castle Pines, Colorado:
6. Leave a lasting impression. Storey has a suggestion for wowing your clients. “On your first dozen jobs, throw in an extra item on the house, something amazing that you want people to try, such as your housemade mini meatballs with homemade marinara as an appetizer, an antipasti tray, mini desserts—something that looks as amazing as it tastes. Make sure you put a business card or menu by that item. They’ll remember you!”
7. Connect with the movers and shakers. “Offer a special price to local women’s fundraising organizations,” Storey suggests. “These are the decision makers in your town. Treat them special, and they will remember you when it’s time for a private event with a nicer budget. Also, contact the Chamber of Commerce, leads groups, Rotary clubs, athletic booster clubs and city councils.”
8. Use existing staff. Adding catering doesn’t necessarily require adding staff, Storey notes. “Don’t take on extra payroll until you need to. Explain to the existing staff and new hires that this is an opportunity to make extra money. Post a sign-up list—you may be surprised who volunteers for the extra shifts.”