If you are considering starting an outside catering company or already have one, you need to be aware of seasonal trends that will continue to affect its success. Clearly, the nature of the events being catered for will alter considerably depending on the time of year. Whatever happens, the seasonality of the industry requires you to be quite flexible when it comes to planning, preparation and the execution of individual jobs. If, for instance, you plan to concentrate primarily on the wedding market, then clearly you must expect most of your bookings to be bunched up in the Spring and Summer months. To land contracts out of season, you will have to be prepared to cut your normal margins as there will be plenty of other firms hungry for the business in the quieter months.
Remember also that each event that you cater for is your shop window and, over the course of a year, you will have the opportunity of free advertising to hundreds of people who may wish to employ you for an event of their own further down the line. Therefore, apart from delivering a superb product with service to match, make sure that you get your name in front of all attendees by leaving your business cards discreetly scattered around and making sure that your name features on menus and similar printed items.
The beginning of every year is probably the quietest time for an outside catering company so it’s a good opportunity to take a holiday and recharge your batteries for the year ahead. Otherwise, use the time wisely to drum up new business for the following months. There are plenty of wedding exhibitions in the winter months where you can promote your service. Another good marketing opportunity is afforded at this time of year by National Hunt race meetings and local point to point events. These are normally well attended by farmers and wealthier landowners who tend to hold plenty of functions on their properties. Think about placing an advertisement in a race card or even consider sponsoring a race.
As Spring gives way to Summer, the pace really starts to pick up for an outside catering company with everything from weddings to christenings and corporate events taking place. Again, although you will be very busy supervising everything, do not miss any opportunity to network and promote your business to guests in any way you can. Ensure that all your customer facing staff wear a badge or similar logo displaying the name of your business. If possible, use your website address rather than just the company name. Do not confuse things by using both.
As the Autumn approaches and things quieten down a bit, try hitting the phone or use other ways to directly contact local companies to drum up seasonal work in the run-up to Christmas. Employers are always looking at novel ways to entertain staff and clients without resorting to a standard sit-down meal in a restaurant or hotel.
This article was provided by the kind folks at Browns Vibe, an outside catering company who specialise in providing elite catering for corporate and private clients – find them at http://www.brownsvibe.com/