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Catering Marketing Ideas
Last updated on 5/10/2023

Whether you’re just starting in the catering industry or are looking to expand your customer base, marketing is vital to the success of your catering business. Strong and effective marketing campaigns can bring in new clients and establish long-lasting partnerships, strengthening your catering business. It doesn’t matter how well your company caters for events if local businesses aren’t exposed to your brand and don’t know how to reach out and hire your company. Below, we’ve created a list of marketing, advertising, and promotional ideas your catering company can use to ensure it receives maximum exposure to your target audience.

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Catering Marketing Plan

Catered sandwiches with toothpicks

One of the most important aspects of marketing your catering business is the creation of a catering marketing plan. This plan will outline your marketing strategies and provide you with quantifiable goals that you can use to measure the success of your marketing efforts. Below, we’ve listed some of the most important information to include and actions to take in your catering marketing plan:

  1. Consumer Research - Understanding your target market’s interests, buying habits, and location is key to effectively marketing to it. Conducting consumer research is a great way to ensure that you pursue the right marketing strategies, allowing you to choose the most effective ways to reach your customer base.
  2. Create a Marketing Budget - In your marketing plan, you should outline the budget for your marketing efforts. Marketing strategies can be expensive, so it’s important to outline how much is needed for your campaigns, as well as how you plan to finance these marketing efforts.
  3. Establish Marketing Goals - Having quantifiable goals is a requirement if you want to accurately measure how successful your marketing campaigns are. Some examples of marketing goals include reaching a certain number of new event bookings, acquiring a specific number of social media views and followers, or receiving a particular amount of website traffic.
  4. Update Your Brand - The creation of your marketing plan is a fantastic opportunity to update and refresh your catering brand. Updating and modernizing aspects like your catering menu, logo, or mission statement is a great way to boost your marketing efforts.
  5. Outline Potential Partnerships - Outlining potential partnerships with other businesses and how you can utilize them to grow your customer base is an important part of a marketing plan. Forming strategic partnerships with other local businesses like wedding halls is a fantastic way to build your network and acquire new customers.

Catering Marketing

Chafing Dish with food

There are several small changes and improvements you can make to your catering business to boost brand awareness and stand out to potential clients. Making these changes is a great way to improve your appearance to customers, without having to run massive advertising campaigns or host any special events. Here are a few things you can do with your catering company to boost marketing efforts with minimal effort required:

  • Update Your Website - Digital marketing is vital in obtaining new customers, and the most important part of your online presence is your website. Making your website easily navigable and including modern content like blogs and videos is a great way to establish a strong online presence.

  • Display Reviews - Showcasing positive reviews and testimonials on your website is a fantastic way to show your capabilities to potential clients. These reviews highlight what your catering company does well, which could attract several clients.

  • SEO - Search engine optimization is a great way to expand your online presence and reach new audiences. SEO allows your website and its content to rank higher on search engine results, driving more online traffic to your business and creating more leads. To engage in SEO, try utilizing tools such as Google Analytics to monitor traffic to your catering website.

  • Optimization for Mobile - A large portion of internet traffic comes from mobile devices such as phones and tablets. Optimizing your online presence with mobile-friendly photos and webpages to ensure that mobile users can easily access, browse, and utilize your website expands your potential consumer base and can generate many leads.

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Catering Advertising

Event buffet

While marketing is the overall strategy of identifying and catering to consumer needs, advertising is the act of reaching out and promoting your business through paid channels. Advertising has undergone a huge shift in recent years, as digital advertising has increased in importance due to the continued rise of technology. That being said, engaging in multiple forms of advertising is a great way to ensure brand exposure and reach customers across multiple channels. Here are some of the most effective forms of advertising that you can use to market your catering business:

  • Social Media Advertising - Social media is a huge part of everyday life now, so expanding your marketing efforts to social media platforms and engaging in social media marketing is a great way to get your catering brand out there. Shortform content showcasing your catering is great for platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, while other platforms like Facebook and Twitter are perfect for connecting with customers and providing menu and service updates.

  • Print Advertising - While print marketing might not be as effective as it once was, there’s still plenty to be gained from engaging with it. Forms of print marketing such as business cards, direct mail, flyers, and newspaper advertisements can reach a large number of people without having to invest too much.

  • Radio Advertising - Although not as popular as other forms of advertising, advertising your catering company over the radio can be a cost-effective way to get your brand out there. While it may not have the reach that some other forms of marketing have, radio advertising is cheaper, meaning you can reach your target market without having to splurge on your marketing budget.

  • Live Event Advertising - Attending live events like trade shows is another great way to show off your food and service to prospective customers. Not only can you network and gain new customers at live events, but you can also acquire valuable feedback from industry experts on how you can improve your business.

How to Get Catering Clients

People getting food at buffet

Acquiring new clients is at the core of any catering marketing campaign. Through strategic partnerships and special events, your catering company can receive a ton of brand exposure. You can then convert this newfound brand recognition into new clients, boosting overall profits. Below we’ve listed some of the best ways you can entice potential clients to work with your catering company:

  • Utilize Your Network - Creating or utilizing an already existing network of businesses allows you to create a solid customer base that you can rely on. Try reaching out to local businesses and proposing a partnership, offering them special deals or promotions in exchange for becoming the go-to catering company for their events.

  • Host Tastings - Another great way to expose potential clients to your catering company is by hosting a tasting event that showcases your food. Invite interested clients to an event that allows them to sample your menu and service, giving them a taste of what they can expect if you cater their event.

  • Find a Competitive Advantage - To stand out from other catering businesses, you’ll need to find a competitive advantage that separates you from similar companies. That could be a variety of different features, including offering low prices, serving unique types of food, or supplying services that go above and beyond what is traditionally offered.

  • Brand Your Storefront/Delivery Van - Branding your storefronts and delivery vans provides a more professional look for your business and makes it easier to separate your business from the competition. Additionally, adding your brand to these items will create more awareness and visibility, exposing potential customers to your company.

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How to Promote Your Catering Business

Waitress at serving table with food

Offering promotions and other special events is an effective way to entice potential customers. Other promotions can reward already-existing customers, helping you to retain valuable connections. Establishing strong relationships with customers through special promotions builds brand loyalty, ensuring you have a solid customer base to support your catering business. Below, we cover some of the best promotions your catering company can run to generate new business:

  • Sales - One of the easiest ways to promote your business and attract new customers is by offering sales. Offering special sales and coupons during busy times of the year such as during the wedding season is a great way to attract new customers.

  • Discounts - To encourage clients to book multiple events with your catering business, try offering discounts for multiple bookings. If a client books several different events at the same time, knock a percentage of the overall cost off to encourage multiple bookings.

  • Loyalty Programs - Creating a loyalty program is a fantastic way to reward repeat customers and encourage them to continue to do business with you. Loyalty rewards such as free items and special products help establish a strong connection with customers, leading to long-lasting partnerships with your catering company.

  • Referral Bonuses - Offering referral bonuses allows your customers to help with your marketing efforts. Offer special discounts to both the referrer and the refer-ee, making it much more likely that clients will refer your company to those in their network.

Expanding your catering company’s marketing efforts allows your company to acquire new clients and increase brand recognition. Even if you don’t alter any other aspects of your business, improving your marketing efforts has the potential to provide a massive boon to your business. There are a variety of ways to reach potential customers, giving your catering company the chance to tailor its campaigns to its target markets. With successful marketing, your company can greatly increase profits, allowing you to further improve and expand your business in other areas.

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