8 Helpful Catering Tips for Beginners
Planning to launch a catering business or host a party? Well, don’t be discouraged from doing so just because you don’t have many cooking appliances and kitchenware. After all, catering doesn’t necessarily require solar dehydrators or big ovens for successful food prep. All you need is a sharp skill set, then you’re good to go.
You can always use catering tricks to improve your preparation process, from serving delicious food and following customers’ orders to using clever marketing strategies. For those who are new in the catering industry, feel free to follow these tips for a successful business launch:
1. Cater for a few parties
Experience is always the best teacher. If you don’t work on or own a professional kitchen, you might not have everything you need to cater to huge parties. It’s okay though. A startup business is always modest, so start by catering for a few parties for family and friends.
Make this an opportunity to improve your organizational skills, learn new recipes, and experiment. As you grow bigger, you can gradually invest in kitchen equipment like chafing dishes, solar dehydrators, and the like.
2. Prepare food orders in advance
If you don’t have many assistants, it’s better to prepare the food orders the night before than earlier on the day of the event. Early preparation is a must, especially when catering for a big party. It will also disrupt your workflow when customers start to pile up.
3. Organize your menu
The menu is the first thing that customers take into consideration before availing of your service. They want to see to it that your menu is appropriate for the event. As such, organize your menu and make sure that everything is reasonably priced.
4. Be equipped with catering essential supplies
Catering supplies are your weapons for a successful catering business. These supplies are your savior in your everyday battle in the kitchen. Getting geared up with the essential tools and equipment will help you a lot with your food service, preparation, and presentation. Your assistants will also need these pieces of equipment, so you better provide them all.
5. Prioritize food hygiene
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, potential clients will always ask for reviews about your service. They want to make sure that you’re following food hygiene protocols. Hence, when catering for events, make sure to prepare, handle, and display food according to the food hygiene laws.
To ensure that the kitchen is hygienic, make it a role to clean as you go. A messy kitchen is not only a huge hygiene risk, but it’s also a stressful environment. When preparing food, wear an apron and a hair net.
You might also want to consider putting consumer advisory when serving hygiene-risk food such as raw products and rare meat. Also include allergen information on the menu. Lastly, be patient and answer consumers’ questions politely.
6. Listen to your customers
Customer reviews are important to improve the quality of your business. When you receive positive feedback, continue doing the service the person has commended. However, negative reviews have to be taken constructively. Instead of being defensive, make it a way to improve your service.
To receive reviews from customers, create a review section on your business website. If you want to be closer to your customers, create a social media account where they can contact you directly instead.
Above all, respond and thank the people who reach out to you. Customers who are valued and listened to will most likely come back to avail of your service.
7. Be nice
Your food should not be the only thing that is nice in your catering business. You should be, too. Although great food preparation is a plus, the way you treat your customer is the reason why they should come back to you. The quality of your customer interaction and food service must go well together.
Have a properly trained and talented team. Hire passionate chefs and enthusiastic front-of-house employees. Make sure that you value your staff by giving them suitable training for customer service skills.
8. Be mindful of your competitors
All businesses have respective competitors. To make sure that you’re playing in a healthy competition, do research about them, especially their menu prices. This is to make sure that you’re not setting your menu or service too low nor too high.
After all, every catering business must produce a creative menu, wide food options, and tasteful dishes just to separate themselves from others.
Catering is often available during memorable and happy occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings. Always do your best when your service is selected to cater to occasions like these.
It is physically taxing at first, but the journey is always fun with a positive attitude. Once you get to satisfy your guests, the hard work is always worth it. Above all, satisfaction is the main reason why the catering business is one of the most profitable and fulfilling businesses to do.