3 Catering Mishaps to Avoid this Season

3 Catering Mishaps to Avoid this Season

We’re heading into the holiday season, a time of year that traditionally sees an uptick in restaurant patronage. It wasn’t that long ago we celebrated the season with office parties, dinner out with the family, and happy hours with friends. This year things are looking a little different. It’s likely we won’t see as much in-house dining or large group events happening this year. To make up for the potential lost profit, a lot of restaurants are choosing to dip their toes into the catering game. Here are 3 mishaps to avoid if you’re a restaurant owner thinking of embarking on a catering path this season.

Overextending Yourself

As your marketing strategies pick up and customers start placing their holiday catering orders with you, remember not to overextend yourself or staff. In short, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Yes it’s exciting to bring in more business, but too much business and not enough staff/supplies can result in a lack of quality. Be realistic about the amount of food and staff that will be required with each order. For instance, if you own a bakery and are anticipating a deluge of customers right before Christmas day, make sure you’re staffed appropriately (and order the additional ingredients) to also handle the catering orders that come in.

Too Many Menu Options

The age-old saying “quality over quantity” reigns supreme when it comes to delicious, inviting catering offerings. Customers like selection, but too much selection can lead to frustration and a lack of trust that the food you’re producing is truly high quality. Stick with your best dishes, the ones that have customers coming back again and again. You can also run some informal tests with your repeat clients: ask what they would like to see on a catering menu. And don’t forget about the seasonality aspect. Your catering menu should vary from season to season, just as your regular menu does. Consider adding a unique twist to your catering this year by including festive holiday drink options (if your establishment has a liquor license, of course). Many liquor stores are still closed amid the pandemic, so adding an alcoholic option or two could really lift some spirits.

Hygiene Fails

This one’s a no-brainer if you run a restaurant, but it might be even more critical if you’re preparing huge quantities of food for guests to take home and serve. Proper kitchen hygiene and cleanliness are essential to ensure an ideal guest experience. You don’t want anyone getting sick or grossed out (what’s more disgusting than finding a hair in your fettuccine), especially when the folks consuming your food aren’t even in your restaurant to complain. Just imagine a guest sitting down to eat, only to find a twist tie in her soup or a hair in her cake. Instead of quietly complaining to her server, she now has an audience of friends and/or family to complain to. That’s bad marketing for sure.

Be diligent about your cleanliness when putting together a catering order. And in order to attract customers to consider you for their next event, be fastidious with the cleanliness of your business as well. A sparkling store—now more than ever—is critical to the success of your catering business endeavors.

We’re in for an interesting holiday season. Businesses are getting creative with their profit-seeking strategies, and we definitely predict an uptick in restaurants opening their doors to catering. Keep these tips in mind as you think about new ways to bring in customers. And be sure to check out ARF Financial for tons of marketing tips and industry news for small businesses like yours.

3 Catering Mishaps to Avoid this Season