The restaurant industry as we know it has come to unprecedented stand still due to the global crisis of the coronavirus. Otherwise known as COVID-19 or ‘corona,’ it will surely be infamously recorded in the annuls of time as one of the most epic and devastating pandemics the world has ever experienced. Yet, although it is affecting every continent, country, and industry, everyone is doing their best to not only survive but to thrive in spite of the odds with the hope and prayer that the crisis will soon end and that order and prosperity will be restored.
Cater to Your Customers
So, what can you do, as a foodservice professional, to keep your business alive despite corona? And more importantly: Is there a way to continue to connect with your customers and even foster relationships while your brick-and-mortar eatery is shut down? The answer, fortunately, is a resounding YES.
Ironically, during this very time of imposed isolation that restricts the public from traveling, interacting, and eating out, there has never been a more opportune time to show customers that you care by making concerted efforts to connect with them and even cater to their needs. You were granted time now, time you never thought you would have, to tap into your creative juices and take your restaurant’s customer service level to new heights and earn some major, long-lasting loyalty points in return.
Read on as we share some of our suggestions to help you stir your own creative culinary juices.
Continue reading How to Show Your Customers You Care During the Corona Crisis
Five Key Ways to Market Your Catering Business
Let’s start with an understatement – catering is a competitive business. In reality, it’s among the most competitive industries that one can enter. Starting a catering business means going head to head with dozens of other caterers in your area (and many who are farther afield), all of whom are trying to get a slice of the catering pie. As we’ve said before, in order to stand out from the crowd, you have to put in hours of effort not only to make your food and service rise to the top of the crowded field, but to market your business so that your name and reputation will precede you. Here, then, are some ideas that can help you sell your business in the best and most effective way possible.
1. Get Up Close and Personal
A good cater needs to be a people person, and making a personal connection is a vital way to keep your name active and well known. Networking in a hands-on way – and not only through the virtual relationships of social media – is of vital importance. The trick is to stay in touch with everyone who can help you and your business – wedding planners, managers of local country clubs, bridal-shop owners, etc. Putting yourself “out there” is an essential component of your marketing strategy in a business where shyness and reticence is a serious hindrance to success.
Continue reading Develop a Shrewd Marketing Strategy to Highlight Your Catering Company
Attracting New Customers vs. Nurturing Loyalty
Once your restaurant is up and running – after the first marketing push, through the launch, and on into steady business – the focus of your advertising should constantly be changing. Whereas once every customer was a new customer, now you are welcoming regulars: repeat customers for whom your restaurant is a home away from home. The question is, at this enviable point, do you continue to invest in trying to attract new customers, or do you focus on maintaining your loyal diners. Or both.
New Customers First
According to LoyalMarketing.com, in an article entitled, “Customer Acquisition vs Customer Retention,” it costs six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one, yet customer acquisition is still the primary focus of most businesses in general, and restaurants in particular. Loyal customers, and their repeat business, are the cornerstone of long-term success because it is so expensive to find new customers. Nonetheless, if expansion and growth are a goal – and of course they are – new business must be a top priority. To continue to grow your business you’re going to need more people frequenting your restaurant – and lots of them. Although you want to maintain a relationship with your existing customers, it will always be important to bring in fresh business in the form of new customers.
Continue reading How to Balance Customer Retention with Customer Loyalty