What Do Customers Want from a Great Caterer?
The best way to satisfy your customers and grow your catering business is to evaluate your business from the client's perspective. When you understand what customers want from a great caterer, you'll be able to customize your services to meet those needs.
Great Caterers have Great Food
Obviously, customers are looking for caterers that will provide them with great food for their events. However, the definition of great food varies widely from customer to customer. You don't have to have a degree in the culinary arts to satisfy customers and keep them coming back. As long as you accurately communicate the type of food that you prepare and what customers can expect to get from your services, customers' expectations can be easily met and exceeded by the quality of your food. Remember not to skimp on flavor and creativity when preparing your catering menu. Also, a wide variety of menu options will allow you to accept a wider variety of events to cater.
Some consumers are interested in a catering company that offers much more than just the food that will be served to guests. Depending on the type of event that is being catered, some consumers are looking for companies that will provide tables and seating, supply dishes, glassware, and silverware, create decorative centerpieces, and even provide a professional wait staff to handle the serving of the catered meal. If you offer a few of these added services, you will be able to dramatically improve the likelihood of satisfying your customers.
You can also use these additional services to make higher profits from each catered event. If you have tables, chairs, linens, dishes, silverware, and decorative items, you can charge a small rental fee for each of these items each time they are used at a catered event. In a short time, you will have earned back the initial investment that you spent purchasing these catering items. After the initial investment is earned back, you will begin making profit off of these additional services and provisions.
One thing that customers demand from high quality caterers is professional service. This professionalism starts at the first meeting between a caterer and a customer, and it must continue throughout the preparation process all the way to the end of the event when the last plate has been cleared. Your staff must be professional, well-dressed, and attentive to the needs of event guests. Make sure that your customers know that their needs are a high priority, and be as accommodating as you can. Each event that you cater will be different, and each customer will have different requirements, suggestions, or preferences. A willingness to graciously make menu changes or develop new recipes will mark your catering company as a professional and reliable service.
It's also important to consider the prices featured on your catering menu. Not all customers make a catering decision on prices, but customers do need to feel that they are getting a good value for their investment. Be reasonable when setting your prices. A customer that feels he or she has gotten a great deal on a caterer will be more likely to return in the future.