Those in the catering industry understand that client acquisition can make or break their entire business. Considering it is the 10th-ranked accommodation and food services industry by market size, catering remains vital in corporate settings and at events. Decorations may be forgotten, but tasteless dishes will leave attendees with a bad impression of your services for years to come.
With so many competitors on the market, you might be struggling with how to get catering clients. In this guide, we’ll provide detailed strategies you can use to acquire new catering clients and grow your services. Ready to set your business apart from competitors?
Seven Strategies for Acquiring Catering Clients
Finding new catering clients involves strategic planning, marketing coordination, and establishing connections with existing clients. With this in mind, here are seven helpful steps you can follow to find new catering clients.
1. Connect with venues
New venues can provide you with a tremendous opportunity to expand your catering services and reach new clients. Not only do they engage in promotional efforts, but they also host events that draw the attention of local citizens. Coordinate with your sales team on reaching out to new venues and ask about the following:
- The types of events they hold.
- How often do they host events?
- Whether or not they have an in-house catering team.
- What vendors do they prefer?
2. Reach out to the local community (word-of-mouth tactic)
Indeed, word-of-mouth marketing is not always enough alone to acquire clients. However, it remains an effective promotional tactic. Ninety-two percent of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family. Leverage the power of exposure by getting involved in your community. You can start by contacting an event association and acquiring information about upcoming events with catering needs. Take your tactics a step further by joining event planning groups on social media. Remain attentive to new opportunities as you try to expand your brand.
3. Get creative with social media
No surprise here—a strong digital presence is necessary for brand development and client acquisition in today’s age. The business opportunities on social media are abundant. You can use your social media profiles to offer valuable content, engage with customers, and keep track of catering competitors. As you develop your strategic plan, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my objectives?
- Who is my target audience?
- Who are my competitors, and what are they posting?
- What type of catering content works best for my business?
4. Ensure your website is SEO-friendly
In a client-driven environment, catering companies that rank high on search engine results possess bragging rights. Search engine optimization (SEO) is about optimizing your website to increase the likelihood of your business showing up high on a search results page, thus bringing in more traffic to your site. A solid SEO strategy includes the following:
- Relevant and strategic keywords.
- A high-speed website that is mobile-friendly.
- Relevant content with high-quality links.
- Exceptional user experience
For some extra SEO knowledge, check out this workshop we hosted all about SEO for caterers!
5. Create a listing on web directories
Potential customers rely on directories and review sites to find businesses that serve their needs. You can get started by creating a Google My Business account. By doing so, your profile will show up in the Google Maps results section when users type in keywords associated with your services. Keep track of both positive and negative reviews to get a better assessment of your business's reputation and make adjustments where necessary.
6. Reward customers who provide referrals
If you are wondering how to get more catering orders, a customer referral program with rewards is a good way to start. Reach out to current customers and offer them a valuable incentive (maybe a gift card?) in exchange for customer referrals. Not only do you acquire qualified leads who already have a positive perception of your catering services, but you also avoid high marketing expenditures.
7. Remain in contact with former clients
Never underestimate the power of loyal customers. They help increase your business’s revenue, promote your services, and can help you find additional quality catering clients. There are several ways to establish ongoing contact with customers. You can start a newsletter and send out regular emails. Feel free to highlight several topics, including rewards programs, catering tips, and customer experiences with your services!
You could also reach out to past clients and ask for testimonials to use in your marketing efforts. The key is to personalize your contact strategy and ensure your customers feel valued and appreciated throughout your relationship.
Need Qualified Catering Staff? Qwick is the Solution
Finding new catering clients is essential to keeping your business running, but poor staffing can derail your entire operation. Qwick is here to change that. We are a professional platform for the hospitality industry built to connect businesses like yours to skilled freelancers looking to fill shifts.
Freelancers are vetted before joining, and our rating system helps elevate talent along the way to pair each shift with the best possible match. This means you don’t have to worry about finding qualified catering staff. Instead, you can get out of the weeds and focus on things like finding new catering clients!
Great service is what we do best. Tap into our network of talent by creating a free account today!