The restaurant industry is a risky business. It is known to be challenging with an extremely high risk for failure. Today, when the economy can go up or down in a short amount of time, it’s important that restaurateurs keep alternative revenue drivers in mind. Catering is one such alternative that is easily forgotten or completely avoided. The reason is that many restaurant owners feel it does not fit their concept or it would be too much of a pain to set up and manage. Adding a catering concept shouldn’t be looked at as such a bad thing. Continue reading to see how adding catering at your restaurant can be a significant revenue booster.
1. Boosts business during slow performing times
Every restaurant experiences a slow period. Whether that’s specific days of the week or even months of the year, catering services can be a great way to counteract the imbalance. Catering doesn’t have to start as a full-time gig for your restaurant either. If your restaurant brings in sufficient business, but your using catering as a growth opportunity, you can just use it as an opportunity when your restaurant is closed or for a few hours a week, when the lunch rush has died down.
2. It can reduce waste
If you have another revenue channel of using excess food rather than the trash can, who wouldn’t consider that a win? A 2014 study said that 84.3% of unused food in American restaurants ends up being disposed of. That’s huge! That should convince you to add catering to your restaurant services more than anything. Catering will not eliminate all your food waste, but it can be a great way to recycle some of it if you have a substantial inventory management system. Remember that a secret to having good food and ingredient levels is all about balance.
3. It can increase order sizes
It’s customary that catering clients order food in bulk because they are usually ordering for a large event instead of a couple of people sitting down for a meal. Bulk ordering is known for the catering industry because there is usually a head count before the big event, where a restaurant count can change. Not every item on your menu would necessarily be good for ordering in bulk either. That’s why most restaurants keep their catering and in-house menu separate.
4. It can extend your brand and increase exposure
When you offer more services, you attract different types of customers that fit that need. That’s not to say that a restaurant customer couldn’t become a catering customer, it’s a bonus. You could attract both the catering only customer and the restaurant and catering customer. Thereby, your brand is expanded far beyond what happens inside your restaurant. Catering can be a great way to attract new regulars who otherwise may not have found your restaurant on their own. They could have enjoyed your catering at a party, and next thing you know they are a regular at your restaurant.
5. It can help expand your menu
Catering is perfect for expanding your menu. It’s a great way to introduce new items or spice up current menu items with new ingredients. Say you want to bring in some holiday themed menu items to your restaurant. Why not try them at a fourth of July catering event or a Christmas event. These events or parties will only happen once per year so you can automatically squash it if it doesn’t work or implement it as holiday specials within your restaurant.
6. It can help your employee retention
When you offer your staff more opportunities to work, and in different settings, it can help increase your employee retention. Employees crave the chance to learn and move up within their position track. The catering sector has new skills that restaurants can’t sometimes teach. For example, the ability to adapt to a changing venue. When your used to serving food in the same section every day, it’s easy to get into a rhythm, but when your serving section changes or your serving to guests that are standing, it can require a different type of attitude and finesse to be successful. Additionally, adding catering can give your staff more hours to work, and more hours to work can mean a larger paycheck.
Catering is not for every restaurant concept. However, it is beginning to make it strides past the quick service and fast casual restaurant concepts. It’s becoming more and more popular as a way for restaurants to increase their revenue. The reason is because the service is so versatile and can almost be molded into the mission of the restaurant. If you decide to incorporate catering into your restaurant, remember to not take away any of the focus from your total restaurant concept. Stay organized, and you will be successful in adding catering services to your restaurant.
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