A couple of months ago, I joined a volunteer team of Vancouver professionals who have come together to help a local charity structure its fundraising and community marketing programs. There are a few of us who meet every couple of weeks to discuss plans, work accomplished to date, and any new business that might have come up.
During these meetings, our Team Lead is kind enough to provide a catered meal for us as we usually get together around the time that most are settling down to dinner. I always thought this was a lovely gesture, and means that we can continue with our work uninterrupted by the noise of growling stomachs.
This got me thinking about the many events that this charity is involved in throughout the year, and the impact that catering can have from a both a customer service and a marketing perspective.
Not only do attendees appreciate being treated to good food at a charity event, but they are more likely to stay and enjoy the event a little longer, which can only have positive results for the organizers. From a catering perspective, this is a huge opportunity to market a brand outside of its four walls, expand its catering client base, and also become associated with a good cause. What better marketing and public relations could a brand ask for?
So, as a Catering Sales Manager, you might be looking for more opportunities to expand your client base. Try reaching out to local volunteer organizations, or even directly to charities themselves – you can review their event schedules for the months ahead, and offer to provide catering for them. Many organizations have a specific budget to stick to so you may find that offering a discounted rate for your services or finding a solution that fits their budget specifically will work the best. The alternative is offering your catering services as a donation, at no cost to the organization, but providing you with an opportunity to reach a new purchasing group.
Then, at the event itself, you can have delivery drivers, or even your set-up team, leave flyers and bounce-back coupons for local restaurant stores, talk to potential customers as they enjoy your food to see if they have any need for catering and off-premise services, and perhaps even set up future catering orders for personal summer events, such as family gatherings or corporate events, like company picnics or barbecues.
Working with charitable organizations can potentially lead to a great customer base for the future, which in turn gives you an opportunity to Feed Your Customers Where They Live, Work and Play!™
Erle Dardick is a 15-year catering veteran, business turn-around expert, best known for helping multi-unit restaurant executives create successful catering revenue channels. Erle founded MonkeyMedia Software to provide catering solutions to multi-unit restaurant operators. He also is the author of “Get Catering and Grow Sales! One Monkey’s Perspective: Catering Defined for the Multi-Unit Restaurant Executive,” and is founder of the MMS Catering Institute.