How to Promote Your Catering Business [10 Actionable Tips]

How to Promote Your Catering Business [10 Actionable Tips]

Are you looking for ways to promote your catering business?

Well, you've come to the right place because that's exactly what we'll be going over in this post. We'll be revealing proven methods to get new customers whether you're a new business or have already been around for years.

We'll also be showing you how to carry out these methods step by step.

1. Put out a local leaflet blast

A leaflet blast involves creating and producing material like promotional leaflets and menus for your catering business to be delivered to potential customers’ homes and places of work. Marketing experts have found this form of direct marketing to be the third most effective form of marketing after email marketing and social media. Having your leaflet posted through local doors can help reach your audience, grab their attention, and connect with them on a personal level. 

The leaflet should include the gist of who you are, what you do, why your audience should care and how they can buy from you. The most important consideration of this leaflet is its tone of voice. You must ensure it speaks to your target customer, with a call to action that encourages them to take decisive purchasing action.

2. Start with friends and family

Small business owners need a lot to succeed. Friends and family members can be a vital starting asset to any catering business that hasn’t yet garnered the attention of its local community.

Having trusted friends to try out your products and services and then spreading their personal review to others is arguably the most basic form of word-of-mouth marketing. It's more likely that someone will check out a recommendation when it's come from someone they respect and trust.

Word-of-mouth drives $6 trillion in annual global spending and is responsible for 13% of all sales, according to Semrush. It’s even more effective than paid ads, resulting in five times more sales. 

Allowing close friends and family members to get to know you and your business can encourage creative idea generation. They could potentially spot unique selling points about your ethos, identity, image, etc., that can be used in campaigns to increase customer brand affinity. 

Once you can understand the important values of your target audience, you can build a genuine and meaningful customer engagement that encourages two-way participation. A sure-fire way of doing this is by learning from the success of other viral word-of-mouth marketing campaigns.

3. Take advantage of Google My Business

If your catering business is yet to receive local exposure, Google My Business can quite literally help put it “on the map”. There are nearly 4 billion Google users on the planet, of which there are 246 million unique Google users alone in the US and of course, millions in the UK. Signing up to Google My Business will help your catering business to show up on Google for local searches, thus allowing you greater local exposure.

Google My Business can help business owners manage how they are seen online. Your online business information can be seen at a glance from its Local Pack feature. It takes up major real estate on page one of Google’s search results and is the first impression Google users will get of your business.

Probably the most vital feature of Google My Business would have to be the ability for your customers to leave online reviews of your business. Online customer reviews have a powerful influence on purchasing decisions. Online reviews are trusted even more than personal recommendations by 91% of 18-34-year-olds. Nearly nine out of ten consumers worldwide make the effort to read reviews before buying products, according to Trustpilot.

Hearing customer feedback will give you insights to help you improve the customer experience. 89% of consumers read businesses' responses to reviews. If you respond in a way that positively reflects your catering businesses’ tone, you’re in a good position to improve your customer’s brand affinity even more.

Here's a guide showing you how to put your business on Google My Business the right way.

4. Give tasters

Your target audience oftentimes needs to try before they buy into something new, especially if this means purchasing from a newly established catering business. How can local community members transition into potential customers? By offering them free tasters of what you have on offer, which can be particularly effective when selling food, drink and cosmetics.

You’re immediately increasing the visibility and awareness of your brand by offering tasters of the products and services you believe will create the biggest customer impact. Adding your company logo to whatever you decide to give away can create links back to your business.

Giving out free samples of your catering goods and services shows that you’re generous. You’re giving others something for free without any strings attached, without expecting feedback and with no obligation for future purchases. You’re putting trust and power in the hands of your potential future customer to consume your product and make their own judgement.

Existing customers could also be tempted to spend a little more by being offered free samples when they spend above a certain threshold.

5. Use ShopAppy

What’s ShopAppy? It’s an online platform that enables local, independent shops and businesses to show their information, products and services they have for sale in your town all in one place. Emerging catering businesses are in a prime position to increase their exposure to local community members whilst also attracting the interest of tourists visiting the area.

It's Shopappy's goal to encourage members of the public to visit local businesses and shops. There’s a search box on the site that allows visitors to easily look for items, or browse through their favourite stores' products. Shops pack part of the customer’s order, then they can go to the collection point to collect their shopping in one place. They also have the option of home delivery, which can be next-day if ordered by 12 noon the previous day.

Shopappy has been driven by customers who want to make shopping locally easier online. It’s currently live with over 100 areas from within the UK and is bringing the shop local experience back to high streets and markets.

6. Partner up with another business

Partnering up with non-competitive businesses that complement your own catering business can increase your exposure and boost your success. A good hypothetical example would be Starbucks and a hotel chain. Their partnership allows Starbucks to make its premium coffee brand an exclusive provider for the hotel and its guests. The hotel allows Starbucks to use the space and Starbucks gets access to the guests, which allows both businesses to benefit and grow.

Catering businesses can adopt the following approaches to improve their chances of building business partnerships:

Connect with other businesses through social media platforms. Check out local businesses in your area and send them invites to ‘Like’ your Facebook page or to follow them on Instagram. Asking them if they would like to do an even together and making sure to highlight what's in it for them.

7. Take advantage of Instagram (Use hashtags!)

Instagram is a monster of a social platform with 1.386 billion users as of 2021. Its purely visual array of pictures, stories and videos can keep users scrolling on the platforms for an average of 28 minutes per day. Knowing how to leverage it could possibly skyrocket your catering business whilst giving potential customers an inside look at your range of products and services.

These are some of the most effective Instagram tips a catering business can use to gain an increased social following and brand awareness:

  • Invest in a good photographer who can take exceptional images and video clips to turn into Instagram eye-candy.
  • Reach out to food bloggers with large followings to mention or even review your catering business.
  • Experiment with short, witty image descriptions that entice a certain range of customers. This can create a sort of inside scoop/joke that only a select few will understand and potentially increase your brand’s mystique.
  • Heavily research hashtags. Using the right hashtags is the single biggest thing you can do to drive organic impressions and increase your reach on Instagram. A post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag.
  • Create your own hashtag for your business name or slogan. Allow customers to find you in an exclusive, interactive way.

What sort of hashtags should you be using?

Pick hashtags that are very specific to your industry, the content you’re posting, or what you offer as a solution. Simply adding a long list of hashtags to your Instagram feed posts isn’t enough. The key is to find relevant hashtags for your business and not be tempted to use hyper-popular hashtags.

More niche businesses are less likely to rank in those hashtags as they’re more competitive. If you’re a wedding caterer, rather than using hashtags like #catering or #food, you can acclimatise to #weddingcaterer, #weddingcatering. You could even add your specific location to the end of some of them to focus them down even more.

8. Establish a marketing budget

Catering businesses that are just starting to locally market themselves seldom ever have a set budget for doing so. This is usually because business owners are constantly in flux about how much to spend on marketing.

There are 5 main reasons to create a marketing budget:

  1. It gives you a clear sense of direction for your marketing management efforts and a roadmap of progress reports and pitfalls to keep in mind.
  2. You can allocate financial resources more effectively.
  3. It provides a basis for assessing how much you spent VS how much you earned from a particular marketing source.
  4. It encourages planning and coordination with other people and faculties of your business: finance, HR, administration, etc. It lets you have a better idea of which marketing avenues to go after to maximize your marketing ROI.
  5. Having an adaptable budget woven into your business plan still ensures you’re experimenting with different approaches until you find something that works for you.

9. Take advantage of YouTube!

YouTube is ranked second in the world’s most used search engine platforms with a user base of 2.29 billion. It’s no wonder why catering businesses are learning ways of harnessing the platform to turn viewers into fans and eventually, fans into paying customers. 

Appearing on YouTube can allow your local community to see your business as an authority in its particular space. The more positively received exposure, the more trust and rapport you’re likely to build.

These are 4 straightforward ways catering businesses can create such videos:

  1. Product Reviews: users sharing their thoughts on a certain product or service.
  2. Tutorial Videos: instructional videos that show viewers how to complete a specific task. For catering businesses, this could be how to make the best dietary-specific party food.
  3. Vlogs: short videos that could share exclusive details of business life and experiences.
  4. Reaction Videos: showing how users - the business owners - might react to certain news, footage, competitor videos to form a more personal connection with their customers based on sharing similar opinions and traits.

10. Have something that separates you from the rest

Finding the one element that separates your catering business from your competitors can become a daunting task as you may offer a lot of similar products and services.

An effective unique selling point communicates your brand's values and differentiates what your company offers through what you stand for and how this can benefit your customers. If stuck on figuring out what this is, consider carrying out the following:

  1. Describe the unique features and benefits of your product or service.
  2. Identify the emotional need that your product or service is specifically meeting.
  3. Identify the aspects of your product or service that your competitors cannot copy.
  4. Describe your unique product or service in short, clear, and concise sentences.
  5. Answer your customer's primary question: "What's in it for me?" What solution can you solve for your target customer?


And that's exactly how you promote your catering business. By staying consistant in marketing your business, you will break through the noise and establish yourself as THE place to go.

Make sure to sign up to ShopAppy to get a headstart in promoting your business.

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