Over the past several years, the restaurant industry has fueled revenue growth by building a stronger catering presence with both end consumers and businesses. In the past five years, consumer spending on social activities and corporate profit have both grown–presenting restaurants with a unique opportunity to cash in.
Heading into 2016, the catering industry is set to surpass $12 billion in revenue and some experts predict continued strong growth over the next two or more years. Many local and chain restaurants now account upwards of 20% of their total revenue to catering alone.
So, how can you grow the catering side of revenue for your business?
In this post,we’re going to outline 4 ways that online marketing can help build a strong catering revenue stream:
It’s not dead, in fact it still remains one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your most loyal customers. Provide your guests with an incentive to join your email marketing list and encourage your staff to continually ask for email addresses. Industry wide, email open rates for the restaurant industry hover around 17% with 4.5% of people taking action by clicking on a link. One of our restaurant clients is averaging 32.2% opens and 12.6% click actions with their newsletter! If you’re able to build a strong list it can become an extremely valuable tool to not only build more on-site traffic, but substantially increase your catering presence.
Update your website (and search optimize it)!
We see countless restaurants that offer amazing catering options–but NO ONE KNOWS! If you offer corporate catering, highlight it on your website with a dedicated page. If someone doesn’t see it highlighted on your website (or menu), they will assume you don’t offer it. Also, if you don’t have a section on your website dedicated to corporate or party catering, the chances of showing up in search results when someone is actively searching are slim. If you want to grow the catering side, invest in creating a catering website section that is search engine optimized.
Target the right buyer with social ads.
Social media is an extremely powerful tool for the restaurant and hospitality industry. It allows you to target the exact right buyer, very cost effectively. For example, we can create a campaign that targets office managers, pharmaceutical reps, and outside sales professionals in a 10 mile radius of a restaurant’s zip code. This is a great way to target your corporate catering services to the right decision-makers and build recurring catering orders. And it’s way more cost-effective than you might think (contact us today and we are happy to share some great recommendations).
If your goal is to grow the consumer catering side as well, you can run very targeted ads based on location, interest and even income level. This allows you to target the right social buyer behavior and adjust the message in your ad to meet their interests.
Consider pay-per-click advertising.
This isn’t for everyone and costs vary greatly by your market. But, if you’re in an area that isn’t extremely competitive in terms of PPC, then this could be a great way to kickstart things. This type of campaign allows you to show up in sponsored results when a consumer is searching for “lunch catering in [city].” The best part about PPC is that you only pay when someone takes action. We have found that the most effective campaigns drive people to a very specific landing page (dedicated to catering) and make it simple and painless to share their order.
Get more catering reviews.
If you’re looking to expand or break into the catering space, online reviews are going to be crucial. Nothing can hurt your catering business more than a few bad reviews that go viral. Take time to proactively build great reviews and testimonials from your happy catering customers (we even offer a great restaurant review tool that does it for you). Once you begin to gather these great catering reviews and testimonials, showcase them on your website, social pages, and other catering sales materials. Positive online reviews also have the chance of going viral and building a great referral stream for your restaurant.
Bonus tip: call BARQAR Marketing!
We offer several outstanding marketing solutions for restaurants, caterers and other businesses. From email marketing, to social and online advertising, to restaurant websites, we can help. Contact us today at 888-576-6100 to learn more about our revenue generating marketing services for restaurants!