We at Flex Catering agree 110% that a good online presence will certainly help your catering business to thrive, and our system has several functionalities that makes that just easier. In the article below we share a few more tips on how technology and an online presence can effectively help your catering business succeed.
Even if your restaurant has full tables almost every night of the week, you’ll still be missing out on a lot of potential customers if you don’t maintain a strong online presence. And the same rationale applies to catering. To some restaurateurs, the Internet and digital marketing might not seem very relevant, but there’s no doubt that a tech-savvy approach towards marketing your venue can make a world of difference, particularly if you haven’t been in business for long or you’re struggling to keep your tables full.
Just as potential customers use modern tools to find the perfect meals, so should restaurateurs be using the same tools to ensure they’re visible to them. In fact, according to the National Restaurant Association, 88% of people check restaurant menus and/or reviews online before they book a table. Additionally, many of these people won’t even visit your venue if they can’t find the information they want beforehand. After all, there are usually plenty of other options to consider.
Show Off Your Menu
Disappointing catering experiences are often down to unrealistic expectations. However, by showing off your menu online, preferably complete with some eye-catching imagery, you’ll be able to build up more accurate expectations for people. By viewing your menu online, potential customers will be in a better position to make an informed judgement about whether or not your catering business is suitable for them. First impressions count for a lot, and the first impression many people will have of your business will be when they see your menu on your website or elsewhere online. And with FlexCatering showing off and changing your menu is one of the many things that our system allows you to make seamlessly.
Leverage Customer Feedback
These days, anyone can leave a review of your venue online, particularly on third-party websites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor. While the fact that your reputation is now largely in control of your customers might be unnerving, it’s also important that you take a transparent approach towards digital marketing and actively encourage user reviews. After all, most people now check reviews online before they book a table, either through a website or over the phone. Google even displays ratings of certain venues in the search results.
In order to leverage customer feedback and other user-generated content as a powerful marketing tool, you should always ask your customers to leave feedback and, even more importantly, respond to that feedback whenever possible. Particularly when you get negative feedback, which is inevitable sooner or later, you should be present to provide a professional and personalized response. After all, many consumers will put more weight in your response that they negative feedback itself when formulating their opinions about your business.
Build a Community
Social media platforms are among the most important online resources of all when it comes to marketing your catering and restaurant business on the Web. By establishing and maintaining social media profiles, you’ll be in a perfect position to build a community around your brand to the extent that it might even go viral. Although your website might serve as the centrepiece of your online marketing strategy, it’s social media that leads to meaningful interaction between you and your brand, provided you’re involved as much as possible. In other words, do not make the mistake of approaching social media as a tool for direct promotion.
If you’re still not convinced about the value of social media in the catering industry, consider the fact that so many people now post photos of just about every meal they eat. Foodies seem to be taking over social media to the extent that there are now many popular food blogs and countless Instagram profiles with nothing other than countless pictures of various culinary delights.
Maintain an Online Store Front
For traditional high-street businesses, a website is basically a virtual store front, and this applies to restaurants as well. Not only can you provide a quick and easy way for people to make reservations through your website, you add a whole raft of new possibilities such as online ordering and home deliveries. As people spend more and more money on the Internet, it’s becoming increasingly common for people to order food online, either in advance of arriving at a restaurant in person or to have delivered to their homes, typically using a local delivery service.
Increase Exposure with Google Maps
Unsurprisingly, the world’s most popular website and online service is the single most important resource of all for any business. People use Google Maps all the time, either on their Android-powered smartphones or on their computers to find local businesses. If your venue isn’t listed on Google Maps, you will be missing out on a lot of potential customers. In many cases, venues end up finding their way onto Google Maps anyway, but you should still claim your listing to make sure that your venue becomes fully incorporated into Google’s network. This will allow you to upload photos of your venue, specify opening times, ensure the location is correct and much more. Even more importantly, you can use Google’s new Business Photos tool to upload 360° photos of your venue. However, don’t forget that Google Maps and Google My Business aren’t the only important resources out there. Just like any local business, you should also claim your listings on Microsoft’s Bing Maps, Foursquare, TripAdvisor and Yelp, as well as any other popular online resources in your country or region.
Catering software is a must have
Catering software is a must have for catering businesses. Surprisingly several catering business in Australia are still running their business on spreadsheets or even manual notes. This will cause your catering business several in which could really affect your business performance:
If you are a one man band, then probably a spreadsheet might do the trick. However, as soon as you are running a business with a few people, spreadsheets will quickly become limited and inefficiency. Inefficiency equals wastage. The low cost of implementation of a catering software will definitely outweigh the cost of the inefficiency.
- eCommerce for Catering
Choose a cloud catering software with an integrated ecommerce. This way you will be killing two birds with one stone. Allowing your customers to order online will also improve your efficiency as customer will be placing the orders by themselves.
- Analytical Reports
A good catering software will give your business analytic reports beyond any report you can produce manually. It will allow modern database to interact at all levels to generate the best information about your catering business such as dishes performance, sale, sale by customer, sale by product to name a few. Basically any data that was entered into the system can be used to generated reports. Hence, you will not be guessing decisions. You will be basing your decisions on historical facts about your business.
The buzz word of this current decade. A good catering software will automate most of your internal processes, from placing orders, managing your kitchen production, collecting payment to delivering orders, everything can be automated, reducing costs and minimising human error.
Nowadays technology is becoming well integrated and agnostic. Hence choose a catering software that will integrate with your accounting system, email marketing and more. Integration basically allow two distinct software such as the catering software and accounting system to connect to each other. This integration will reduce your double handling data entry, human error and allow your internal processes to run on auto-pilot.
While there’s no need to jump on board every trend that hits the world of digital marketing, there’s no doubt that maintaining a strong website, particularly with a mobile-centric approach, is crucial for any catering venue. Whether your venue is brand new or well-established, a strong online presence will help to secure a future of growth and prosperity. Lastly but not least, implement and maintain a good catering software which will allow your business to scale at ease as well as maximise efficiencies and reduce operational costs.
For any further information about Flex Catering, our easy to use system please contact us. Our goal is to help your Catering business to succeed.