Working towards success in our new normal may take a little adaptation and creativity, but change can be fun, and with Tripleseat, it can also be easy. Catering services probably haven’t been a top priority for your business in the past, or even an option you were considering. But, catering can be lucrative, especially during a time when not everyone is comfortable yet with dining in or celebrating at restaurants. Adding a catering aspect to your business model shouldn’t be too difficult, especially with Tripleseat by your side.

Why catering?

During the pandemic restaurants across the world switched gears, and found operational workarounds to survive. Many of them looked towards delivery and takeout as viable resources. Catering is similar to these services in an obvious way; you’re supplying the customer with food to eat someplace else, whether it be their home or their workplace. Just because large gatherings may not be legal inside your restaurant just yet doesn’t mean they aren’t happening in other places. Not to mention the customers who still don’t feel safe eating outside their comfort zones.

With catering menu options like boxed lunches, individual-sized meal options, and bite-sized appetizers that don’t require sharing a serving utensil, you can boost sales while still meeting the stricter safety standards and customers’ new expectations. The key is to keep your costs low while still maintaining the same level of quality your customers expect. Catering is an easy way to do this as most orders are placed several days ahead of the expected arrival time, and with ample time the kitchen will know exactly how much food to order and prepare, therefore minimizing waste. 

Where do I start?

Your catering menu should be filled with items you sell regularly; the only thing that may change is the way you serve or package them. Get creative with the menu. Serve a shared cheese plate or charcuterie board as an individual bento box, your burger and homemade chips as a bagged lunch, or even homemade lemonade in mason jars. Catering doesn’t have to be boring and traditional — think outside of the to-go box to attract more customers.

Once you have your menu set, you’ll want to add your new catering items as a picklist in Tripleseat. You can do this yourself by going to Settings> Picklists> + New Picklist, or to make things even more simple, reach out to our support team and they will add it for you.

To promote your new catering service, create a catering specific lead form in Tripleseat by going to Settings> Lead Forms> + New Event Lead Form. You should also make sure to add a catering event type to your dropdown if you don’t have one already. This is easily done by going to Settings> Preferences> Dropdowns. By doing this, you’ll be able to run reports in the future to gauge how well your catering service has done so you can continue what you’re doing or tweak it to work better. 

How do I market my new catering service?

Once your catering lead form is ready to go, it’s time to market your new service. Create a Facebook post highlighting your new catering menu and link to your lead form so prospective customers can easily access it. Post pictures on your Instagram page of events you’ve catered leading customers to click the link in your bio where you can embed your lead form. Twitter posts that contain testimonials from past catering clients are another great way to highlight your service, including, of course, a link to the lead form. With Tripleseat’s embeddable lead form, the marketing options are endless.

You can also utilize your listings on the Tripleseat Booking Network to promote your catering service. Yes, most event planners who search listings on VENUES and EventUp are looking for a place to hold their event, but you can add caterer as an option under your venue type so planners know you offer the service in addition to hosting live events. You can edit your listing to include caterer by going to Settings> Venues by Tripleseat> Edit. What you change here will automatically update both of your listings. 

Another great way to promote your catering service is to write a blog post for your VENUES listing bragging about how amazing your new catering menu is. Include photos of your trendy boxed lunches and bento boxes to entice customers. Again, be creative and use every resource you can.

Make that money

Remember, when it comes to building and promoting any type of add on service at your restaurant, it’s important to make it easy for potential customers to find you. Your Tripleseat lead form and listings on the Tripleseat Booking Network put your venue in front of millions of event planners every day. Don’t make it difficult to find you. Post that lead form anywhere and everywhere you can, and make sure you put a little time and effort into your listings. The less clicks it takes to find your lead form, and the more information you include in your listings, the more ROI you’ll receive. 

Want to add a catering option to your restaurant? Log in to your Tripleseat account. Not yet a Tripleseat customer? Schedule a demo to learn more about how Tripleseat can help you build and streamline more than just your private dining business.

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