The demand for catering has skyrocketed in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. Health and safety regulations, the fear of infection, and reduced venue capacities have caused clients to organize at-home or virtual events with catered meals.

We asked representatives from two catering companies – Olivia Colt of Salt & Honey in San Francisco and Ryan Silber of Encore Catering in Toronto – to share their advice on how to run a successful catering program.

Colt said that when COVID hit, Salt & Honey started selling more grocery boxes and meal kits. They’ve also been seeing more requests for in-person events like microweddings, virtual corporate events, catering for photoshoots, intimate dinners, baby showers, and corporate celebrations.

She recommends that businesses use social media and email to drive business. Sharing gorgeous food photos, easy-to-access information on their website, discounts or promo codes for clients’ first order, and non-salesy content such as recipes have helped get clients in the door.

In Toronto, Encore Catering has been finding success with corporate clients, with at-home delivery the day before virtual events so that all employees have their food in advance. They’re also focusing on grocery delivery and drop-off catering for small gatherings, including weddings.

Silber said that email campaigns and social media posts have helped to generate business. Partnering with property managers to get the word out through email marketing has also helped get them more exposure to prospects. They have also worked to help educate their customers on what’s happening in the industry and what their business is doing to comply with COVID restrictions.

Watch the recording of our Social Hour: All About Catering and Off-Premise Events to access the full conversation:

More resources for event professionals

If you’ve missed our past roundtables, you can access recordings of Social Hour online. Event professionals can also find more tips for the hospitality industry on our blog; by listening to our Two Chicks, Three Seats podcast; and by joining our Facebook group, Event Manager Community, to connect with peers and discuss the impact of the coronavirus on the events industry.

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