How to start a corporate drop-off catering division II

(part 2 of 3)

If you are searching for ways to boost your business, industry analysts suggest focusing on the corporate drop-off catering sector. As the economy continues to recover, demand in this market is on the rise and poised for future growth. Starting or growing a corporate drop-off catering division is a savvy strategy for generating a new revenue stream, while incurring minimal additional expenses. Whether you are located in the heart of a financial district or on the outskirts of suburbia, focusing on the following topic areas will help you get started and expand in this still under-tapped segment.

Last week, we talked about menu, pricing, and policies. If you’d like to refer to it, click on my profile under the People tab and you’ll find last week’s article.

PACKAGING

Arrange for three companies to present sample lines of their disposable service ware for catering. Options are plentiful for both styles and colors. Consider incorporating recyclable/reusable plastic ware when possible. If you choose to invest resources in green packaging, be sure to include this information on the menu.

Tip: Inform each vendor that you are expanding your catering business, and ask them to present their most aggres­sive bottom-line pricing. Let them know you are getting multiple bids.

DELIVERY

Whether it’s by vehicle, on foot, or via a third-party delivery service, efficiently transport­ing on-time catering orders to your clients is as important as the food itself. Your delivery staff is most often the face of your operation. A respon­sible, polite representative, who makes a customer feel that their delivery is the most important of the day, will help forge relationships that lead to repeat business.

Tip: In the inevitable event that something is missing from a set-up, all delivery vehicles should have backup paper products and serving utensils. Additionally, all representatives should be well trained in trouble-shooting solutions when a problem arises.

MARKETING

Successful marketing may consist of a combination of direct, social, in-house, paid and word-of-mouth practices. An effective marketing program is a coordinated, well-planned fusion of sales, service, packaging and promotion, created with the intention of interlinking all components to achieve your overall marketing goals. A well-executed marketing program will keep your business fresh in the minds of your customers.

Tip: Tastings at a potential new client’s office are one of the most effective means to acquire new business and showcase your food. (Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?)

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Hit the comment button if you have thoughts. Next week, we will explore consistency, documentation, and information resources. See you next Monday!

Michael Rosman has been in the catering and restaurant industry for over 30 years in the Boston area, where he built a $1.8 million per year corporate drop-off catering operation. He’s the founder of The Corporate Caterer, a membership website and consulting company. To learn more, visit the website, email [email protected], or call 781.641.3303.

Michael Rosman

Michael Rosman

Owner/Founder, The Corporate Caterer, Boston, MA

Michael Rosman has over three decades of experience in the catering and restaurant industry. His career began in the management-training program with Creative Gourmets in Boston, where he spent five years working in different corporate dining facilities and catering venues throughout the city. He then purchased an existing café in Boston’s financial district and eventually took ownership of a nearby pizzeria. During this time he began creating the infrastructure for a corporate drop-off catering operation and five years later, he sold his client list to the largest independent catering company in the city.

As Director of Corporate Catering with Via Lago Café and Catering in Lexington, MA, he built an almost two million...