Catersource is part of the Informa Connect Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Winning Catering Marketing Strategies: What Works in a Competitive Landscape?

Competition in the food industry can be cutthroat. Particularly for catering, your marketing techniques must be top-notch to stand out and win clients. Of course, you will have your target audience and ideal customer. You will also likely have repeat clients. However, you must evolve to stay competitive in catering. Learn how to up your catering marketing game with the following adaptive, innovative strategies.

Conduct competitive research

First and foremost, do a deep dive into your direct competitors. As a catering business, you are likely up against other local caterers. Look at who’s who in the area you serve and analyze their current marketing and business strategy. For instance, they could be promoting their use of seasonal produce that is locally sourced. They could be partnering with local influencers on social media. Keep tabs on their levels of engagement, as well as your own, to pin down what works in your particular market and capitalize on that.

Get catering staff on the same page

Marketing strategies are most successful when they are communicated clearly across the workforce. Everyone from kitchen staff to company executives should be on the same page. Catering professionals looking to increase their marketing stamina should align their marketing goals with everyone in the company. If everyone understands the end goals of your campaigns and overall processes, the results are more likely to be positive. Consider some of the following strategic planning communication tips:

  • Get everyone involved in meetings
  • Create a sense of urgency with timelines and projected results
  • Showcase how everyone in your catering team can benefit
  • Offer a detailed framework for each department, outlining specific roles and projects that align with the overall marketing goals 
  • Nurture this plan with follow-up communication company-wide
  • Use visuals when possible to clarify objectives
  • Celebrate milestones and wins along the way 

People who work in the hospitality industry are stereotypically stressed but passionate. Giving them rewards for hard work that aligns with your marketing goals is key to motivating them to continue on the right path.

Leverage consumer trends

When coming up with your catering marketing plan, make sure to keep consumer trends in mind. For example, many modern consumers care about sustainability when deciding what businesses to purchase from or work with. In this way, opting to go green can land you more loyal clients and, therefore, benefit your bottom line. You can also emphasize any eco-friendly certifications your business or your suppliers hold on your website. You can highlight where your ingredients come from, how your events are eco-conscious, as well as how your packaging and processes positively impact the environment. 

Some additional ways that catering services can go green include: 

  • Incorporating plant-based foods; 
  • Avoiding single-use utensils and plates;
  • Partnering with food donation services for leftover donations.

Whatever you can do to show your commitment to the environment and your customers’ needs should be highlighted in your marketing materials.

Use digital and traditional marketing tools

While most marketing is done digitally, it’s best to have a combination of traditional and online marketing techniques. Every catering business should have a website with several ways to contact you for booking and questions. The easier it is to find you online, the more likely people will be to reach out. Social platforms are also perfect for showing food offerings, event decor, and all your other unique attributes.   

However, traditional marketing materials like flyers and newspaper ads could work for local catering bookings. You can even consider partnering with local shops, businesses, or magazines to get the word out there about your services. For example, try aligning forces with a wedding planning service to promote your catering services to potential wedding clients. This can be a win-win for both parties if done correctly.

Implement innovative customer engagement techniques

Food is very personal and tends to draw people together, building a sense of community. Tap into this in your marketing by boosting your customer engagement. On social media platforms, you can involve followers in menu decisions on live streams or polls. You can create personalized email campaigns to repeat customers, mentioning their dietary preferences and suggestions based on past orders. This can ensure they feel seen and valued. 

Embracing technology can also allow you to provide virtual tastings or cooking classes, providing an immersive and engaging experience for customers from the comfort of their homes. Integrating customer feedback loops, chatbots, and social listening tools can further enhance marketing communication. As long as you respond promptly to inquiries and adapt your offerings based on customer input, this is a winning strategy. 

By embracing these innovative marketing strategies, your catering business can foster stronger connections, build brand loyalty, and stay ahead in a competitive market. 

Ainsley Lawrence

Freelance Writer

Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer that lives in the Northwest region of the United States. She has a particular interest in covering topics related to good health, balanced life, and better living through technology. When not writing, her free time is spent reading and researching to learn more about her cultural and environmental surroundings.