The holidays are just around the corner, and for many restaurants, that means gearing up for catering gigs. Office holiday parties are often a big draw for restaurants that cater, so it’s important to know the ins and outs of how to successfully set yourself up for catering jobs, and how to market your business to draw in more events throughout the holiday season.
This article will focus on some marketing ideas you can use to promote your food and your services to area holiday Christmas parties.
We’ll also cover a few liability issues your business will need to address if you want to serve alcohol. It can be a big draw at holiday parties, so making sure you know the rules and how to serve everyone safely to ensure that these parties are a hit when your restaurant comes to cater them!
Covering Your Bases for Drinks & Damages
There are plenty of old stereotypes about having a little too much “eggnog” at holiday parties. But in reality, most businesses do want some kind of bar or drink service at their parties. Whether it’s wine, an open bar, or festive holiday drinks, having alcohol involved can put everyone into a bigger “party” mood and get people loosened up, especially around co-workers.
As a caterer, especially one with a hosting space, it’s important to make sure you know all of the rules and regulations associated with serving alcohol. These rules tend to vary state by state, but you’ll need some kind of license in order to pour and serve.
Your serving staff will also potentially need a license, or TIPS certification, and will need to meet state requirements for the legal serving age. For example, in many popular cities like Chicago, you have to be 21 years old to serve alcohol, but in some cities and states, the minimum age is 18. Knowing some of these regulations will keep your business protected.
Additionally, if you use a commercial building — such as a winery or distillery — to produce your own spirits, you need to be aware of the necessary agricultural specifications, which according to DC Structures will require a unique set of specifications unlike what you would find elsewhere in the agricultural industry. Serving alcohol does require a lot of rule-following, but it’s often worth the investment, and you’ll likely land more gigs.
In addition to knowing the ins and outs of serving alcohol, you’ll also want to make sure you have your bases covered with property insurance. If your restaurant has a commercial space for holiday parties, it’s important to be prepared for anything and everything. The right commercial property insurance will keep your business safe if you experience a loss due to something like a power outage, weather damage, a fire, or theft. It’s a must-have for a catering business any time of year, but it can give you more peace of mind in the winter when the weather can be scary.
How to Stand Out from the Christmas Crowd
While a lot of businesses and offices in your area are likely to have holiday parties, there are also probably a lot of catering options they can choose from. So, how can you effectively market your restaurant’s services to stand out and get more business?
One of the best things to do is to market any holiday specials you might have. Bringing social media into play is an easy and inexpensive way to let people know you’re available to cater holiday parties. Creating social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram not only allows you to stay connected with people who love your food, it makes you more personable and approachable to potential clients who will want to hire you for catering gigs.
You can stay at the forefront of people’s minds by investing in different marketing techniques. Push promotions through the world of mobile marketing such as text messages or email blasts; you could even send out a holiday card to past and potential customers. Create a holiday cocktail that will be featured at your events and share it with people who have already “liked” your restaurant. The more social and upfront you are with your self-promotion, the better. Meet your customers’ needs with holiday catering packages and promotional offers (especially via social media), and they’ll come to you!
Market to Your Target Audience
While it’s true that restaurants thrive on word of mouth and new business, don’t forget your loyal guests during the holiday season. In fact, people who have been to your restaurant or those who have used you for catering before are the ones who will be most likely to do it again. If they have another good experience, they’ll recommend it to their friends.
Creating a five-star experience starts with a professional-looking website, clean advertising, and solid positive reviews. Then, you can let your commercial space, your highly-trained staff, and your food speak for itself.
The bottom line? Don’t be afraid to have fun with your holiday advertising. It’s a special time of year, and people are often looking for something different when it comes to throwing a party. Everyone wants to stand out and host the best holiday party of the year. You can help different companies do that by playing up the festive nature of the holiday and marketing your services with a more casual, fun attitude than you would the rest of the year.