THREE COMPONENTS TO SUCCESSFUL HOLIDAY BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Raise your hand if you’ve ever said, “We should’ve finalized and begun marketing our holiday catering menu(s) sooner.” Welcome to the majority. In a survey of 400 of our clients, almost 70% “raised their hands.”

Raise your hand if you’ve ever said, “Corporate holiday catering occurs for about two weeks in December. We lose a week of business between Christmas and New Years, so it ends up being a good, but not a great month.” Over 80% of our surveyed clients “raised their hands.” Misery loves company.

There is good news: As you are reading this, there is ample time NOT to raise your hand this year.

Here’s another good piece of news: Holiday corporate catering should also include the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. There is a lot of money lying at your feet between November 11 through 26 this year. Are you ready to pick it up?

There are three components of successful holiday business development.

1) Offering a crowd-pleasing menu(s) at a reasonable price
2) Creating a marketing calendar and sticking to it
3) Advance planning

Start with turkey

If you are thinking, “Does a company want to order a ‘Thanksgiving Warm-Up Lunch’ (or dinner) a week before, or even a few days before the real deal?” The answer is YES!

Below is a sample guideline. Your menu, pricing, minimums, and fine print will vary, of course.

Note: All dates correspond to the current 2019 calendar.

Thanksgiving Warm-Up Menu

Available from Monday, November 11 through Tuesday, November 26

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Home-Roasted Turkey Breast with Gravy
Chef’s Stuffing
Sweet Potatoes
Buttered Green Beans
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Freshly-Baked Rolls

~

Choice of Pie(s): Apple, Blueberry, Chocolate-Pecan
Chilled Beverages
French Roast Coffee & Herbal Tea

~

$$ per person
Add: Vanilla Ice Cream $$ per person

~

Includes delivery and set-up
Includes paper products and serving utensils
10-person minimum / 24 hours notice required
For groups of 50 or more / 48 hours notice requested

You can create the most celebrated menu in the history of mankind, but if people don’t know about it, you’ll have lots of turkey in the freezer. Strategic marketing is as important as the food itself. Leverage as many different platforms as possible, starting with plenty of advance notice to your customer and prospect base.

Suggested marketing calendar

By Monday, October 28: Have a separate landing page for online traffic. Note: Don’t start creating the page on October 28. It should be ready to go on October 28.

Email marketing

Direct marketing, newsletter/blogs, Constant Contact/Mail Chimp:

Suggested dates/frequency: October 29, November 5, November 12, November 19, November 22

Note: Schedule to re-send all “un-opens” three days after the original blast

Social media marketing

Beginning October 28 thru November 25.

• Facebook: 3 to 5 times per week
• Instagram: 1 to 2 times per day
• Twitter: 3 to 5 times per day

December: let the feasts begin!

As for December, this is a suggested (and tested with successful results) menu.

Holiday Office Feast

Available from Monday, December 9 thru Monday, December 23.

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Appetizers

Choice of two types; Two pieces per person of each

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Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail
Mini Beef Wellingtons
Spanakopita Triangles
Chicken Satay Skewers

Entree

Sesame Soy Salmon Filet
Homemade Four-Cheese Ravioli in a Lite Cream Sauce
Rice Pilaf
Steamed Vegetable Medley
Our Signature Caesar Salad
Freshly-baked Rolls

~

Mini Dessert Pastries
Hand-Sliced Fruit and Berries
Chilled Beverages
French Roast Coffee and Herbal Tea

~

$$ per person

~

Includes delivery and set-up
Includes paper products and serving utensils
10-person minimum / 24 hours notice required
For groups of 50 or more / 48 hours notice requested

Suggested marketing calendar

By Monday, November 25: Have a separate landing page for online traffic. Note: Don’t start the page on November 25. It should be ready to go on November 25.

Email marketing

Direct marketing, newsletter/blogs, Constant Contact, Mail Chimp:

Suggested dates/frequency: November 26, December 3, December 10, December 17, December 20

Note: Schedule to re-send all “un-opens” three days after the original blast

Social media marketing

Begin November 25 through December 20.

• Facebook: 3 to 5 times per week
• Instagram: 1 to 2 times per day
• Twitter: 3 to 5 times per day

More marketing strategies for both holiday promotions

• Include flyers with all delivery orders during the month. They can mirror your landing page. Print them in-house. Use colored or Thanksgiving / Holiday-themed paper. Make sure they include “how-to-order” information. Staple them to the copy of the invoice that stays with the client, or to the outside of the bag that includes beverages and paper products.

• If you have a restaurant/café, put signage on the door and tables. Have flyers and/or menu by the registers. Include a flyer in every take-out order.

• Instruct delivery crew to talk up the promotion to their customers. Remember, often they are the face of your catering business.

• Instruct your customer service crew who are taking catering orders over the phone to do the same.

• Add, “Ask about our holiday ____ menu” to your voice mail.

• Call clients who ordered holiday catering from you last year. Let them know you’d love to cater for them again this year.

Proper planning should lead to, at worst, “organized chaos.” It’s a hectic time of year for us, but it’s also an important opportunity to make hay. Block off some uninterrupted time and get your crew together to plan your holiday menus and marketing strategy/calendar. Consider planning both promotions simultaneously. You’ll be glad you did.

About the Author – Michael Rosman

Founder of The Corporate Caterer, a membership website and consult­ing company for restaurateurs and caterers who want to begin or grow a corporate drop-off catering business. thecorporatecaterer.com

Published by Michael Rosman

Michael Rosman has spent more than three decades in the food industry. He built a $1.8 million a year corporate drop-off catering operation from the ground up in suburban Boston. Throughout his company’s steady growth he kept detailed records of the process. His membership website is a compilation of tips, tools, templates and behind-the-scene trade secrets that he and his team have created over the years.