How to Easily Overcome the Summer Slump for Caterers
For most caterers, the summer months bring a significant slowdown in business. Specifically, July, August, and September show a notable drop in business to many caterers, event planners, and suppliers. But the summer slump can be overcome with proactive and outside the box thinking. Here are four tips to help increase your business over the next few months.
Collaborate Events with Vendors
Depending on your location, many other local businesses are also trying to cope with the summer slump. Reach out to hotels, corporations, government agencies, and wedding planners to discuss event collaboration. Cities and towns often have 4th of July celebrations and end of summer barbecues, hotels host various conferences, and wedding planners, who are planning weddings on short notice, could all use a great caterer. If everyone is slow and nothing is going on, create an event that benefits all of your vendors and partners, like an exposition. Advertise the event in the newspaper and social media to drum up interest and invite friends, family, and clients. Also, consider free events with a suggested donation at the entrance and ask other local businesses to volunteer or donate items like food or raffle items. The short term gain may not be huge, but you’ll be sure to win new customers after the event.
Adjust your Niche
Perhaps you aren’t usually a caterer who cooks outside, on-site. Consider pushing outside your comfort zone and trying your hand at an outdoor summer event. Some tips to consider during the summer:
- Food safety – During the hot weather food can spoil much faster so make sure to keep cold foods on ice or refrigerated. Also, frequently check food temperatures to be sure they are at safe levels.
- Employee safety – At higher temperatures, employees can quickly become overworked and overheated. Be sure to have water on hand to keep everyone hydrated and encourage them to take frequent breaks.
- Tips, tricks, & tools – There are many available options to assist with catering outdoors including tools to use when electricity, ice, and open flames are not available for use in an outdoor setting. Check your local restaurant store or online.
First, if you don’t have a website for your business, create one. Websites don’t have to cost thousands of dollars. There are many tools to help set up and design sites in just a few hours. Even a basic website can boost your business. Check out sites such as Wix or Squarespace to get started. Next, do a quick google search for catering. If you can’t find your company listed in the Google businesses section, add it! Build your website traffic (and traffic in general) by advertising in local guides, placemats in diners, and mailers. Create special packages for those who book summer catering, offer complimentary appetizers, or give out extras, such as décor, for their event.
Host an Event or Open House
Plan an open house at your business location. If you don’t have a physical location, plan your event at a local business, park, or hotel conference room. Use this opportunity to showcase all that you have to offer: great food and exceptional service. Invite the general public along with your best customers and vendors. Advertising your open house can be done at little to no cost by printing out flyers, using social media by creating an event on your Facebook business page, or posting on neighborhood websites like Nextdoor. Choose food options that are lower in cost along with one or two of your best items. Putting your product and services directly in front of potential clients is a great way to win them over.
Being creative in the ways you reach out to potential clients can pull you out of the summer slump and increase business. With a packed summer schedule, request a demo of Total Party Planner to see how our catering and event management software can keep your business organized with all the additional bookings!