Booking Brides & Grooms
Show of hands, who saw at least one engagement on Facebook or Instagram over the holidays? It was probably a little closer to five, but who’s counting? Now that we are through the most popular engagement season of the year you can expect to hear from many brides & grooms to be. Many will start planning weddings that will occur within the next six months to a year and snagging a good caterer is at the top of the priority list.
USA Today projected a total of 2.2 million weddings for 2015, and we would venture to guess that they’re right. Make sure you’re getting your share of the wedding cake during this key booking season by communicating clearly with potential customers. We put together five tips for heading off some of the biggest complaints heard from brides and grooms when trying to pick a caterer.
Number one of the list of complaints from brides – pricing, or lack thereof. When searching for caterers the first things brides are looking for is someone within their budget. While it may make sense on your end for clients to select their menu items so you can give a more accurate estimate, to the bride this is very frustrating. They find themselves falling in love with menu after menu just to find out they can’t afford the meals unless they limit their invites to about ten people. In these situations, caterers who can at least provide ballpark estimates on their website or sample menus tend to peak a good portion of brides’ interests. This helps them save time, and really helps you save time, too. You don’t really want to spend hours creating estimates for brides you’ll never see because they can’t afford your services, do you? Since we’re talking about time saving and helpful elements, let’s hit our next point: Serving Guide.
Pricing and serving guides go hand in hand. The amount of people your client is looking to serve will affect the cost of the catering (we know you know that.) If you provide an online guide or sample menus, it is important to show how many people an appetizer tray or buffet will feed. If a bride knows they are planning to invite around 150 people they can do the rough math to figure out if you are within their budget. (If you don’t have a current serving guide to share with your clients be sure to catch our next blog post.)
You know what people love about hiring a caterer? Tastings. But, we’re sure you already knew that. For some brides and grooms, this will be the first time they have ever done a tasting. Their expectations may be low because they don’t know what to expect, or extremely high due to the Hollywood version of what wedding planning is like. Our suggestion is to do two things: 1. Make scheduling a tasting easy. Couples have plenty of appointments to make. Having to chase down one less vendor makes their lives so much easier and will make them very thankful. 2. Use the tasting to impress and clarify. Couples come in expecting to get a sample of at least something from every course, if not every item they’ve preselected. This is a great opportunity to show clients what the food will look like when served; is it on trays or are the bite sized morsels served on individual spoons? This helps give them a clear image of what will be happening during their big day. If they can picture you there you’re golden.
This sounds simple right? Well, you’d be surprised by the number of caterers who tell brides, “Well, you just tell us what you want and we can make it.” This may seem like a nice gesture of flexibility but in reality a bride hears, “Another decision you need to make. Be creative.” Brides might have a vision in their head of the type of food they want but they won’t be able to nail down every appetizer they were thinking or even the main course. Not every bride wants to be in control of every little detail. They are coming to you as an expert. Being clear about the style food you offer and your standard options can really help brides make decisions. Provide your “usuals” and then present the ability to be flexible with custom menus or packages.
This one is short and sweet; if you have other vendors you are comfortable working with, provide that information on your website or verbally let your clients know when they are in for their tasting. This can help check things off your clients list and in the end make their process easier.
If you didn’t catch it, the key for working with brides or newly engaged couples is clarity and simplification. As a wedding caterer you are there to help the bride, take a load off her plate (pun intended) and create a memorable day. If you can simplify the planning process with clear pricing, serving guides and vendor recommendations plus deliver a beautiful spread on the big day, you are sure to come highly recommended to all of that bride’s friends and family getting married from here to the end of time.