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Top 3 Catering Business Mistakes that will Kill Your Dreams–and How to Use Catering Software to Fix Them


TPPIt’s the love of the food, the parties, and the people that lure most caterers into business–and it’s the paperwork, scheduling, and food tracking that drive too many good folks out of the kitchen screaming for mercy. The top 3 catering business mistakes that will kill your dreams are all related to the grunt work of catering–but there’s a way to use a catering software to fix them.

The question on John Cohen’s mind when he developed Total Party Planner catering software was how could he automate more of the boring-but-oh-so-necessary-to-success tasks and jobs, so talented chefs and event planners could spend more time focusing on the creative parts of the jobs they love?

The answer–different built-in features that help track the crucial information you need in order to keep food costs down, schedule people and events accurately, and build events with better profit margins.

Top 3 Catering Business Mistakes that will Kill Your Dreams–and How to Use Catering Software to Fix Them

1. Think you know your true food costs and most popular menu items? Think again.

Too often, caterers are slow to spot trends when popular items start to shift within their menus. And think of seasonal or mini-trends–if you have an increase in requests for your famous Cranberry Orange Chicken every fall, are you spotting that trend in time to know to stock up on cranberries early, so you have enough and can even buy them on sale?

The solution:

Total Party Planner helps track menu items, ingredient usage, and food costs, so you know what your profit is on every menu item you offer and how much food you’re going through. There are many different customizable reports you can run to get an accurate picture of what you’re making and selling. With this information, you can plan ahead and get better prices on the ingredients you need–as well as make sure you never run out of the go-to appetizer that everyone wants at their event.

2. Scheduling challenges that make Grand Central look like a cake walk.

We’re talking scheduling events, scheduling rentals, and scheduling the right amount of staff for those events. You can lose a lot of money by overbooking staff or not booking enough staff and providing lousy customer service to clients. And there’s always the classic comedy of errors when you book two or more events too close to each other. Many caterers also lack an easy, transparent way to track hours for their staff.

The solution:

Use catering software to keep track of event and staff schedules in one place, so you can see if your favorite bartender is available for a large, high-visibility wedding and if you have enough staff for a second event on a Saturday. Track the scheduling of key equipment, so you know if you need to rent more stuff. TPP will also track hours and wages and let you run reports whenever you need them.

3. Paperwork–always the paperwork!

The best part of paperwork and getting your financials in order–is when you’re done! Creating proposals, writing up invoices, tracking sales tax after festivals and events, and even tracking staff wages and taxes gets very tedious–especially when you’re typing the same information over and over for different reports. It takes a lot of time away from family, customers, and making money.

The solution:

The multiple reports and invoices that TPP catering software creates pull from one central location. You enter information one time into an event record, and then you can pull any kinds of reports and invoices you need, from who is working to client invoicing to multiple tax schemes for beverages, food, etc. You can even track deposits and discounts.

Many TPP users say they really didn’t have a true picture of what kind of business they were doing (and what kind of profits they were leaving on the table) until they started using TPP catering software.

Once you take action to solve these top 3 catering business mistakes, you’ll see that you have more time and can make more money. More time means more time to close business AND more time with family and friends. And you’ll be making more money when you can schedule events and staff more efficiently and track and see your profit margins better.

If you’re already a TPP user, the question for you is: are you getting everything you can out of your software? Call us for personalized help about features that will be most helpful to you.

If you’re not using TPP in your office and kitchen yet, the question for you is: are you ready for a free live demo to see more of what TPP can do for your business? Contact us by phone or email to set up a personalized demo.

Catering software is definitely the way to fix these business-killing pitfalls that so many caterers succumb to. Get a clearer picture of how much and what kind of business you’re doing–and save hours of paperwork and office time. It’s an easy step to more success!

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