Outstanding Take-out

Takeaway and catering are important to most foodservice operators. Want to get started? Wish you could do it better? Let’s look at a few ideas.

Selling Points

Looks matter! An attractive menu for takeaway. A great flyer and enticing website for catering. They’ll help clinch the deal! Then there’s the food itself. Have you chosen the right packaging, which keeps takeaway items appetizing until their destination? Does your catered bu et look appealing, with artful arrangement and garnishing? Perceived value boosts repeat business. To promote work-lunch takeaway and o ce catering, consider paying a fee to a company such as LinkedIn for targeted lists, such as administrative assistants. Then establish email contact, following best practices.

Manage Expectations

Even for takeaway, you’ll want customers to understand what they’re getting and when. Are you delivering? You may want to upcharge outside of a certain area. For catering contracts, break down categories, with careful estimates, to be sure that you’ll meet the customer’s budget. That said, never apologize for your pricing. If customers ask for a discount, ask them instead: “What’s your budget?” Know your strengths and limitations. Catering is hard work and long hours—and dealing with the unexpected. An e ective questionnaire can help set parameters and avoid being lambasted on social media.

outstanding takeout catering trayTesting & Travelling

Not every menu item is worthy of takeaway or catering. Anything that arrives looking sad or soggy should be o the list. And a too-large menu can be o -putting: arrange your choices with subcategories to help people order in a hurry. If you want catering to become a large part of your business, a separate sales manager and sta team may be required. There are basically three types of o -premise catering: 1) drop-o , 2) set up and retrieve, and 3) full service. Each should probably have its own price point for service as well as unique packaging.


In Advance

Meet and greet the people you plan to cater for. At the very least, initiate a phone discussion. If you introduce yourself in person, o ering a nice nibble can help sell your services. And if a tasting is part of the process to determine final food choices, know that many caterers charge for this preview. When proposed recipes rely on seasonal ingredients, try to schedule the tasting for the same season as the event. Setting up your spread at a historic building? Outdoor event facility? Private home? Investigate beforehand; don’t be surprised by a lack of equipment or electrical capacity. Also check for possible food-safety issues. Finally, arrange sta ng and rentals in plenty of time, as well as necessary permits for serving alcohol.