How to Increase Banquet Revenue
To maximize your banquet revenues, you need to not only bring new business in the door, but to get customers to spend more once they decide to hire you. Expanding what you offer and learning how to upsell, in addition to looking for new customers, can help you improve your gross revenues and profits per customer.
Segment the marketplace by offering different themes and menus. Attract more business by offering specialized packages. Offer different banquet options for black-tie affairs, weddings, annual meetings, school groups and business meetings. Tailor your packages by offering audio-visual equipment for business functions, photography for weddings and galas and clowns and magicians for children's events. Offer budget, high-end, vegetarian, heart-healthy menus and a variety of ethnic menus.
Upsell items and services: Help people booking a banquet get the experience they are seeking by offering extra services and amenities. Partner with other businesses such as florists, audio-visual companies, photographers, magicians, clowns, bands, wine stores and dessert chefs for a commission. Offer a standard centerpiece as part of your package, then offer nicer arrangements clients can purchase. Recommend a wine pairing with each entrée on your menu. The more you can do for busy meeting planners, the more sales you can generate.
Look into off-site catering if you don’t offer it. Write a business plan for a catering service to test the feasibility of expanding your revenues by bringing your food to customers, instead of them coming to you. Plan for additional costs involved in operating off-site costs as extra heating and serving equipment and transportation, then compare your estimated prices against those of other caterers in the area to see if you can compete.
Create a network of businesses related to yours and cross-promote each other. Print brochures that florists, hotel meetings departments, audio-visual companies, conference centers, photographers, entertainers, cake makers and wine stores can distribute, and agree to distribute their materials. Exchange banners and links on websites, post on each other’s Facebook pages and tweet about your businesses. Join your Chamber of Commerce or Visitor’s Bureau if you aren’t a member; they are in the business of promoting your company locally, you can find out through them what conferences and meetings are coming to town so you can prospect them.
Use a social media plan. People who need banquet services commonly start by typing “banquets” and their city or town name into a search engine. Make sure they can find you by optimizing your website and Facebook page with free directory listings and the right keywords. Type your town’s name and the word “banquets” into a search engine, see who pops up first and mimic that business does.