The Importance of the Catering Department
A catering department can complement your business and expand on its success if the quality of food and the service meet or exceed customer expectations. When the catering department is part of other establishments, such as restaurants, hotels or event planning businesses, it is well positioned to provide food and refreshments for weddings and other celebratory events. At its best, the catering department can provide lasting memories for the guests it serves and create a viable income base for the affiliated business.
The addition of a catering department has the potential to dramatically increase your bottom line. A 2011 industry trend report by the Food Service Director website indicated that 29 percent of total revenue could be attributed to the catering component of 92 percent of participating businesses, representing an increase in revenue over the previous year. The possibility of broadening this percentage may depend, in part, on the extent to which businesses invest in promoting their catering departments and the quality of food and service offered.
Your business may require constant supervision and involvement, leaving little time for you or your managers to attend to the myriad details associated with catering. These specifics include menu planning, food purchasing and preparation, event decor, renting equipment such as tables and the procurement of glasses, utensils and plates. If such tasks can be executed by your catering department staff, it frees you to attend to the rest of your business. As your company develops a reputation for offering catered events boasting fine food and service, you may consider fine-tuning your catering operation. For example, you may decide to exclusively cater weddings or themed events.
After your catering department has earned a reputation for producing delicious meals, quality service and enjoyable events, other businesses in your community might turn to your establishment for chamber mixers, retirement parties or other social gatherings. When regional businesses advertise that their events will be held at your site, it further raises community awareness of your company. You can also market your catering department by writing a press release announcing the addition of your catering operation, or invite the local media or a food critic to sample your catering efforts.
As growing companies have less time to produce events on their own, the field of catering might experience increased demand. To take advantage of this, you can incorporate a catering department into your business on a conservative level to start and gradually increase your event production. You might begin by offering to cater manageable events such as school graduation or birthday parties and then increase your catering department's efforts to include larger events, such as extravagant family reunions or corporate conferences.