Do you run a catering business but can’t seem to rightly price your service? If YES, here is a complete guide on how to create a perfect menu and pricing clients will love.

The success of your catering business hinges largely on two key elements. The first is of course price. There is such a wide range of pricing options within the catering industry that customers spend a lot of time searching for catering services that can fit their budget. The second key element is perception. Potential customers must be able to visualize themselves hosting a perfect event with you.

These two elements are like the exterior of a 5-star hotel, which might be enough to attract customers sometimes. But your catering menu is the all-important interior. It’s the main reason why customers want to hire your catering service. And it’s the strongest factor that can set you apart from the competition.

How can you make your menu stand out and still keep your pricing within the affordable range? Here are ten ideas you should implement:

10 Smart Tips for Creating the Perfect Catering Menu & Pricing

1. Expand your offers

In reality, there is no such thing as a perfect catering menu or price. What you can achieve is to make your menu appeal to as many customers as possible. Factoring in special cultural and dietary needs is a good way to appeal to a wide range of clients. An example is to offer custom menus for vegetarians.

Expanding your offers might not necessarily make you one of the top sellers in your market, but it will boost your customer base like wild, as it shows your genuine interest to serve your target market.

2. Your guests matter most

Your catering menu must suit the taste of the guests expected to attend an event. There’s no point in paying for a food item if majority of the guests at the event will prefer something different. So, you must factor in the likely preferences of the guests before finalizing on the menu for an event. In essence, there’s no on-size-fits-all catering menu. Preferences vary by event.

3. Consider the season

Your catering menu at any point must be in line with the season. For the spring and summer months, your catering menu should feature light refreshing dishes. And for the autumn and winter events, hearty warming dishes would be perfect. So, you need include seasonal produce in your wedding catering menu. This will help you save on cost.

4. Consider the event

Your catering menu must match the theme of the event. For example, if you are having a vintage wedding, don’t present foods like gourmet, sausage and mash, or extravagant plates. Why? The reason is because such dishes aren’t fit for vintage weddings. Rather extravagant plates are perfectly suitable for luxury weddings.

5. Have your specialty item

You should be able to point out at least one offering as your specialty. It could be a unique dessert or a dinner entree. However, you must bear in mind that this “can’t miss” item will be serve as your unique selling proposition, which differentiates your catering service from the competition. This item is what customers are referring to most of the time when they ask questions like, “What would you recommend?” or “What do you have to offer?”

6. Present a wide pricing range

Your catering menu should comprise foods of various price tires because it implies value across the board. No doubt, your lowest priced offering will outsell your high-end products by at least 10 to 1. But yet, many people like to be associated with quality, even if they cannot afford the cost.

So, your reason for presenting a mix of both high end and low end options is to make the customer feel important. Offering an all-cheap menu can send signal that you underestimated the financial worth of the customer. Even if you are sure the customer won’t choose your high end offers, still present them as options.

7. Encourage visualization

Present your menu in such a way that it triggers imagery in the customer’s mind. People tend to buy things more readily after they have been made to perceive what those things would be like. You want your clients to imagine what their event will be like and have their mouths watering each time they try do that. So, choose perfect words when describing your menu and add fascinating pictures and other page elements.

8. Food and drink must be “compatible”

The foods on your catering menu for an event should work with your chosen wine or drink. If you are not sure what drink will work best with a certain food item, choose a general drink or wine that can go with any food. That’s far better than providing foods and drinks that can never go together.

9. Avoid heavy foods

Your guests don’t want to leave the event hungry. But they still have to be able to get up after the meal. So, you don’t want them to be bloated or feel dizzy after eating. So, keep your foods as light as possible, but satisfying.

10. Health matters most

Avoid listing unhealthy foods on your menu. People are becoming more aware of the health risks associated with most foods, and they include more and more foods in their personal “blacklists” every day. So, you need to be aware of which foods are generally considered unhealthy, so you can stay clear of them.

Ajaero Tony Martins