Are you about starting a catering business and you need a marketing plan? If YES, here is a sample template for writing a perfect catering service marketing plan.
Your marketing plan provides a sense of direction and a clear insight on how you intend to create awareness for your catering business. Successful businesses are customer oriented, so you must put your customers first when you want to start any business. Writing a marketing plan is one of the few ways you can make your customers your priority.
When you want write a marketing plan for your catering business, you need to understand that there are four major elements of a marketing plan.
Writing a Perfect Catering Marketing Plan – A Sample Template
4 Elements of a Catering Business Marketing Plan
1. Target Customers
This is an analysis of the people that usually need and demand for catering services. This may be corporate clients, weddings, workers, etc; depending on the type of catering business you want to do. You would have to properly analyze these group of people and understand some basic things about them like-:
- Who they are?
- What they need
- Why they patronize catering services
There are a lot of categories of people who need catering services but you cannot serve everyone due to budget or time constraints, so you have to select a category of people you would want to serve. You can segment your customers using-:
- Demographic information-: Gender, religion, age, occupation, income, ethnicity and nationality. For instance, if you want to start a Chinese catering business, you need to obtain demographic information about people who love to eat Chinese food in the area where you intend to start your business.
- Geographic information-: This has to do with analyzing where your potential clients live.
- Psychographic information-: This tells you the kind of dishes that your potential customers love. You would also be able to understand their lifestyles, personality and social class.
2. Market positioning
In your marketing plan, you need to carefully detail how you want your customers to perceive your catering business. What impression do you want to create in the minds of your clients about your business? This is totally up to you to decide and it is very important that you figure this out in the beginning phase of your business, so that all your marketing campaigns, materials and strategy would be in line with the image you want to create for your catering business.
- Competitors-: You would have to outline who your past, present and future competitors are and what influence they might have on your business and your clients decision. For example, if your major competitor introduces a 50% price slash that would automatically mean the end of your business?
The prices you choose to offer your services are also very important when you are writing a marketing plan for your catering business. The amount you charge for each catering job would determine if you would have more customers coming to patronize you or if you will have existing customers looking for cheaper options. Your pricing strategy should be decided on after considering the following factors-:
Consumer Behavior-: You should know a lot about your clients and their purchasing pattern. What is their attitude towards catering services? Is it a highly sought after business? Are there cheaper alternatives that clients could settle for?
How frequently do they use these services? How many parties are held in your area monthly? All this would enable you to understand your clients better, so that you can settle for a price that would be beneficial to both parties-you and your client.
- Competitive advantage-: What do you have that your competitor doesn’t have? This might be equipment, courteous staff, better food preparation skills or anything that keeps you above the competitor. This is also a determining factor for setting prices for your catering business.
- Willingness and Ability to pay-: Are people around you willing and able to pay for catering services? Do you live in a high income or low income earning area? How important is catering to people around your area?
- Costs of operation-: You should also consider your expenses and costs of operation, advertising, transportation, employee costs etc before settling for a price.
- Competitors-: You should check out what your competitors are charging before setting your own prices. This doesn’t mean that you should charge below your cost prices because your competition is charging less. Rather, you should look for incentives to encourage customers to patronize you instead of the competition; especially in cases where your charges are higher than your competitor’s and a reduction in prices would lead to a loss of profit.
- Perceived value of services-: This is a popular method used by business owners to set prices for their goods and services. What you would have to do is to ask your customers how much they think they can pay for your service? This would give you a basic idea of the perceived value of your catering service to customers and you can set your prices based on this.
4. Promotional Strategy
Your catering marketing plan also needs to detail the methods and tactics you intend to use in promoting your catering business. Promotion is very important as it helps to create awareness of your services and helps to influence your customer’s decisions and encourage them to patronize your services. In your marketing plan, you should analyze the promotional methods you intend to use for your catering business. Some methods you may use include-:
- Advertising-: There are several forms of advertising available today but for your catering business, you should consider newspaper and magazine advertising, television advertising, radio advertising, social media advertising, starting a food blogs, distributing flyers, one-on-one advertisements, referral services and exhibitions.
- Promotional offers-: You can also run sales promotions and give discounts from time to time to encourage more people to patronize your business.
- Consultancy-: You can hire a consultant to help you increase awareness of your business and promote your business image. This can be done either on the internet or offline.
- Direct sales-: Pick out a day in the week or a day in the month and call it direct sales day. That day, you should go about marketing your catering services to as many people as you can: corporate clients, wedding planners, event planners or anybody who looks like a potential business clients. Remember to book appointments before that day if you will be visiting corporate clients and remember to follow up on each potential client you talk to.