How To Build A Profitable Catering Menu

As the world continues to remain indoors for the foreseeable future, life, as we know it, has changed. And the restaurant industry has been forced to change with it. 

This is the perfect time to create a new catering menu that aligns with the changing customer needs in the post-pandemic world. Despite the challenges, caterers can seize the day with innovative ways to sustain and thrive through the COVID-19 crisis.

Listed below are some tips on planning a catering menu that will help maximize sales and profitability.

Know your competition

Identify the local caterers in your area and the kind of food they offer. The idea is to create a catering menu that can make you stand out from your competitors. You can also go through the recent reviews of your competitors to get a better understanding of what your target customers like and what they don’t like. Do they provide self-pick, breakfast catering, meals for one, or work-from-home lunches?

Evaluating the competition will help you gain perspectives into their businesses and yours – allowing you to identify gaps in catering opportunities and fill them. 

Identify your target audience

Identify niches or groups of people your food will appeal to– Do you mainly want to offer catering for corporates or for private events as well?

Knowing your audience can help you cater to their preferences and tastes. You can also develop appropriate marketing strategies to reach out to them. 

Designing the menu

– Keep it simple

While it might be tempting to showcase everything you can do, it’s best to keep the menu small and straightforward since it translates into kitchen efficiency and reduces costs as well. 

Strategically plan a small but fantastic menu featuring a variety of starters, mains, desserts, and salad options. If you will be offering individually packaged lunches, make sure to select dishes that keep and travel well over long distances. 

– Combo Meals

All-in-one meals offer quick and easy ordering options for your customers. Customers are typically willing to spend more money on combos than they would on individual dishes because they get more variety. When a popular dish comes with a beverage, side salad, or dessert, it seemingly justifies the few extra bucks that customers need to shell out.  

Pricing the menu correctly

Pricing strategies are a balancing act of what works best for your business, your customers’ needs, and market trends. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all policy, here are a few essential guidelines you should keep in mind:

  • Break down the costs of all ingredients on every meal in the catering menu, along with overheads. Calculating the costs of all components will give you an accurate idea of the gross profit margin.
  • Remember to mark up the costs of the food. The mark up covers not only the food cost but the effort and time behind it as well. Additionally, know your customers’ spending habits to come up with costs that work for both you and them.
  • Invest time and resources on a well-designed menu. Conceptualize a clean design and place high-cost or low-cost items strategically. Customers have a short attention span and are likely to order items that stand out on the menu. 

Final words

In adversity, there is always an opportunity. The culinary industry has much to look forward to in the new normal, and a great catering menu can work wonders to grow your business.

If you have been struggling to streamline sales and orders in the post-pandemic world, CaterCurator can help take your business to the next level.

CaterCurator connects leading catering companies and restaurants directly to corporate customers in their area. All you need to do is cook delicious food, and we’ll take care of the rest.