Wedding food often gets a bad rap, and for good reason. After all, how many weddings can you look back on and think, “Wow, that was an incredible meal”? But it doesn’t have to be that way. As a caterer, you know you’re capable of creating fantastic food for groups large and small. To excel as a wedding caterer, there are some things you need to do to establish your business as a truly exceptional and sought-after source of great service and memorable (in a good way) meals.
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Create an inviting experience
Make couples feel special before they even walk in your door by welcoming them to their consultation with a chalkboard or printed sign. It’s a small gesture, but it sets the tone for the level of service you provide. Couples who are starting the wedding planning process can feel overwhelmed. So approach them with a relaxed attitude, and make sure to give them a (literal) taste of what you’re capable of by serving them beverages and some light snacks, like just-from-the-oven treats.
Wedding planning can feel impersonal, especially when a caterer tells a couple they can choose a certain number of items from the appetizer category, a few from the entrée category, etc. Set yourself apart from the competition by offering a completely custom experience at no extra charge.
At your first meeting, sit the couple down in a comfortable, homey space, and talk to them about the kinds of food they like to eat together and the type of event they envision. Next, create a personalized menu that you send to the couple within a week. You can go back and forth from there, tweaking or swapping items until you come up with a list that excites the couple. Knowing that they helped craft a custom menu for their guests helps the couple feel like they’re creating a special experience.
Offer event coordination services
Planning their wedding is likely the largest and biggest-budget event the couple has ever coordinated. And it’s likely they could use your expertise. From tables and chairs to linens, glassware, and everything in between, offer to help couples with rentals — both ordering of items and overseeing the setup and teardown of the event. Also, offer them a list of trusted vendors, like photographers, florists, DJs, hair and makeup stylists, and more. Especially when couples don’t live nearby, they rely on your knowledge of the local market and your honest opinion of the services supplied by these vendors.
Focus on local, quality ingredients
Consumers are becoming more educated about where their food comes from. They’re increasingly concerned about the health and environmental impacts of things like the pesticides used on produce and emissions from transporting food from great distances. When you team up with local farmers and commit to using seasonal ingredients, you can ensure a higher level of quality and a more socially and environmentally conscious business. That’s something a lot of couples want to support.
Build a distinctive brand identity
Think about how you want to define yourself. Are you a purveyor of delicious, seasonal dishes? A trusted and reliable vendor? A trailblazer and trendsetter in your industry? Whatever it is that you want to be known for, focus on that. Make sure that everything you do, from the food you cook to the client interactions you have to the photos you post on Instagram, reflects your values. Pay attention to the competition, but don’t copy it. Instead, distinguish yourself with your cooking style, your messaging, and your customer service. Your commitment to quality and individuality will get you noticed, and great reviews from happy couples will keep business coming your way.