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Cater to the Holidays

Cater to the Holidays

Promoting off-site catering can boost your holiday sales

With a surge in company and personal holiday parties at the end of the year, having a catering arm for your restaurant can boost your end-of-year sales. But you can’t go into it without a good plan and team in place.

“It’s a great time to capitalize on when people want to have parties,” says Bill Telepan, executive chef of Oceana in New York. “Designate one person to be on catering and that person can focus on making it a really good showing.”

Telepan adds, when you succeed with holiday-party catering, you’ll make an impact on those customers, which can lead to additional catering business throughout the year and the following holiday season. He also advises to be flexible enough in your menu offerings. There’s nothing worse than losing a potentially large catering order because you can’t or won’t accommodate someone’s menu needs.

Adam Romo, CEO of Eatzi’s Market & Bakery with locations around Texas, says you can have two styles of your primary catering offerings because, “We’ve learned that while customers consistently ask for more variety, they still typically choose the more traditional menu items,” he says.

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To mix things up, Eatzi’s offers a traditional roasted turkey on its Thanksgiving menu, but also includes one with a chipotle raspberry glaze as well as a chipotle bacon turkey leg. In addition to traditional cornbread stuffing, they also include one with sausage.

That said, you could also focus on one item and do it really well. Take Chicago’s About Last Knife’s beef Wellington package. For the holiday season in 2018, guests could order a full ($275) or half ($150) fully cooked beef Wellington that just needed to be reheated and sliced at its destination. The full provided 10 slices and came with wild mushroom duxelle, puff pastry, prosciutto, red wine bordelaise and whipped potatoes.

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“You need to find something you do better than most people that they can’t duplicate it,” advises Jason Lane, About Last Knife’s food and beverage general manager. “Find that niche that makes you unique and stand out from the crowd. Yes, you could do this at home, but we take the hard work out of it for you.”

And when it comes to pulling together a large-format holiday party, isn’t it always better to let people know they can outsource the heavy lifting to someone
who like you, ideally, can do it better?

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