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Marketing Tips for Caterers

Delicious food and great service is all very well and good. But if no one knows your food is available, how are you going to make money?




Marketing your mobile catering business

Marketing matters.

How are you going to stand out from your competition? How will you pull in a constant stream of new customers? How will you keep the old ones coming back? Through great marketing, that’s how.


There are loads of different ways to market a business, all with varied levels of success. But before you can even begin to think about your different marketing options, you need to think about who your customers are.


Know your customers.

A restaurant’s marketing should differ wildly from a street food trader’s because their customers are likely to be from completely different demographics. They show up in different places, they're looking for different types of food and they can be reached by marketing materials in different places.


Be consistent.

Hopefully you love your business’s brand, so you won’t mind making sure that all your marketing platforms capture your brand consistently. Don’t confuse customers before you’ve even served them by having a different logo or different fonts on your website and your unit.


Invest in good photography.

The simplest way to make a potential customer think that they want your food is to show them photos of your offering. If photos of your food don't look appertising, or are blurry or a bit dark, you're missing an oppotunity to sell your product.


Take a look any successful fixed site's website and you'll see that the photos make them look good. You might even think, "Mmm I want to try that" - and that's exactly how you should be making your customers feel when they see photos of your food.


Use your website.

Your own website is the best place you can keep customers informed about opening times, offers, news and your menu.


If you don’t have a website yet, don’t panic. These days you can create a great-looking website at a low cost. A quick Google search for ‘website builder’ is a good place to start.


If you’re not overly creative yourself, why not ask your friends if they can help? You’ll keep costs low and can be really closely involved in the website design to make sure it’s exactly what you want.

Online website builders such as Weebly.com are incredibly easy to use. It's worth getting someone with a creative talent to get you started but once it's built you should be able to maintain and update it yourself. Remember, it's all about the imagery, layout and functionality. Make sure it looks good, is easy to use and answers all of the questions your audience will have. If you tick those boxes, you can't go wrong.


Get on social media.

There are loads of different platforms available to you – among the most popular are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you’re not using them to promote your food business, you’re wasting a precious resource. A FREE resource in fact.


Catering businesses use Twitter more and more to communicate with customers; it’s a very interactive tool. If you’ve already got a profile, make sure it reflects your brand visually, then get tweeting! Let your followers know your news, funny stuff that's happened, when you’ve run out of certain dishes, foodie jokes – anything!

And don’t forget to #hashtag! If you haven’t got Twitter yet, sign up straight away at www.twitter.com.


Use social media to reach new customers

You might not be able to respond to every single tweet you receive, but your followers will know that you care if you reply to them every time you get the chance. Remember to follow @NCASS_UK too ;)


Make a special effort.

Special marketing promotions can give sales a huge boost on days when you’re just not getting enough custom. If you’ve got enough staff on shift, send one or two of them out with some free samples and get them to show customers where to come.


Or, run a special offer to lighten up a quiet hour. Tell passers-by that food is half price for the next half hour – it’s better to sell at a lower price than to waste food.


If your business is in a busy spot and you're lucky enough to grab a good share of the lunch hour action, consider using a loyalty scheme to keep customers coming back regularly (and, more importantly, to stop them from visiting your competitors!). A simple ‘buy 9 meals, get the 10th free’ card can work wonders for customer loyalty.


You can make great use of social media if you’re running special promotions too. Tweet or write a Facebook post to tell your customers about a competition you’re running, and ask them to share the post to get more exposure for your promotion.


Ask NCASS for more advice.

We love chatting to our members and helping them to improve their marketing and increase profits. And if you're not a member, we want to do that for you too. Visit the membership page to join or give us a call on 0121 603 2524 for your first piece of marketing advice as a member!





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Latest News

'Meat Free Week'

by Sophie Haigh | Read time: 5 minutes | Jun 18, 2019

What is World Meat Free Week?
June marked the sixth year of Meat Free Week, an initiative to get people thinking and talking about meat consumption and production. The challenge is simple; to give up meat for seven days and raise funds for charities, including Meat Free Monday in the UK, which helps to fund education resources, marketing, research, cooking workshops and special events.

Why does it matter?
In a study carried out by the University of Oxford - the most comprehensive analysis of the food system’s impact on the environment to date, researchers found that beef consumption needs to fall by 90% and be replaced by five times more beans and pulses. Enormous changes to farming are also needed to avoid destroying the planet’s ability to feed the 10 billion people estimated to be living on Earth in a few decades.

Researchers have said that there needs to be a large global shift towards following a flexitarian diet to prevent the global temperature increase from breaching the 2C limit agreed by governments. Livestock are responsible for creating as much greenhouse gas emissions as all the world’s cars, trucks and aeroplanes put together.

Forging a pound of beef is the equivalent of taking one car off the road and it takes 500 gallons of water to grow one pound of chicken meat, an amount that could be used to make five pounds of potatoes or three loaves of bread; in turn creating a smaller carbon footprint but feeding more people. Taking small steps to reduce our meat intake can have a positive impact on the environment and the future of our planet.

How is NCASS involved?
Sustainability has become a hot topic for caterers in the past few years. Festival and street food organisers are increasingly looking towards sustainable ways to feed hundreds of people at events without having too much of a negative impact on the environment. Here at NCASS, we strive to create an industry that protects the environment, as demonstrated in our partnership with 8th Plate, a food salvage scheme with a mission to turn festival food waste into nutritious meals for people visiting food banks and soup kitchens.  

We’ve also come together with other live events industry specialists to pledge our support to Powerful Thinking’s Festival Vision: 2025, an initiative aimed at reducing festival impacts by 50% by 2025, in line with government targets. Festival Vision: 2025 will provide free-to-use and practical sustainability resources for caterers, including a second edition of the environment report, The Show Must Go On. You can get involved in the crowdfunder page here.

How you can help
There are many ways to reduce the impact that your business is having on the environment. Caterers looking to make the first steps in helping the environment can start by changing their packaging to bio-degradable alternatives, such as Biopac’s plastic free range. Signing up to food salvage schemes such as 8th Plate will also help us to save food that would otherwise go to landfill and use it to feed the most vulnerable members of our society.

If you want to learn how to run a catering business that is protecting the environment whilst increasing profits, our Sustainability Training is the perfect solution. 

Covering a variety of areas that are crucial to ensuring sustainability, including sourcing seasonal produce, menu planning, Fairtrade and social responsibility, the course will enable your business to function responsibly in an everchanging industry and take care of the planet for generations to come.

To purchase the course or for more information, visit the NCASS website or call 0121 603 2524.





Did you know...

When you join the association we ask you to write a bit about your business and provide some photos.

You can share the link to your customers and get them to leave you reviews and impress future customers! There's plenty of other reasons to become a member which you can find here, but we want you to know we've got your back when it comes to marketing too!


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