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Posted On September 16, 2015 by John Cohen

6 Tips for Perfectly Executing Your Fall Events with Total Party Planner (Infographic)

The countdown to the holiday season has begun! That’s why now is the perfect time to start good habits! Use these 6 tips for perfectly executing your fall events with Total Party Planner – so you’ll have plenty of practice by the time the holiday parties start!



Ready to be inspired and informed? For the latest in catering industry news and trends and small business marketing, join the conversation on social media. Follow TPPSoftware on Twitter, like Total Party Planner on Facebook, and explore our boards on Pinterest.

Want to get advice from other caterers and find out how they do things? Join the conversation with #CaterQuest on Twitter!

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Posted On by John Cohen

Pieces of the Marketing Puzzle: Choosing the Best Ways to Advertise Your Catering Company


The good news: There are so many great ways to advertise your catering company these days! (Thanks, Internet!) Bad news: There are so many ways to advertise your catering company these days – how do you choose?

Here’s an easy guide to help you sort through the pieces of the marketing puzzle so you can choose the best ways to advertise your catering company.

Thanks to social media and Google AdWords, even the smallest company can put together a pretty sophisticated-looking marketing campaign. And it doesn’t even have to take that much effort. You just need to make sure you:

1.  Make a plan. (Don’t just put stuff out there willy-nilly. Do you want to go with paid advertising, unpaid, partnerships? So many choices!)
2.  Go where your audience is. (How do they find you and where do they talk to you?)
3.  Engage with your audience! (Make it a conversation!)

Here are some of the tools you can use to help you attract customers.

Social Media Content Management
Communicating with your audience on a regular basis keeps you at the top of their mind. When posting things on social media, think about what’s going to keep your audience engaged and what they’d like to share with others. (Friends sharing with friends is the real trick to growing your audience, because that’s one of the big ways to get more new people to see you.) Try sharing behind-the-scenes photos, posting your new seasonal catering menu on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram, or sharing community news on your Facebook wall.

Use each social platform based on the audience you’re looking for. Twitter and Facebook are great for article sharing, although Twitter tends to be faster paced. There’s also Twitter etiquette to follow. Make sure you respond when people mention you in a tweet, thank people for retweets, and really engage with the people who are following you. People like Twitter users who interact, so use a program like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to track mentions and retweets of your own tweets. LinkedIn is a great way to connect with business owners and event planners. Pinterest and Instagram are great ways to reach individuals interested in visuals of your business. Instagram is huge for weddings and shopping right now.

Contacting past customers can remind them how much they enjoyed your services, which can lead to them consider you again for an upcoming event. Sending out a monthly newsletter can keep guests informed of your abilities, your work, and the enthusiasm you have for catering. People love to work with businesses that love what they do.

Newsletters are great for prospective clients, too, because you’re sending information instead of just blatantly marketing to them. It helps prospects get to know you without feeling the pressure of a hard sell. Newsletters are a great addition to a drip marketing campaign, where you slowly feed information that not only helps your readers but also makes you look knowledgeable.

Working with business and community partners is a great way to build recognition with audiences you want to reach. Partner with companies and not-for-profit organizations with whom you share a target audience. Then, build those relationships. For example, introduce each other in monthly newsletters or through your social media channels. Sponsor events with each other. Send each other referrals. Consumers are more likely to follow and use products and services that a company or friend they know suggests to them. Forming these partnerships should help you make connections, increase your visibility and your audience, and ultimately bring in more business.

Public Relations and Community Relations
One of the best forms of PR is helping with and sponsoring pro bono events. Business owners who are involved in their communities are more recognizable and are greatly appreciated by the public. Working with not-for-profit orgs during fundraising events is a great way to gain positive PR and recognition.

Press Releases
When you start your business, celebrate a milestone, or are doing something awesome for the community (such as pro bono work), it’s important to let people know. Send a press release to local radio stations, newspapers, and news stations about what your catering company is doing. If the event or news is significant, it is likely to be covered by the media.

For press releases, you want to think less like a marketing pro or business owner and more like a journalist. Focusing strictly on the facts of your event without adding a lot of marketing fluff, as well as using the proper PR format, will make your story more likely to be picked up. Make sure to front load your press release with all the facts, so if your release has to be edited for space, all the critical info will make it in – and it makes it easier for people on the other end to edit. has a great article about how to write a press release. Blogger and journalist Nash Riggins also offers up some great tips for writing a snappy press release.

Any one of these marketing tools can help build your business and attract customers. The best thing to do is to put several of these tools together to create a cohesive marketing plan.

Ready to be inspired and informed? For the latest in catering industry news and trends and small business marketing, join the conversation on social media. Follow TPPSoftware on Twitter, like Total Party Planner on Facebook, and explore our boards on Pinterest.

Want to get advice from other caterers and find out how they do things? Join the conversation with #CaterQuest on Twitter!

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Posted On September 10, 2015 by John Cohen

Want New Business? Make Each Client Your Wingman.

Everyone knows how dating works. You see someone you like, and you ask your friends, “Do you know that person? How do you know them? What do you know about them? Will you mention me?” Any kind of information can make it easier to approach that person and increase your chances of success, right? That’s why having a wingman – someone who can scout out a situation and act as a go-between to put in a good word for you – is so important!

Those questions don’t just happen in the dating world; they apply to business, too. Because relationships make the world go round. So if you want new business, make each client your wingman. Here’s how (and why) it works.

Business_DatingWhen it comes to making choices, most folks are resistant to taking risks. We don’t want to waste our own resources, such as time and money (or maybe even our own dignity). So, we tend to do research and ask for feedback before making decisions to mitigate those risks.

That’s why people read movie reviews before picking which movie to watch or look up a restaurant on Yelp before trying it. They ask friends what they know before asking someone out. And, people definitely ask around before they choose a caterer for a big event.

What can you do about all this chatter as a business owner? Same as you’d do if you were interested in someone you met at a party – make sure they hear positive things about you from other people.

To put it simply – step one is do your job well. Wow your clients. Make them your allies – your wingmen, if you will. Gain their trust through your integrity and the quality of your work.

Your clients are asking other friends these “dating” questions, just as sure as your clients are being asked these same questions by their friends: “How did you pick that company? What was your experience with them? Do you think I should try them out?”

So how do you increase the likelihood of getting good referrals?

  • Always keep in mind that every client is your next reference. Make one-on-one connections with your clients. Make them feel good about working with you.
  • Ask for referrals. This is often the hardest part for people, but you can’t be shy about letting people know what you want and need.
  • Pay special attention to which clients can create buzz for you and your catering company. If you know this person is well connected in life and on social media, and you’ve had a good working relationship, you want to stay at the top of their mind. So talk to them. Do things to bolster the relationship, such as send business their way or send them interesting articles you find.
  • Give referrals. There’s a saying that you have to give to get. Make sure you’re reciprocating the love to your clients. Hopefully they’ll remember that and pay you back in kind with more business and referrals. If they feel like you truly know them and have their best interests at heart, they’ll feel better about working with you and referring you.

Two of the best things about referrals are:

  • Referrals can often bring in some of your best clients. Why? Because if you liked working with a particular client, it’s likely that client knows more people you’d like working with, too. So, client referrals can lead to more good (hopefully long-term) clients.
  • Mouth-to-mouth referrals are better than almost any other kind of marketing or advertising you can do, because we tend to trust the feedback we get from friends more than any other type of marketing or advertising.

So, talk to your clients. Tell them you’ve enjoyed working with them, you appreciate their business, and you’d like them to refer you to their friends. Remind them about what a good time you had together at their event – and don’t be afraid to be specific about what kinds of clients you’re looking for (i.e., big corporate clients, weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, boxed lunches only … you get the idea).

Making each client your wingman helps not only create buzz about your business but also gives you an “in” with interesting people you may not have talked with otherwise.

The bottom line: Just like in dating, the other person is hoping to make a good match, too. Getting a common friend to introduce you – or a common client to refer you – helps increase the likelihood of a good relationship for both sides.

Stay tuned for more articles about ways to get referrals, including incentive programs and networking tips.

Ready to be inspired and informed? For the latest in catering industry news and trends and small business marketing, join the conversation on social media. Follow TPPSoftware on Twitter, like Total Party Planner on Facebook, and explore our boards on Pinterest.

Want to get advice from other caterers and find out how they do things? Join the conversation with #CaterQuest on Twitter!

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Posted On September 3, 2015 by John Cohen

2 Core Principles of Catering: Surprise, Delight, Satisfy – and Make It Easy to Eat

Almost every fun, surprising, and successful food trend you can find can be traced back to these 2 core principles of catering: surprise, delight, satisfy – and make it easy to eat.

What that boils down to is:

mini grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup shots1. Think ahead to what people will truly enjoy (versus feeling boxed in by what tradition dictates should be served)
2. Make food that’s easy to eat (not too messy, very manageable)

These two principles can even help you give your old recipes a face lift!

Let’s talk about the first principle, “surprise, delight, satisfy”. What is it that people really want? What has the potential to surprise guests intellectually while satisfying their palate?

Too many people still get stuck on tradition. “What are we supposed to serve?” Well, there’s nothing like breaking with tradition and following your own heart (and stomach) to decide what to serve at an event. Choosing foods that are special to the guests or hosts at birthdays, weddings, and other events is a quick, easy way to instantly personalize an event, too.

Looking for ways to surprise, delight, and satisfy your guests? Think about:

  • Familiar foods presented in new ways. Mini appetizers are such a fun way to serve food, and everyone loves seeing things they’re used to seeing as full size in a miniature form. Very popular right now are favorites such as mini grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup shots and mini pies made from food ingredients that aren’t normally pies, such as cheeseburgers, pizza, and lasagna. (Check out these 10 recipes you can make in a muffin pan for inspiration.)
  • Foods they know and love in unexpected settings. Sometimes, going to a fancy event and seeing small BLT sandwiches or gourmet mac and cheese bites can make people excited. It gives people a moment of, “Oh, wow, it’s like they thought of me!” And sometimes it’s the presentation! A trend we hope will never go away is serving fresh fruit and other treats in waffle cones, like this s’mores ice cream cone recipe. (Don’t let the fact that it’s on a kid blog deter you – grown-ups will be just as delighted by the treat.) Or make your own pizza cone!
  • New flavor combinations. It’s like that first time someone said to themselves, “I like chocolate. I like peanut butter. What would happen if I put them together?” This year’s unexpected flavor combination winners include chocolate and avocado (to the delight of vegans and the health conscious everywhere), sriracha and peanut butter, and olive oil and ice cream. (See all 18 strange food combinations, so you can experiment with them yourself.)
  • Mozzarella, grape tomatoes, and basil on skewersAnd if all else fails…serve it on a stick. Create your own kebobs, from fruit to dessert to hors d’oeuvres, like these mini caprese kebobs.

Speaking of serving things on a stick, that brings us to principle 2: Make it easy to eat. No one wants to look ridiculous while they’re eating or mess up their fancy clothes. And juices or sauces dripping down one’s arm is just not pleasant.

  • Make it mini! Because who can resist cute little versions of their favorite foods? They’re so cute! And manageable bite-size portions mean people can enjoy their food while still carrying on a conversation. Check out these mini app recipes for inspiration.
  • Resist sauces. Unless you can find a way to serve your food in such a way that it won’t get on people’s fingers, clothes, chins, and other unexpected places, like these very trendy edible spoons. (No waste either!)
  • Think self contained. Wrap ingredients in pastry, the way samosas, egg rolls, and wontons come served. Or, put ingredients in a crust, the way one does with mini pies and quiches.
  • Pretzel crusted deep-fried brownie on a stick with caramel drizzleAnd if all else fails…you guessed it. Find something you can serve on a stick. (We’re fans of this deep fried pretzel-crusted brownie on a stick from Saz’s Ribs and Catering, which they produced for the Wisconsin State Fair.)

Reading article after article about food trends, it seems everything leads back to these two principles. Brides and grooms are starting to serve pie or doughnut towers instead of cake. Why? Because they don’t like wedding cake, and the doughnuts or pies are more meaningful to them. The guests are surprised and delighted, yet comforted and satisfied by the familiarity of their favorite treats. Edible spoons are hot, because they are less wasteful (nothing to throw away or wash), and they make messy food easier to eat.

So get inspired! What do you already make that you could present in a different way? What will surprise, delight, and satisfy the guests at your next event?

Ready to be inspired and informed? For the latest in catering industry news and trends and small business marketing, join the conversation on social media. Follow TPPSoftware on Twitter, like Total Party Planner on Facebook, and explore our boards on Pinterest.

Want to get advice from other caterers and find out how they do things? Join the conversation with #CaterQuest on Twitter!

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Posted On August 25, 2015 by John Cohen

3 Questions Caterers Have for Other Caterers

Have you ever been in a situation that makes you think to yourself, “I wonder how other caterers would handle this?” You’re not alone. We’ve got 3 questions caterers have for other caterers, along with solutions we recommend based on best practices in catering and business.

Giving out your cell phone number
Ever thought about giving out your cell phone number to a client “in case of emergency”? How do you know your client will define “emergency” the same way you would define it? Leaving half the entrees on the counter back at the kitchen when your event is 45 minutes from any real grocery story – that’s an emergency. Getting a call because your client ordered French cut green beans but now she really wants them whole – that’s not an emergency. That’s probably not a discussion you want to have on your weekend at the lake. While it may seem like a good idea with some clients, because they just seem so nice (the kind of nice where you want to be their friend), it’s best to only give your cell phone to your staff. All communication with clients should go through your office phone, company email, or a work cell phone you can turn off.

Our suggestion: Don’t do it. Use company communication tools only.

Offering free tastings
Free or not free, that is the question. There is a common thought that all caterers do free tastings. Many brides walk into a tasting expecting it to be free, which may be naive on their part. After all, who is going to pay for the food the couple, or even the bridal party, comes to taste? However, there are caterers out there who offer free tastings. They consider it part of the marketing budget. Other professional caterers apply the cost of the tasting toward the final bill once a client books their event. Some caterers don’t offer tastings at all.

Our suggestion: Give product with purpose. If you see tastings turn into bookings and that’s how you attract clients, consider it a marketing tool (and make sure to ask your accountant about writing it off as an expense). If you spend money elsewhere to attract new clients, determine a tasting fee and be upfront about it. Middle-of-the-road option: Limit your tasting to X number of appetizers, two cake flavors, etc., and charge for any extra samples.

Putting your prices online
There are pros and cons to publishing your prices online, and how you run your business will determine which is the right choice for you. If you have set menus that you use for most events, it’s easier to provide your menus and prices online. It gives customers a chance to review what you offer and see if you’re within their budget before they contact you, saving both of you time and hassle. On the other hand, some people may use your prices to assume what kind of caterer you are. For example, if they think your prices are too low, they may think you can’t handle a high-end affair, and vice versa. They won’t know what your food tastes like or how you can personally enhance their event because of your experience, your personality, and your services. Publishing prices could also give your competition an edge. Once potential clients have a chance to meet you and try your food, they may be willing to spend a little more than they originally budgeted.

Our suggestion: Do what makes sense for your business model. If you rarely do custom menus, consider providing your costs online. If you do mostly custom menus, save the money talk for after you’ve met in person or at least spoken on the phone.

What questions do you have for other caterers? Join the conversation on Twitter by tweeting your questions with #CaterQuest. Or, join the conversation on TPP’s Facebook page! One more option: leave comments below. Ask the TPP community to get answers to your most pressing professional catering questions!

How do other caterers do it? Infographic of info from blog

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Posted On August 17, 2015 by John Cohen

4 Surprising Things about Total Party Planner Catering Software

Supporting you and your business is what Total Party Planner is all about. That’s why we rarely talk about ourselves or our software in this blog (even though we’re really proud of TPP and what our clients accomplish with it every day)!

We use this blog to focus on things that will help you build a stronger catering business, such as marketing, catering trends, ways to grow your business, and management topics, to name a few.

But today, we’re going to give you 4 surprising things about Total Party Planner catering software that support you and your business – things you may not have expected.

1. We’re the first catering software company to create a mobile app. The companion app to Total Party Planner is already out, and it’s available at the App Store for iPhone® and on Google Play for Android™ devices. The mobile app just makes it that much easier for you to access your event-critical information while you’re out of the office. And the next version of the app is already in development! Some people believe in ABC: Always Be Closing. We believe in ABD: Always Be Developing.

2. You can access it anywhere. Since TPP is web based, you can access your account from anywhere. There’s no loading software onto computers, making updates, or worrying about backing up data. You get updates automatically every time you log in, and we are backing up your data every few minutes. Total Party Planner software allows you to work from home, the office, or on the road from any computer, tablet, or smartphone. If you have multiple catering locations (maybe even in multiple cities), you can access info and calendars for all your offices from one centralized place.

3. TPP software integrates with the software you use. Running your business is so much easier when different software works together. That’s why Total Party Planner is integrated with Constant Contact, QuickBooks, StaffMate, Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, Google Maps, SocialTables, and many more applications our clients frequently use. Being integrated with the software you use every day means less doubling up on work or forgetting to add critical details where you need them. With the click of a button, you can update multiple programs across multiple devices, so you won’t double book (unless you want to) and you won’t have to turn the van around because you left the address sitting on your desk. With TPP, you have it all in one place.

John Cohen

John Cohen, age 10, helping in the kitchen of his family’s catering business

4. TPP is built from a caterer’s perspective. Some of you may know this, but others are still surprised by it. Our founder John Cohen is a caterer first and a software developer second. You know that cute little guy you see on our homepage? The one in the red vest? That’s John when he was just 10 years old. John grew up helping his parents with their catering business, which they ran for over 30 years. So, he really understands what it takes to execute a successful event. He saw an opportunity for computers to help his parents work faster, save some time and frustration, and make every event run more smoothly by helping connect the many moving pieces of catering and event planning. He’s been helping business owners in the catering industry ever since. It’s his insider’s perspective that really makes TPP stand out.

John Cohen today, leader and innovator in the catering tech industry

John Cohen today, leader and innovator in the catering tech industry

These are just 4 surprising things about Total Party Planner catering software that make us different from other catering programs. We build and update our program with caterers like you in mind. If you dig a little deeper, you’re likely to find other ways we can help you organize, maintain, and grow your catering business, too.

And if you ever need assistance or have a question, our Client Care Team is the best in the business. They can personally answer your questions and guide you through the program.

Still have questions or haven’t seen the software yet? Schedule a live demo to learn more and get your own questions answered in real time.

And we’ll keep looking for ways to support your business and your success!

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Posted On August 4, 2015 by John Cohen

Fall Food Catering Trends 2015: What’s got staying power and what will wow your clients

If you’re a smart caterer (and signs seem to indicate that you are), then you’re probably already thinking ahead to the next season. So, while mere mortals are soaking up those last few rays by the pool before having to buy school supplies, most small business owners like you are already thinking ahead to shorter, cooler days, hot apple cider, and pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHING!

This fall we’re seeing a few new trends, as well as some fall food trends gaining a stronger foothold in the market. Trends that started as fads are starting to gain in popularity, because they make a lot of sense to consumers.

Here’s your sneak-peek preview at the trends clients are asking for this fall.

Ruffled - photo by -

Photo Credit: Ruffled Blog

Bye-bye Wedding Cake. Many couples are saying “see ya” to the wedding cake, claiming that it’s too heavy after a long night, a heavy meal, and a fair amount of drinking. Many servers will agree – they often end up toting around cake to guests who are not interested in the flavors they have or who are too full to indulge. Couples are looking to share every moment of their day with their guests, right down to desert, so they’re turning the tables on cake and offering other options. This year, expect to see doughnut towers, pie bars with every kind of pie imaginable, late night milk and cookies, and even fire pit s’mores. Having these ideas handy can help excite your client about planning their event with you.

Fancy Fruit. Fruit is starting to take center stage as it becomes more than just cut-up pieces thrown in a bowl on the side. And with dishes like fig jam and feta danishes, how could it not? Clients are requesting fancy fruit dishes, such as stewed strawberries and wilted spinach with brown sugar and balsamic vinegar (think summer strawberry and spinach salad but warm and sweet). You’re more likely to see these kinds of requests at high-end events. Another fun non-salad way to include fruit: party apples! These are apple slices covered in many tempting ingredients. Our favorite is a crisp Granny Smith apple smeared with peanut butter, rolled in oats, and drizzled with dark chocolate. Or perhaps you’d like pink lady apples covered in Nutella and roasted hazelnuts? These are easy for guests to eat during happy hour and look beautiful on a platter. Another “fruitful” dish we love is fruit-stuffed cornucopias – flaky pastry dough drizzled with honey and stuffed with seasonal fruit. What could be better?

Deep-Fried Bites of Heaven. On the opposite end of the spectrum from healthy fruits are fried foods. Once popular in settings like the state fair, fried foods are making their way into more formal events in easy-to-manage bite-sized portions. Think deep-fried mac and cheese, fried mashed potatoes, and even mini deep-fried chicken and waffle bites. Mmm, now we’re talking!

If you’re looking for a way to keep your ideas and new recipes organized, Total Party Planner software has a recipe section, as well as the ability to populate your ingredient lists for each recipe you choose. What better way to keep track of your new fall creations? If you have any questions about how to do this, just reach out to our stellar client care team by email or by phone!

When you come up with creative new ideas for fall, make sure to share them with us @TPPSoftware on Twitter and at Total Party Planner on Facebook. We want to hear your recipes and see your fabulous pictures! Have an event that went unexpectedly well? Tell us all about it and what made it so amazing!


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Posted On July 31, 2015 by John Cohen

The Dos of the Dinner Party Chef

Elegant dinner setting for 8, courtesy of Mosaic Edibles

Elegant dinner setting for 8, courtesy of Mosaic Edibles

The dinner party, once reserved for the nation’s wealthy to make business connections, the original social networking, is making a comeback. Only this time, the dinner party is not reserved solely for the wealthy. Many people are getting in on the dinner party train, using it as a reason to get together with long-lost friends or celebrate a special birthday. With the resurrection of the dinner party comes the demand for more in-home dinner party chefs.

Dinner party chefs can be seen as one-person catering companies. When booking a private chef for the evening, customers assume they are getting a chef and maybe one server. They do not anticipate a full staff to show up for their dinner party. Running a one-person show can be a lot of pressure on a chef. You’re responsible for planning the courses, setting up the space(s), serving the meal, and cleaning after the party. If you are new to private catering, here are a few tips that can help make your planning and execution smooth sailing.

Use Technology. Just because you are the sole provider of the meal doesn’t mean you have to do it completely alone. Technology can be a great tool and in some cases take the place of a partner. Total Party Planner provides a mobile app to help you quickly access event information like menus and customer contact information. Yeah, the app can’t wield a knife at the prep station but it can help keep you organized on the go.

Set Up Snack Stations. Since you won’t have servers walking around with appetizers like you would at a larger event, you can set up snack stations around the living room. This will allow guests to help themselves as you start to prepare the main course. Place smaller dishes like olives or spreads near the bar where people can mingle when they first arrive. Place larger dishes such as flatbreads and finger sandwiches on the coffee and side tables where people tend to sit and chat once they have made themselves a cocktail.

Mix Up Dessert. Instead of serving dessert at the table, suggest to the hostess dessert be served in the living room. This is beneficial for both you and the dinner party. Serving dessert in the living room allows guests to get up and move around, breaking up conversation and allowing for a breather between courses. It also allows you to set up dessert while the guests are finishing dinner and then easily clear the dinner course without worrying about the commotion of cleaning or disturbing the conversation of the table.

We are excited to see the return of the dinner party and private catering chefs. It’s another excuse to bring people together around the table!

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Posted On July 22, 2015 by John Cohen

The Importance of Building Your Business through Catering and Event Partnerships

Customers aren’t the only thing you should be focusing on when it comes to building your business. Customers are important, of course, because they are the ones ordering and eating your food. However, if you really want to give your business a shot in the arm, build your business through catering and event partnerships.

Partners that could be good for your business may include vineyards, breweries, museums, bakeries, botanical gardens, tourist attractions… and the list goes on and on. Basically, anyone who doesn’t have their own on-site catering staff, which means they can refer you as a caterer.

Likewise, you can then refer your clients to these partners when they are looking for a venue and other things you can’t provide for them. (After all, when it comes to business and networking, you have to give to get!)

These partners can help build your business just as well as customers who come straight to you. In fact, they may actually bring you more business. Many times, the first thing people planning an event do is choose their venue first, usually looking to figure out if they have to find a caterer at all or if the venue provides one. People who click with a venue’s event planner will likely listen to their suggestion on caterers. They value the venue’s expertise. By building partnerships with these establishments you can become top of mind as a catering option. People who may have otherwise never heard of you and had to rely on internet searches hear firsthand from a trusted source that you are the caterer they should have.

Building these partnerships can be a little tricky. First, you should establish if you are a good fit for the venue. If you are a high-end caterer serving $15 a piece hor d’oeuvres you may not be the best fit for a laid back beer garden with picnic tables and polished concrete floors. You may look more into museums, historic plantations, or vineyards. Now, here’s the tricky part; once you’ve established that you would be a good fit for that particular venue you can do one of two things – go the casual route or the business route. Depending on the venue you can casually go into on your own on a Tuesday in a I’m-totally-not-here-on-business kind of way to have a glass of wine or browse the paintings. On your way out ask to speak to someone for event management. This way you can: A. Make sure you do have the same style. B. You can say that you enjoyed your visit and would be interested in working with them in the future on an event. If you get the chance to speak with someone, keep it short, offer your business card and ask if you could have a more formal meeting another time.

If you have a connection to the venue you can go the more business route. Ask for an introduction from a friend if that’s a possibility. If you’ve previously met the event manager you can put in a friendly phone call or send an email to request a formal meeting to speak more in depth about opportunities to work together. Upon your meeting, provide them with price sheets for your services; let them know what your expertise is in (barbeque, high end catering, southern, seafood, etc.). This approach is more direct but can still be friendly.

Our greatest tip for building partnerships is to be friendly and genuine. To establish long partnerships you have to establish solid relationships. Being reliable, professional, and friendly will take you a long way in building your partnerships. These people can help grow your business if you develop a positive, reliable relationship. Go forth and find friends, or at least good business partners.

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Posted On July 17, 2015 by John Cohen

Tips for New Caterers

Being a new caterer can be hard. Well, not “can be,” it is hard. No matter how much you plan, there are experiences you haven’t had yet which makes it hard to plan for them. We’ve known a lot of new caterers, though, and we’ve heard a lot of new caterer’s stories. Here are a few tips we’ve gathered from our first go ‘round caterers.

5 new caterers software tips


Image credits: The Noun Project – Paone Creative (Lettuce), Arthur Shlain (plates)

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From the Kitchen to the Books, We’ve Got You Covered.

  • Calendars
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  • Kitchen Worksheets
  • Inventory
  • Recipes
  • Costing
  • Profit Analysis
  • Invoices
  • Receivables
  • Custom Reporting

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