Identifying Ways to Step Outside the Business Box

No matter what industry you are in, the core values of business remain the same: use the most effective concepts to create the most efficient product possible. The less time you or your staff spends on a project, the more profitable it can be. Of course, rushing through a task for completion is never a good idea—we all know this. Maximize your time, and train your staff to do the same.

Taking a step

In my previous life, I was a small business owner in the event planning industry who often got caught doing $10 an hour labor, simply because I wasn’t taking the time to train my staff to do things the correct way. I would jump in and do it myself, just to keep things moving. As I have gotten older (and hopefully wiser), I can trace this back to reasoning including ADHD, impatience, and even my upbringing.

It was this mindset, however, that kept me from doing the $100 an hour labor I should have been spending my time on. A very valuable lesson: business is simply about people, training, finding the right ones to work with and not spending too much time tolerating those you can’t.

As business owner, you don’t necessarily have to be the smartest person in the room. Surrounding yourself with competent people who bring knowledge to the table is vital. It is easy to say, “what if I can’t afford the most qualified people?” Well, you simply can’t afford not to or you shouldn’t be in business.

For example, sales are where it all starts and ultimately all ends. It is hard to find good salespeople—those that are motivated and are team players—so when you find one or two, hold onto them. To grow a company, you must grow your people.

Do you think FedEx gets better pricing on fuel than you do? Of course, they do—they are buying hundreds of millions of gallons a year. Use an idea like this to create new partnerships and programs.

You as the business owner must always be looking for ways to reduce your overhead so you can maximize profit. Let’s say you are a $1 million company, just for round numbers. If you could find ways to cut 10% out of your operating budget that is $100,000. But—rather than putting that on your net line, reinvest it in a quality salesperson or two, depending upon your market.

Look at your fixed expenses and don’t think, “I can’t do anything about them because they are fixed.” Think outside the box. Look at how larger businesses in your area operate and where they get their supplies. Do you think FedEx gets better pricing on a fixed expense, like fuel, than you do? Of course, they do—they are buying hundreds of millions of gallons a year. Use an idea like this to create new partnerships and programs. It might not be gas, but what about paper products?

I am a big believer in workshops and industry conferences. The best ideas are usually somewhere in those session rooms. The conferences don’t necessarily have to be in your core industry, either. Some of the best information I have gotten out of a conference has come from areas other than my own business. Seek people out that have been successful in their own way and learn from them. It doesn’t have to always be your idea for it to be a good one. But—don’t just look at what your competitors are doing; look at what they are not doing, too.

So, next time—before you sign that check or place that order or look for that new rock star salesperson—stop and think for a moment. What other options are out there for me?

Catering Blog Post Ideas: 10 Ways to Promote Your Catering Company with a Blog

Taken from Article By Edward Beaman

Have you considered launching a catering blog to promote your services? Do you already have a blog for your catering company, but you aren’t sure what to write about?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you probably need article ideas for your catering blog.

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What should a caterer blog about?

If you’re a caterer, you know what it takes to prepare, deliver and arrange delicious food for a special event or occasion.

But what about blogging? Do you know how to prepare and deliver top quality content potential customers will find, read and act upon?

One of the hardest parts of blogging for your catering business, any business in fact, is knowing what to blog about in the first place. Not just once, but again and again, week after week.

You’ve hopefully come to realise mere news updates about your company are doing little to enthuse readers and attract new customers.

So what are the alternatives? How can you attract leads through your catering blog?

10 Catering Blog Post Ideas

I’ve assembled ten blog posts idea templates specifically for catering company blogs. Feel free to use them when developing your, or your client’s content or inbound marketing strategies. Each caterer blog post idea here can be used multiple times with small adjustments based on your catering services, location, customers, staff, and menus.

Together with each idea I’ve also provided an example with a keyword phrase, title suggestion and content outline. Consider this your very own catering blog menu.

1. What’s on the Menu?

Concept: Develop a series of catering blog posts covering the best dishes you create and the different types of food you can provide. Write about special desserts, canapés or buffet lunches that are especially popular with customers. What do they look like and what are the ingredients? Show some photographs and details for what event or function they’re most appropriate.

EXAMPLE

Keyword phrase: buffet food

Title suggestion: Buffet Food: Duck and Pork Terrine with Cranberries and Pistachios

Content suggestion: Create a blog post showcasing this delicious buffet dish ideal for corporate or wedding events. Share some photos of the dish together with details of the ingredients, how it’s made and what other foods and drinks can go well with it.

Why?: Ideal for catching the interest of regional search engine visitors.

2. Catering Events

Concept: Detail the various events, functions and venues where you serve food on your catering blog. Write about why people hire you for these occasions and the benefits you bring to each one. Cover some of the various factors you and your clients consider before, during and after each event. Showcase some of the best foods (and other services you might provide) for different types of venue from weddings and evening receptions to Christmas lunches and corporate buffets.

EXAMPLE:

Keyword phrase: (location) wedding catering

Title suggestion: Kent Wedding Catering for Large Summer Bridal Receptions

Content suggestion: Write about the catering services you can provide for weddings during the summer months when the weather is warm. Talk about the different dishes you serve and the various options such as buffet snacks, canapés and larger meals.

Why?: You’ll be able to attract local prospects seeking particular events they need food for.

3. Catering Updates

Concept: Update your catering blog’s readers on the events and functions you cater during the week they take place. Share photographs of the occasion and blog about the type of food required, the planning, the logistics and the location. What ideas did you give the event organisers? How did you fulfill their requirements? Which foods were particularly popular? If it’s a particularly interesting venue, write about its history, significance and splendour.

EXAMPLE:

Keyword phrase: cocktail party

Title suggestion: Catering for a Cocktail Party at (name of company)’s Major Product Launch

Content suggestion: A big well-known company in your area hired you to provide catering for their latest product launch. Write about the event, the company, and food and drink you provided on your catering blog. Share photos if you can and note what the atmosphere was like and even what you thought of the unveiling (although keep it positive).

Why?: You’ll show readers and prospects the impressive events you cater for which will likely entice them to hire your services.

4. Regional Venue Tips

Concept: What are some of the best venues to host a special event in your region of the country? On your catering blog, write about places where you’ve served food before and which will be of interest to prospects seeking a great new venue. Cover the functional aspects of the location together with some ideas for different events that can take place there. Note any significant or unusual attributes the area has.

EXAMPLE:

Keyword phrase: cheshire wedding venues

Title suggestion: Top 10 Cheshire Wedding Reception Venues for Large Celebrations

Content suggestion: Create a “top 10” list of the best wedding reception venues you know in your city, county or region. Write about each place together with the pros and cons for different requirements people might have. Cover some facts such as location, size, prices and ease of parking on your catering blog.

Why?: You’ll help wedding planners find a good location for their wedding reception. They may then hire you to help them further.

5. Event Inspiration

Concept: Use your experience of catering to different venues, events and occasions to provide some tips and ideas for hosting a great party or gathering of some kind. Touch on fun event themes and interior décor styles you appreciated. What great wedding parties can people organise they might not have considered? How can corporate events be energised with music and dance? Inspire!

EXAMPLE:

Keyword phrase: hen party themes

Title suggestion: 7 Fabulously Sexy Hen Party Themes

Content suggestion: Get your fingers dirty and your mind flirty with some sexy party themes for a soon-to-be married woman and her friends. What are some fun party themes you’ve come across during your catering career? Detail some and feel inspired to come up with new ideas for naughty evenings around a dinner table or dance floor buffet.

Why?: Has good potential to be shared via social media if it’s imaginative and funny. Posts like this will also inspire people to hire your services when otherwise they might not have considered hosting a hen party themselves.

6. Television Commentary

Concept: What cooking shows are you and your team watching on TV these days? Write about some of your nation’s popular culinary programmes and share your thoughts and opinions on the creative dishes you saw being made. Mention celebrity chefs and the unique characters competing to win a cookery prize. What would you cook or bake? How would you do things differently?

EXAMPLE:

Keyword phrase: british bake off

Title suggestion: British Bake Off Chat: How to Replicate Ian’s Delicious Custard Tart

Content suggestion: What did Mary Berry think of Ian’s custard tart in this week’s episode? Did Paul Hollywood’s reaction surprise you? Write about a particularly interesting episode which caught your attention and the food that was on display on your catering company blog. Tell readers how you would have made the custard tart differently. What event is a tart like that perfect for?

Why?: You’ll catch the interest of Bake Off fans particularly on social media and amongst your subscribers who will share your posts with others.

7. Days, Weeks and Festivals

Concept: You know those themed days and weeks that come by every year? National Vegetarian Week for example. Well, you can use these as content inspiration for your caterer blog. Detail some recipes customers can try out or order based on the particular theme of the ‘special’ day or week. You can also do the same with local food festivals. Write about the festival, take photos and share related recipe and event ideas.

Food days/weeks/months can include: British Yorkshire Pudding Day, Bramley Apple Week, National Bread Week, National Honey Week, Hot Dog Month, Peach Month, Mushroom Month, National Chocolate Day, Herb Week, Seafood Fortnight and British Cheese Week, among many others.

EXAMPLE:

Keyword phrase: london wine week

Title suggestion: Growing My Wine Buff Credentials at London Wine Week

Content suggestion: Say you enjoyed a fun evening at Hixter Bankside’s wine master class. Blog about it. Show photographs from the event and detail what happened, the atmosphere and the various wines you tasted and learnt more about. Are you adding any to your own wine list?

Why?: Special days/weeks allow you to focus on particular aspects of catering services such as wine or desserts. People will be interested in these events and you’ll get the chance to reveal your personality more.

8. Seasonal Ideas

Concept: The different seasons often bring different catering requirements. What are the best foods to eat during the warm summer months outdoors? How do these compare to indoor winter lunches and dinners? Detail the changing menus as the months go by and the various alcohol, dessert and even venue options that best suit each season.

EXAMPLE:

Keyword phrase: korean bbq

Title suggestion: Korean BBQ Becoming a Summertime Favourite in London

Content suggestion: Cover the growing popularity of a good Korean BBQ for outdoor summer events. Talk about the various features of this East Asian barbecue including bibimbap and kimchi. Detail the cultural background and what other foods and drinks will compliment it. What events will it suit most?

Why?: You’ll connect with people seeking seasonal food ideas for different occasions. Great for attracting search engine visitors.

9. Cultural and Dietary Options

Concept: Many people have particular dietary restrictions or preferences based on cultural or health issues. Write about these and detail the options you provide for people who can’t eat, for example, things like wheat, pork, meat, dairy products, peanuts and soy. Share some information on the dishes you provide for these people and the ingredients contained within.

EXAMPLE:

Keyword phrase: gluten free food list

Title suggestion: (Your company name) Caterers: Our Complete Gluten Free Food List

Content suggestion: Build a list of foods and dishes you provide which a gluten free. You can divide the list into categories ranging from buffet snacks and canapés to larger and more formal meals. Write about the importance of gluten free recipes and how you make them taste delicious.

Why?: Gluten intolerance, celiac disease, affects 1 in 100 people in the UK and US. There are plenty of people needing gluten free food options for special events.

10. Professional Interviews

Concept: On your catering blog, consider revealing the people behind the scenes in your company. Invite the top chef or some of your cooks for a Q&A interview session, either on video, via podcast or through an email exchange. Ask them about their work, lives, interests and favourite dishes. Get them to talk about some great events and venues they’ve helped cater for. You can even interview regional and influential chefs from outside your company, plus event organisers, DJs and other related professionals.

EXAMPLE:

Keyword phrase: wedding planner

Title suggestion: Talking Food with London Wedding Planner Kate Smith

Content suggestion: Invite a local wedding planner you sometimes liaise with for a relaxed Q&A session. Ask the planner how her career began and why she loves doing what she does. Turn the conversation towards food and discuss the various dishes she loves and has seen served to great success during wedding receptions. Talk about how your collaboration brings great results.

Why?: You’ll attract other wedding planners looking for professional caterers. Plus, people love reading/listening to interviews about food, culture and personalities.

 

The Main Course May be the Star, but the Appetizer is the Opening Act

Excerpt from post by Common Plea Catering

Finally, the event doors open and your guests are excited to be in attendance but also have come peckish.  Sounds familiar, whether you are the guest or the host. Get the festivities started right by offering delectable and satisfying appetizers. The taste buds will be longing for something delicious so don’t waste this occasion to delight the audience. This is the opening act to entice the palate with expectations for the main event. Here are a few ideas.

Nostalgia to Sophistication

The overall tone of the event will map out the direction that the food, from start to finish, should take.  Weddings tend to have elements of personalization, whereas corporate functions are inclined to be buttoned-up.  No matter where an event lands in the scope of things from whimsical to straight-laced, the food needs to follow suit.

When looking to add personal reflections within the event, consider size and presentation and don’t hesitate to serve your favorites. Small meatballs with a spaghetti strand topper, grilled cheese served in a dainty tomato soup shooter, a bacon cup with a spoonful of scrambled eggs are classics but fun appetizers to serve. Be mindful of the look and the serving means for nostalgic appetizers.  The goal is to create something that is “homey” and satisfying to please the guest’s early pangs of hunger.

If sophistication is the goal for the appetizers, the classics can still be ever-present.  Deviled eggs with fresh herbs, truffle oil, caviar, or capers can take the standard to stand-out levels.  Tartlets filled with creamy cheeses and fruit are an airy in presentation but big in flavor. Look to endive as a mini boat that can transport any upscale ingredient from lobster, shrimp or a savory beef and mushroom combination. The choices are endless and the options of toppings are just as numerous.

The appetizer course is setting the tone for the menu to follow.  Work closely with your expert cater to ensure that the range of tastes and the presentation makes sense for the tone of the event.

Mix up Flavors

Chefs have utilized ingredients in kitchens all over the world that most people would not think of putting together. Some of the best dishes have been made by accidentally putting the wrong spice into the recipe. The creative aspect of a chef’s job can be challenging, but the right mix of ingredients can turn out a recipe that is surprising yet amazing. You can do the same thing with any event you put on by changing up the standard appetizer options and approaching the menu from a different view point.

To understand the creativity of a chef and the ability to put seemingly opposite ingredients together and have them work requires that you look at the flavor components of the ingredients. For example, cayenne pepper works well with chocolates because it combines the sweet flavor of the chocolate with the spice of the pepper. Another example of this is salted caramel, it is merely salty paired with sweet flavors. The list goes on and on of what you can pair together, but the main point is to give your guests an appetizer that they think they know what it will taste like, yet has a surprise flavor lurking within. Have fun with it and watch the reactions of your guests, let your chef be the guide to ensure the success of flavor pairings.

Keep It Small

The point of appetizers is not to fill up the guest before the main dishes are served. Making the appetizers small, as in one or two bites enables your guests to try many things without ruining their appetite for the main course. It also minimizes the risk of making a mess of their outfits. Guests always appreciate bite sized pieces so that conversations can easily continue, and not be bogged down by dishes when holding their cocktail and trying to nosh. The expert method for the appetizer course is to keep intro-menu items delicious yet manageable.