Are you looking for a quick and easy way to add sales to your restaurant’s operation without having to invest in additional equipment?
Drop off catering is your solution! This does not require a huge investment, very minimal in fact. All you really need is a catering menu to get started.
Once you have a menu you just need to let your customers know about it and you will see the catering orders start to trickle in. After 6-12 months as you gain repeat business and some referrals you will see these sales start to add significant revenue to your restaurant’s operation.
Drop Off Catering is Easy to Execute
Drop off catering is the easiest type of catering besides pickups. Think about it, you already have staff in your restaurant taking care of the regular dining room customers. I’d be willing to bet they are not at 100% productivity, because let’s face, perfection is impossible.
How hard would it be to prepare a package for 20 or 30 people? It would be nothing to them!
In fact, they would probably enjoy so their day moves a little faster and they don’t have as much down time.
Most of the time catering customers want their food the same time as your dining room customers which works out great for you. This is because since you will be delivering the food to the catering customer, you will have to have it ready 15-30 minutes before they want it depending on how far away your restaurant is from their location.
Say you have a noon delivery for a drop off catering. Well your staff can be preparing it from 10:30-11:30 when you probably aren’t that busy in the restaurant.
Then you have someone leave to take the delivery at 11:30-11:45 and then your staff can start getting ready for your lunch rush that might start at 12 or 12:15.
Plus, your delivery driver might even get back to the restaurant before lunch rush to help out!
It is a win win, your dining room customers don’t lose out on service and you get more productivity out of your staff and more dollars in the bank.
Drop Off Catering Sales Quickly Add Up
Drop off catering sales can quickly boost your sales by hundreds of dollars a day. When most people order catering it is usually for at least 10-15 guests but on average probably closer to 20.
Think about how much easier it is to service 20 guests when you don’t have to plate individual meals and just bring them food in bulk packaging. Cake, right?
Plus, it doesn’t really add labor since you can take advantage of the staff you already have scheduled for the day.
What if it takes your staff 30 min to prepare a $200-300 order? Plus you have dining room customers walking in and out, do you see how that can add up? What if you had 3 of those orders? Or 6?
These are not crazy expectations to think about. If you live in a decent sized city there are businesses out there that order catering regularly, you need to get a part of that action!
During busier times of the year, like football season or graduation, it is not uncommon for us to have 10-15 catering orders going out in one day! Now we average about 4 a day so obviously there are days when we have none or just a couple but this is the quickest way we have found to grow sales, with catering!
You Don’t Even Need a Lot of Equipment
The great thing about drop off catering is that you don’t even need to invest in much equipment. Really the only thing I would say you need is a cooler or insulated bag to keep the food hot while delivering the food.
If you are just starting out, you can get a $50 cooler from your local Sam’s Club. As you get more involved, I would recommend getting some insulated food pan carriers like Cambro. These are more expensive but we have used them to keep food above temp for over 6 hours!
You really don’t even need chaffing dishes. If you are just dropping off food for 20-30 people, they are going to eat in about 15 min so the food is not going to cool off in that time. If you do have customers that want heat, you can always buy some disposable wire frame chaffing sets and sell them to your customer so it won’t cost you anything.
You can get those in bulk online or you can get them at a Sam’s Club on an as needed basis.
The only other thing you will need is catering food pans and serving utensils. But these are really part of your costs of goods sold, so you can build these into your pricing so you are not losing out on anything.
We buy branded plastic serving utensils so if our customers decide to re-use them they see our logo. However, these are actually more expensive than buying cheap metal serving utensils. Try to find some that work for you and try not to spend more than $1 apiece.
I hope after reading this article I have convinced you that drop off catering is a great way to quickly and easily add sales to your restaurant’s top line. It really does not take much effort to get started and the rewards can be as great as you make it.