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How To Handle Competition In The Catering Industry

You have risen to the top of your game, and you consider yourself “the big dog” in your area for catering. Your business offers the best food and customer service for miles and your raking in the profits like it’s Christmas morning.

Some young guns open a catering business with a fresh concept that is unlike any other. They are almost like a breath of fresh air, and you’re worried how your business will stack up.

A little competition is healthy, but don’t let it cost you your business. Check out these helpful tips.

Be Respectful

Your competition is just like you. They worked hard to get where they are, and they fight every day to keep their business open. They deserve respect as an equal counterpart to your business. You don’t want to go around bashing them especially in front of customers. Keeping customers focused on your services makes a stronger impression than focusing on the negative points of others.

Stay Current

Things are constantly changing in the catering industry. You need to be on top of food favorites for both taste and presentation. Ensure that you receive regular updates from popular food and catering magazines both online and offline. It won’t be enough to rely on your friends or clients because often words in print set the stage for new trends in the hospitality industry.

Assess Your Competition

Get to know your competition, but don’t obsess over them. What do they do differently than you? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Online reviews will be your best resource for this. You can look at things like Yelp and Google reviews. Any weakness will be an opportunity for your business to capitalize on. You will also want to revert to tip number one when it comes to capilizing on a weakness.

Have A Community Presence

Who you are in the community can be a huge competitive advantage. Most catering or other hospitality businesses will join local networking groups and other charity organizations. It can be a good thing if you join some of the same ones as your competition. However, it can be a bad thing if you don’t join anything.

Don’t Copy

It can be very easy to copy something you see your competitors doing great at. This is something you don’t want to do, at least not on a regular basis. It looks like your business doesn’t have its own ideas, and there isn’t anything that makes you stand out. You want to have your own competitive advantage, and only use your competitor’s ideas as inspiration for your own. Review what makes your business unique and emphasis it on a regular basis. If you are facing competition from a bigger business, remember the factors that smaller businesses have that larger businesses will never have – things like personal touches, passion, and history.

Watch Your Pricing

When many businesses feel a huge threat from a competitor they like to look at their pricing. Can I win over more customers by offer cheaper catering services than my competition? The answer is yes for the short term and no for the long term. The lower price will initially attract more customers, but most small businesses like catering companies don’t charge enough to keep their long-term operations afloat. What eventually happens is your catering services start to go downhill, and your customer retention starts to fall.

Understand Your Own Threats

There is not a catering business out there that doesn’t have a weakness. Gathering feedback from your clients is a great way of understanding where your business might need some improvements. You should make both anonymous and client identifiable surveys so you can gather both biased and unbiased feedback. The important thing is to not take your client’s feedback to personally either. You may think your catering business rocks at the variety of entrees you offer. However, with guest feedback you find out that most of these entrees taste very poorly. At that point, it might be a good thing for your business to focus on the entrees that you excel at.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed

Don’t get overwhelmed if you have a lot of competition. That means there is a large customer demand, and the catering market is viable. There will always be room for your business if you have something to compete with. If that is having the best appetizers or the best wait staff in town, so be it. Focus on what you excel at and your customers will follow.

Believe in Your Business
Be confident in your business and what you have done to build it. If you don’t believe in your product than your customers certainly won’t. Often when businesses are not confident in themselves, they come across overly aggressive within their sales pitch.