December 6, 2022
Lauren Platero

The Benefits of Catering Online Ordering for Restaurants

Catering online ordering is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the restaurant industry. The catering sector has experienced massive growth in recent years. Luckily, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

According to Statista, the market size of the catering industry in the United States grew by about 16% in 2021. By the end of the year, it was estimated to have a valuation of $9.51 billion. Then, the catering sector was forecasted to be worth $10.59 billion by the end of 2022.

Catering online ordering options likely contribute to such high metrics year-over-year. But which factors directly correlate with these statistics? Read on to find out!

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Rise In Demand for Catering Online Ordering

Since 2020, consumers have been inclined to spend more money on events. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many private and public gatherings were either postponed to a much later date or canceled altogether. Now that people have the freedom to host events, from weddings to birthday parties, they’re making the most of it.

Economic factors also play a large role in catering online ordering outcomes. As consumers earn higher salaries, the demand for catering personal events will increase. And as companies become more profitable, there will be larger budgets for corporate functions.

If you’re the business owner or restaurant manager that offers catering online ordering services, be mindful of this kind of consumer data. The success of a catering business can differ from one local market to another. With this in mind, you’ll want to make sure that your prices and service align with your target audience.

Traditional vs. Modern Catering Booking Options

Allowing guests to order catering services online is a modern take on traditional ordering practices. It’s becoming more and more obsolete to require patrons to visit or call the restaurant in order to schedule all their catering needs.

Traditionally, customers would have to meet with the restaurant manager to discuss catering options. This conversation would usually cover the following questions:

  • What is the customer’s budget for the event?
  • What is the date and time of the event?
  • How many guests will be attending the event?
  • How many menu items will be available for the guests?

If there was ever a chance that this process rushes the customer, digital catering options are an easy solution. Now, people are able to use an online platform to submit all of their catering specifications.

Catering online ordering now takes the wait times out of selecting options. Customers can visit the restaurant’s website, make an account, and start planning their catered event. It’s that simple! If you’re curious about the impact digital catering options can have on your business, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn about several benefits of digital catering platforms.

The Benefits of Digital Catering Options

Upgrading your catering online ordering business will do wonders for restaurant operations and the overall customer experience. With this being said, here are several of the top benefits you’ll experience once you offer digital catering options.

1. It Creates A Sense of Convenience

There’s one primary goal for almost every technological advancement–making a process more convenient for the customers. Fortunately, digital catering options take convenience to a whole new level.

When planning an event, customers can order all of the food and drink options right from the comfort of their own homes. Rather than visiting the business to place an order with a manager, they can order everything the same way they’d order a meal online.

2. Restaurants Can Upsell Online Bookings

Upselling opportunities are some of the best ways to raise profits. Upselling is the process of raising the customer’s cart value. Businesses are able to upsell by effectively placing additional products and services throughout the purchasing process.

A food and beverage company can upsell a catering order online in a number of ways. If a person is in the midst of booking an event, display an option to order food online. Not only can this function as an opportunity to try the food earlier but it also serves as an additional sale.

If you operate a business that offers catering, there’s also a chance that your facilities operate as a venue, too. For major parties and events, this opens the door for another area to upsell. If someone is already catering a party with your food and drinks, then maybe the venue can be discounted.

It’s not common to find a venue that cuts the price for using their catering services. So, consider this as a way to differentiate your business from the competition.

Carefully design the checkout page of your catering online ordering platform. Ensure that it showcases all of the extra options that can upsell the order.

3. You Can Collect Customer Data More Easily

One of the best features of digital platforms is that they request customer data. For example, in order for someone to use an online catering ordering platform to plan their event, they must create an account.

Upon making an account, customers will have to share their name, email address, and phone  number. Not only is this information necessary for confirming the catering services and following up with any questions, but it can also be beneficial from a marketing standpoint.

With permission, businesses can use such information to launch marketing strategies. For instance, food businesses can use email addresses to send promotions and discounts. It’s also important to note that creating an account provides businesses with the most direct lines of communication. So even if the data doesn’t tell you specific information about the customer, they can use it to directly contact them.

4. Kitchens Can Be Leased

That’s right–entrepreneurs can operate a catering business without making the purchase of opening a restaurant. In fact, roughly 50% of catering businesses don’t own their own kitchen facilities.

Not only does this make operations much simpler, but it significantly cuts the costs of operating a catering business. Many entrepreneurs don’t realize that they can operate a catering business without fully launching a restaurant.

Think of it as a “ghost catering” type of business structure. Many experts in the restaurant industry have become familiar with the ghost kitchen business model–especially since the rise of mobile ordering. It’s kind of similar, where customers can order catering services without there being an eatery that serves the menu items.  

5. Catering Is Cost-Effective

As you may already be able to tell, operating a catering business can be a very cost-effective and lucrative venture. Catering orders are significantly higher than what a business would receive in a standard restaurant setting.

By catering large parties and events, businesses are able to ensure that they are generating a certain amount of revenue on a given day. Crowds that pass through eateries on a regular day can fluctuate. Some days are busier than others, so it can be difficult to gauge a restaurant’s success.

With this in mind, catering businesses are much more predictable when it comes to sales. Plus, the ability to project these metrics can further help a catering business adjust its strategy.

Facts About the Catering Sector of Food and Beverage

The catering sector of the food and beverage industry is much larger than one might assume. But just think about it–the food and drinks at every public outing have to come from somewhere. Not only is this why the industry is so lucrative, but why it also boasts so many shocking statistics.

Here are some of the most interesting facts about the catering industry.

  • Revenues in the catering industry have doubled in the last decade.
  • In the last three years, the catering sector has grown more than any other sector within the food and beverage industry.
  • The average party size that a food business caters is typically between 100 and 250 people.
  • Roughly 80% of catering businesses focus on off-site events.
  • On average, the owner of a catering business works approximately 50 hours per week.

So, it’s no secret that the catering industry is a booming sector of business. With fewer expenses than a restaurant and a profitable array of services, those who operate a catering business have the potential to build an enormous revenue stream.

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The Future of Catering: What to Expect In 2023

Catering online ordering is a major part of regular experiences amongst consumers. Catering services are what provide food and drink selections at major events, whether it be the annual corporate conference or a loved one’s wedding.

Due to high demand for parties and private events, the catering industry will continue to see more tools and innovations. More hospitality software companies will launch program features to streamline booking reservations and customizing catering packages.

The catering industry is also a booming sector for employment opportunities. According to a recent study, there are roughly 198,600 people in the United States who are employed within the catering industry.

Between the common interest in the profession and the demand for it amongst the general public, there are many growth opportunities. By using the proper innovative solutions, caterers can scale their business in no time.