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How to Advertise Your Catering Business in the UAE? : A Complete Guide for 2024

Published by wadialbada
February 14, 2024
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No matter where your catering business is located, you need to know how to advertise and make a name for yourself to thrive in the midst of cut-throat competition.

There are many elements of marketing your catering business, from creating a strong brand identity to using social media to encouraging satisfied clients to leave positive reviews and many more.

Here’s a complete guide on how to advertise your catering business in the UAE. Follow it and soon you will have more customers with better profit for sure!

Common Catering Business Marketing Challenges

Lack of research

“Make an excellent product and customers will flock to you” – This idea doesn’t work anymore in today’s world.

You have to understand the target audience, competitive landscape, industry trends, optimal marketing channels, and pricing strategies through deep and thorough industry research.

Without this, you will get lost right from the beginning and set yourself up for disappointment in the long run.

Lack of resources

Most startups start their operations without enough resources – whether it be money, time, network, or information. Not knowing your priorities can be a struggle. You will need to know exactly what you have and can afford to build a solid plan in advance.

Spreading brand awareness

Getting your brand across to your audience can be a daunting task. It’s already hard to establish your name in the UAE’s catering industry as a newcomer; and when you have to look for the right channels to best reach your audience, things will be more challenging.

Unable to grasp marketing trends

The modern world is constantly changing, with different trends coming and going. You will struggle to find your footing in the industry if you are out of the loop.

You need to be aware of the popular foods and related services in high demand, ventures your competitors are taking up, and new technological advancements occurring in the sector.

For instance, you should know what foods are still fan favorites and what culinary trends are now at their peak.

Inconsistent marketing activities

You have to be active and regular in your marketing endeavors to bring in and retain customers. When the audience won’t hear from you regularly, they will soon forget about you and move on to other more active competitors.

Poor performance monitoring

Just investing in marketing without monitoring the efficiency of the campaign will generate no results. You should carefully check the performance of every strategy to see if audience engagement is increasing.

For instance, think of a social media post that you created recently. How many people have interacted with it? How many of those interactions were converted into sales?

If you have a referral program, how many clients have come in through that? If you have a coupon code, how often it was used?

How to Advertise Your Catering Business?

Create a marketing plan

No operation can be successful without a solid plan. Not only do you need to establish a timeline for your marketing strategy, but you should also be aware of the changes that may come whether they are in your control or not.

Always have a backup plan to fall back on if things don’t go according to your plan. Some key aspects to consider when devising your marketing strategy are:

Identify the target audience

Locate and understand your target audience based on the type of occasions you want to cater to.

Some of your options are:

  • Weddings
  • Birthday parties 
  • Corporate events (Conferences or business meetings)
  • Kids Parties 
  • Adult parties (Anniversaries or dinner parties)
  • Cultural events 
  • And many more

Set a budget

Your marketing expenses can be small, medium, or large. It is important to have your budget fixed so you can decide on the activities open to you. Not having a fixed budget, especially if you do not have that big of a capital can cause you to spend an indefinite amount of money that can seep into your other departments.

Settle on a unique selling point (USP)

The point of having a unique selling point (USP) is to have a distinction from your competitors. Research what kind of competition you are dealing with, who they are serving, and what THEIR USPs are.

You may find a segment of the general audience who are currently being underserved. Or you may find a certain cuisine not available but has a pretty significant demand. You can even blend in and have a mix of different cuisine types and traditions that can entice a new segment of the market.

What’s more, you can offer a completely new dish not in your region and make a market segment for yourself.

Research your competitors and the tools and abilities of your company to find a niche that only you can serve and find your own USP.

Create your brand

“A brand is a person’s gut feeling” – Marty Neumeier

The brand is a combination of the name, logo, general decorations, color design, and many other things to convey what your company is about to your target customers. It also separates you from your competition.

If you do not already have a name, try to pick something simple and easy to pronounce. For ideas, you can use a variation or a pun based on the type of cuisine you are serving.

You could also try adding something personal to your cooking or anything local. Try a variety of ideas before an ideal name strikes you.

For logo designs, you need to first decide what you want to convey. As a general rule of thumb, round and curvy shapes convey casualness while straight and rectangular shapes are meant to be formal.

If you want to show off the type of food you are serving, try incorporating the cultural design elements of those cuisines.

This is, however, just a guideline to follow so you should experiment with designs to find the ideal logo that suits your brand.

Try to mix up a few of these rules and design elements if you think you can give off multiple roles. Just make sure to keep it eye-catching and easy on the eyes.

An example of a “casual” logo

An example of a “formal” design   

An example of a cuisine-specific logo

Your logo brandings and color schemes need to be in the decorations of your office location and website. You should also invest in uniforms for your employees that carry the name and logo of your company.

Invest in digital marketing

Digital marketing is now an integral part of society today so to maximize your potential, you will need to invest in it. Here are some important factors presented to you.

Website

Your website will be one of the best ways for your customers to check out your business. You will want to provide as much information as possible here. You also want to present the information cleanly with every necessary information visible.

24 CARROT CATERING AND EVENTS desktop website

Here is an example of a cleanly designed website. At a glance, you can get an idea about the company itself, and all the necessary info you need is presented right in front of you, most importantly, their contact info.

While designing the website, you will also need to consider mobile users visiting your site. Over half of your visitors (55%) will be visiting by using their phone. You will need to design your website to be easy to use for mobile users. Let us look at the same website we saw before, but this time on mobile.

24 CARROT CATERING AND EVENTS mobile website

Here, instead of cluttering your screen with the options available to see in the desktop version, the mobile version directs you straight to the menu for anything you will need and still makes a great presentation at showing the type of company and services they provide.

Keep this example in mind when designing your website. Don’t hesitate to get creative and infuse your own brand elements into it. Most catering websites follow this format generally.

JOY WALLACE
ABRAHAM CATERING

This format has been tried and tested so do not stray too far away and your website can be just as professional as these top successful ones.

SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) will increase your chances of being found by your audience. Research relevant keywords that are specific to your business and incorporate them into your websites and pages. 

Create blogs and content that have these words in their titles, headings, and body, and you will rank up in search results to come up on top.

Try to incorporate long-tail keywords instead of short-tail. As the name suggests, short-tail keywords are usually very short. They are also very generic and competitive. 

Ranking on top will not only be harder but even if you do, the chances of your visitors being a potential lead will be very slim. 

An example of a short-tail keyword would be “Catering Service.”

This keyword is very generic, and the results are likely to have definitions, explanations, and just general things. The more generic a keyword, the less relevant it will be to a user and you. Even if you happen to show up for a generic keyword, the likelihood of them hiring you for business will be very low.

Long tail keywords are longer and are more specific. Incorporate them for your audience to find you.

An example of a long-tail keyword would be “Catering service in Dubai.”

Here, a location is added to make it more specific. It will show services that operate around the area. You should use your area of operations as keywords to boost your ranks in those areas. 

If you appear as a result, chances are that the user is looking for catering services. So your website will be more relevant to that person. The more relevant your website is to the keywords, the more chances you getting relevant visitors, which means more potential customers.

Local SEO

If Google business listings dominate your local search results, it would be beneficial for you to join in as well. Go here and open your own Google business listing, and implement local SEO to appear as a Business listing.

Google business listing will show up like this.

Here’s what customers see at a glance, along with direct clicks to your website and on-site location. Provide as many details as you can. The more information you put, the more trustworthy you will be in the eyes of the visitor. Having good reviews is also a green flag for most people.

Pay-per-click ads

Pay-per-click ads are the “sponsored” and “ad” posts that show up on top of the organic results when you search for anything on your search engine.

Here, you bid a certain amount of money to show up in the ad segments. If you are among the highest bidders, your ad will be visible on top.

This is a great complement to SEO as you will be able to rank quickly depending on how much you are paying, while SEO rankings take time to show up on the first page. 

Social media marketing

With most people being on social media today, it would be wise to invest in social media marketing especially if your target audience is the newer generations. 85% of Gen Z (People born from 1997-2012) say their purchase behavior is dictated by social media. A lot of small businesses run on social media campaigning alone. 80% of social media marketers say that consumers buy products and services through social media services than company websites or third-party sellers.

These sites can have their quirks although they will be mostly operating similarly. Some notable ones and how to utilize them are given below. Some statistics from Hubspot research are given that can help you decide your best course of action when it comes to social media.

For community building, Instagram and Facebook (both owned by Meta) will work best for you according to the survey. As a catering business, having a community and regular discussions will help have a large digital presence for you.

Luckily for you, both Instagram and Facebook have ranked the highest in ROI. So you can safely bet that investing in those platforms will bring you great returns. However, don’t knock off the other platforms right away. If you want to utilize video content in your marketing, YouTube and TikTok will be great options.

You should also consider the age range of your audience because you will need it when allocating resources for providing customer service.

The younger generation is more likely to reach out to you through your social media pages. Here are the findings on the percentage of people of various generations who would.

Social media SEO is also an important aspect. Just like you would incorporate keywords for search engines, you will need to do that for social media too. Here are the stats on how frequently newer generations are looking up brands on social media.

With more reliance on social media these days, make sure not to fall behind. Take into account these findings when setting up your pages.

Collaborations with content creators/influencers

Content creators are a rising force in today’s internet culture and are one of the most efficient ways when you’re learning how to advertise your catering business, especially if your target audience ranges from millennials to current generations. 21% of people aged between 18-54 have said that they have bought something on the recommendation of one of their favorite content creators.

Try to find content creators that are popular among your target audience. Collaborate with them to showcase your brand and services to their audience. Discuss and decide on what type of project would be beneficial to both parties.

You can decide to provide catering services to any event they may have planned, and ask them for a shoutout. You could also ask them to create the type of content they usually create but showcase your menu items and services.

Food-related companies are among the top 6 business types that work with content creators/ influencers.

There are many possibilities on what creative collab projects you can do. So brainstorm some ideas amongst yourselves and your targeted influencer to get your name out there.

Handling and engaging customers

Everything in your marketing activities as a catering service is done to get engagement with your customers. So how do you handle this essential part of your business? Here are some aspects we have mentioned to optimize your interactions to the satisfaction of your customers.

Customer service

Customer service is one of the key factors in not only gaining new customers but also retaining regular ones. Train your employees to be friendly and cordial to guests every time they interact. This includes when making calls and during events where you are catering.

People remember positive interactions with company representatives which will spread positive word of mouth. Here are a few tips that can help you and your employees to provide quality customer service.

  • Know your menu items. If you are providing more exotic and uncommon food items, some guests may become curious and ask about them. Make sure you and your employees know about them so that when asked about these items, they can provide a satisfactory answer.
  • Anticipate customer needs. Sometimes you will be able to tell that customers will be unsure about something. It could be with a certain food item or a certain procedure during the transaction. Try asking customers if they are sure of everything and clear things up for them. Teach your employees to do the same.
  • Pay attention to the basics. It is not uncommon for orders to be wrong. Be diligent when taking orders and make sure not to mess them up, especially if there is something specifically asked by a client.
  • Finally, always speak with a smile. Guests love to be served by a pleasant person. Make small talk if the opportunity is there but don’t overstay your welcome. Having friendly interactions is key. 

Referral programs

Referral programs allow you to mobilize your audience to spread positive word of mouth for your company.

Ask your satisfied customers to refer you to their friends and family. Before you do, make sure not to come off as annoying. Be friendly and bold and only ask when you think they are likely to respond positively to your request. Offer discounts, coupon codes, or gifts to both the referrer and referee to incentivize them more.

No matter what referral program you decide to go with, be thorough about the procedures, and make it as simple as possible for them. The customers will not bother if the procedure is even slightly tedious. Also, make sure to give out rewards immediately.

Caterzen has a great referral program that you can take notes from. They have a page where you can sign up to be a referral partner. You will get a referral link you are supposed to pass around to potential clients.

If anyone becomes their client using your link, you are rewarded a handsome amount of $250. You also get into a draw for a Royal Caribbean Tour for two people that is worth $5000 if you manage to get them 50 clients. Also, the person who uses their services through you gets an Android tablet device integrated with their services.

While the rewards here are extravagant, and especially not replicable if you are not already a huge business yet, it can give you an idea of what you can offer based on your situation. Once you create the perfect program for you, you will see your clients bringing in more clients for you.

Email marketing

Email marketing is a personalized marketing activity that caters to the needs of the sender individually. Email has a return on investment (ROI) rate of $36 per $1 spent, which makes it a very lucrative tactic to follow.

To get started with email marketing, you will need to start making an email list. While you can buy email lists from certain companies, it is recommended to not do so. These lists are usually not created with your target demography in mind.

Not only will using such an email list be a waste of effort, but it will also be very invasive of the privacy of those mail users and bother them often to the point of blocking and avoiding you.

It is best to start creating your own mailing lists. For starters, ask for the emails of your current customers and keep them on a list. For potential customers, ask new visitors to your website to sign up to your website.

One way to incentivize new visitors to sign up for your mailing lists is lead magnets. These are rewards you give to people in exchange for signing up for your email lists. Rewards can be a discount, a free recipe book, free meals, or anything that can be associated with your brand.

Once you collect emails, keep them in separate lists based on what type of services they are likely to need or what event they will host. The separation is important because you do not want to promote your wedding event plans to corporate entities.

A great example of an email can be the following email that is sent by Dunkin Donuts.

This mail is nicely designed with brand elements that tell the receiver everything they will need to know. Try to make your promotional mail clean and present your information in a nice and readable fashion.

A great promotion idea you can run for your current customers is offering them discounts or gifts for catering services on certain anniversaries of their lives, like their birthdays, marriage ceremonies, etc, especially if you have catered for their anniversary event before. You can wish them on their special day and offer the discount or bonus content as a gift. This is a great opportunity to send personalized emails which have a response rate of 32.7% (according to Backlinko).

Be sure not to mix up dates though otherwise, you will find yourself in an awkward position!

Here is an example of a great personalized email on a customer’s birthday by California TORTILLA.

Here, the email addresses the customer directly by calling him his name. It then informs him of his free burrito which the company has offered as a birthday gift. Afterwards, they give a short sweet message along with the procedures to get the burrito. To top it all off, they put a very enticing picture of what kind of burrito Mr. Rohit is here to expect.

This email has a nice and personal touch that any viewer would love to read, along with an offer they simply cannot refuse.

These are two examples you can emulate but try to look out for more examples that may be more suitable for you. Take your spin on existing or new ideas to get the best results for your brand.

Reputation management

Reputation is one of the key factors that the audience uses to judge a company’s worth. With a large portion of people likely to research you before deciding to use your services, make sure to have a positive image.

One of the most important aspects of reputation is reviews. Here is what people think of reviews according to a Brightlocal survey.

At a glance, this shows us the importance of having good reviews and how they can control the perception of brands in the minds of the general audience. 

Whenever you provide any service, ask politely to drop a review. Best to ask customers who you think have enjoyed your services. If they are unsatisfied (which will happen a few times in the long run), just thank them for their patronage and move on.

Customers not only seek out good reviews. They are also likely to check bad reviews to know what to be wary of. While the option may be there, DO NOT censor or remove negative comments. 62% of consumers told Trustpilot that they stopped using services from businesses that do that.

Instead, respond to negative reviews sincerely. Consumers take into account how a business reacts to criticism. Apologize to customers if your service was not up to their expectations and offer appropriate compensation for it. Most customers are happy to receive compensation and will think more positively afterward.

Other than responding to reviews, try to respond to general comments your audience will leave on your social media posts. People like responsive pages that interact with them. The platforms you are on also usually push up your business page if they see you being active. So it is a great practice to be more present all around.

Try to maintain a positive digital presence, and your reputation will bring you business and make people remember you.

Investing in local advertisement

Catering is a more personal and involved service that requires a lot more face-to-face interactions than a lot of other businesses. You need to establish yourself in your areas of operations to be successful.

So, local advertisement is a must. Here are some ways you can be a household name in your locality.

Tasting events

Tasting events are a popular form of advertisement that is specified for catering businesses. Try to arrange one and invite every local business that will be complementary to your services.

No matter how well you convey your company services online and reach the audiences through digital marketing, nothing will come close to selling your food items than letting your potential customers and business partners taste it themselves.

This will be a great opportunity to gain powerful allies in the locality. Venue owners and event management are some businesses that can be great partnership opportunities, especially if you are targeting corporate events.

It can also show off your culinary skills and menu options to the general audience who may be compelled to hire you for their events.

Tasting events always have festive vibes so no matter what, it will be very likely to be memorable and will leave an impression on the attending parties.

Print media

Despite what a lot of people assume, print media marketing is not dead. It is beneficial if you are operating in areas with a higher average age of people, where the residents may not be familiar with the Internet.

Wherever they are allowed, use posters, brochures, and leaflets. Make sure to have enticing designs to them to attract the eyes of any local passers-by.

A few examples of some design formats are given that you may use for your posters and leaflets.

As you can see, the pictures and information are presented in a manner that does not clash, yet tells everything they need to tell about the company. They boldly show the name of the company, present some of the delicacies of the food menu, and give out all the necessary contact details.

Use your branding elements and creativity to sell your services. And if you are up for it, you can even put on your spin to stand out.

Business cards are another form of print media that will bring you business. Whether you are a critic of the subtleties of a business card or not, exchanging business cards among fellow men in meetings is a tale as old as time.

While business cards are not made primarily for the target audience, they are best at giving out your company details to potential business partners. As a result, they are a great networking tool at various events.

An example of how you may design your card is given:

You will want to make sure to use both sides of the card for full potential. A common practice is to put your name and logo on one side and your business and contact info on the other. Some businesses can mix that formula up so experiment at your discretion. 

Just make sure to present everything cleanly, and you will have a chance at scoring a lot of business partners.

Local networking

Try to establish connections wherever you can. There is nothing else like the good old positive word of mouth. Try to join community functions and festivities. 

Talk to influential people and get your name out there. Give everyone you meet a business card so that they can contact you if they need it.

Local partnerships

Try to partner up with local businesses that complement each other. Event planners and venue owners are some mutually beneficial partnerships for you. Try to maintain connections so that they may hire you during their functions.

Final thoughts

Catering business is an exciting venture especially if you love cooking and spreading joy with your meals. We hope that this article allows you to avoid mistakes and take optimal measures to take your business to success.

FAQs

Q. What kind of content can I post?

Ans: Try to stick to food-related posts like your menu items and reviews. Also, try posting about ideal food for each occasion that is commonly seen.

Q. Do I need to implement every possible marketing tactic to be successful?

Ans: Your best option will be to monitor the output of every activity you take on and see which works for you and what does not. Increase budget on successful actions and decrease budget on not-so-successful ones.

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