Below are a selection of blogs from Ali Cater, founder of CaterCost.
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No healthy options? No customers Jun 27, 2017
A recent industry survey* reported a few facts that might just get you thinking…
• 45% of people think their healthy eating plan gets in the way of their social life.
• Two thirds (67%) of consumers want to know the nutritional information on the meals they’re offered.
• A third of people worry that they can’t trust what’s in the dishes on the menu presented to them.
*Reported in Propel Newsletter 20th June 2017.
With ‘eating out’ a top activity for socialising, a range of dishes that caters for all diets and diet fads is a must, or potential customers and their friends might not be stopping by.
Can you remember a time you’ve been out with some friends or family, you wanted to grab a bite to eat but there was that one person who’s slightly more picky than the others? Even if it’s just a fad diet they’re on, or a genuine food allergy, or lifestyle choice such as vegetarianism or veganism; we’re guessing you didn’t say “I don’t care what you want to eat” it’s more likely that they actually dictated where you ate, or at least guided you towards somewhere that had a few options of food they could eat.
One could say ‘picky eaters’ have the authority, and will drive traffic to your business… that is if you choose to cater for them.
Propel reported that these fickle foodies are massively influential on where customers dine out, making sure everyone can eat and enjoy, not just the majority.
It’s not just those picky eaters though, even your every-day-customers like to chop and change. One day they’re on a diet of burgers and sundaes, the next they’re eating a salad to get back into their healthy regime. Or they might be a vegetarian that tries out veganism for a month. You need to be prepared for it all.
Make sure they’re only choosing between which of your healthy options sounds more satisfying, not deciding between you and the competition, you need to offer total menu transparency. This means providing full nutritional information - calories, allergies, salt - the whole lot. The more info you can give them the better.
If you haven’t got a dish that meets these requirements just yet then download this cauliflower curry recipe. It’s nutritionally analysed, vegan friendly and delicious, in fact it ticks all the boxes to appeal to even the pickiest eaters.
Knowing the exact nutritional and allergy information in all of your dishes can be a bit of a nightmare, so why not trial CaterCost Menu Management Software which makes analysing nutritional and allergen information from all your made from scratch dishes a doddle. Read more
Record, Monitor, Adapt Jun 14, 2017
Running a catering business is all about margins – you know that as well as I do. Measuring is the key to real success as this arms you with the information you need to make changes and adapt to trends. Read more
Chefs are weird - get over it! Jun 7, 2017
Finding good chefs is hard. Finding brilliant ones that aren’t mad, near on impossible some might say! But, after more than 15 years in the industry, I think the stereo-typical ‘chef temperament’ is understandable. Perhaps I’m going soft? Read more
Open your eyes to what your customers see May 17, 2017
11 thinks to look out for if you are running a catering business - an extract from Ali Palmer's book "Eat Your Competition For Lunch". Without you realising it, your customers are constantly taking in non-food clues as to what to expect at your place - and that starts even before they step foot through the door. Read more
See what your customers see... May 3, 2017
From how your team greet customers – ‘Good evening sir, madam,’ ‘Hi guys,’ ‘Wotcha, Fred,’ to the way the food is delivered to your customer – silver service, self-service or somewhere in between - there are aspects of how you, and your staff, serve your customers that will improve your chances of success – whatever your style of food business. Read more
Are you Insta-ready? Apr 20, 2017
40% of your customers take a photo of their food and put that photo on Instagram – well, if all of your customers are between 21 and 35 that’s certainly the case according to the 2016 BBC Good Food Nation Survey.
Vegan dishes a must on menus, with 6 months!? Apr 12, 2017
Are you ready for this – Portuguese authorities have just passed a law that states all public canteens in schools, universities, prisons, hospitals etc. must, within the next 6 months, provide a 100% vegan option on their menus! Read more
Fatburgs, Farms and Differentiation! Apr 6, 2017
How ‘green' is your business? I mean, do you ever think about how much of an affect its having on the environment? Ok, this isn’t an exciting topic I hear you cry. But wait, it can be! Read more
Is crowdfunding the answer to your prayers? Mar 29, 2017
There’s been a lot in our industry press about crowdfunding being the answer to everyone’s prayers lately, but is it really a viable prospect for raising cash in your business? Read more
Are you 'board' yet?! Mar 20, 2017
I did laugh last week when I read the headline ‘Bye Bye Boardy’ in the Morning Advertiser… Read more
What can the yougsters teach us? Feb 27, 2017
The big headlines for our industry at the moment are the imminent Rate Increases, due in April. Whilst MPs such as Sajid Javid are saying all the right things to encourage "more must be done to level the playing field", in reality, what can you do? Read more
What else is on the Horizon? Feb 6, 2017
When I was thinking about my top two predictions for 2017 a few weeks ago I read with interest the Propel bulletin that presented the research from foodservice consultancy Horizons.
But I want to cook!!! Jan 30, 2017
My family and I eat out, a lot. But, we also love to get great food delivered and definitely still LOVE to cook! We are the epitome of ‘the foodie family’.
Profiteroo…. Jan 23, 2017
Firstly, I should say this is not an advert for Deliveroo, there are other food delivery companies. But, if your focus is on premium quality food then this company might just be able to help you upscale your business without increasing overheads. Read more
Ready for the Staff Retention Revolution? Jan 17, 2017
Last week my email was all about sugar. This week we are on to my second prediction for 2017: Staff Retention Revolution. Read more
Anyone got a crystal ball? Jan 10, 2017
Predicting trends is not easy, but it is something I get asked to do a lot at this time of year. I think we’ll see some pretty monumental changes in 2017 but the first is going to be a continuation of last year’s healthy eating. However, now it’ll be focusing on Reducing Sugar. Read more
2016: ‘Experience dining’ got bigger and bigger! Dec 19, 2016
Last week I started to review my predictions for 2016. If you missed it, check out my last blog for some mind-blowing stats on the rise of vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. This week I thought I’d just take a quick look at how my second prediction fared; the chef-driven fast-casual concept. Read more
2017: I predict the death of the bacon sandwich Dec 14, 2016
I’m not one to crow, but I got it right… last year one of my predictions for trends in 2016 the rise of ‘healthy eating’.
How to cost a dish Jun 27, 2016
I know how difficult it is to take control of costs, so here's a blow-by-blow guide to getting it right and making more money. Read more
Is The Gluten-Free Evolution Driving Change At Your Tables? Feb 29, 2016
Gluten-free diners are here to stay. It’s a market sector worth £365m and expected to rise another 50% by 2019. Read more