Guest Author - Jason Hodge
More recently my wife and I were asked to cater a party. The budget was much lower than we usually worked for, but we had a good feeling about it and did it anyway. What surprised us was all the business that would come from it. Here's what happened.
We got the call; agreed to do the party and were given cart blanch on what the menu would be. We made a few suggestions; our host to be salivated and we were in business! It was to be middle easternish, Lebanese in flair and a lot of fun, flavor and food. Our only criteria was to make enough and to make it good.
The menu kept on evolving as more showed for the event. No worries right?! We just made do. Anyway, once we arrived at the party, with ingredients in hand ready to get the party started [in the kitchen, that is] we ran into a lot of obstacles: storage space, counter space, traffic flow... etc., but that's another article...
We started off with THREE dishes which evolved into an additional four. The original menu along with the impromptu one looked like this: Gourmet Tabouleh, Curried Red Lentil Bisque, Lentil Chili, Fresh Herb Salad w/ a Sweet Lemon & Sumac/Oil-Cured Olive Vinaigrette, Broiled Herbed Lavash w/ an Herbed Tapenade Topping, Marinated Orzo Salad, Marinated English Cucumbers, Slivered Onion Crushed Garlic Herbed Potato Flats and Potato & Pepper Veggie Sausage Zucchini Poppers and an assortment of grapes. It was a smashing success and we were spent at the end of it.
Here was the outcome...
Not only were their guests streaming into the kitchen to complement the food, we got a call from the host the following day asking if they could pass on our contact information to several of their guests. What we found out was that little mixer was packed full of professionals who had functions coming up at their places and were in need of a personal chef to handle their events. It was all unexpected, but an absolute perfect example of the amount of business you can gain by folks actually experiencing your services as opposed to just reading about them. We could've taken an ad out in the papers, directories, online, etc. and spent a lot of money doing it or we could cater a mixer and be our own advertisement.
If you're good at what you do and you make yourself available to do what you do best for many people at once, like at mixers, parties, etc. you can boost your business exponentially with the efforts of one event. We spent less than $50 on extras to accommodate the larger number of guests and increased our business by over well 700% in just a few hours; and who knows how much more that single effort will grow into. Great numbers for doing something we love doing.
In quick recap...
1. Always be willing to go the extra mile.
2. Bring extra.
3. Once you've got the job, remember that from that point on... it's all about giving everything you've got and the marketing will be automatic. It's no longer about the job and rigidly sticking to the menu [always do the menu and be prepared to do more].
4. This will all build your PC business exponentially time and again.
As always, it's been my pleasure sharing with you these business building tips. Until next time...