3. Promote your promotions: Shout but don’t be intrusive.
One of the biggest challenges in running a successful promotion is communicating correctly. “You need to make sure that everyone is on board – all departments need to be aligned to ensure it works, from buying and sales to marketing and management,” says Dhamecha’s Naren Chotai.
There’s a fine line between increasing visibility and bombarding customers with too much information. Nicola Oldroyd, catering manager at The Star Inn hotel in Harome, Yorkshire, gets as many as 30 emails a week from wholesalers pushing deals. But reliability and quality are more important: “We tend not to be swayed by promotions at all,” she says.
While some caterers get too much information, others are not getting enough, according to Rekha Cumberlidge at Midlands Catering in Sutton Coldfield, who uses a mixture of Booker and Costco.
“We like to know in advance what’s on promotion but at some depots, you have to ask to find out,” she says. She receives regular promotional emails and brochures through the post, adding: “I prefer emails to post or phone calls because it’s ‘greener’ and phone calls can be intrusive.”
One way to capitalise on customers visiting your business is to hold sampling events, which are a useful way to highlight deals by getting customers to try before they buy. JJ Food Service recently held a sampling event at its Enfield branch during National Chip Week to highlight its deals on chipping and potato products.
“Not only did the event help us to engage with customers at branch level, it also sparked a lot of interest and discussion via social media,” says general manager Terry Larkin.