Britain’s coffee chains and quick-service restaurants (QSRs) are eating into each other’s primary revenue streams, looking to reduce downtime while increasing profits. As the market for meeting room food grows, it’s time to ask yourself - are your competitors expanding into your customer base?
The coffee market is perking up
High-street coffee chains have increased their individual coffee servings by 21% since 2008, but food service operators have expanded three times faster, according to a recent article in The Caterer. Pubs have increased coffee servings by 18% over the same time. The market is beginning to look a lot more competitive.
This search for new revenue streams goes in the other direction too - with specialist coffee shops looking to increase lunch sales, taking market share from QSRs.
Making the move to corporate food
As companies in these sectors expand into each other’s territory, the way to get ahead may well involve offering corporate catering. It’s a natural progression. Coffee shops focus more on lunch time business and then offer customers the chance to have the food delivered to their office. The kitchen is ready, the food is there, alongside a customer base that is interested in buying more than their morning coffee. It’s a matter of entering the market before rivals and getting a bigger share of it.
And the corporate catering market is a big one. Corporate sales represent a third of the catering industry - an estimated $3 billion in the US alone. Michael Rosman of The Corporate Caterer says that makes it an attractive market for all kinds of caterer:
“There is a lot of revenue up for grabs in the corporate drop-off market—Monday through Friday no nights, no weekends. If you are looking for that additional 10 to 15% (or more) in business to put your catering operation or restaurant over the top, it is there for the taking.” But you must have a consistent product, he says. “It is the cornerstone of repeat business.”
Catering management systems and branding
A proper system for handling drop-off deliveries is vital for this. As caterers ourselves, before starting Spoonfed, we found that uncertainty in the kitchen led to all sorts of problems. Even if the right food was prepared, it may have been prepared differently to previous days. When the customer suddenly receives half as many slices of ham in their sandwich because a different chef is in, repeat orders go out the window.
And that makes branding a double-edged sword. Deliver everything the way the customer wants it and they take a mental note of the branded napkin, maybe handing it to their PA for future orders. Get the order wrong and you’ve just left a calling card - a visual aid to remember never to buy from you again.
Corporate catering growth with Spoonfed
Spoonfed is seeing great success helping caterers increase business in the drop-off catering sector - users increased order numbers by 23% last year, seeing 50% increases in order value. If you’re wondering what you’re missing out on, or what your customers are taking from you, get in touch for a chat. We’d love to meet for a coffee.
And if you are available in London on the 26th or 27th September, we will be exhibiting at Restaurant Tech Live, where we are going to show some of our latest features that make consistently great service in corporate catering easy to achieve. Click here for a free ticket to attend, and head over to stand 5152 to meet us!
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