When it comes to the catering business, certain times of the year are busier than others. No one wants to spend their public holidays or long weekends stuck in the kitchen. With 2021 upon us, enquiries and bookings for your catering services for major annual events during the year will begin to turn the heat up on your operational processes. And if your catering business isn’t well organized, things can boil over quickly and turn into an almighty headache.
Annual events pepper the catering calendar, but is your catering company able to take full advantage?
Here are 13 key dates you should cater for (including some suggested food ideas to match!):
January is the month of new beginnings and resolutions. A countless number of people will be starting the New Year with ambitions of losing weight, getting fit, eating healthier and (depending on how things went on New Year’s Eve) drinking less.
As a food business, this presents a great opportunity for you. Cater to people’s goals and aspirations by adding a new range of healthy alternatives to your classic dishes. Smoothies, salads, gluten-free and healthier food options should be promoted as supporting your customer’s New Year’s resolution while catering to their upcoming events.
Nothing conjures up images of BBQs, a few drinks in the sun, and outdoor games quite like Australia Day. Add twists to classic Aussie dishes and focus on Australian-grown ingredients for further dashes of patriotism.
As a catering business, ensure you meet the demand for BBQ’s on the beach and picnics in the park with a service that includes plenty of Australian flare, such as simple picnic baskets.
The most watched broadcast in the United States never disappoints with something for all viewers. From sports fanatics, to die-hard commercial enthusiasts, to Half-Time Show sing-alongs, the one thing that everyone can agree on is Super Bowl food.
To make your event offerings standout, try creating a “Tailgating Menu” to list your game-day ready dishes. Crowd pleasers such as buffalo wings, sliders, party dips & meat & cheese platters will be sure to capture some hungry fans.
Mid-February sees the return of the Australian Open in 2021. Hotter days discourage people from eating filling meals (and perhaps the more resilient among us are sticking to their resolutions?) so ensure you provide food that isn’t too heavy. Light salads, cooling drinks, and refreshing desserts are what many people are after during this time of the year.
Why not draw inspiration from the traditional tennis fare and put a new spin on the classic strawberries and cream? Catering companies could also create and market their dishes based on the nationalities of key players taking part in the Australian Open.
Market your new Nadal-inspired paella or Federer fondue, get creative and don’t forget to post regularly on your social media channels!
An event that should not be missed for anyone in the food business, Valentine’s Day, represents one of the first globally-observed dates and should be highlighted on your catering calendar. Offer romantic private dining experiences for couples (complete with music and plenty of roses) to make the most of the day of love.
Desserts, sweet treats and other indulgences are perfect foods to advertise on Valentine’s Day. And encourage customers to tag their loved ones to increase your social media presence.
Chinese New Year signals the beginning of the main holiday for nearly 20% of the entire world’s population. Luckily for caterers, Chinese food is one of the world’s great cuisines.
Celebrate the Chinese year of the Ox (2021) with succulent pork and prawn dumplings, steamed pork buns, and other popular Chinese street food such as bao or sesame balls.
St Patrick’s Day — the day the world turns Irish. Although famous for being a day of drinking, caterers can make the most of Ireland’s national day by including dashes of Ireland’s most famous beverages to dishes.
Steak and Guinness pie, Irish apple crumble (made with a few splashes of Jameson), and plenty of green food colouring will help to get your clients singing a few limericks.
In more recent times, Easter has become synonymous with chocolate treats. Cater to your customer’s sweet tooth with chocolate desserts and Easter Bunny-inspired decorations.
Why not take things further and offer mouth-watering rabbit dishes that will have your customers hopping to your service?
Edgier brands can take things to another level and make their Easter Bunny dishes stand out even further. One particularly notable campaign was when Hell Pizza in New Zealand launched their limited edition rabbit pizza just in time for Easter. Hell Pizza advertised its experimental new flavour with a now-famous (or infamous) rabbit-skin billboard located in one of Auckland’s most affluent suburbs. The controversial campaign resulted in the brand’s most successful week of sales in its 18-year history.
ANZAC Day is a day of remembrance for Australians and New Zealanders. Both Aussie and Kiwi cafes and restaurants offer ANZAC-inspired dishes that showcase the best ingredients the two countries have to offer, and caterers should be doing the same.
From traditional food such as ANZAC biscuits (sent to troops on the front line during WW1) to culinary icons such as pavlova, lamingtons, and the imaginative use of Vegemite, catering businesses in these countries remember those that have served with iconic Australian and New Zealand dishes.
With summer in full force for those in the Northern Hemisphere, the July 4th holiday is one full of sun, BBQs, watermelon and cold drinks. A time to celebrate American independence and enjoy the weather outdoors.
Caterers should take advantage of this simple, yet mega popular weekend, being sure to offer BBQ meats and vegetables, picnic side dishes, fresh fruit, and red, white and blue themed desserts.
The race that stops Australia is the perfect opportunity for catering companies to provide their service to bettors. Roll out the red carpet and emphasise the high society lifestyle with high-end, Instagram-worthy dishes (petit fours, anyone?) paired with equally attractive cocktails and mixers.
From corporate catering events to private parties — the Melbourne Cup should be one of the highlights in your food business’s calendar.
An entire public holiday based around cooking and eating? A caterer's dream come true! Pull out all the stops to offer your customers a full catered Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings of a roast turkey, buttery, garlic-herb mashed potatoes, fluffy stuffing and delectable gravy. Or why not offer prepared single Thanksgiving meals so customers can custom order the items they want and cater to smaller gatherings?
Buffets to dinner for two, Thanksgiving is an opportunity every caterer should jump on.
The most wonderful time of the year could also be your most lucrative. While it may not be feasible for many catering companies to operate on Christmas Day itself, the Christmas season, if properly managed and prepared for, could see your business catering for a variety of corporate functions, work parties, or family get-togethers.
Freshen up the classic Christmas dinner by offering delicious alternatives like roast duck served with an apple and cranberry sauce, vegetarian nut loaf, or a venison wellington with a sloe gin and blackberry glaze. More traditional palates should be catered for but without compromising flavour and excitement.
Keeping track with the various annual catering events that crop up throughout the year can be difficult to manage and prepare for. Combine this with an overload of admin and financial tasks such as invoicing, order tracking, lead enquiries, and reporting ... you can see how this could turn into a recipe for a disaster.
Luckily, there is a more efficient way of managing your catering company — FoodStorm.
FoodStorm is a cloud-based catering software that has been helping busy caterers streamline their processes for over 10 years.
Our software helps catering companies around the world with their productivity and organization, through innovative and easy-to-use systems.
If you’re finding yourself embroiled in the day-to-day management of your business and spending too much time tracking orders, completing financial reports, invoicing, battling with a confusing CRM system, or if quotes are falling through the cracks, FoodStorm will help you maximise your potential and free up your time for more important things like growing your business!