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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.


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Unread 10-22-2008, 09:39 PM   #1
AlabamaGrillBillies
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Default Getting the Word out.

For all you established guys out there. When you were first starting your catering business, what was the most effective way you got your name out to the people. I have a couple of ideas in my head but would love to hear from those here who have 'been there and done that' as to what worked best for them.
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Unread 10-23-2008, 02:03 AM   #2
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I personally am doing local Farmers Markets. Any public Event you can land. Craigslist is a free way.
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Unread 10-23-2008, 05:19 AM   #3
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Right now we can't vend any events. The way our county health codes are they make a distinction between 'contract cooks' and 'vendors' We don't have the equipment yet to be inspected and verified as a 'vendor' so until we basically have a small inspectable comerical kitchen we are set up as a 'contract cook' This means individuals can hire us to cook for them, or for any party/event they have. We just can't go and set up and sell/vend to the public.

I haven't thought about craigslist, I'll have to check that out. I just got a Myspace page set up and sent out a ton of friend request.
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Unread 10-23-2008, 08:13 AM   #4
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Human Resource Fairs, mailings, word of mouth!
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Unread 10-23-2008, 08:58 AM   #5
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Sell dinners to your friends, family and coworkers. Pick a day and tell everyone that you are selling dinners to be picked up on that day. Get payment in advance. Offer to deliver for orders of 10 or more. You get the word out and make cash at the same time. I've funded many a contest that way,
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Unread 10-23-2008, 12:42 PM   #6
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Call local catering companies and offer to sell them authentic slow smoked BBQ. Some catering companies get calls for BBQ but don't really do BBQ. Go to local VFW, AM VETS, ELKS organizations that have halls bring samples and ask to be put on thier preferred catering list. Get involved with non profit charity organizations and do thier party at cost (plus a little extra for yourself). Tell them to provide labor help. That way you and your product are being exposed and you are a good person for helping.
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Unread 10-23-2008, 12:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazybonesmoke1 View Post
Call local catering companies and offer to sell them authentic slow smoked BBQ. Some catering companies get calls for BBQ but don't really do BBQ. Go to local VFW, AM VETS, ELKS organizations that have halls bring samples and ask to be put on thier preferred catering list. Get involved with non profit charity organizations and do thier party at cost (plus a little extra for yourself). Tell them to provide labor help. That way you and your product are being exposed and you are a good person for helping.

I haven't thought about the local VFWs and ELKS. Good idea. We have done some church fundraisers, but it was in another state so no real prospects there. I am contacting local churchs to offer our services for fun raisers at cost just with the stipulation that they let us hand out cards and menus.
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Unread 10-23-2008, 02:47 PM   #8
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Having a website has helped me increase my catering sales.
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Unread 10-24-2008, 02:09 AM   #9
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make full color menus. mine are coming out soon
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Unread 10-24-2008, 06:33 AM   #10
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I started smoking ribs and chicken then taking them to my local boozer giving them away and asking for comments. I have been doing Q there during the summer a few years and started a 'you bring it I cook it for beer' campaign.

Once people understood our ability, I asked for sponsorship for a contest ( 300 pounds cash) and brought home the Grand Champion award. The local paper did a big story on us at my local pub and word spread. I was granted access to the pubs kitchen free of charge anytime I liked just as long as the landlord got first choice where feasible if he needed some Q done.

My kids are in on the program too. They returned home from school to tell me they signed us up to do the summer fair so we have been there two years running. I received an email from the head of the PTA asking if I could put something together for an American 4th of July carnival in 2009.

It's slow and the money isn't great but I'm getting out there.


Also we stuck our sponsors names on our team banner too.

Dr. Sweetsmoke




The names are seperate stickers so they can be removed if they want to drop out.

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Unread 10-24-2008, 09:55 AM   #11
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I just returned from getting things set up at another pub for a cook tomorrow and I forgot to add that if you can ask local businesses to advertise for you.

This is what they did for in in preparation for tomorrow.


They are busy all week and have several visiting darts teams so what better place to advertise then next to the board..


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Unread 10-27-2008, 01:32 PM   #12
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I think the secret is to take advantage of an opportunity by cooking the best BBQ you possibly can and getting feedback from folks. I did a three day golf tournament last month and all of the memebrs were rather well off and most if not all have their own businesses. There is no telling when that word of mouth will run dry.

Golf tournaments! A lot of work but was well worth it.
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Unread 11-06-2008, 02:40 PM   #13
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I started out by donating a BBQ dinner for 20 at my parish school's annual fund raising auction. From there it's been all word of mouth.
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