With Twitter and Facebook abound, writing a blog post almost seems like the “classic” mode of social media. But particularly in the catering, food and events world, blogging is still a form of communication that’s widely read and a great way of delivering news to your customers. It can also be a personal creative outlet and a way to tell the stories of your events rather than just sharing the scattered thoughts of 140-character tweets. Even if you only update your blog four times a year– and with many caterers, once-a-quarter posts are pretty common– a blog post is still a way of showing your customers that you’re up on current trends or sharing news. And blog posts can live longer than tweets– a blog on your website can convey news months longer than a passing post on Facebook.
Here are some caterers who are still blogging after all these years. Whether providing tips to their customers on the best way to plan a menu, recapping their coolest events and presentations or sharing recipes that have worked for them, here are some great examples of catering-oriented blogs:
Gisele Perez of Small Pleasures Catering in Los Angeles, CA, doesn’t spend more than a couple of hours a week on her blog, which is filled with menu ideas and cool presentations. Often inspired by parties she’s been to in the Los Angeles area, Perez is also active in the LA food blogging community and has had referrals from others in the community. She doesn’t know that she’s been able to book events directly from clients finding her blog through a search, but she has been able to refer clients to posts she’s written in the past. “As a direct result of blogging and involvement in the food blogging community, I had a PR person hire me to design a menu with recipes using her product, that she could then send out to wire services. The story was picked up in a couple of places, which, of course, garnered press mentions for my company. I also use my blog to develop ideas and stories I hope to sell as articles and perhaps a book or two down the line,” says Perez.
As a way to highlight their knowledge of trends, fantastic event ideas and promotional videos, Encore Catering in Toronto, ON, blogs to connect with their audience in a more complete way, says marketing coordinator Stephanie Canarte. The blog is a key component of their marketing strategy, and they discuss content in weekly meetings. Posts can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days (in the case of video posts) to prepare, but the team relishes the collaboration: “Meetings often become a big brainstorming session where our event coordination team jumps in and contributes with great ideas for our next blog posts.”
Gary Rodgers, president of Above All Catering in Orange County, CA, refers to their blog as “a virtual showroom” that’s “as pinteresting as possible.” Enthusiastic about the blog’s potential to drive customers, Rodgers admits that it’s difficult to quantify traffic but knows how important it is to share a company culture and personality that is engaging as well as transparent. He strives to make all blog content as visual as possible: “Our own Pinterest accountis now driving over 40 percent of the traffic going to our website. What I takeaway from this is that a blog should contain valuable content, but that content should include a lot of great pictures. Just one blog post can typically generate several unique Pins, Facebook and Twitter postings. Each of these areas attract different people who share the info and before you know it, you’re on a roll.” With tips on planning as well as venue profiles, the Above All Catering blog has been able to share stories about their experiences in working with David Tutera’s My Fair Wedding that can pique customers’ interest.
The most recent post of Graze Catering’s blog, out of Walla Walla, WA, highlights the number of events they’ve produced year over year since 2006, which highlights how blogs are a fantastic way to keep a diary of your business– not only for your customers but for yourself. (I know I’ll go back to Catersource Carvings archives even a few months ago to see where I was at and what I was thinking about.) Their blog’s origin story relates to their personal trials, says owner John Lastoskie:
The catering business was two and a half years old, my wife and I had a very premature little girl, 26 and a half weeks old. My wife Becca started a blog for our daughter Frances to keep family and friends informed on her hospital stay. At the same time the catering business was just starting to finally become a real business, but I had zero advertising dollars, or a way to communicate to potential future clients what Graze – “a beautiful catered event” had to offer. I saw the wife blog about our daughter and thought, “duh, I should do that for the business.”
The blog helped search results for the company in the area tremendously, and Lastoskie emphasizes that the blog helps customers get to know the company. He also emphasizes how important it is to put together a professional-looking blog post that is free of errors and misspellings — making sure that the blog is a good advertisement for the company and not just an afterthought is key.
Afrolems in Toronto, ON, has a dual purpose: to promote the Afrolems catering company and to share recipes that internationalize traditional Nigerian cuisine. Lead blogger and owner Atim Ukoh started out as a caterer for students who did not have time to cook during the exam period and has moved on to event and wedding catering, as well as consultation requests, largely because of her blog. “I decided to start blogging to share some creative ideas on how to serve Nigerian food at home or at events. Many people said if I give away my recipes then no one would order from me, which I begged to differ because people would always want a caterer for their events to avoid doing the work. My blog was there to show them what was in the meal and possible ways to present the meal.” Ukoh creates the recipe and shoots photos, then spends 30 minutes to an hour perfecting the blog and focuses on optimizing search results based on her locale and what search terms are most popular. With posts based on current inspiration, seasonal ideas and knowledge of Nigerian dishes, Ukoh says, “Blogging opens your business to several new possibilities.”
Chef Renee Fontes of Fresh Ideas Event Services in Orange County, CA finds that customers love when their event is featured on her blog, especially since she gets 1,500 to 2,000 hits a month. She admits that she started the blog as a personal release: “I started the blog as a way to unwind, talk about what I do and share recipes and related experiences. The subjects were pretty random and I was just having fun with it. My husband (business partner) noticed the marketing potential of sharing our events with clients and encouraged me to focus on our catering work. At first it was challenging (I found writing for business more difficult then prattling on about cooking at home or sharing a restaurant experience) but I’m getting more comfortable in putting a post together that helps a reader ‘feel the event.’ As far as food blogs go, I feel the market is flooded with home cook writers but in the professional event industry…there is room for practical catering information and inspiration.”
Other caterers’ blogs we love:
With creative content such as trends, DIY projects and event profiles, Colette’s Events in Orange County, CA, creates a bright, frequently updated blog that highlights the company’s 20 years of experience.
Featuring lots of personality, event updates and even creative interpretations of not having a phone system, Columbus, OH’s Two Caterers provides a behind-the-scenes take on the catering world.
Highlighting past events and culinary creativity, Best Impressions Caterers in Charlotte, NC focuses on the spectacular and visual, designed especially to appeal to brides in the Pinterest era.
Culinary Delight Catering in Los Angeles, CA, features recipes as well as testimonials from satisfied customers, frequently updating to highlight new capabilities and menu items.
In addition to writing about its spectacular events, Boston, MA’s Jules Catering blog presents a highly visual approach to sharing its social outreach, as well as shareable trivia, like the history of potato chips.
Got a blog you’d like to share with Catersource readers? Let us know in the comments!