Catering and event planning are time-sensitive businesses where they may need to depend on suppliers. Contractors and employees to execute on their clients’ vision. This means lots of planning and collaboration with third-parties to make the catering project a success.
A catering contract is essential for ensuring that caterers get paid for their services timely so they can pay for any expenses related to the event.
An agreement also holds all parties accountable for creating a fantastic experience for attendees.
Without a catering contract, payments can be missed, deadlines may not be met, and clients could walk away, disappointed by the overall experience.
It may not seem obvious, but a standard catering contract is a powerful document that can be used to grow your income. Below are three examples of how you can get the most out of your template.
A catering contract is a critical document that turns a prospect into a paying client. So it’s essential to understand the best moment to introduce your agreement while maintaining a healthy relationship with potential clients.
Perhaps without realizing, your catering business has a client intake process, which looks something like this:
Let’s back for a second to step four. After your client consultation, it’s common practice to send a proposal that highlights all how you can help deliver the best possible catering service at an event.
However, a proposal by itself is not enough to get new clients. That’s why it’s a good idea to include a copy of your catering agreement with your proposal.
You can also use your contract as a reference document to follow up on clients who are still interviewing caterers for their projects. You could ask, “I’m just following up to see if you had any questions about our proposal and contract?”
From there, clients may open up about their concerns about the timeframe, price, or the type of food you included in your pitch. This allows you to get on the same page and ultimately increase your chances of winning the business.
Getting your catering contract signed is the moment a prospect becomes a client. As a paid professional, it’s incredibly motivating to see your pile of contracts grow, as it means you’re getting consistent work.
As we’ve established, the catering business requires lots of planning as jobs can be booked months sometimes years in advance.
The cyclical and volatile nature of catering work makes it hard to manage your cash flow as there may be extended periods where you don’t have any income coming in.
We suggest you organize your contacts into two piles:
Your contracts pile is your signed agreements and a representation of your future income.
Your pending contracts pile are all of the contracts you’ve sent to potential clients but haven’t heard back from them.
Once you’ve organized your piles, you can start tracking your pipeline income and potential deals. You can do this manually, or track it in a simple spreadsheet.
Perhaps the greatest opportunity to do this is to be aware of your pending contracts and develop a follow-up process to increase your chances of getting those contracts signed.
If your customer chose to go with another caterer, see if you can find our why so you can improve your proposals and offerings.
So much of the success of your catering business depends on how you manage your cancellations. Clients will change their mind for whatever reason and want to end your contract before the event start date.
The more cancellations you have, the more income you lose. Not only do you miss out on client fees, but you also don’t get the time back from communicating with suppliers, meal planning, and other administrative tasks.
Use your contract to enforce non-refundable deposits. Having clients sign off on this clause will help you retain some of your lost income while reducing canceled events.