If you want to onboard new catering projects, you need a strong proposal document... And here you have it.
If you work in catering then you know that there’s much more to it than menus and pricing. You and your team know that not everyone delivers like you do. It’s easy to pitch based on quality, pricing or scale but how do you close the deal with clients who have never tried your service before?
With a compelling proposal that says “I understand your catering needs”.
Your catering proposal needs to sell value from the moment it is opened. It should inspire your client and build confidence in your talent and experience.
Of course you fire off our templates immediately but we think you improve your chances of winning if you personalize them each time. And this couldn’t be easier with Nusii. You can create and add new custom content at the click of a button. Upload videos, add images of your food or pricing menus. It goes without saying that you can add your branding, fonts and brand personality too. So how about sending that next proposal online with our dedicated proposal templates.
Whether you offer corporate snacks, wedding banquets, food trucks or cocktail receptions you will need to send catering proposals to maintain a pipeline of new clients. Depending on the services you offer you’ll target different client types but the principles of the proposal you send will be similar.
Although you can always take a template and address it to somebody else, this method will generally have a lower conversion rate. What you really want to do it to take time to personalize each proposal you send.
Let’s go through each of the 7 parts of a typical catering proposal template and go through the best way to customize each one. Once we’re done you’ll be confident not only in editing proposal templates but also in winning proposals.
The very first thing you’ll do is to customise the title and cover image. Let’s start with the cover image. In general you should pick an impactful image but one that is not too busy or difficult to understand. Remember, you can always insert more images in your proposal as you go. With Nusii proposal software, it’s very easy to drag and drop your images straight into your template.
Finally, don’t forget to match the image to the client. If, for example, you offer corporate catering services but you also do wedding ceremonies. In this case, you’ll want to make sure the image matches the client type.
Once you’ve locked down your ideal photo, all you need to do is give your proposal a title. This should be as descriptive as possible and leave no doubts as to the contents of the proposal. In most cases it will be along the lines of “XXXX Catering Proposal”
A key part of a winning proposal process is to start with a client interview. Make sure you speak to your client before rushing to send out a proposal. This is crucial to understanding why they need a proposal and what their underlying problems are. Maybe they have in-house kitchens but can’t produce specific kinds of foods. Maybe, they can only handle food up to a certain volume. It could also be that they simply don’t have the expertise to handle any food at all.
Whatever the underlying need is, you need to state it in this section. Once that is done, you’ll also need to state the goals of the proposal. When you write the goals, think of them as a reply to the stated problem.
The client will be pleased to see that you not only understand their needs completely but you’ve understood what you need to aim for.
It’s time to propose a catering solution. This is the main part of the proposal so make sure you make it professional. As we mentioned earlier you can include visuals here if it helps convey your quality.
Although you obviously have to describe your services, you should try to avoid just presenting a list of services. Your competition is likely to offer a very similar list and the last thing you want is to be in a race to offer the cheapest price for the same services.
Instead you should focus on what differentiates your service. Think about the experience you bring. Have you worked at similar events for prestigious brands? Consider whether your equipment is best in class or better than the average competitor. Maybe it’s your team that makes you stand out.
The main focus here is to highlight the added value you bring. This convinces the client that you are the right choice regardless of whether others offer similar services.
There are many aspects of catering and many standards too. In order to avoid problems further down the line, you should make sure that client expectations are aligned with reality.
For catering proposals we find it useful to consider the 4 S’s:
Substitutions – what parts of the catering are you likely to switch out. Will you offer an allergy free or vegan, kosher, halal option?
Service – food is one thing but how will it be served and to what extent are you responsible for table service, wine serving etc. Who cleans up afterwards?
Staff – who is responsible for the catering staff? What about their dress code?
Set-up – Are you responsible for the entire set-up including dishes, cutlery and table linen?
We are almost ready to present pricing but just before that we recommend summing up the benefits. This is a positive section which will prime the client to receive your pricing in the best possible light.
You shouldn’t include any new information here. The only purpose of this section is to highlight why your solution is a great fit and how it will directly benefit the client. Be sure to make sure the benefits match up to the goals you set earlier. This will help the proposal flow well.
Also be sure to include less tangible benefits. For example, the impact that high quality food presentation and service will have on their brand.
What we often see with catering proposals is a menu style pricing structure where the client can pick and choose what to add and then pay the total of the line items. We understand it is hard to avoid this when you have several optional choices related to the number of courses, drinks and service.
However, our recommendation is to create packages instead. This means you can protect your margins better by bundling items into a package. Typically you would create a full package which is the best possible service you could offer.
Then, you can create one with a lower price point. This one might include fewer courses or exclude certain services such as champagne or table service. However it still provides an option for a lower budget meaning the client is empowered to choose whichever option fits best and you can still charge what you think you’re worth.
They say, timing is everything. When it comes to catering timing is indeed very important and clients can often underestimate the planning and preparation that is needed. That’s why it’s key to include a timeline in your catering proposal.
Our final tip is to include a very clear call to action. We’ve taken time to create an awesome proposal, why would we now put up barriers to signing it! If you’re thinking of using Nusii, you’ll be glad to know we have digital signatures built right into our software. This means the client can sign off the proposal straight from their browser and you can track when they’ve read it and when they’ve signed it. Neat, huh?
What can Nusii give you that more traditional methods cannot?
Not only will Nusii keep you in the loop about everything that happens with your proposals, but we’ll also help you see just how often your client is interacting with your proposal, whether they’ve downloaded a PDF copy and of course whether they’ve accepted!
Knowledge is power.
The easier you make it for your client to get on-board, the better your chances of closing a deal. Digital e-signing or online signatures is a great way to reduce friction. Gone are the days of scanners and email attachments. Let your client accept their proposal right from the browser.
Having an offline record of your proposals can be very useful, especially when accounting season comes around. Which is why at Nusii you can export PDF copies of all your proposals.
Our customer support is done by us, no outsourcing...and we’re pretty quick on the draw. Being a small team means if we want to succeed, you need to succeed first.
Really! If you work with 500 different client types and you need a proposal template for each of them, no problem. Create templates with the click of a button and save yourself countless hours of writing and proposal preparation.
Business is about maximizing profit. Knowing who your most profitable clients are can help you to find more, just like them. Nusii lets you drill down into your Revenue on a per-client basis, showing you exactly who your best customers are.