Industry sector:

Chinese catering: Services and quality standards

People have become used to high standards of presentation and service, so it's important that:

  • your premises are clean, smart and inviting, with a good food hygiene inspection rating from the local authority
  • waiting staff are polite and efficient
  • your staff are well trained and do not make mistakes with orders
  • your staff are prepared for and trained to handle unruly customers from time to time
  • your recipes use good quality ingredients
  • customers feel that they receive good value for their money

Services to offer

You might consider offering a take-away service as well as a restaurant service. You could offer a discount (for example 10%) on take-away meals. Make sure that the person answering the telephone is good at accurately taking down the take-away order. You could offer a delivery service through Just Eat or Deliveroo. You might also consider offering a local delivery service, either by using your own drivers or by doing a deal with a local taxi firm.

Although not very commonplace in Chinese restaurants, it might be a good idea to have a daily specials board - many regular customers look forward to trying a new recipe from time to time. You could also consider changing your menu occasionally - perhaps seasonally. Think too about the possibility of offering gluten-free, low-fat or low-salt options. You could consider showing the amount of calories in each dish on your menus.

Advertising and marketing your catering services

Whatever catering services you decide to offer, you'll want to make sure that your potential customers know about you.

There are a number of things you can do to market and promote your restaurant, including:

  • advertising in your local newspaper and any other local publications, such as a leisure guide
  • buying an entry in a restaurant guide
  • making sure your details are included in any online guides produced for your area
  • participating in any local food fairs or exhibitions
  • handing out business cards to all customers
  • making sure that your logo and telephone number is prominently displayed on any take-away packaging
  • launching your own website, showing all the features that will attract customers to your restaurant
  • using social media to raise the profile of your restaurant and keep in touch with customers - you could use Facebook and Twitter to tell people about your latest menu and special offers, for example
  • taking steps to manage and take full advantage of your Tripadvisor listing
  • signing up to an online ordering service like Just Eat
  • having leaflets printed, perhaps describing how you cook some popular dishes. If you are planning to target the business community you could distribute leaflets to local offices and other workplaces

Almost all types of advertising and promotion have a cost, whether it's financial or your own time and effort - or both. You need to be sure that the beneficial effects of your advertising efforts are worth the time and money spent on them. It's up to you to decide which types of advertising work best for you - sometimes this is down to trial and error.