How to write a catering invoice

Editorial Team

3 min read
Two caterers plating oysters and appetizers

Catering can be a challenging business. Food prices can fluctuate month to month, or even week to week, forcing caterers to raise prices or shrink their profit margins to make money.

In today’s economy, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re communicating clearly with clients–and getting paid on time. Here are 5 key things to know about creating catering invoices.

1. The basics matter

Every invoice you send should include your business name and contact information, so clients can reach you with questions. An invoice for catering should also include your client’s name, business name (if applicable), and contact information, as well as a unique invoice number, to help you document your business income at tax time. You’ll also need to include the date you send the invoice–that way, if you require payment within 30 days, you’ve documented when that clock started ticking. Including all these details helps you track what’s going on with your business, and helps reassure your client that you’re on top of the details and will take good care of them during their event. 

2. An invoice can serve multiple purposes for your business

An invoice isn’t just a request for payment–it’s also a record of your income and a record of the specific items and services you provided. With a modern POS system, your invoices can actually help you track inventory and even see which menu items or services are most popular and most profitable. Don’t just rely on your gut to tell you that clients want more veggie options or egg prices are making mini-quiches too expensive–use tech tools to crunch the numbers and make better decisions.

READ: How to optimize your restaurant menu to maximize profits

3. A  catering invoice serves as confirmation of the service agreement 

The more detailed you make your invoices, the better. Clients like to see line items on their catering bill that spell out exactly what they’re paying for. And when you break down how much you’re charging for labor, equipment rentals, and 100 servings of butternut squash soup, you’re also confirming again–in writing–exactly what you’re agreeing to provide for the event.

READ: How to create your restaurant’s catering menu: 5 ideas for success 

4. Catering invoices should make it easy for clients to pay you 

These days, clients are used to shopping online, and they value convenience highly. With Clover’s Virtual Terminal, you can accept all payment types online or over the phone. You can send an email invoice that allows clients to click and pay online, or take a deposit over the phone and follow up with an invoice for the balance. You can also set up recurring payments with a client who’s running multiple events or ordering lunch for the office every week. The more options you can offer clients, the quicker you can get paid.

5. Your invoice should also spell out key terms and conditions for your client

Again, your catering service invoice should serve as another confirmation of your business agreement with your customer. Include payment terms, like how soon the invoice is due and whether you’ll charge a late fee for past-due payments. Your invoice can also include cancellation terms–that information should be in your contract, of course, but it never hurts to make those details transparent in advance.

READ: How to start a catering business

And, as you grow your catering business, Clover can help with the capital you need to expand. Connect with a Clover Business Consultant today to learn more about the robust features of our restaurant POS systems that can help you manage your catering business.

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