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The Food Factor

 

A few months ago I joined an angel investing group. I would call us a band of mini-angels. Members have an opportunity to invest individually in the companies we review, as well as, use our group’s funds to invest collectively. A friend of mine started the group.

Once a month we meet for lunch and listen to a pitch from a different start-up. I’m usually more into strategically analyzing each venture than the lunch.

Yesterday lunch was catered by Jason’s Deli. We had box lunches. If you’re not familiar with Jason’s Deli, I suggest you check out their website. They have an incredible reputation for catering.

With all the great things I’ve heard about them, you would think their food would be over the top. I was expecting artisanal bread, fresh carved turkey and a cookie Mrs. Fields would lose sleep over.

Sadly, they were just above average for this foodie. I enjoyed my meal, but no wow factor.

Guess what? That is perfectly acceptable.

But why do they sell so much catering from all of their stores? It’s not just a one or two store phenomenon. I have no inside scoop to share, just my observations and stories over the years.

So here goes…

 

  1. They know what business they are in. They are in the business of marketing and selling catering. They hire full time catering salespeople. They realize to do multiple six figures to even seven figures in catering takes someone out selling and marketing each and every day. My most successful clients do this as well. Accident? I think not.
  2. They know what the marketplace wants. Go to their website and download their catering menu. Their USP, unique selling proposition is “Last Minute Catering Experts”. While owning Corky’s, at least twenty percent of our catering orders were placed for the day of; maybe more. To truly have a thriving catering profit center, you must embrace last minute orders.
  3. One-stop shopping for the corporate catering niche. They offer breakfast, lunch, box lunch and snacks for breaks. They have a menu designed to provide everything their primary target market wants. A catering decision maker planning a full day training session would prefer to order breakfast, lunch and an afternoon break snack from one caterer. One phone call and one bill makes their job much easier.
  4. A system to run their catering profit center. I know Jason’s Deli has developed catering software for their stores. I’ve heard it is not nearly as robust as ours, but I’m betting it more than serves their needs. You can’t operate a large catering profit center with pieces of paper and prayers.
  5. They more than deliver on the basics. Jason’s would not be successful and have repeat catering clients without efficiently taking orders, showing up on time, leaving nothing off of an order and providing billing for corporate clients.

Even though my sandwich wouldn’t have made it on Iron Chef, Jason’s realizes it’s not just about the food.

As 2014 quickly approaches, how many of the five points above can you claim you do well; very well? If not all of them, then you have something to focus on in 2014.

NOTES: Please join me in wishing Somers, our Marketing Concierge well, as she moves on to a new opportunity.

Please join me in welcoming Jillian Davis to the RCS team. She is our new Marketing Director and Marketing Concierge for our clients. Jillian has already hit the ground running and will be a big asset to RCS and our clients.

SAVE THE DATE: Jon Wool and I will be conducting a full day catering workshop in St. Louis, Missouri on Tuesday, February 11, 2014. It is called:

How To Turbo Charge Your Catering Sales:

The Ultimate Catering Sales & Marketing Plan Revealed

Marketing materials will go out the first week of January. If you are interested in registering before then, please email me: Michael@RCSMailBox.com. I’ll see if I can get Jon to agree to an early, early bird special for my members and clients.

Jon will spearhead the selling part and me the marketing part; together a deadly combination to help you grow your catering sales in 2014.

Please see Jon’s bio below.

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

P.S. – If you need help growing catering sales, then please go to www.RestaurantCateringSoftware.com and download my free eBook: Cater or Die!

P.P.S. – I make a limited number of time slots available each week for a free Catering Strategy Session with me. (You also get a catering menu critique and free analysis of your website for “Catering Effectiveness). For complete details and to grab one of the limited spots, please go to:

http://www.restaurantcateringsoftware.com/catering-planning-strategy-session

P.P.S. – Anyone wishing to reprint my articles may do so. Please email me for the bi-line to use for proper author’s credits.

Jon Wool is considered one of the hospitality industry's foremost experts and personalities.  Following his tenure as a Senior Vice President with Wolfgang Puck Catering, he established Finesse Cuisine Catering and Events, a boutique catering company serving Chicagoland and beyond.  Over the years he fielded requests to conduct workshops at institutions such as DePaul University, Chief Executive Boards International, Catersource, ISES, and Special Events.  He also served as an Adjunct Professor of Hospitality Management at Kendall College and became central to the national Catersource Consulting Unit.  The success of these assignments prompted him to launch JHW Hospitality Consulting in 2010.  As a consultant, coach, and speaker, Jon has been applauded for his warmth, humor, and ability to clearly communicate complex concepts.

Jon received a BFA in Acting at Carnegie Mellon University and attended Loyola University's MBA program.  As an actor, he appeared in movies such as Wall Street, television's The Untouchables, soaps, commercials, and regional theater.  This experience inspires Jon to approach each speaking engagement as a unique piece of theater and to bring to each coaching assignment a director's eye for show stopping success.  

Catering Software Features New Quote Feature

 

Restaurant Catering Systems has just made a major upgrade to its Catering Quote feature in our web based catering software system. Here are the highlights:

1. All Quotes now end up on your calendar view. This allows you to check out any pending events on your books, before committing to a new event. You can now call back anyone with a pending quote and let them know someone else is interested in the date, thus either confirming that event or booking the other.

2. You have the choice of what you see on your calendar. You can choose to see Quotes only, Orders Only or Both. This feature is great for RCS clients who don't use the quote function often. Like order types, colors can be customized for your quotes.

3. You now have the ability to edit an existing quote. If a prospective catering client calls you up the day after they receive your quote and asks you to make any changes, simply open up the quote, make changes and save it.

4. Similar to #3 above, you can pull up any quote in the system and place a duplicate quote. This is great for a client who wants a new quote from an event in the past or wants different options for the same day.

Please check out this video to see this new Catering Quote upgrade. Please contact us at 615-831-1676 or Michael@RCSMailBox.com for a catering software demo or to put the power of RCS to work for you.

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What’s Your Bright Shiny New Catering Object?

 

The New Year is less than three weeks away. I’m taking stock of my business and my life.

Goal setting is simple in one regard, but to really drill down to what you want and need in your life takes being brutally honest with yourself.

As I write this, there are six mind mapped pieces of paper with thoughts, facts and figures to guide me. I am analyzing what worked in 2013 and what didn’t.

Hopefully, every lesson learned will help me grow.

As you look back on your 2013, what do you want to see happen differently in 2014?

From a business perspective, I’m hoping increasing catering sales is on your list. That’s a very high level goal. Add a number to it and a timeline, and it becomes a measurable, accountable goal.

What specifically will you do to reach your sales goals? When it comes to taking action, that’s when most people freeze up. They are overwhelmed by the shear number of options and paths to take. Believe me. I am working through that right now.

Once you’ve brainstormed ideas to help you build sales, you must put a value to each idea. I’m not referring to just sales dollars. What about behaviors?

Though you may not be able to quantify what an hour each day of uninterrupted focus on marketing is worth, you must place a high value on blocking out time.

As you look at your laundry list of marketing ideas, are you hypnotized by the bright, shiny new catering object? Do you think a new van with a cool wrap is the answer to your sales prayers?

Do you just know hiring that high school kid to Facebook, Tweet and Link In will drive a flock of new catering sales to your door?

The truth is most bright, shiny new catering objects are good at getting your attention, but lousy at contributing to an increase in catering sales.

I’m not telling you to forgo the van, nor shun social media. You just must know what each brings to the table.

We all have a limited amount of time and money to build our businesses. The truly successful leaders know where to focus efforts; theirs and their team’s.

As you prepare for 2014, I sincerely hope you identify one game changer to help you build your catering business. Maybe you need to invest in a full time catering salesperson. Maybe you should focus on cookie drops and networking.

We at Restaurant Catering Systems have more ideas for you, than you could possibly implement.

The key to your 2014 is to do just one thing differently than you did in 2013 to grow your sales. And you must do it consistently. But beware the bright, shiny new catering objects that pull you away from your goal. What seems attractive and easy often is not.

As much as I wish there were, there are no silver bullets. All the catering sales go to the guy or gal willing to roll up their sleeves and make it happen. The alternative is to stand back and watch things happen to you.

Do you want to be a victim or victor in 2014? The choice is solely yours.  

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

P.S. – If you need help growing catering sales, then please go to www.RestaurantCateringSoftware.com and download my free eBook: Cater or Die!

P.P.S. – I make a limited number of time slots available each week for a free Catering Strategy Session with me. (You also get a catering menu critique and free analysis of your website for “Catering Effectiveness). For complete details and to grab one of the limited spots, please go to:

http://www.restaurantcateringsoftware.com/catering-planning-strategy-session

 

P.P.S. – Anyone wishing to reprint my articles may do so. Please email me for the bi-line to use for proper author’s credits.

Last Minute Push For Holiday Catering

 

I hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving with your family. It is one of my favorite holidays, as it is dedicated to nothing else but eating.

Though I am a capitalist at heart, I am saddened by the rush to capitalize on the holidays. Poor Thanksgiving has lost it’s shelf space and store displays to Christmas.

Thanksgiving was a solid holiday with very few businesses open. Now retailers are tripping over each other to start Black Friday early. My buddy Mark called me at six o’clock Thanksgiving night from Wal-Mart.

He decided to subject himself to retail torture to save a few bucks on a TV set.

I’ll gladly pay a few bucks more to avoid the feeding frenzy.

It may be unrealistic, but I’d love to live in a place that totally shuts everything down on Sunday. Is there a restaurant that outlaws cell phones, and parents are forbidden from using iPhones and iPads as babysitters while dining?

I’ve started dating a lady with younger children connected to all of these devices. I keep them engaged with a game of 20 Questions.

My In Box is inundated with one retail offer after another, but I’m noticing more from restaurants. One local independent sent me a Cyber Monday email offering a 20% bonus for any gift cards purchased. That’s a very smart way to piggyback off the Cyber Monday hoopla.

I remember the Friday before Christmas was one of the biggest drop-off catering sales days of the year. Many companies want to treat their employees to a holiday meal before Christmas.

As a lot of people take off the week of Christmas, Friday, December 20th has the potential to be a big catering day for you this year.

Have you pushed and promoted holiday catering?

If not, you need to get busy now! Hopefully you have different lists to target; your catering client list, your catering prospect list and your dining room database.

Due to time constraints, you may only have time to shoot out some last emails. If you have fax numbers, look into broadcast faxing.

My girlfriend manages a high end boutique. She and her team routinely use outreach as a marketing tool. They will put together a list of their best clients and call them to promote a big event or drum up sales.

Make a list of your best catering clients, inactive clients and clients who booked events last year. Divide the list up for you and your managers to call.

If your calendar is light, you may offer special incentives for booking with you. Maybe offer a stronger incentive to book on slow days. This strategy can also be used for booking your party room.

Let your dining room customers know you offer complete catering packages or individual food items in bulk to bring to a party.

Which one of your catering clients would want you to deliver a catered meal to their best clients? Offer a special incentive if fulfilled in January, a traditionally slow catering month.

There are a million ways to slice and dice catering marketing. You can create a different bucket for each group and create a special catering marketing message to each one.

The key is to take action!

I would hate for you to wake up the day after Christmas with nothing but “Catering Coal” in your sales stocking. We all want to believe in Santa Claus, but know the gifts are really bought by the grown ups!

Learn to be your own Catering Sales Santa!

Please share any last minute catering sales promotions or stories that work for you.

For those of you who are in constant search of the silver catering bullet or the “one” thing to build catering sales, think again. Catering sales success is the sum of all the little things done consistently combined to form a catering profit center.

If you don’t believe me, just ask the University of Alabama head coach, Nick Saban. Two back to back national championships meant nothing in their game with rival Auburn this past Saturday night.

There were at least four “little things” that done correctly, would have meant a win for Alabama. Never underestimate the importance of all the little things at your disposable with the catering software and systems provided by Restaurant Catering Systems.

My son Jerrod comes from a long line of Alabama Alums and is a huge fan. I know he’s in mourning today, but has made zero excuses for their loss. At least he’s learned something from me.

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

P.S. – If you need help growing catering sales, then please go to www.RestaurantCateringSoftware.com and download my free eBook: Cater or Die!

P.P.S. – I make a limited number of time slots available each week for a free Catering Strategy Session with me. (You also get a catering menu critique and free analysis of your website for “Catering Effectiveness). For complete details and to grab one of the limited spots, please go to:

http://www.restaurantcateringsoftware.com/catering-planning-strategy-session

P.P.S. – Anyone wishing to reprint my articles may do so. Please email me for the bi-line to use for proper author’s credits.

New Online Ordering In Our Catering Software

 

Since day one, we have had online ordering built into our catering software. This allows our clients to make online ordering available to their catering customers.

This feature makes it convenient for the person ordering catering, as they can order any time that is convenient to them. They don't have to call and potenially receive a busy signal or be put on hold.

From the operational side, less staff time is needed to take orders and order accuracy falls on the shoulder of the customer who placed the online order.

With Restaurant Catering Systems, all online catering orders automatically end up in your catering software to process and associate with your client's record.

In an effort to upgrade the look, feel and customization of our Online Ordering Interface, we have just rolled out a new version. This interface is super-slick. We can customize it to fit the look and feel of your brand. This makes you look professional with clients and prospective catering clients, thus instilling a sense of confidence.

Please watch the brief video below for complete details and a tour.

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The Psychology of Winning

 

Conducting our Catering Coaching Calls for members is one of my favorite activities. Whereas a lot of gurus interview a different expert for their coaching calls, I am a big believer in the power of the mastermind.

I love to learn from our members what is working and what is not. Often times it is a solid marketing principle misapplied. With our diversity of members, we also gain insight from the perspective of others.

Our Catering Coaching Calls are well worth an investment of an hour or so a month. I can tell by the comments and feedback how valuable they are.

Some members are a little newer about selling and marketing catering and need a little more than the nuts and bolts. Part of what coaching provides is anything from a word of encouragement to a kick in the pants.

On last month’s call, we had a very new catering sales person who had just started working for one of our Diamond Members. She was frustrated that she wasn’t seeing the “instant” success she had on her first week on the job; one cookie drop resulted in about nine luncheons being booked.

Her cookie drops since then, have yet to result in a big sale.

What people say and what they mean are totally different. Meredith, our Head of Operations, and I have this conversation at least once a month. When an RCS client calls or emails with a problem, often times it takes digging deeper to figure out what they want.

It was the same case with this new catering salesperson. A little probing revealed that her first cookie drop was a result of a former catering client placing a large order. This new and proactive catering salesperson decided to go thank her for the order with a tray of cookies.

The client was so impressed with the gesture that a new bond was formed and nine or so events were booked. First and foremost we buy from people we know, like and trust. This new catering salesperson has that working for her.

Unfortunately, she was trying to reap the same returns from cookie drops to cold, unknown prospects. Never compare apples to oranges.

A cold prospect takes a longer sales cycle. On average it takes seven touch points to make a sale. A new, as well as seasoned, catering salesperson must realize the first goal is to find qualified catering sales prospects.

Once found, you must enter them into a database like the CRM included in RestaurantCateringSoftware.com. Monthly follow up is crucial. Email your list once a month and send them a piece of snail mail once a month. It’s the constant dripping of your marketing that’ll build their confidence and put you at the top of their list.

It is not a get rich quick plan!

Our new catering salesperson was doing fine. She just needed a bit of a reality check and a pep talk.

Fact is, she stumbled upon something everyone should be doing.

Were I to hire a new catering salesperson, I’d have them spend at least half of their time calling on existing and former catering clients. The easiest sale to make is a repeat sale.

Connecting like this is sure to drum up new business. It is also a way for a catering salesperson to get some wins under their belt and boost confidence. This is particularly important with new, inexperienced salespeople.

Marketing and selling is not difficult. It is the lack of action with expectation of results that will beat you down.

What’s the voice in your head saying about building a super successful catering profit center? Set yourself up for success and believe you will. That’s the psychology of winning!

NOTE: As Thanksgiving is this week, I would be remiss if I did not send out a big THANK YOU!

Thanks to my team. Thanks to my clients/members. And thanks to everyone who reads this blog.

Restaurant Catering Systems would not exist without each and every one of you. Then I would have to go out and get a real job. LOL. As most of you know, I am a great worker, but terrible employee, thus virtually unemployable.

Make time this week to take inventory of all you have to be thankful of and let the one’s you love know!

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

P.S. – If you need help growing catering sales, then please go to www.RestaurantCateringSoftware.com and download my free eBook: Cater or Die!

P.P.S. – I make a limited number of time slots available each week for a free Catering Strategy Session with me. (You also get a catering menu critique and free analysis of your website for “Catering Effectiveness). For complete details and to grab one of the limited spots, please go to:

http://www.restaurantcateringsoftware.com/catering-planning-strategy-session

P.P.S. – Anyone wishing to reprint my articles may do so. Please email me for the bi-line to use for proper author’s credits.

Catering Software Creates New Kitchen Labels

 

We at Restaurant Catering Systems are always on the lookout for ideas to make our clients' lives easier. We rely on clients like Mike from The Couch Tomato.

Mike called me a few weeks ago to inquire about our system printing out small labels for his catering prep staff to use to mark packages of food as they are prepped. Please watch the brief video below for details and read the rest of the article to get a sample set of labels.

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So if the first order of the day had two full pans of spaghetti and two large salads, he'd want a label for each one. As his prep team made the food, they'd just peel off a label to put on the pan, tray lid or package.

I thought it was a great idea and took it a step further. Some catering prep items equate to one package per prep item, like whole pizzas, pans of food, etc. Other catering prep items take multiple prep items and place them into a single container.

If your kitchen had to prep a hundred chicken breasts for an event, that may end up in only five full aluminum pans. You definitely don't want "chicken breasts" to end up on a hundred seperate labels. That would be a waste of labels and time to print them.

In order to set the number of labels needed, you go into the RCS Restaurant Manager and modify your prep item formula. Below is a screen shot.

catering software prep resized 600

Click Here To Download A Sample Sheet of Labels.

The labels can be sorted by a variety of times and include: The Prep Station Name, Catering Client Name, Catering Client Company Name, Order #, Ready Time/Date and Prep Item.

Please call Restaurant Catering Systems at 615-831-1676 with any questions or to set up a free, no obligation catering consultation session.

How You May Be Rejecting Catering Business

 

Last week, one of our Diamond Members from Atlanta was in Nashville for business, so Somers, his Marketing Concierge from RestaurantCateringSoftware.com, my girlfriend and I met him out for dinner.

He’s been in the restaurant industry for years. He went to work for the owner of a Greek restaurant and was brought in to help run it like a business. He also spent some time owning his own insurance agency. This member has a lot of selling and business experience in the restaurant and non-restaurant business world.

Currently he owns two restaurants. We are helping him with his Greek concept in Atlanta.

Though it’s not very often, I do enjoy getting to know our members. Each one has a different tale to share of how they entered the business and plenty of war stories.

I always walk away with great new insight and ideas.

As we were reviewing his catering menu and discussing tweaks, he mentioned how his manager was handling incoming calls from catering prospects. His manager was sending them to the Catering Lead Generation Website we created for him to view their catering menu and call back with questions or an order.

At first glance, that sounds like the right thing to do and easy for the prospect, as just about everyone has access to the internet.

Personally, I think that has the potential to turn away catering business or make a prospect feel rejected.

Let me explain. One of the most expensive costs in your catering profit center is acquiring a new customer. It takes four walls marketing, advertising, selling and word of mouth to get the phone to ring.

Once you have a live, red hot catering prospect on the phone, you want to take them over the finish line into the land of catering customer. Leaving someone to their own devices on the web is dangerous.

They may never get to your site. They probably won’t write down your website address, but Google it instead. You have zero control of what all will show up organically or in the paid searches. I would hate for my catering prospect to accidentally end up on a competitor’s website.

Even if said with love and care, sending someone away to do something amounts to some feelings of rejection.

So what should you do?

Offer to personally take them to your menu: “Mrs. Jones. Are you in front of a computer? Good. Let me personally walk you through getting to our catering menu and highlight a few things that will help you.” (Get them to your menu: PDF and online version). As you can see, we have three catering packages designed to make ordering from us simple, yet give you plenty of variety, etc., etc.”

Your job is to try to make a sale or create a quote that leads to a catering sale. You can best accomplish this by working with the prospect, not sending them off to do work.

Your catering prospects want it done for them!

If they don’t have time to be walked through the menu, offer to email them a link.

Do whatever you can to capture their contact information. Enter them into your database or CRM, like we include in our catering software.

Maybe schedule a time to call them back. At minimum communicate with them on a regular basis.

If you are in the middle of a rush and absolutely can’t spend time with them, let them know and schedule a time to call them back.

Here’s a sample script: “Mrs. Jones. I would love to personally spend time with you getting to know more about your event and helping you choose the right menu, but unfortunately I am slammed with my lunch rush at the minute. Can I call you back at two o’clock, when I have uninterrupted time to give you?”

In the grand scheme of life, my member did nothing majorly wrong. By adopting what I just suggested, more prospects will become catering clients. How they are treated on their first interaction sets the tone for a large lifetime value to your restaurant.

Let me illustrate with a non-catering personal example.

Last weekend my girlfriend and I flew to Chicago to hang out.

She is a healthy eater and only eats vegetarian and seafood.

We did a Google search and found a great vegetarian restaurant called Mana Food Bar about fifteen minutes from downtown. It was a Friday night around six, so we called to make reservations.

Mikhail answered the phone in a very professional and prideful manner. He was incredibly nice and welcoming. Though they didn’t take reservations, he offered to add my name to his wait list. He just asked that I call him on our way down.

He even went on to further help us with the following, “When you get down here, I can give you a few suggestions in the neighborhood to grab a drink while you wait.”

His restaurant is a shoebox with no bar or waiting area.

The wait lasted longer than expected, when we returned from a tapas place he recommended, he gave us two free glasses of wine. We decided it would be easier to just grab some takeout from his menu and return to the hotel.

In the time it took us to scope out what takeout we wanted, he miraculously found us two seats.

He told us he really wanted us to dine in.

He brought us out a complimentary bowl of pumpkin soup and two sakes.

Here we are from out of town, may not come back for a year or more, and we’re being treated like the President and First Lady.

By the way, he had no idea who I was or what I did for a living.

The food was incredible, as was his entire staff.

I will go back next time I’m in Chicago.

Thousands of people who read my blog will now know to try out Manna Food Bar. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, you’ll love the food. The pumpkin goat cheese filled tamale was my favorite.

I did find out Mikhail spent years working for the late, legendary Chef Charlie Trotter. I was fortunate enough to eat at his flagship restaurant in Chicago and another in Vegas.

Mikhail was trained by one of the best.

Mikhail turned what we thought would be a simple cab ride to get my girlfriend vegetarian into a very memorable evening…and it all started with how he made me feel when I called to inquire about a reservation.

I felt like I was important and my business mattered to him. It did.

Please don’t underestimate the power you and your team have on the phone!     

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

P.S. – If you need help growing catering sales, then please go to www.RestaurantCateringSoftware.com and download my free eBook: Cater or Die!

P.P.S. – I make a limited number of time slots available each week for a free Catering Strategy Session with me. (You also get a catering menu critique and free analysis of your website for “Catering Effectiveness). For complete details and to grab one of the limited spots, please go to:

http://www.restaurantcateringsoftware.com/catering-planning-strategy-session

P.P.S. – Anyone wishing to reprint my articles may do so. Please email me for the bi-line to use for proper author’s credits.

How To Promote Catering For B2C

 

Businesses fall under two categories: B2B and B2C.

B2B stands for business to business. These are businesses that do business with other businesses. A great example would be copier companies.

Personally, I love B2B business, like targeting the corporate catering market. It is very easy to rent a list of businesses, find the right target at the company and market to them. Often times you can even market to them at the exact time they are making a buying decision.

Two great examples of this would be targeting retail stores for Black Friday catering and schools for teacher’s in service training meals.

Another advantage of dealing in the B2B world is the owner of the checkbook. I find it much easier selling to someone who’s spending their company’s money.

As much as I love B2B selling, B2C, or business to consumer, can’t be ignored.

At Corky’s we did a healthy amount of catering directed to the consumer. This would range from someone picking up ten pounds of BBQ to feed a group coming over to swim, to a drop off party pack for a Super Bowl Party.

Our members only website, RestaurantProfitPoint.com has a complete turnkey marketing promotion geared to helping you land your share of another B2C niche, graduation parties.

Click on the link below. Make sure and click on the special report image to download complete details of this strategy.


http://www.restaurantprofitpoint.com/members/department92.cfm

The image below is what you need to click on when you are logged in to the link above.

graduation catering software resized 600

As a general rule, the best place to start marketing catering to the B2C market is your four walls: table tents, signs, banners, flyers, buttons, etc. Your dining room and take-out customers who know you offer catering are the most likely to use your services.

Unfortunately, mass media is very ineffective for promoting catering, especially to the consumer. Think of all the eyeballs and ears you’d have to hit. The net results would be you writing them a check to order catering.

So besides high school graduation parties, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, bereavement meals and a handful of easily targetable B2C niches, what should you do?

I learned years ago you market when people are buying.

All across America family after family is planning to host holiday parties. Be it a Thanksgiving feast for the family or a festive open house for friends, there are more consumers throwing parties around the holidays.

Super Bowl parties are another large catering time for consumers.

How best to reach them?

The US Postal service offers a program they call “Every Door Direct”. It is a very low hassle, low cost way to hit everyone in a carrier route. You can send a large 15” x 12”, double sided, full color post card without addressing the cards or renting the list. That’s a lot of marketing real estate.

I know of many pizza operators who use this mass mailing service to promote their delivery business.

Why not use one side or half of one side to promote a catering package. I would promote the catering package with the lowest starting price. Just like big box retailers, they use this strategy to get the phone to ring or the buyer in the door. It’s the upselling that makes you money.

You may want to offer an incentive like free dessert.

I wouldn’t invest the funds to just promote catering with Every Door Direct. If you have something else to promote the roof tops in your neighborhood, like delivery, dine in, family meal deals, a buffet, etc., then definitely get more bang for your buck.

I would only test this strategy around the holidays and Super Bowl, a time consumers are catering en masse.

For more information about Every Door Direct, go to the link below:

http://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2011/pb22312/html/info_005.htm

On a side note: Many of you know I’m a big believer in the power of written goals and the role your subconscious plays.

What you think about, focus on and act upon has a way of materializing.

I have been quite the slacker since May. I suffered from a terrible sinus infection that made my teeth hurt so much; I wanted to grab a bottle of Jack and pliers and get fitted for dentures.

I took my kids, Jerrod and Jordyn, to France for two weeks.

As soon as I returned from France, I had sinus surgery to fix my deviated septum.

Right after that, my good friend and fellow CEO Roundtable member Rhonda told me I needed to stop dilly dallying around looking for a new house. The home prices and interest rates were heading up.

She is one of the most accomplished women I know. The way she told me with no b.s., I took to heart.

In less than two weeks I found a house and had it under contract.

I spent the next two months working part time focused on my new home. The first month was spent giving blood, DNA samples and receiving a colonoscopy to get my mortgage…and that was with twenty percent down and a super high credit score.

I also went by the house multiple times a week to take measurements and pictures with Rhonda. She was nice enough to help me with decorating my new place.

The second month, I moved in and immediately dealt with contractors. I had a fireplace with built in book cases installed. The kitchen received a chalkboard and a tile back splash. Of course I had to get a rigged out home theatre.

Rhonda and I went all around Nashville buying furniture, accessories and drapes. I know way more about decorating than I should, but the end result is awesome.

About the time I was finishing up decorating, I actively said it was time to buckle down and focus on work. Low and behold the phone has been ringing off the hook with people interested in our software.

It’s funny how all of this works. Put it out to the universe, take action and see great things happen for yourself!   

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

P.S. – If you need help growing catering sales, then please go to www.RestaurantCateringSoftware.com and download my free eBook: Cater or Die!

P.P.S. – I make a limited number of time slots available each week for a free Catering Strategy Session with me. (You also get a catering menu critique and free analysis of your website for “Catering Effectiveness). For complete details and to grab one of the limited spots, please go to:

http://www.restaurantcateringsoftware.com/catering-planning-strategy-session

P.P.S. – Anyone wishing to reprint my articles may do so. Please email me for the bi-line to use for proper author’s credits.

Why Someone Will Order Catering From You

 

Why will someone order catering from you, as opposed to any and all options including direct and indirect competition or doing it themselves?

That is a very bold question to tackle. Luckily my ADD meds and Columbian coffee are kicking in.

I could say it is to avoid embarrassment; you show up on time, leave nothing behind and have plenty of food.

A lot of operators think it’s the quality of the food that drives the decision.

What about the type of food you offer? I may order catered lunch from my favorite deli, but when I have an Italian themed party, the deli won’t cut it.

What about price? Some restaurants compete on price. When a catering decision maker is on a tight budget, they will pick a caterer predominantly on price. Some times they’ll skip a caterer and go straight to a club warehouse and opt for the pre-made sandwich trays, a 55 gallon drum of chips and a 100 liter bottle of soda.

What about a personal relationship or connection with the owner or catering salesperson? We all want to do business with those we know, like and trust.

What about a company’s branding or impression it gives? Take off your restaurant owner’s hat and play prospect. Drive down the street and take pictures of the restaurants in your trade area. Now go back and analyze them.

What do they say? Clean? Dirty? Expensive? Professional? Shoddy?

I moved across town almost two months ago. I found a new dry cleaner based solely on their logo and the nice paint job on the building. Every other dry cleaner in this transitional neighborhood looks like they’d make the cut for the next Armageddon movie.

Don’t think that just a new coat of paint or professional remodel will get you more business. One of my favorite sayings is, “A pig in a dress is still a pig.”

My new dry cleaner, Nicholson Cleaners is 1000% better than any of the dry cleaners I’ve used since moving to Nashville in 1992!

The staff is friendly. They are very professional. They get it right.

Guess what? I have no idea what they charge. It is not important to me. I sign my receipt and don’t pay attention.

Linda the owner is my new best friend. One day I went in to drop off my clothes and asked her why they don’t have a drive-thru window; a major convenience.

She told me they’ve looked at a thousand configurations, but their property and zoning restrictions prevents it. She told me that if I called from my car, they’d be happy to pick up or deliver my cleaning.

“Then why don’t you make that part of doing business Linda?” I asked.

I went on to suggest she reserves three or four spots, place large “Curbside Pick-Up” signs with their phone number on them and let everyone know about it.

We are now new best friends. She’s in the process of implementing my suggestion and promises me a reward.

I don’t care about my reward, just my future convenience.

And by the way, since I have a personal relationship and like Linda, her people would have to screw up really badly for me to switch dry cleaners.

Do you have that bond with your catering clients?

Now what about “WIIFM” playing into catering decisions? That stands for “What’s In It For Me”!

Some people will give you a try or use your catering services frequently for rebate certificates or a special bonus they can use. Many of Restaurant Catering Systems’ clients use our Loyalty and Referral System with great success.

But let’s be clear, it’s definitely not enough to overcome poor execution.

You could say you need to make sure everything I have discussed is 110% in your business. There’s never a silver bullet to building catering sales. Like life itself, you must focus on all of it. It’s a juggling act of sorts, but instill these values in your team and demand nothing but the best.

I wanted to share a brainstormed promotion Mike Leake, member and owner of The Wander Inn shared with me during a recent coaching call.

Some people call it the “No Peaking” promotion. I call it the “Christmas in January” promotion.

During November and December you print up envelopes and stuff them with certificates good for free food and merchandise. It can range from a certificate good for five dollars off your next meal to a t-shirt to a free dessert to a hundred dollar gift card.

You’ll want to put very few high dollar prizes and a ton of low dollar prizes like five dollars off your meal in the envelopes. You’ll want to use bright red envelopes and print an explanation of the promotion on the envelope.

You will print the prize certificates in very light grey on white paper. The red envelope and light grey certificate make it impossible to hold it up to the light to see what they’ve won.

The restaurant promotion requires all of the November and December envelope recipients to come back in to your restaurant in January and get their envelopes opened by a server.

We and many of our members get a great return on this promotion.

Mike wanted to use it to promote catering in January. He would hand out the envelopes to catering clients around the holidays. The envelopes would have a percentage or dollar discount off their January catering(s).

I love the idea of a sweepstakes of sorts to promote catering, but January is the wrong month. You want to sell when people are buying. As a general rule, January is a very slow catering sales month.

Were he to make it a January promotion, very few would get redeemed. Even the promise of a large catering discount isn’t enough to cause a client to manufacture an event.

So I added this twist.

Hand out or mail the envelopes to inactive clients starting in September. It’s not too late to do this, but you’d better hustle. The goal is to get clients from last holiday season and inactive clients to book for the holidays.

The envelope would explain that inside the envelope is a prize good for the person ordering catering. It would range from a ten dollar gift card to a hundred dollar gift card. The envelope would be opened at their event or at the time of delivery. Mike wanted to make the minimum prize a twenty dollar gift card.

By giving the catering decision maker a personal reward, you increase the odds of former and inactive catering clients using you for the holidays.

This is a very simple twist on a great idea.

NOTE: Members can download the “Christmas In January” promotion from our members-only website. Use it to build January dining room sales or modify it as a catering promotion. Link below:

http://www.restaurantprofitpoint.com/members/department51.cfm

So what’s the answer to the question, “Why would someone order catering from you?”

Any and all of the above!

Take one from my list and work on it. Once you have one perfected, work on the next.

A year from now, you can be dominating your catering marketplace.

As a side note to this article, I was on a panel for restaurant owners with a gentleman who had formerly owned a lot of different bars, but is now a restaurant business broker.

As a bar owner, he made it a point to meet and get to know three new customers a day. As a business broker, he makes it a point to meet three new restaurant owners a day.

Make it your goal to meet three new catering decision makers a day, and you’ll achieve catering success!

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

P.S. – If you need help growing catering sales, then please go to www.RestaurantCateringSoftware.com and download my free eBook: Cater or Die!

P.P.S. – I make a limited number of time slots available each week for a free Catering Strategy Session with me. (You also get a catering menu critique and free analysis of your website for “Catering Effectiveness). For complete details and to grab one of the limited spots, please go to:

http://www.restaurantcateringsoftware.com/catering-planning-strategy-session

P.P.S. – Anyone wishing to reprint my articles may do so. Please email me for the bi-line to use for proper author’s credits.

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