The Catering Software Corner Blog

How To Formulate A Foolproof Catering Marketing Plan

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 @ 10:02 AM

As a lefty, I have always done things backwards. As a kid, I read magazines from back cover to the front reading the ads and skipping the articles.

Since the directions didn’t forbid it, I worked maze games from the end backwards to the beginning. You should try it. You’ll be done a lot quicker.

Whenever I pack a bag for a trip, I picture myself fully dressed and take inventory of what I need; shirt, pants, socks, underwear, etc. I take a mental inventory of everything I need to get ready before getting dressed (not a great visual); deodorant, cologne, shaver, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.

So it should come as no surprise that I build my to-do lists and marketing plans the same way. Let’s walk through how you can build a simple catering marketing plan.

What are your main goals? I am guessing to increase catering sales and build repeat business.

I like to create a simple bulleted checklist. Start with each month of the year as a heading. You will then put your strategies and tactics for each month as a sub head in your marketing plan outline.

The first place to start is with the “definitely” list. What do you know you will be doing in the next twelve months to promote catering?

Email marketing should be one of the first strategies to hit your list. So under each month of the year, you will have a bullet called “Monthly Email”. If you know your theme, go ahead and add it.

Our catering software comes with an email marketing feature with prewritten email templates. This will save you time coming up with ideas and writing your emails.

Are there any other ongoing marketing programs? One of the most overlooked and valuable is a catering customer reactivation campaign. Though you can mail letters to inactive catering clients, I prefer to pull up a list of all clients who haven’t ordered catering in the last 60 days and call the ones who you think should have ordered.

Are you running or planning on running a catering loyalty program?

What about sending thank you letters? This is a very low cost way to bond with your catering clients.

One of my favorite ongoing marketing programs is a catering client birthday program. Send all of your best catering clients a card or letter wishing them a happy birthday along with a gift certificate to your restaurant.

All of the above can be put on auto-pilot in our catering software. Of course thanks to spreadsheets, you can also manage them yourself instead.

I then like to make a list of all the catering niches I plan on targeting and plugging those in the right month. For instance: sports banquets in the fall and spring, Black Friday in November, holiday party catering in November/December and Hospital Week in May.

Once you have completed all of your niched catering initiatives, start to brainstorm other marketing strategies you’d like to test. It may be to proactively go after new corporate catering clients. Whether via a system you design or using our catering Sales Tempo, this is a worthwhile tactic to pursue throughout the year.

Once you have your master marketing plan, you’ll want to go back and pick dates for each project. If you are a major planner, you can then take each tactic and create a bulleted list underneath, listing out each step/component and the due dates.

For me, I find myself taking my marketing plan and listing out my current projects in my Moleskin notebook. My girlfriend gave me the notebook along with a Moleskin rollerball pen. I can’t work without it. There is something comforting about using a pen and paper.

As you know, I am always on the lookout for great ideas to make our catering software and marketing systems better for our clients. One of my more successful clients, Mark Rogers, asked me last week about creating a marketing reminder system.

At first I dismissed it, but then the lightbulb went off.

What if we could provide a preloaded catering marketing calendar for our clients with reminders that show up in our software and in our clients’ inboxes?

So as we speak, and hopefully to be completed before my catering seminar this Monday in Atlanta, my lead developer is hard at work creating this tool.

Our clients will have a database of preloaded catering marketing ideas delivered throughout the year. They will have the option of turning off the notification for a strategy or modifying the reminder date. Our clients can also add their own catering marketing tactics to the reminder system and set their own reminders for them.

Why is this important?

Unless you are disciplined enough to create a catering marketing plan and implementing a system to keep up with it, a system like ours will make your life easier. You won’t have to remember at the beginning of each month to call inactive catering clients. This system will prompt you to do it…and much more.

To “plus” the system, for each promotion we will be including links to sales letter templates found on our members only website, RestaurantProfitPoint.com

Jillian, our Marketing Director, will be taking each marketing strategy and creating an entire playbook for each one. Our clients will get an A, B, C, 1, 2, 3 plan to follow from how to find/build a targeted list to when/how to send out the sales letter to how best and when to follow up.

I am super excited to see this foolproof catering marketing plan take off!

Whether you choose to work with us or go it yourself, now is a great time to be working on your 2017 catering marketing plan. 2017 is just around the corner. Plan now to make it a record year for your catering sales!

NOTE: If you are interested in a full day of client nurturing strategies and other catering sales building strategies, please make plans to attend my full day catering seminar in Atlanta on Monday, September 26, 2016.

Complete details at: www.CateringSeminars.com/atlanta

Hope you can make it.

NOTE 2: I’ve had many people inquire about the DVD recordings from Caterpalooza. The 8 DVD set is available and a great tool for you and your team to sell more catering.

Please check it out at: www.Caterpalooza.com/dvd

 

NOTE 3: Let me encourage you to a join our new Facebook group I created for our industry: Restaurants That Cater. It is open to clients and non-clients alike. Please post your successes and challenges and share your knowledge with our community. There are groups and associations for caterers and for restaurants, but none for restaurants that cater…a very important group that is grossly underrepresented. Click on the link below and request to join:

www.RestaurantsThatCaterGroup.com

Please pass on this link to your colleagues and co-workers in the industry. The more of us, the better!

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

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.P.S. – Please check out my podcast at www.RestaurantCateringSmarts.com

P.P.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.

Topics: catering, catering sales, catering business, catering proposals, restaurant

Catering Invoices:   Why You Should Extend Credit

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Sep 14, 2016 @ 09:21 AM

We are moving into the age of convenience. Today’s consumer is willing to pay a premium to have it delivered, have it done for them, or basically to just have it handled.

More and more app based businesses are springing up to allow you to get anything from your car washed to your nails done with one click in your home or office.

When I owned Corky's, we extended credit terms to just about any company that wanted/needed them. It was a major convenience for the catering buyer to not track down a credit card or have a check cut for us.

On average, our outstanding receivables were $25,000 at any given time. That may sound like a lot of money to be owed, but to run a million dollar a year catering business it is not unreasonable.

I know for a fact that offering credit terms brought in and kept a ton of catering business.

Restaurant Catering Systems’ catering software has invoicing built into the system. An invoice is automatically generated with each invoice. This saves you the time of taking your catering ticket to your bookkeeper and having her create and send an invoice from accounting software like Quickbooks.

Even though we required all outstanding invoices to be paid in fourteen days, we found some of our catering clients cared, and some didn't.

The companies who made a practice of dragging out payments to us, did it to all of their vendors. If we stamped TERMS: NET 14 with a bright red rubber stamp, they still would have ignored it.

Of course we called to talk to the person in charge of accounts payable to get them on our side to pay quickly. And some times that worked.

But even if someone drug me out 30, 60 days or longer, assuming a good client is good for the money, I just went with it.

Why?

  1. I wasn't paying Amex or Visa/Mastercard 3% to process the transaction (non-swiped transactions and Amex are higher).

If I had a line of credit at the bank, I could have let them slide for 6 months before I was financially upside down on the event (just based on interest).

  1. I determined I was willing to chase a few people for my money and not risk losing their business. I am guessing there are competitors willing to extend terms. So I figured why give them a reason to leave me.

In actuality, I could usually get the person ordering catering and the person cutting checks to be my ally in collections.

So if you're going to be in the catering invoicing business, just be prepared for clients that don't play by your rules.

Then make a business decision to how you want to handle it.

For me the answer was easy: I know by offering credit to my catering clients, I was able to build a following of loyal, repeat catering clients. The convenience of working with me was as important as the food quality.

In case you are wondering, in fourteen years, I was maybe scorched a thousand dollars by non-payers. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a rounding error.

Besides offering credit terms, what else can you offer your catering clients to make their jobs and lives easier? Focus on that and see your catering sales grow.

NOTE: If you are interested in a full day of client nurturing strategies and other catering sales building strategies, please make plans to attend my full day catering seminar in Atlanta on Monday, September 26, 2016.

Complete details at: www.CateringSeminars.com/atlanta

Hope you can make it.

NOTE 2: I’ve had many people inquire about the DVD recordings from Caterpalooza. The 8 DVD set is available and a great tool for you and your team to sell more catering.

Please check it out at: www.Caterpalooza.com/dvd

 

NOTE 3: Let me encourage you to a join our new Facebook group I created for our industry: Restaurants That Cater. It is open to clients and non-clients alike. Please post your successes and challenges and share your knowledge with our community. There are groups and associations for caterers and for restaurants, but none for restaurants that cater…a very important group that is grossly underrepresented. Click on the link below and request to join:

www.RestaurantsThatCaterGroup.com

Please pass on this link to your colleagues and co-workers in the industry. The more of us, the better!

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

 

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.P.S. – Please check out my podcast at www.RestaurantCateringSmarts.com

P.P.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.

Topics: catering, catering sales, catering business, catering proposals, restaurant

Stop Swinging For The Catering BallPark Fences

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Sep 7, 2016 @ 09:33 AM

I have never been a big fan of baseball. In middle school, I spent one summer playing fastball. I was deathly afraid of getting hit by the ball.

An outing to a major or minor league game is more about food, beer, and shooting the bull with my friends. The game is too slow for me, but there are many similarities between baseball and building your catering profit center.

Catering, like baseball, is all about scoring (making the sale). Most business owners are always looking for that one magic bullet. What is the homerun idea to bring in a flood of new catering sales?

Though I have developed many catering niche ideas to get you a high ROI (like targeting your Top 100), the fact is you will never build a real catering profit center by swinging for the catering ballpark fences.

You goal should be to consistently, day in and day out, hit consistent singles and doubles. You want to minimize your strike outs.

There aren’t too many homerun super stars in the catering game.

In baseball, a player who bats 300 only hits thirty percent of the time. That means they fail seventy percent of the time. I think you can do better than that in building your catering sales. Don’t step up to the catering sales plate only looking for homeruns.

The road to catering success lies in developing a series of singles, or small improvements, to get you crossing home plate for the points. There are many areas you can analyze and improve: Are you maximizing your catering upsells? Are you monitoring your team’s calls to coach them to better sales?

Have you developed per person catering packages to simplify the ordering process for your catering clients and your team? Are you nurturing your catering leads often enough to make it to “top of mind” status should their current caterer falter?

We could go on and on, but let me give you a few concrete examples:

We use a telemarketer to call restaurants that cater. Their goal is to identify the restaurant owner or manager and send them an email to get a free copy of my book Cater or Die! Once they opt in to get the book, my Business Development Manager, Nicole, puts them through a Sales Tempo of calling and emailing to get a consult set up with them..

We are constantly analyzing and adjusting each touch point to maximize our results. An improvement in one area adds up to more sales with little to no extra effort or investment.

Though our telemarketer was doing a great job of identifying prospects and getting their email addresses, we were not happy with the number who came to our website and downloaded my book.

I decided to have Nicole take a second stab at this list. She created a simple Sales Tempo consisting of sending the same prospects three emails spread out a few days apart. This one little step that takes Nicole maybe fifteen minutes a day is proving to double the number of sign-ups the telemarketer is getting on her own.

This is a simple, yet powerful example of a solid single that will pay massive dividends.

Each and every sales and marketing function and touch point must be tweaked to yield the highest results. Stop swinging for the catering fences and focus on these areas you can impact with ease.

At Restaurant Catering Systems, we have built into our software a complete Sales Tempo to attract new, qualified catering decision makers. This is modeled off the manual labor system I developed at Corky’s to get 20-40% of our cold prospects to contact us for a complimentary catering tasting.

We design three custom, full color postcards that get mailed out automatically for our clients in two week intervals. For a little over four bucks, direct mail is doing the prospecting heavy hitting. I have a client in Miami getting 25% of his Sales Tempo prospects to meet with him after the three postcards are mailed automatically; and this is BEFORE he even picks up the phone.

With a system like this you would think people would flock to use it. No. We get push back. Many of our clients want to drop it to one postcard or totally eliminate all of the postcards. They let their fear of four bucks paralyze them into not even swinging to get to first base.

At least test out the system. Tweak it if needed. Using direct mail to fill your catering tasting calendar is cheaper and easier than countless cold calls, untold cookies drops and praying your phone will ring.

In my own business, I am constantly looking to find and fine tune the single and double opportunities. You get to the World Series of catering by focusing on these basics.

What are you going to do today to improve your score in the catering ballpark?

NOTE: If you are interested in a full day of client nurturing strategies and other catering sales building strategies, please make plans to attend my full day catering seminar in Atlanta on Monday, September 26, 2016.

Complete details at: www.CateringSeminars.com/atlanta

Hope you can make it.

NOTE 2: I’ve had many people inquire about the DVD recordings from Caterpalooza. The 8 DVD set is available and a great tool for you and your team to sell more catering.

Please check it out at: www.Caterpalooza.com/dvd

 

NOTE 3: Let me encourage you to a join our new Facebook group I created for our industry: Restaurants That Cater. It is open to clients and non-clients alike. Please post your successes and challenges and share your knowledge with our community. There are groups and associations for caterers and for restaurants, but none for restaurants that cater…a very important group that is grossly underrepresented. Click on the link below and request to join:

www.RestaurantsThatCaterGroup.com

Please pass on this link to your colleagues and co-workers in the industry. The more of us, the better!

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

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.P.S. – Please check out my podcast at www.RestaurantCateringSmarts.com

P.P.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.

Topics: catering, catering sales, catering business, catering proposals, restaurant

Never Give Up On An Qualified Catering Prospect

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Aug 31, 2016 @ 10:16 AM

A few weeks ago, my friend Robin Robins brought in Kevin O’Leary, from Shark Tank, to address members of her high end coaching group. She generously invites me to all of her meetings to listen to top speakers in the business world.

One thing Kevin mentioned, that is not a surprise to me, is that the most expensive part of being in business is generating leads and customers. Because of his ties to Shark Tank and media, he is able to bypass traditional advertising.

He has also focused on acquiring synergistic businesses that can cross-pollinate leads and customers. Most of these businesses are in the wedding space. Weddings represent an evergreen niche of buyers spending money based on emotion.

Besides public relations, O’Leary uses content creation shared amongst all of his companies to generate leads and customers. It is a very well calculated business strategy used to rake in the profits.

Every time your phone rings with a catering inquiry, you have prospect who may or may not buy. Failing to capture lead information and add them to your monthly follow up system is like flushing fifty bucks or more down the drain.

Some of my clients proactively generate leads with our Sales Tempo Catering Lead Generation System. The goal is to provide a sampling of food to the decision maker(s) with the goal of getting the first order.

My clients who work the system are finding success. But every free sampling does not lead to a catering sale. What to do was the big question posed by Mark Rogers in last week’s Catering Coaching Call.

I came up with the idea of sending a follow up piece of mail sixty days after the sampling. The grabber in the letter is a $1 Target gift card that can be exchanged for a $25 Target gift card. It is an ethical bribe of sorts.

The fortune is in the follow up. You can’t invest time and money in identifying qualified leads and let them grow cold. Just today, an attendee of my Portland seminar called Nicole in our office to move forward with our system. Looking him up in our database revealed he invested $1,500 in my Catering Magic System in 2005. For eleven years he has been getting my emails and invites to webinars and seminars.

Mark took a stab at the Target gift card letter and asked me to fine tune it. I usually only share my sales letters with clients. Today I am feeling like putting out some catering karma. Hopefully this letter will help you book a few more caterings; at least enough to want to work with us on a deeper level. Below is the letter copy:

Would You Like To Turn $1 Into $25?

Bob – attached is a $1 Gift Card from Target. Feel free to use it now if you’d like, but I’d rather come out in the next thirty days and exchange it for a $25 Target Gift Card. So…what’s the catch?

A few months ago, I came out and brought you a complimentary lunch from my catering company, ABC Restaurant, so you could experience first-hand what it would be like to work together.

Maybe you haven’t ordered catering for your company since then. Or maybe you need a little nudge to give us a shot.

When you call me at 555-555-5555 to place your next order by (THIRTY DAYS FROM LETTER) for at least $150, I will bring you out a $25 Target Gift Card as a new catering client welcome gift. I know once you and your team members give us a shot, you’ll definitely want to add us to your company’s catering rotation.

Look, I know you’re going to love the way we present our food, the awesome flavor and appreciate the punctuality of our drivers. Our entire sales team is dedicated to make ordering and receiving your catering a truly hassle-free experience.

You’re going to look like a hero with our catering and get a nice $25 Target Gift Card for yourself to enjoy. Pick up the phone now and call me at 555-555-5555 to get your next hassle-free catering booked!

Looking Forward To Working Together!

I sincerely hope you can put this letter to work. After all, you never want to give up on a qualified catering prospect.

NOTE: If you are interested in a full day of client nurturing strategies and other catering sales building strategies, please make plans to attend my full day catering seminar in Atlanta on Monday, September 26, 2016.

Complete details at: www.CateringSeminars.com/atlanta

Hope you can make it.

NOTE 2: I’ve had many people inquire about the DVD recordings from Caterpalooza. The 8 DVD set is available and a great tool for you and your team to sell more catering.

Please check it out at: www.Caterpalooza.com/dvd

NOTE 3: Let me encourage you to a join our new Facebook group I created for our industry: Restaurants That Cater. It is open to clients and non-clients alike. Please post your successes and challenges and share your knowledge with our community. There are groups and associations for caterers and for restaurants, but none for restaurants that cater…a very important group that is grossly underrepresented. Click on the link below and request to join:

www.RestaurantsThatCaterGroup.com

Please pass on this link to your colleagues and co-workers in the industry. The more of us, the better!

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

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.P.S. – Please check out my podcast at www.RestaurantCateringSmarts.com

P.P.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.

Topics: catering, catering sales, catering business, catering proposals, restaurant

Catering To Uncle Sam

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 @ 09:20 AM

Last week I had a “catch up” dinner with one of my long-time friends Hank. Hank is a consultant I’ve used over the years and was my sailing partner in crime. Before he traded in his sailboat for a motorcycle, we would go sailing about once a week and take a big sailing trip on Lake Michigan in the summer.

One time we chartered a forty plus foot Beneteau out of South Beach. It was probably one of the best vacations I have ever taken.

At dinner we were talking about Trump, Hillary, Johnson and the presidential election. He uttered what may be the most profound thing anyone has said this election season, “Regardless of who gets in the White House, I plan on making money.”

Can someone print that on a bumper sticker and sell me one?

Over my lifetime in the business world, I too have focused on making money regardless of which party controlled the White House or Congress. To do otherwise would amount to excuse making. And anyone who knows me knows I hate excuses.

So in the spirit of making money regardless of who wins the election, I want to thank Jay Johnson with Bubba’s Roadhouse for a great idea he shared on our Monthly Group Catering Coaching Call.

Jay secured the paperwork to get a DUNS and SAM number, so he was approved to cater for Uncle Sam. Here’s an article with some great tips on getting these numbers:

https://www.sba.gov/blogs/selling-government-get-started-these-5-steps

Jay was sharing how he picked up a large contract catering meal for an ROTC training camp and was working on getting catering from another ROTC in another county.

While I owned Corky’s, we often catered for the Navy Reserves once a month and frequently for the Tennessee National Guard headquarters in Nashville.

There really are no new ideas. Our software is a collection of all the “best practices” for growing and operating your catering profit center.

It doesn’t take a genius to come up with ways to find government catering opportunities. But it does take a smart man (or woman) to show up to our monthly coaching calls to learn something new or be reminded of a great idea lost in the recesses of their brain.

There literally are more catering niches than you can ever attack. Pick one and get started.

And regardless of who you’re voting for, please join me, my friend Hank and my other members dedicated to making money regardless of who wins the White House. Friends; that truly is the American way! 

NOTE: If you are interested in a full day of client nurturing strategies and other catering sales building strategies, please make plans to attend my full day catering seminar in Atlanta on Monday, September 26, 2016.

Complete details at: www.CateringSeminars.com/atlanta

Hope you can make it.

NOTE 2: I’ve had many people inquire about the DVD recordings from Caterpalooza. The 8 DVD set is available and a great tool for you and your team to sell more catering.

Please check it out at: www.Caterpalooza.com/dvd

 

NOTE 3: Let me encourage you to a join our new Facebook group I created for our industry: Restaurants That Cater. It is open to clients and non-clients alike. Please post your successes and challenges and share your knowledge with our community. There are groups and associations for caterers and for restaurants, but none for restaurants that cater…a very important group that is grossly underrepresented. Click on the link below and request to join:

www.RestaurantsThatCaterGroup.com

Please pass on this link to your colleagues and co-workers in the industry. The more of us, the better!

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

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.P.S. – Please check out my podcast at www.RestaurantCateringSmarts.com

P.P.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.

Topics: catering, catering sales, catering business, catering proposals, restaurant

The Key To Lifelong Catering Clients

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, Aug 18, 2016 @ 08:36 AM

Before I cut to the chase and tell you how to have lifelong catering clients, let me share a story with you.

Two years ago, my son Jerrod started college at Vanderbilt University. I vividly remember move in day: At 9AM we pulled up in his CRV and lined up. One by one each car in the line drove up to the dorm and was greeted by a team of eager volunteers.

Like a precision military operation, the volunteers brought up carts, unloaded every single item in the car and whisked it away to Jerrod’s dorm room. The rest of the volunteers were friendly and helped us get to his room and answered our questions.

They don’t treat you that well at a Ritz Carlton.

Jerrod’s first day at Vanderbilt made a great first impression.

Now, fast forward two years to last night.

I helped Jerrod move into his dorm room for his junior year. He found a parking spot for the CRV, and we were greeted by no one; just the sound of generators emitting from carpet cleaning trucks in the parking lot.

Jerrod ran into the dorm to grab a dolly, so we could load it up and move him in. There were other upperclassmen doing the same thing. The party atmosphere of freshman move-in was replaced by serious students just wanting to get moved in.

So what is the difference? Maybe, just maybe, Vanderbilt treats their freshmen like prospects and their upperclassmen like customers.

I guess it is akin to dating. While courting a woman, most men bring their A game: nice dinners, well groomed, car doors opened, flowers sent just because, etc. The same could be said for women. Shaved legs turn into chia pets over time.

I am not judging, just pointing out that “prospects” get treated better than “customers”. This applies to dating, Vanderbilt students and especially to catering clients.

Think about your best catering clients. Do you still “court” them? Do you call to say hi and check in and see if they need anything?

How often do you call to let them know of a seasonal special?

Do you pursue them as vigorously as a new client you are itching to work with?

My guess is probably not. I do not judge. I am guilty of this as well; both personally and professionally. Though I do make effort.

The nicer the things you can do for your significant other and loyal catering clients, the more money you have in the emotional bank account.

Your goal should be to have that piggy bank overflowing with emotional currency.

On a basic level, call your catering clients once a month to check in. Ask about their family, hobby, vacations, etc. Spend a few minutes connecting. If you’re too busy to do that, put each client on a note card and call from the car as you go about your errands and appointments. Even a thoughtful voice mail counts.

On a more advanced level, Restaurant Catering Systems offers many tools to help you do this from reactivation letters to loyalty rewards to call back prompts, etc.

My team and I are more than happy to help you.

If you are interested in a full day of client nurturing strategies and other catering sales building strategies, please make plans to attend my full day catering seminar in Atlanta on Monday, September 26, 2016.

Complete details at: www.CateringSeminars.com/atlanta

Hope you can make it.

NOTE 1: I’ve had many people inquire about the DVD recordings from Caterpalooza. The 8 DVD set is available and a great tool for you and your team to sell more catering.

Please check it out at: www.Caterpalooza.com/dvd

 

NOTE 2: Let me encourage you to a join our new Facebook group I created for our industry: Restaurants That Cater. It is open to clients and non-clients alike. Please post your successes and challenges and share your knowledge with our community. There are groups and associations for caterers and for restaurants, but none for restaurants that cater…a very important group that is grossly underrepresented. Click on the link below and request to join:

www.RestaurantsThatCaterGroup.com

Please pass on this link to your colleagues and co-workers in the industry. The more of us, the better!

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

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.P.S. – Please check out my podcast at www.RestaurantCateringSmarts.com

P.P.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.

Topics: catering, catering sales, catering business, catering proposals, restaurant

How You Say It Can Sell You More Catering

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Aug 10, 2016 @ 10:41 AM

Last week I was in Portland, Oregon for a working vacation. I attended a wedding reception and put on a full day catering seminar downtown.

Portland is foodie town. I could spend a year driving around eating at great restaurants and not run out of wonderful meals.

The other night I went to Nonna’s in the Alberta Arts District for dinner. The place was cool and laid back. Our server was the bartender and made some wickedly good craft cocktails. He recommended the chicken and was spot on.

They use a locally sourced bird they brine for twenty-four hours, sear in a cast iron skillet and cook for seventeen minutes. Like in the Portlandia episode, I wanted to drive to the chicken farm.

Now one thing that turned me off about the Nonna’s was a little statement they printed at the bottom of their daily menu:

A 5% HEALTH AND WELLNESS CHARGE WILL BE ADDED TO EACH CHECK TO PROVIDE HEALTH INSURANCE FOR ALL OF OUR STAFF. THANK YOU!

(See pic below)   

 8-10.png

That statement did not sit well with me. So it’s my responsibility to add 5% to my bill and add 25% more to my 20% tip and provide their staff with health insurance. It comes across as pertinacious…like they are entitled to me footing the bill.

Should I leave a 10% tip and let them know I have deducted 10% from the tip to provide me an Uber, so I can grace them with my presence?

In actuality I think a business owner should make more than a fair profit and take care of their employees. I applaud Nonna’s owners for providing health insurance, but hate how they did it.

If my $10 appetizer cost an extra 5% or was $10.50, I wouldn’t notice or care.

Change the wording at the bottom of the page to read:

Our mission is to support our local economy. From sourcing locally grown produce and locally raised meats to providing our staff that serves you a living wage and health insurance, so they can lead a comfortable life. Thank you for supporting us in this mission.

Which sounds better. Don’t add a 5% health insurance line item. Just add 5% to everything and get your bookkeeper to keep up with the math.

During my seminar someone asked about charging for delivery for a drop-off catering.

If you can build it into your packages, then include “Free Delivery” as a selling point.

If you must charge for delivery, put a positive spin on it.

We are not charging for delivery. We are not making you pay for delivery, if you decide to pick it up. Subtle. But how you say it makes it easier to sell.

Take Donald Trump. I am all for a politician who can help us get this government running on a budget.

But someone needs to help this guy. He is shooting himself in the foot, hobbling like the guy with no legs in Monte Python.

Take the Muslim parents who addressed the Democratic Convention speaking about their sacrifice of losing their son, an American soldier who died fighting for our country. 

Trump minimizes their sacrifice by talking about his sacrifice to create thousands of jobs. Hardly the same.

He could have come across as a hero with the following statement:

“As a parent myself, I couldn’t imagine losing one of my precious children to war. It’s a real tragedy. But the real tragedy is the Democratic Party taking advantage of these parents’ grief. They have been used as pawns to further the liberal agenda.

Under the Democrats, military spending has been reduced by X% (then rattle other facts about the military that makes the Dems look bad).

When I am president, as Commander and Chief, I will give the men and women who serve this great country the tools and support they need to do their job as safely and effectively as possible. From an increase in _____ to reforming the VA. We have a duty to put our soldiers first.”

If Trump wants to hire me to write his talking points, I am available. Same for Hillary.

Now please don’t write me complaining about my politics. First and foremost, I am all about fiscal policy. I support many social programs; primarily those that teach a man to fish and don’t just give out fish.

And you know when the government is “buying” fish to give out: they overpay, overbuy and end up with fish rotting on the docks.

We have plenty of money in our budget to do good. Uncle Sam just needs to learn to live within their means.

This year we are faced with the lesser of two evils. After watching the Libertarians on CNN the other night, I pray they end up getting invited to the debates.

I think we are fed up with our government and just want some common sense people in the White House.

Johnson and his running mate were both Republicans in Democrat states. They made a ton of tax cuts, balanced their state’s budgets and were voted the top fiscally responsible governors.

Though I usually vote Republican, this year I am very open to voting for common sense.

Sorry to go on such a rant about health insurance and politics.

The big point comes down to how you say it makes a difference in selling more catering.

Another minor example: Instead of telling people we gave 5.33 ounces of barbecue per person in our party pack…

We give a third of a pound of barbecue per guest. That’s enough for one and a half “good sized” sandwiches per guest. Most women will make one sandwich and most men will make two. So you’ll have enough to feed everyone.”

What wording can you change in your selling language?

Please feel free to share on our Facebook Group:  www.RestaurantsThatCaterGroup.com     

 

 

NOTE: Let me encourage you to a join our new Facebook group I created for our industry: Restaurants That Cater. It is open to clients and non-clients alike. Please post your successes and challenges and share your knowledge with our community. There are groups and associations for caterers and for restaurants, but none for restaurants that cater…a very important group that is grossly underrepresented. Click on the link below and request to join:

www.RestaurantsThatCaterGroup.com

Please pass on this link to your colleagues and co-workers in the industry. The more of us, the better!

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

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.P.S. – Please check out my podcast at www.RestaurantCateringSmarts.com

P.P.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.

Topics: catering, catering sales, catering business, catering proposals, restaurant

The Wisdom Is In The Group

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 @ 09:38 AM

Today I feel like one of those senior citizen’s you see interviewed on ABC’s 20/20 talking about how they got scammed.

My secret indulgence, if you will, is Rolex watches. I bought a Submariner for myself when I turned twenty-one. It is my day-to-day watch and has stood up to everything shy of an RPG attack. If you calculate the cost per day of ownership, I think a sundial would be more expensive.

About three years ago I bought another stainless steel Rolex Submariner and had it blackened with the same process used on military equipment, DLC/PVD (See pic below). I don’t wear this watch enough and am in the market for a new Submariner, so I listed it on Craigslist. I was hoping to find a local buyer and avoid the risk or selling it to an unknown buyer out of state.

 IMG_4749.jpg

Earlier this week I received a call from a guy in Texas wanting to buy my watch. He was super nice and very knowledgeable about Rolexes. I was very comfortable with our conversation and he seemed trustworthy. I expressed my concern about shipping the watch out of state and not knowing him.

He told me he had sold a few Rolexes and used FedEx COD. It made sense, so I packed up the watch and took it down to FedEx and shipped it to him.

That evening, I was having dinner with some of my buddies, telling them how I had sold my watch. They all looked at me like I was crazy for sending the watch COD. I was barraged with horror stories about how con artists can fake cashier’s checks…that FedEx doesn’t even check for watermarks.

I Googled these scams, and to say the least there wasn’t a shortage of stories to make me paranoid.

Now, I am a trusting person by nature and want to believe the best in everyone, but my friends made me take notice.

As Chris, my former business coach said at dinner that night, “The wisdom’s in the group.”

So true. Thanks to the feedback from my friends, I decided to reroute the watch back to my home. The FedEx manager at the center my watch was getting delivered to called me to handle the reroute. He told me I was smart sending the watch back. His center gets five bad cashier’s checks a week.

So thanks to the “wisdom of the group” I am out a hundred and twenty bucks in FedEx fees and not forty-five hundred dollars lost in a watch scam.

Needless to say, Mr. Rolex buyer is not available for comment.

After this little incident, it is easy to see how people can get taken advantage of. I will still believe most people want to do the right thing, but next time will exercise a little more caution.

Any time you can tap into the wisdom of a group, you minimize your risk and find solutions to problems and challenges. I am part of a formal mastermind group for software company owners and a CEO Roundtable group; both of which have helped me out.

We at Restaurant Catering Systems run a monthly group Catering Coaching Call and a private Facebook group called Restaurants That Cater. I have personally witnessed several members getting help with challenges and problems.

Whether through us or other avenues, I urge you to join and participate in a group to help you better run your business. It’s nice to have a place to get reinforcement for your ideas or challenge you to make them better.

SEMINAR ANNOUNCEMENT: Please mark your calendar for Tuesday, August 2, 2016, and make plans to attend a full day catering seminar I am putting on in Portland, Oregon entitled:

How To Double Your Restaurant Profits Workshop:

The Ultimate Catering Sales & Marketing System For Restaurants

For complete details, please go to www.CateringSeminars.com/portland     

NOTE: Let me encourage you to a join our new Facebook group I created for our industry: Restaurants That Cater. It is open to clients and non-clients alike. Please post your successes and challenges and share your knowledge with our community. There are groups and associations for caterers and for restaurants, but none for restaurants that cater…a very important group that is grossly underrepresented. Click on the link below and request to join:

www.RestaurantsThatCaterGroup.com

Please pass on this link to your colleagues and co-workers in the industry. The more of us, the better!

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

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.P.S. – Please check out my podcast at www.RestaurantCateringSmarts.com

P.P.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.

Topics: catering, catering sales, catering business, catering proposals, restaurant

Trump, Hillary and The Psychology of Catering Sales

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 @ 11:36 AM

Who are you supporting in the Presidential election? Are you a Trump fan or die hard Hillary supporter?

Please don’t email me back with your answer. This issue is as divisive as the North and the South in the Civil War.

The one thing that is a given is that your candidate resonates with you. On an emotional level we connect with one or the other (or a third party). Logic has little or anything to do with how we make a choice for our candidates or any other purchase for that matter.

If you are on Team Hillary, the incident with classified documents on her personal server is shrugged off as a witch hunt or not that big a deal.

If you are on Team Trump, then any of his crazy statements are easily justified or you hate Hillary enough to not place any weight on them.

The purpose of this article is not to start a political firestorm in the restaurant catering world. I merely want to illustrate that “buying” decisions are based more on emotions than logic.

This is just as true with the people who buy your catering.

I just wrapped up a call with a friend of mine who books millions of dollars of events a year and is a huge buyer of catering services for her clients. She admitted to me that the food her caterer provides is probably a “7” on a scale of one to ten.

The reason she uses him is that his catering tablescapes are over the top. You can’t throw a half million-dollar event for a client with great food served on disposable platters and Chinette.

The late Mike Roman, catering guru and founder of Catersource, taught that catering buyers don’t want to be embarrassed. What does that mean?

Accept last minute orders, show up on time, leave nothing off the order, have plenty of food, offer billing terms, etc.

For catering to a homeowner, maybe they want to be a guest at their own party.

Maybe the catering buyer has a connection with the catering salesperson: they find them attractive or funny. Maybe they share a political or religious connection.

It could be that the catering salesperson is great about making the catering decision maker feel good about themselves; always asking about “them” and not too much talk about themselves.

At Corky’s we used our 120% Catering Guarantee to book events; offering to not send a bill if the client ran out of food. Today my drop-off catering clients use an “On Time Or It’s Free Catering Guarantee” we developed for them.

I can’t tell you exactly how to connect with a catering prospect on an emotional level and tap into the psychology of selling catering, but I can tell you to become a student.

When dealing with catering prospects you need to have an out of body experience. Pay attention to what you say and the reactions you get back. I would recommend reading Dale Carnegie’s, “How To Win Friends And Influence People”. For those of you with the attention span of a gnat, it boils down to, “Be more interested and stop trying to be interesting”.

Another great read is from Robert Cialdini, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”. He cites his studies and those of others outlining how and why people buy. This book has helped me a lot.

This is the bottom line: I really don’t care who you support for President. All the logic in the world won’t convince you to vote for my candidate, nor me for yours. So let’s just agree to not talk about it and know either way America always figures out a way to win!

Secondly, realize the quality of your food and service is a small part of selling catering. There are a million emotional and psychological factors at play in a catering buyer’s choice. Do your best to figure these out, before your competitors do.

 

SEMINAR ANNOUNCEMENT: Please mark your calendar for Tuesday, August 2, 2016, and make plans to attend a full day catering seminar I am putting on in Portland, Oregon entitled:

How To Double Your Restaurant Profits Workshop:

The Ultimate Catering Sales & Marketing System For Restaurants

Logically: you need to attend to learn how to sell more catering and increase your sales and profits.

Emotionally, you need to attend to learn how to make more money so you can…retire earlier, vacation more, send your kids to college, etc.

For complete details, please go to www.CateringSeminars.com/portland

   

NOTE: Let me encourage you to a join our new Facebook group I created for our industry: Restaurants That Cater. It is open to clients and non-clients alike. Please post your successes and challenges and share your knowledge with our community. There are groups and associations for caterers and for restaurants, but none for restaurants that cater…a very important group that is grossly underrepresented. Click on the link below and request to join:

www.RestaurantsThatCaterGroup.com

Please pass on this link to your colleagues and co-workers in the industry. The more of us, the better!

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

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.P.S. – Please check out my podcast at www.RestaurantCateringSmarts.com

P.P.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.

Topics: catering, catering sales, catering business, catering proposals, restaurant

Why You’re Losing Catering Sales

Posted by Michael Attias on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

There was a phrase shared with me years ago that I love to use, “The fortune’s in the follow up.” This line is so simple, yet powerful.

How many times have you called a business for information or a quote and not received a call back? How do you get into a business where you am so busy that you can afford to not call prospects back?

My home is relatively new; less than three years old. The guest bathroom tub/shower backs up to two external walls. As the temperature changes outdoors, the walls expand or contract causing the tension shower rod to break. It only happens a few times a year, but is a major pain in the rear.

I hate maintenance. That’s why I have led lightbulbs in all of my light fixtures and lamps. I am ok with waiting twenty years to replace a bulb.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I decided I wanted to trade in the twice a year shower rod collapse with a glass shower enclosure or some type of glass door for the tub/shower.

I called two well reviewed companies to come out and give me estimates. While at my house, I also had them give me a quote to upgrade the shower glass on my master bathroom.

Both estimators were knowledgeable, friendly and professional. They both educated me to my options sharing the pros and cons of each. They both sent me an email proposal quickly.

But neither will be getting my business, because neither managed to follow up. I don’t know about you, but if someone was about to stroke a three to four-thousand-dollar check would you call them back? At minimum would you email them back to see if there were any follow up questions or ask if they were ready to move forward.

What has happened since I received these shower glass proposals? Crickets. Not a single follow up call or email. Keep in mind one of the companies sent out the owner to get me a quote. The owner should fire himself.

Getting the phone to ring with a qualified prospect in any business, especially catering is expensive. Imagine every lead costs a hundred bucks. Are you rich enough to light your cigars with hundred dollar bills? If so, please invite me over to smoke some Cubans.

Really people. The fortune is in the follow up. When I owned my restaurant, I was a follow up machine. I would call and email until I received a yes or no. If the event was large enough, I would offer to send someone out and do a tasting for the catering decision makers.

If one of my team members sent a proposal and didn’t follow up, their head would be on a chopping block.

Not only have we built in the ability to create quick catering quotes into our catering software, but as soon as the proposal is created a pop-up appears prompting you to set a calendar reminder to follow up with the prospect. We try to make sure our client’s success is built into our system.

As we speak, we are in the process of upgrading our quotes module. Right now our software allows you to create a single proposal template without pictures or text formatting.

Our developers are creating an interface that looks/acts like Microsoft Word and allows you to create an unlimited number of catering proposals with the ability to insert pictures, different fonts, font sizes, colors, tables, etc.

Once you are done entering in all of the items for an event and ready to send the proposal, our system asks which template you want to send. You even have the option of modifying that proposal before sending.

If you are sending a wedding catering proposal, your pictures can be of weddings you’ve catered. All of your testimonials can come from brides and your frequently asked questions can address those specific to wedding catering. If you do a lot of company picnics, you can create a specific company picnic catering proposal template geared to that buyer.

On one level catering is catering, but when someone is booking their event, they believe their needs are unique. By positioning yourself as an expert in the different catering niches you serve, you stand out from your competitors.

This new catering quote module will be a game changer. You will have an unfair advantage over your competitors…but only if you realize the fortune’s in the follow up.

Following up on every catering opportunity is one of the highest ROI activities you can do. Look. You have a big bass on the hook. Are you too lazy to reel him in?

Even if you don’t get the event, follow up. I’ve lost major events, but have called year after year for a chance to get it. Guess what? In many instances that dogged persistence has paid off.

Stop buying lottery tickets, because your fortune is waiting for you with follow up! 

SEMINAR ANNOUNCEMENT: Please mark your calendar for Tuesday, August 2, 2016, and make plans to attend a full day catering seminar I am putting on in Portland, Oregon entitled:

How To Double Your Restaurant Profits Workshop:

The Ultimate Catering Sales & Marketing System For Restaurants

For complete details, please go to www.CateringSeminars.com/portland

    

NOTE: Let me encourage you to a join our new Facebook group I created for our industry: Restaurants That Cater. It is open to clients and non-clients alike. Please post your successes and challenges and share your knowledge with our community. There are groups and associations for caterers and for restaurants, but none for restaurants that cater…a very important group that is grossly underrepresented. Click on the link below and request to join:

www.RestaurantsThatCaterGroup.com

Please pass on this link to your colleagues and co-workers in the industry. The more of us, the better!

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

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.P.S. – Please check out my podcast at www.RestaurantCateringSmarts.com

P.P.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.

Topics: catering, catering sales, catering business, catering proposals, restaruant

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