The Catering Software Corner Blog

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

Bereavement Catering Opportunity

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Jul 6, 2016 @ 10:12 AM

There’s a Yiddish word, mensch, that means someone of integrity and honor. An all-around good guy.

Mensch is exactly the word that comes to mind for Howard Sandler, my sister’s father-in-law that passed last week after a long battle with lung cancer.

He was a laid back, super-nice guy with never a bad word to say about anyone. He knew how to go with the flow; probably why he recently celebrated fifty years of marriage to his sweetheart Marilyn.

My girlfriend and I flew into Ft. Lauderdale for the funeral.

Over those few days, I was reminded of the catering opportunities funerals offer.

While I owned my restaurant, we had many bereavement groups that would reserve our private party room for family and friend meals after the funeral.

We even catered a few bereavement meals.

When I looked up the funeral details on the funeral home’s website, they had a section discussing what to provide the family; comfort foods. They had a link to FTD florists with some suggested foods to send the family from assorted nuts and fruits to cheesecake.

I had never seen anything like that before. When I shared the info about the website with my friend Rhonda, she told me about a funeral she had gone to in the last year up in New Jersey.

There was a link to order the family food/meals from Junior’s Deli.

Kyle Agha, a longtime client, ended up locking in an exclusive contract with a funeral home to be their official caterer. Seems like a lot of families are choosing to cater in meals/appetizers for visitations.

Another longtime client, Ivan with The Dutch Oven sends out letters to churches and HR departments letting them know about his drop-off catering for families in grief.

The letter can be found on our members-only website at this link:

http://www.restaurantprofitpoint.com/members/programs/fileinfo.cfm?ID=601&action=Display

And of course there are opportunities to provide frozen meals for families. Long after the funeral is over and family is back home, there is a need for prepared meals.

The road to catering riches lies in the niches. Though some people may think the bereavement niche is a little gauche to pursue, it is a niche with a true need to do good for people.

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 operations, catering business, restaurant

Website Critique To Get More Catering Sales

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Jun 22, 2016 @ 12:25 PM

When I first opened my restaurant in 1992, catering prospects would call to have a catering menu faxed to them. Today it is all about the internet and your website.

Catering prospects want to know if your catering menu is available online. The smart operator insists on walking through the menu together while on the phone.

There are some catering prospects who will find you via a web search and conduct their own catering research.

Under both scenarios above, what type of impression are you making? Would you want to buy from you? Does your website look relevant or dated?

For most of us, our websites are the first impression prospects have of us.

Below is a checklist I use when evaluating websites in client consults. It is a general list of what I see that needs to be fixed. These small changes can really help convert more website visitors to customers.

Go through the list and circle the ones you need help with:

~ It Is Not Instantly Apparent You Cater: I had to search to find out if you catered.

~ Your Catering Menu Is Hidden or Not On Your Site: Prospects want to see what you offer before picking up the phone.

~ Your Website Looks (a little, somewhat, very) Dated: Don’t mean to offend, but nothing stays fresh and relevant forever. Just as you remodel your home from time to time, your website needs the same. Potential clients notice.

~ Your Phone Number Is Hard To Find With No Description: Don’t make people scroll to the bottom of the page or go to the contacts section. 

~ There Is No Action Statement In Front Of Your Phone Number: “Catering Hotline” or “To Order Catering Call” plants the seed of what action you want taken.

~ You Need More Info Above The Fold: Just like a newspaper puts their best headlines at the top, do not make visitors scroll endlessly to find out about you. Give them good info up top.

~ No Call To Action Buttons: These buttons are like billboards on your site telling visitors what to do: order now, see catering menu, request a quote, etc.

~ Where Are High Resolution, High Quality Food Pics? Good food photography sells people on using you for catering.

~ There Is No Catering Inquiry Form: Some catering prospects want to contact you via form submission and have you call them back. A good form feeds into your catering software database.

~ What Makes You Special? I didn’t read anything on your site that couldn’t be substituted by a competitor. You need to answer, “Why should I do business with you?” And you can’t be generic: we are the best, everyone loves us, we give great service, our staff is friendly. You must dig deeper.

~ You Don’t Have A Catering Guarantee: Two of the most successful companies in America were built with their guarantee: FedEx and Domino’s Pizza. We help our clients stand out with strong guarantees that get them noticed.

~ Where Are Your Catering Testimonials? What you say about yourself is self-serving. But when your catering clients brag on you, then you have a powerful credibility tool to book more events!

~ I Don’t See A FAQ: Some people need to do some research before ordering catering. By having a Frequently Asked Questions section, you can make prospects feel at ease. They don’t want to be forced to call you before they are good and ready.

~ Where’s Your Online Ordering For Catering? Today’s admins are busy. If they order on a regular basis, they appreciate a restaurant that lets them order any time day or night. Plus, our online ordering system interfaces with our software; preventing having to re-enter the information.

~ You Need A Catering Picture Gallery: The more pictures you have of your catering, the more likely someone can “picture” themselves using you.

~ You Need An “About Us” Section: Besides telling people what makes your restaurant special, let them know what makes the owner(s) special. People buy catering from people. Make your story memorable.

~ Where’s The Bait? Sometimes offering 10% off the first order or free dessert on the first order is enough of an enticement to get contact information for your database and a first order. Impress them and gain a client for life!  

This list can keep you busy. Take the time to objectively evaluate your website with the criteria above. Objectivity is difficult. After all, none of us have dumb or ugly kids, right? It’s being you’re your harshest critic that yields the highest dividends.

If you would like to see some of the websites we have designed, please feel free to look at the links below:

http://substationiicatering.net/

http://lachimeneacater.com/

http://eadiescatering.com/

And here is a new template we are in the process of building out.

www.cateringwebdesign.com/jos

If you are interested in a website critique or having us build a website for you, please reach out to Nicole in our office: Nicole@RCSMailBox.com or call her at 615-735-4097.

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.RestaurantsThatCaterFacebookGroup.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 operations, catering business, restaurant

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Millennial Child and Yourself

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Jun 8, 2016 @ 10:40 AM

Do you remember your parents telling you how they walked uphill both ways to school in the snow…with no shoes? Do tales of how hard life used to be in the olden days rattle around your subconscious when you hear your parents’ voice?

My parents were born and raised in Morocco, so my favorite story was how my dad was beat with a cow’s tail. And today a swat on your kid’s butt will get a SWAT team from Child Protective Services to descend upon your home like The Navy Seals taking Osama Bin Laden’s compound.

My kids were raised in an “everyone gets a trophy” generation.

Employers today are tripping all over themselves to make Millennials feel warm and fuzzy. One of my business friends, an old crotchety seasoned business vet, has waived the white flag to his Millennial workforce; knocking down cubicles, buying a $3,500 foosball table and a kegerator for everyone to feel loved and appreciated.

Poppycock! Most people under forty today, have no idea what a major recession/light depression looks like. My parents went bankrupt when I was around eleven. I cut yards and babysat for money, before I was old enough to get hired for a “real job”. I knew asking my parents for money was a waste of time. I took control of what I wanted.

And complain? I was happy to get my first job washing dishes at sixteen; throwing trash after midnight in freezing weather with liquid from that trash can showering me. Did I complain of unfair working conditions? Did I demand wheels for my trash can or maybe a lift to keep me from getting dirty?

No! I was happy to have the work.

As a parent, I want to be judged on a few things. Did I help shape and develop my kids to be all around good people? Basically do they follow the golden rule?

Secondly, am I sending my kids into the world to support themselves. My goal is to get my kids off the payroll after college. Moving back in until they hit thirty is not part of the plan. After all, I can Air BnB their room for more than they’d pay in rent.

I have been told that everyone should have two jobs to prepare for life: wait tables and sell door-to-door.

Waiting tables teaches you how to deal with the public, perform great customer service and how to be humble. Nothing is as humbling as serving others.

Now door-to-door or direct selling teaches you how to deal with rejection, persevere, sell and be 100% accountable for your own success. There is no one to blame but yourself if you don’t sell enough to fill the gas tank.

I encouraged and rewarded both my children to go into direct selling with a well-respected company called Cutco. Their knives are a product you can sell with confidence and conviction. I have owned a set since 1987.

Because I knew direct selling would have a positive impact on their futures, I offered to match my kids’ pay from Cutco dollar for dollar up to three grand.

Two summers ago, my son Jerrod took the challenge. Frankly, I thought he would quit after putting in a twelve-hour day and not selling a thing. I told him the decision to stick with it or not was his. As an eighteen-year-old, I wasn’t going to tell him what to do. My job is to guide.

He persevered and made over three thousand dollars the summer before he started college. It wasn’t about the money, but the invaluable skills he picked up.

I made the same deal with his sister Jordyn this summer. She stuck with it for about a month, but it wasn’t for her. We had long discussions about it. She wanted to work someplace where she felt she “made a difference” and was made to feel “important”.

I tried to convince her that this was like basic training in the military. Six more weeks of discomfort is a small price to pay for the value a summer job with Cutco would have on her resume. She wasn’t interested in hearing that throughout life she will have bosses, co-workers and customers who won’t make her feel warm and fuzzy.

Your best shot at that is to work for yourself.

Ultimately, I left the decision to her. I would not be mad. I love my daughter unconditionally.

She decided to quit Cutco and go to work full time at Corky’s this summer.

I am glad she at least had a taste of selling.

The best gift you can give your millennial child (and yourself) is the gift of knowing how to sell. Whether selling a product, service or idea, we all go farther with this skill.

Today selling does not equate to polyester suit clad salesmen selling used cars and aluminum siding. The modern sales superstar is all about uncovering needs and educating their prospect to options. And…if there’s a fit for both parties, the sale happens seamlessly.

At least once a week I tell a prospect that we are not a fit for them; then refer them to a competitor. People appreciate you looking out for them. I go about my day creating sales karma. I know these prospects will remember what I did for them and one day send me perfect fit clients.

So my big takeaway for you is to guide your kids that though we human beings are all equals, we all aren’t equally rewarded based on just “showing up”.

The government mandating $15 an hour minimum wage or those on salary making less than $47,000 to get overtime, does not “take care’ of you.

Uncle Sam meddling with the McDonalds of the world will dictate them to figure out how to make burgers with robots and take orders with iPads. Necessity has always been the mother of invention.

The government can’t fix free market pressures.

Only in little league does everyone get a trophy. Our jobs as parents and to ourselves is to develop our skillset to not even worry about what politicians are doing to get beholden constituents.   

The best gift you can give your millennial child and yourself is self-reliance!   

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.RestaurantsThatCaterFacebookGroup.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 operations, catering business, restaurant

Painting The Perfect Picture For Prospects Leads To More Catering Sales

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, May 11, 2016 @ 12:51 PM

“If you want to sell life insurance, you must get the prospect to picture the hearse backing into their driveway.”

I am not sure which sales trainer gets credit for this quote, but it is poignantly applicable to most sales.

Figuratively speaking, your job is to get your prospect to picture what it would be like to do business with you and/or use your product or service. Let me illustrate with a few examples and bring it home with a real world example that will without a doubt help you turn more catering prospects into customers

Forty-three years ago I was in third grade at the Memphis Hebrew Academy selling World’s Finest Chocolate Covered Almonds; at the time my favorite candy. In some ways selling has always come naturally to me. I decided to buy the first box and use it for sampling.

“Mrs. Jones. I am selling World’s Finest Chocolate Covered Almonds for my school. Here, try one. They are incredibly good.”

I used the same technique Costco uses to move millions of dollars of inventory via their grandma brigade to sell more boxes of those chocolates than anyone in my school.

Tasting the candy allowed my prospects to “experience” that chocolate.

What do car dealers do? They get you into the car. You slip into the leather seats, adjust them, take in the new car smell and take that bad boy through a predetermined road course, so you can experience different types of driving. An hour later, you’re out the door with a new car.

How are houses sold?…”So just picture Christmas morning in this large den, fire roaring as Timmy and Jane open their presents from Santa as you look on, coffee in hand…”

If I can get you to experience what I am selling; the benefits of what I am selling, I increase my closing percentages. And as expensive as it is to generate a lead, you want to make sure you close as many as possible.

Many of my readers do the basics when it comes to helping catering prospects “experience” their catering service. I am guessing you go out and do tastings/samplings to allow catering prospects to experience what your food is like.

Last week I was talking with Mark Rogers of Smoke and Spice and presenter at this year’s Caterpalooza. Mark has been very successful following our marketing and using our Sales Tempo tool in our catering software.

The first step, direct mail postcards, yields Mark a 25% response rate; phenomenal for direct mail.

Now what Mark shared made me jealous that I didn’t think about it.

So Mark gives all of his catering prospects the experience of doing business with him… far beyond tasting food.

As soon as a prospect agrees to a sample lunch, he creates a catering quote in his Restaurant Catering Systems software. The quote arrives in his prospect’s in box with a zero dollar attached.

He then converts that quote into an order for the date and time of his sample luncheon and a confirmation of the order goes to the prospect.

He routes the order with the new Delivery Manager and assigns the delivery to himself. His prospect experiences what it is like to have a catering order delivered from Smoke and Spice: they receive an email with a picture of the driver letting them know that they are on their way and another when they arrive. They get to see the Driver Mobile Interface and sign the ticket on Mark’s smartphone. They even receive a signed copy of the zero-dollar ticket while Mark is there via one button click to send on the interface.

It is one thing to tell me how seriously you take showing up on time and customer service, but yet another to put me through the entire catering customer experience.

Mark is selling more catering with his catering software. You can too. This is brain-dead simple, yet so powerful.

Below are pics I took of unsolicited testimonials for our new Catering Delivery Manager posted in our Facebook Group: Restaurants That Cater.

Facebook_Catering_Testimonial_Testimonial_1.pngFacebook_Catering_Testimonial_Testimonial_2-1.png

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 delivery, catering operations, catering business, restaurant, catering tips, catering delivery drivers

Can Catering Tips Lead To Better Hires?

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, May 5, 2016 @ 08:54 AM

About a year ago, my daughter Jordyn started working as a hostess at Corky’s BBQ, the very restaurant I sold over ten years ago. She loves working with the public.

On a recent trip to Memphis to visit family, we talked a little business. She told me about an upsell she uses to add on ribs to a family meal deal. I laughed, as I developed that upsell over fifteen years ago. I shared the script I developed, that is no longer in use:

“I wanted to let you know about our manager’s special today. Because you ordered a family meal deal, you can add a slab of ribs for only $14.99. They’re usually $19.99; that’s a five-dollar savings. Would you like me to add those to your order?”

We generated a lot of incremental profit with that script. It was surreal for my daughter and I to talk “shop”. I think in some way she was impressed with learning a script to help her sell more ribs.

One of the things she loves about being a hostess is the pay. Now I know they pay her less than ten dollars an hour, but when she walks home with twenty to forty dollars in tips, that gets her jazzed!

I am not sure when tipping for take-out orders came on the scene, but every time I order takeout from a restaurant, I am faced with that tipping line. I think most people leave anywhere from a buck or two to ten percent.

I am sure the social pressure of facing that dreaded “tip” line guilts people into leaving a tip. As a practical matter I hate it. I am ordering takeout. I am not taking up table space, nor is a sever bringing me drinks, clearing plates, checking on me, etc. 

When people take their kids to McDonald’s, tipping isn’t part of the program. Why all of a sudden is tipping part of the takeout equation at restaurants.

Though I hate leaving the tip, I usually do. It is the guilt and societal pressures of that damn tip line.

Now please do not email me back educating or arguing about tipping for takeout. Please allow me to connect the dots.

I get it. Tipping allows you to pay your front line staff more. Maybe some of those tips go to the kitchen. A couple of bucks extra an hour adds up. It makes working for you more attractive. I get it.

In that light, when we first put out the beta version of the Restaurant Catering Systems Delivery Manager, I had a client request we add a function to have the client add a tip and sign the ticket on the driver’s smart phone.

Tip_Picture_1.png Tip_Picture_2.png

 

That feature has been a hit. One client has an army of delivery drivers loving the extra tips they’re getting.

I had a client on my Catering Coaching Call last month who told the group the tip function has more than paid for the software. Right now, he’s doing all the deliveries.

I asked him how he would benefit when he grew to using drivers. He said that he would probably give the kitchen part of the tip for helping prepare the order.

What does that do? If his kitchen crew makes more with their tips than going down the street, he has happier employees.

Right now, this Delivery Manager is a game changer. If you didn’t see the demo video, please go to:

https://youtu.be/bqvhK8dmcy8

NOTE: Let me encourage you to a join a 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

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 delivery, catering operations, catering business, restaurant, catering tips, catering delivery drivers

Killing Your Catering Competition With The Uber Factor

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Apr 27, 2016 @ 10:07 AM

I think it was two to three years ago a forward thinking, techie friend of mine starting talking up Uber. He parked his expensive Jaguar and started using Uber to take him to work and out and about.

At the time I thought he was perfectly nuts to sideline his Jag. Today I get it.

For those of you not familiar with Uber, it is a ride sharing app that connects users with individuals willing to give you a ride for a fee; most of the time less expensive than a cab.

After about six months of listening to my buddy go on and on about Uber, I decided to skip the expensive parking garages for a Predators game and Uber it there; allowing me to have one too many without fear of a DUI.

At first blush, you would think a lower cost alternative to a cab is what launched them, Nope. During peak times their rates can be more expensive.

What about the friendly drivers? Maybe.

But what caused Uber to disrupt the cab business and turn the industry upside down was their technology.

Frankly, being able to summon an Uber or a taxi from my iPhone does not excite me. What excites me is the GPS integration with their app.

Before I even request an Uber to pick me up, I can see all of the cars on my cell phone driving around town. They give me an estimate of how long it will take the car I call to get to my front door.

I can see the car moving down the road and turning down my block.

In my opinion the Uber Factor that disrupted the industry was the fact that finally, I can call for an Uber (cab) and know for sure:

  1. The car is on its way
  2. The exact time it will arrive.

Unless catching a cab at the airport or at a hotel cab stand, I NEVER called a taxi. The anxiety of wondering whether they would show was not worth any benefit.

Uber addressed what keeps people up at night.

So how can you use the Uber Factor to crush your catering competition?

If you have done more than ten caterings, then you have received the dreaded call…

“Where is my order? I am checking to make sure it left. When will they be here?” The customer is worried and you get worried.

The second issue is…did everything get dropped off? Your catering clients are scared to death that they have hot food for twenty-five but you forgot the serving utensils.

Any time you can address a client’s biggest fears you crush the competition. Just look at Uber. They are a billion-dollar company and own zero cars.

I have written about our new Delivery Manager and Delivery Driver Smart Phone Interface before. We debuted it at Caterpalooza and the response has been overwhelming.

Though we are still working on the full blown app that works like Uber, showing you and your catering client where their delivery driver is at all times, it currently allows the driver to notify the client via email and text that they are on their way and when they have arrived.

The built in checklists add a double check to make sure everything has been loaded and delivered.

It is one thing to talk a good game, but showing catering clients and prospective catering clients that you use a system like ours allows you to disrupt the market. This is an advantage you want to jump on.

Technology like this will help you win over new clients unhappy with their current caterer. You will turn your current catering clients into raving fans.

The catering game is about strong, long-term relationships.

NOTE: To see a video of the Delivery Manager and Delivery Driver Interface in action, click here: https://youtu.be/bqvhK8dmcy8

 

Finally, let me encourage you to a join a 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

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 delivery, catering operations, catering business, restaurant, catering delivery drivers, catering delivery mapping program

How Surfing Can Boost Your Catering Business

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 @ 11:01 AM

The yearning for travel and an unrestricted lifestyle has always been encoded in my DNA. Maybe it is the fact my parents emigrated to America when I was just two.

Twice in college I backpacked my way through Europe with barely two nickels to rub together. I was so broke that I spent every other night on a train to keep my lodging costs down.

In college, I remember someone telling me about all the Americans moving down to Costa Rica to retire to paradise on a budget. I daydreamed of retiring at a young age to the Costa Rican paradise; beaches and rainforests and the laid back life!

After months of planning and two long days of Caterpalooza, I treated myself to a trip to Costa Rica. This country operates on island time. Yes, I know it’s not an island but with the Caribbean on the eastern coast and the Pacific on the western coast, it is definitely the island vibe.

We stayed in Playa Hermosa, a sleepy little beach town with a handful of restaurants and one small grocery store. Massages on the beach, monkeys in the trees and the best frozen mojitos, ceviche and fish tacos at Aqua Sport was my routine.

Costa Rica is known for its surfing. I decided to take lessons. My goal was just to ride a single wave.

DSCF0306.jpg

Funny thing was that walking across piping hot sand in bare feet was the toughest part of the day. Oh did I mention the wind whipped my surfboard out of the water and smacked me square in my left ear? It threw me for a loop, but I refused to quit.

Though not gracefully, I was able to ride three waves. See the YouTube video below to watch me. (No laughing please). If the video is not embedded, please click on this link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFmVkts2gNg

So what does surfing have to do with boosting your catering business?  I know it may seem farfetched, but please follow.

We are all guilty of falling into the same routine. You wake up, you get to work, you come home and go to bed. I know many of you have hobbies or do  more than I have outlined, but when was the last time you did something outside your comfort zone?

In surfing you must be on the lookout for the perfect wave. In business you are on the lookout for business opportunities. Like surfing, you must decide which ones to pursue and which ones to pass on.

Getting up on the board is akin to committing to action. You can’t half commit to a wave. In business you can’t half commit to an idea or initiative. You’d be shocked how many people I talk to each week with a desire to build a large catering business like I did, but can’t commit any time or financial resources to the pursuit.

I have yet to start or run a business that did not require action. The more action I took, the more successful I became.

Now riding the wave is symbolic to the commitment you must have in business. Once you find that perfect wave or catering marketing initiative, hold on and ride it to the shore (of profits).

And once you ride the wave to completion, relish in your accomplishment and go back and find another one to own!

So whether you adopt my practical lessons of surfing or choose to stretch outside of your comfort zone, there is true value in pushing your boundaries. Even if you can’t afford to hop a plane to Costa Rica this weekend, what can you do in your backyard that’s different than your daily grind?

Go to the symphony, picnic in the park, go hiking, biking or visit a museum. Heck! Go find a place to sit down and do some people watching, which in Nashville is Opry Mills Mall. That’ll keep you entertained!

A few notes:

  1. If you travel internationally and want access to Wi-Fi without spending a fortune with your cell carrier, you need to get hold of a SkyRoam mobile hot spot. They contract out with cell carriers around the globe to offer 24 hours of Wi-Fi from their small device for as little as $8 a day. The device is less than a hundred bucks and comes with some credits on it. One trip pays for it. Here’s the link:

http://skyroaminc.refr.cc/9KXSPNQ

  1. We have heard from many clients and followers that they wish they could have attended Caterpalooza. Many of you are putting it on your “must do list” for 2017. Though a date has not been picked, I wanted to share the pics with you:

http://caterpalooza.com/caterpalooza2016pics

Hopefully, we will see you at Caterpalooza 2017!

  1. Finally, let me encourage you to a join a 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

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 business, catering strategy, restaurant, catering groups

Doubling Perceived Catering Value For Only A Buck

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 @ 07:45 AM

Gene is in his 90’s, barely has a high school degree, yet is wiser than 99% of us. Gene learned through the school of hard knocks and by picking the brains of the successful.

His first business venture was owner of a winter gear company. Listening to Gene tell me stories of how he ran that company is like listening to your grandfather tell tales of walking to school in the olden days.

I love business and the hours over my life listening to Gene’s stories. He figured out how to build a factory for less than the going rate by incorporating efficiencies he discovered.

He bought a restaurant once for fun. To save money, he had his cooks make the biscuits square to not waste dough.

After selling his company for a sum that would let anyone retire in style, he decided to build houses for a hobby. That hobby led him to become the largest builder in Maury county; selling a third of the new homes.

I remember him telling me that by investing a thousand dollars more in upgraded fixtures, he was able to give his houses a ten thousand dollar higher perceived value.

America buys on value; not price. If it was all price, then we would all drive Yugo’s, shop at Wal-Mart, dine at McDonald’s and get our hair done at Super Cuts.

Last week’s article was recap of my mystery shopping presentation at Caterpalooza of three different delis.

We purposely had each catering order set up on a plain table (see pic below).

Caterpalooza2016-40.jpg

 

Aside from the variety of packaging, you will notice each table scape is very bland.

Now how can you double the perceived value of your catering for a buck?

Though I would love to take credit for this, the hero of this story is Frank D’Antona owner of Cantina Mamma Lucia. Frank was the first guy to use our catering software and has been following me since 2003 with incredible results.

I have been to Baltimore twice to do a catering seminar with him. Both times he was generous enough to share how he runs his hugely successful catering profit center.

One thing Frank does is brings out a plain white table cloth to put on his client’s table before setting out his food. 

At my presentation, we took the food off a plain table and added a disposable table cloth that you can buy at the dollar store for a buck. It may cost you two bucks to have it delivered from your vendor. Either way it is a bargain.

Just look at the table after the cloth is added (see below):

Caterpalooza2016-42.jpg

This is like one of those makeover shows.

Another thing Frank does is bring out a plastic bowl for ice when drinks are ordered. It’s a small thing that makes a big difference.

Only one of our mystery shopped caterers brought an ice bowl with a spoon.

As I write this, in less than twenty-four hours I am headed for Costa Rica to do some R&D and get some much needed R&R from Caterpalooza.

I wasn’t sure how our first Caterpalooza: An Extraordinary Catering Conference For Restaurants would do.

We more than doubled our goal for attendance. I realized Restaurant Catering Systems is “the home” for restaurants that cater. Restaurant catering represents the largest catering niche, yet has no voice.

Based on the recommendation of a Caterpalooza attendee and client, I have created a private Facebook group called “Restaurants That Cater”. Please ask to join. I will welcome you. I kept it private to prevent spammers.

I know together we can all go further!

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 delivery, catering business, catering strategy, restaruant, catering packaging, catering set up

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