The Catering Software Corner Blog

Where Are They Now?

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 @ 11:39 AM

Sunday night I went around the corner to Edley’s, a popular Nashville barbecue restaurant to get take-out dinner for some friends. We are planning a Costa Rican vacation the week after Caterpalooza.

As I was waiting for my order to be prepped, I asked the guy bagging the order behind the line if I could get a box. He enthusiastically said yes, went into the back and emerged with a box. There was something about his voice and mannerisms that seemed rather familiar.

As I did a double take, I blurted out, “Kenny?”

He turned around and looked at me in bewilderment.

“It’s Michael Attias,” I said so he could make the connection.

You see I hired Kenny Hudson, when I first opened my restaurant in 1992. He worked the line, the pit and catered. Kenny was one of my favorite guys. I sold my white VW Fox from college to him.

Kenny was and still is an incredibly hard worker and super nice guy.

As we played catch up, I learned he does plumbing during the day. We reminisced about the early days of Corky’s and some of our co-workers/characters.

It was truly the high point of my day to run into Kenny.

If someone were talking about you from the good old days and asked, “Where is he now?” What would people say about you.

I think most of us have a desire, need or drive to constantly improve. I would die without the constant challenge to make things better, improve and grow.

As I once heard asked, do you have ten years of experience or one year of experience ten times?

It is a major difference between people who seem to spin their wheels and people who make things happen.

I don’t remember who said it, but an hour a day dedicated to the study of a subject will make you an expert in a year. What’s the last book you read, podcast you listened to, seminar you attended or consultant you worked with?   

Those people who learn that my personal coach is more expensive than my house note are shocked I spend so much. I consider it an investment that has paid back in spades.

Even if you are dead broke, the internet is a treasure chest of free advice and education. Don’t own a computer? The public library will let you use theirs to search.

Whatever good or bad thoughts the people whose paths I have crossed over the years have, I hope they all say I have never stopped growing.

If you want the mental fertilizer to grow in 2016 and beyond, please make plans to send you and your team to Caterpalooza: An Extraordinary Catering Conference for Restaurants.

This two-day catering conference will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, March 7th & 8th, 2016. I expect this event to fill up.

We have early bird savings going on until Friday, January 29th.

Just go to www.Caterpalooza.com/register

My team and I hope to see you in Nashville!

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, restaurant, catering sales strategy

Observations For A Killer 2016

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Jan 6, 2016 @ 09:19 AM

Napoleon Hill, author of the business classic, “Think And Grow Rich”, introduced me to the concept of the mastermind. By surrounding yourself with sharp, ambitious people and helping each other, you will go much further than going it alone.

For the last six years I have been part of a mastermind comprised of business owners in the Nashville area. We get together once a month for a formal meeting and another time during the month for an informal breakfast.

I consider myself very lucky to be part of such a talented and gifted group of highly successful business owners.

One of my fellow members, Robert Hartline is president/founder of a software company called Call Proof and is a very successful Sprint dealer with many stores. This serial entrepreneur and I mastermind separately on a much more frequent basis sharing sales, marketing and lead generation ideas.

Recently Robert posted his observations on Facebook. I think they are worth sharing. I know you’ll pick up some ideas to lead you to a killer 2016.

Here are a few things I learned in 2015…

TIME

I learned that time is a resource you can acquire. But there are only 24 hours in a day, right?

False! You can manufacture time! You can exchange other people’s time to work on your dreams in exchange for either money or experience. The best use of my time is thinking, leading and learning. Bad uses of my time are selling, cleaning, driving, drinking, arguing, shopping, waiting and sleeping.

MONEY

Money isn’t a mystery. I’ve spent years trying to figure out how to make it and worrying about losing it. The fact is, how to make money is very well documented. I’ve given money too much credit.

Money does nothing in a bank. Money should always be invested; in people, in great food, in assets that grow, in your business and experiences that put a smile on your face. Buying stuff for stuff’s sake is dumb. Buying stuff that can be used to make more time or generate more income is smart.

KNOWLEDGE

No one is smarter than you. If you know how to get the information you need with your phone, you can be the smartest person in the room. This fact alone leads me to believe everyone has the potential to acquire success. But knowledge alone doesn’t make you successful. It’s your motivation that allows you to use knowledge to get what you want. Podcasts and audio books should be listened to daily while doing low level activities. Masterminds and experience share with highly successful people are likely the absolute best use of your time.

BAD NEWS

I received some bad news in 2015… As much as I might stress about bad news in the beginning, in hindsight it’s turned out to be great news. I just had to let time pass for the blessing to reveal itself.

Sometimes when what we fear most actually happens and we survive, we realize the fear was unjustified.

FAMILY

My family is all I truly really have. And all that other stuff is totally irrelevant without it.

2016 is going to be the year where I use what I learned to leave a dent in this universe.

Well said Robert: Time, Money, Knowledge, Bad News and Family.

If you want to be equipped for a stellar 2016, you need to learn and mastermind with the best. Make plans to send you and your team to Caterpalooza: An Extraordinary Catering Conference for Restaurants.

This two-day catering conference will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, March 7th & 8th, 2016. I expect this event to fill up.

We have early bird savings going on until January 15th.

Just go to www.Caterpalooza.com/register

My team and I hope to see you in Nashville!

NOTE: For those of you wanting to get your 2016 catering sales off to a great start, I am putting on a webinar on Monday, January 11, 2016 entitled:

Catering Clinic

The Prescription for Killer Sales in 2016

Complete details and registration at www.FreeCateringWebinar.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 software, catering sales, restaurant, catering sales strategy

Catering Sales Strategy from One of The Shark’s Companies

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Dec 16, 2015 @ 08:42 AM

Shark Tank is one of the most popular television shows today for entrepreneurs and their families. Since day one, I have been a big fan.

Like major league sports, everyone has their favorite shark. I have a couple and Robert Herjavec tops my list. Is it the fact that he races Ferraris or dates Dancing With The Stars dancers? No, but that doesn’t hurt.

I have met Robert a few times via my good friend, Robin Robins, founder of Technology Marketing Toolkit. She brings in business super stars like Robert to speak at her high level coaching meetings.

Last week she brought in Robert’s co-founder in The Herjavec Group, his Senior VP of Sales, George Frempong. George has taken The Herjavec Group, a cyber security firm, from zero to $150 million dollars a year in sales with his forty person sales team.

Regardless of what you’re selling, $150 million dollars is a lot of sales.

From the minute I met George in the hall before his presentation, I was impressed. He is very well spoken, looks you in the eye and dresses like he popped out of the pages of GQ.

So what can you learn about selling more catering from a $150 million dollar a year cyber security company? Hint: Every successful company or businessperson has lessons you can apply to catering. You just have to be on the lookout and ask yourself how to apply the lessons.

The first takeaway was the size of company The Herjavec Group targeted with their services. They sell to companies with a thousand or more computer terminals. In other words, they are running with the big boys. I know many tech companies targeting the ten to one hundred PC market, but a thousand terminals are big leagues.

When I first set out to build my catering sales, I targeted the hundred largest employers in my market. Within nine months, I had booked over $45,000 in catering, and that was in 1996. My members have access to a collection of letters and templates to target the “Top 100” at our members-only website www.RestaurantProfitPoint.com

My sharpest clients have used the Top 100 strategy with even greater success than me. Let’s face it. It takes no more effort to land a company picnic for a thousand guests than one for a hundred. You could argue it’s easier.

The second big takeaway is your brand or positioning. I’m not going to candy coat it here. I am referring to how you look, dress and speak. Whether you want to accept it or not, everyone is prejudiced. We judge people before the first word is uttered.

How does their marketing make us feel (menus, email signature lines, website, etc)? Do you feel you’re dealing with a mom and pop or a company you have confidence in to do the job?

If I compare George to all of the people in the audience at Robin’s event, he stands out as a Fortune 1000 salesperson. He has the image, walk and talk down right. A thousand-dollar suit may not be a fit for most of Robin’s clients or for you selling catering, but you know how you need to dress to impress catering prospects.

What you say and how you say it is equally important. Are you a good listener and problem solver? Do you instill confidence in your prospects?

My last takeaway from George was a big one for the tech companies in the audience. When the Herjavec Group started, they had a large Rolodex of contacts from a company Robert Herjavec had just sold.

Their first year revenue goal was five million dollars. They ended up doing just four hundred thousand. It was a major disappointment.

It turned out they approached their prospects with pretty much the identical service offered at the company that was just sold. Most of them were happy with their solution.

They decided to re-engineer their market strategy. They decided to re-approach their connections with a different cyber security product/service.

That opened a lot more doors. Once they were in with a company, they went back and cross sold them other services.

So how can that help you? You may not win the chance to cater the company holiday party for seven hundred employees, but maybe you can get your foot in the door with drop off catering.

If you’re good at closing larger events, you may have an opportunity to go in and sell them on using you for other large events or even their day-to-day corporate drop-off.

The final lesson from George? It’s all about selling.

George doesn’t even know about using direct mail or multi-step prospecting like we offer in our Sales Tempo tool. His sales team just wears out the phones. They focus on selling first, then servicing.

If you want to be a million-dollar caterer, you must give selling a place at the adult table.
In fact, a good first step is to make plans to send you and your team to Caterpalooza: An Extraordinary Catering Conference for Restaurants.

This two day catering conference will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, March 7th & 8th, 2016. I expect this event to fill up.

We have early bird savings going on until January 15th.

Just go to www.Caterpalooza.com/register

We will also be crowning our RCS Catering Spokesperson. If you are a current RCS client and interested in competing, please check out this link for all of the info:

http://caterpalooza.com/contest

My team and I hope to see you in Nashville!

NOTE: For those of you wanting to get your 2016 catering sales off to a great start, I am putting on a webinar called:

Catering Clinic

The Prescription for Killer Sales in 2016

Complete details and registration at www.FreeCateringWebinar.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 software, catering sales, restaurant, catering sales strategy

Using Direct Mail To Book More Catering

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Dec 9, 2015 @ 08:02 AM

Though many consider direct mail dead, I think you’d be hasty to send a condolence card.

Dollar for dollar direct mail, done properly, is one of the best ways to book more catering business. In fact, direct mail was a very important contributing factor to me taking my restaurant from zero to over a million dollars a year in catering sales.

The first question you must ask before creating a direct mail campaign is, “What’s your goal?”

Though I have directly sold catering from direct mail letters (usually mailed to targeted niches at the time they are buying like retailers for Black Friday), I predominately use direct mail as a door opener.

Think of selling like a vacuum salesman, going door to door facing a day full of slammed door rejection. A good direct mail piece makes you a welcome guest, when you call.

For instance, I once designed and printed out an 11”x17” giant slab of ribs and laminated them. I attached a see through envelope to the back for my sales letter and mailed them to the hundred largest companies in my market.

Every time I called and let the receptionist know to tell the catering decision maker, “Just her know the guy who mailed the giant slab of ribs is on the phone.”…I was put through.

My x-ray mailer targeted to hospitals cost me about twenty bucks to mail out, but brought in over $17,000 worth of catering.

I want to share with you a low cost direct mail strategy, with a slight twist, to get your mail opened. It is called sneak up mail. I used this strategy for my three-step catering lead generation direct mail program and received an appointment rate of 20-40% with qualified catering decision makers. Keep in mind that a 2% response rate to direct mail is considered phenomenal.

You want to use a plain white #10 envelope to send your letter. You will want to hand write the name and address of the recipient and your return address. I recommend using blue ink. Do not put your company name or personal name on the return address.    

You must also use a real stamp. I think the special edition stamps really stand out.

If you think about it, a hand addressed letter usually comes from someone we know. We have a gut reaction to open the letter.

See example of sample envelope received by a friend of mine below:

Envelope_Pic.jpg

Once you get the envelope opened, you better be able to deliver the goods. Otherwise the recipient will feel duped. Our members-only website, RestaurantProfitPoint.com has over 500 sales letters to use.

I have found the best letters offer a big benefit or solve a major problem for the recipient. It must also be well targeted. For instance, sending parents of high school seniors a letter in early April to solicit catering for graduation parties is likely to get a far greater response rate than a generic “We Cater For All Occasions” letter mailed to everyone in your Chamber of Commerce.

The letter below is an example that adds a very clever twist to the direct mail package, but sorely misses the mark on being relevant.

Letter_Pic.jpg

The sender of this direct mail crumpled then flattened out the letter and placed it into the envelope. The headline, “This Letter Has Been Pre-Crumpled For Your Convenience!!” gets you to take notice. We all know too well that most sales letters end up in the waste basket.

I have used a variation of this strategy. I sent the same letter out a second time crumpled in a ball and mailed in a mini trash can. Now that gets attention and your phone calls answered.

Using a hand addressed #10 envelope mailed out with a crumpled piece of paper, but with a much better letter below the headline will get your catering letters opened and your calls answered.

After all, cold calling sucks! Use direct mail to be the guy that gives your catering prospects a chuckle and a way for your foot to get in the door.

NOTE: In the spirit of working to help our community of RCS Catering Software clients (and future clients), we are putting together an extraordinary catering conference for restaurants called Caterpalooza!

This two day catering conference will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, March 7th & 8th, 2016. I expect this event to fill up.

Though the complete website is not completed and some of the speaking slots are to be filled, I encourage you to grab a spot or two.

Just go to www.Caterpalooza.com

We will also be crowning our RCS Catering Spokesperson. If you are a current RCS client and interested in competing, please check out this link for all of the info:

http://caterpalooza.com/contest

My team and I hope to see you in Nashville! 

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 software, catering sales, catering marketing, restaurant, catering direct mail

Cyber Monday Restaurant Marketing

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 @ 03:00 PM

Though I normally write about how to increase catering sales, I started out showing restaurant owners how to build dining room sales in the mid 90’s.

While on a consulting trip to Indiana to work with a franchise group called The Spaghetti Shop (still working with their Louisville franchisee), I happened upon a banner in front of a restaurant promoting a holiday gift certificate sale: Buy $100 & Get $20 Free!

Though I can’t take credit for the idea, I will take credit for exposing thousands of people to that promotion. Year after year at my Corky’s BBQ restaurant we sold a ton of gift certificates via this promotion.

I am aware many people use this promotion today. The way to stand out from the crowd is all in the angle you take.

Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, but Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving is the busiest online shopping day of the year.

If you’re going to promote your gift cards for the holidays, try running a special Cyber Monday Sale. It’s not too late to write some emails and tap into social media.

  1. I would send out an email the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and on Cyber Monday promoting your gift card sale. Maybe give your customers a little extra. Instead of a free $20 gift card with $100 purchase, give away a $25 gift card. Considering shrinkage and only being on the hook for food cost, it is still a profitable promotion.
  2. Facebook: Hopefully your restaurant has a nice following. Have your designer create a Cyber Monday Gift Certificate Sale graphic you can post on your wall. Another strategy is to buy Facebook ads target to your followers. In fact, you can upload your customer database of emails and telephone numbers into Facebook and target those people in their news feeds. I do this all the time to promote events. My prospect/customer database is much, much larger than my Facebook following.
  3. LinkedIn: Since LinkedIn is the Facebook of business, this is a perfect medium to attract corporate gift card buyers. Promote the fact that your gift cards are a perfect gift for employee holiday gifts, as well as client appreciation gifts. Work multiple angles to multiply gift card sales.

Remember, every dollar in gift cards you sell this holiday season helps you usher in sales in 2016!

Now to the cyber part. If you have online ordering (available with our catering software), just create a special category and “menu items” featuring the gift cards.

I have a client that offers gift cards year round on his website.

Now speaking of Cyber Monday Sales, I wanted to let you know of one we are running here at RCS.

Cyber_Monday_Ad_2.jpg

By now, hopefully you know we are putting together an extraordinary catering conference for restaurants called Caterpalooza!

This two day catering conference will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, March 7th & 8th, 2016. I expect this event to fill up.

We are running a Cyber Monday Sale now through, Monday, November 30, 2015. You can get the details at:

http://caterpalooza.com/register

These are the lowest ticket prices you will see. If Cyber Monday comes and goes without you and your team registering, you will definitely miss out on these limited time savings.

Again, complete details at: http://caterpalooza.com/register

Click on any of the tabs to learn more about the event.

Also, we will also be crowning our RCS Catering Spokesperson. If you are a current RCS client and interested in competing, please check out this link for all of the info: 

http://caterpalooza.com/contest

My team and I hope to see you in Nashville!

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 software, catering sales, catering niches, restaurant

The Trump Factor:  How To Book More Catering

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, Nov 12, 2015 @ 08:51 AM

Though I don’t love everything about the man, I do admire the fact Donald Trump has actually had to make a payroll. He knows how to get up each and every morning and hunt and kill and bring it back to his massive cave to feed thousands of families each week.

Now please do not email me back with your political rants. I am not going to convince, nor try to convince you to make him our next president. And please don’t think you can ever convince me to vote for any liberal who wants to make minimum wage $15 per hour. That is a whole other article.

But what you can’t deny about Trump is his ability to make money, lots of money from real estate. Since we are referencing politics here, let’s talk about trickle-down economics. Again, please no hate mail or trying to set me straight. Let’s just agree to disagree. And you agree to just read the article and profit from the wisdom.

So back to Trump and real estate.  

 

If you were to drive around Nashville, you would soon notice the construction cranes dotting the skyline. I heard the number was close to a hundred. During a meeting at a downtown high rise, I counted thirteen from one corner window.

Currently, there is over two billion dollars worth of construction going on in Nashville. Billion with a “B” spells a whole lot of opportunity…even for caterers.

Let’s examine a few angles:

Topping Out Parties: When a high rise building gets the roof finished, the general contractor throws a “Topping Out” party of his team and all of the subs. When I owned my restaurant we did a lot of topping out parties.

The most famous topping out party Corky’s catered was for the Titan’s stadium. We fed two thousand hungry construction workers.

There are services that provide leads of construction projects in your market. One of my CEO Roundtable friends, Wendy, sells aerial photography to that niche. I think she uses a service like this: http://www.cmdgroup.com/construction-project-leads/

Of course you can go down to your local government and pull construction permits for larger jobs.

We targeted local large general contractors with a letter members have access to on www.RestaurantProfitPoint.com

Here’s the link to the letter:

http://www.restaurantprofitpoint.com/members/109.cfm Just search for “Contractor’s Letter”.

Another real estate related catering niche is open houses. There are times when realtors hold open houses for other realtors. Whether it is to launch a new subdivision or showcase a new million-dollar listing, there is strength in numbers.

By inviting realtors in the area to see the new listing, they get the power of all these realtors going back to their clients and offices to present the property. Using other people’s connections works wonders for realtors.

The larger the real estate project, the larger the catering budget. No one is going to show off a new three-million-dollar home and serve Cheese Whiz and Ritz crackers.

The final real estate related catering niche is catering in “Lunch & Learns” to real estate offices. Everyone from title companies to home inspection companies wants a piece of the real estate pie. Realtors are gatekeepers to business for mortgage brokers, home inspectors, pest control companies (termite letter) and title companies.

Many of these companies will come in and feed the realty office and put on a “Lunch & Learn” event. Some of these classes qualify for continuing education credit. The free lunch is a way to network with realtors and work to earn their trust and referrals.

Finding and targeting these companies is very easy thanks to the internet. I would start off by talking to brokers of real estate offices. Ask them to refer you the company types above that provide lunch.

As you can see, regardless of your political affiliation, this real estate niche catering article was inspired by Donald Trump. Whether he becomes president or not, at least he can put some money in your pocket.

NOTE: In the spirit of working to help our community of RCS Catering Software clients (and future clients), we are putting together an extraordinary catering conference for restaurants called Caterpalooza!

This two day catering conference will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, March 7th & 8th, 2016. I expect this event to fill up.

Though the complete website is not completed and some of the speaking slots are to be filled, I encourage you to grab a spot or two.

Just go to www.Caterpalooza.com

We will also be crowning our RCS Catering Spokesperson. If you are a current RCS client and interested in competing, please check out this link for all of the info:

http://caterpalooza.com/contest

My team and I hope to see you in Nashville!

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 software, catering sales, catering marketing, catering niches, restaurant

The Art of Losing

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Nov 4, 2015 @ 12:36 PM

Sir Winston Churchill has a quote you should post on your wall: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

I think most successful people share a common trait: a healthy dose of paranoia. Even if things are going great, they realize life can come out of nowhere and kick them in the ass.

Please do not confuse what I said as pessimistic. I like to be a realist; prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

There are many times I have lost out on a catering job, but have come back to get it.

So many people consider winning catering business a yes/no, now or never opportunity. There is as much business to be gained from persistence. A prospect once shared with me a quote her boyfriend used all of the time, “the fortune’s in the follow up.”

That sample catering tasting may result in no immediate bookings, but call backs, monthly emails and mailings will keep you positioned. When someone’s primary caterer drops the ball or a change in menu is desired, you can be the first and only name that rolls off the tongue and earns a shot of getting a new, repeat catering client.

I remember the late Michael Roman of Catersource sharing a story of an event he didn’t win. He still offered to share a recipe to make sure the event was a success. That nicety earned him their business down the road.

At my catering seminar last month, an attendee shared a similar strategy with the group.

Whenever he lost out on a catering bid, he would call the client within days of their event. He wanted to know how the event went. Was there anything that could have gone better.

This positioned him as a caterer who cared. If the company he lost out to dropped the ball, he would be number one on the list for next year.

This is especially powerful if you lose out by a few bucks, but discover the food sucked, portions were small or the service stank.

At one time or another, we have all chosen the lower price only to be disappointed in quality, service or timing.

Personally, I lose more times than I win. That’s ok.

What is not ok is giving up. A buyer is a buyer. Qualified prospects are expensive and time consuming to identify.

Why give up at the first no? Patient persistence wins out every single time.

In fact, thanks to my weekly emails, I end up picking up clients who may have been in my list of prospect for years.

What are you doing to turn losing into winning? Stop whining. Start a strategy to win these catering prospects over.

And make sure you do such a great job that they never want to use anyone else.  

NOTE: In the spirit of working to help our community of RCS Catering Software clients (and future clients), we are putting together an extraordinary catering conference for restaurants called Caterpalooza! 

This two day catering conference will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, March 7th & 8th, 2016. I expect this event to fill up.

Though the complete website is not completed and some of the speaking slots are to be filled, I encourage you to grab a spot or two.

Just go to www.Caterpalooza.com

We will also be crowning our RCS Catering Spokesperson. If you are a current RCS client and interested in competing, please check out this link for all of the info:

http://caterpalooza.com/contest

My team and I hope to see you in Nashville!

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 software, catering sales, restaurant

The $7,000 Catering Phone Call

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Oct 28, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

A significant portion of my week is spent with prospective clients. I spend an hour reviewing their website, catering menu, marketing plan and materials. During a Go To Meeting, I also share all of the “best practices” to growing and running a catering profit center. 

Most people want to know the same thing: How do I get more new catering clients? 

Though this is a very important skill set to have and very necessary to replace lost catering sales and grow your overall business, it is only a part of what you need to focus on.

Taking care of existing catering clients is the most important sales and marketing duty you and your team have. From how your phones are answered to how the delivery driver looks and smells, there is a whole host of systems that can fall under the marketing umbrella.

And yes! I said smells. Have you ever had to interact with a person who smells like an ashtray? Sometimes the smoke works its way through the mint gum. 

A few weeks ago on a consult call, I was reviewing the importance of what I call the anniversary reminder. While at Corky’s, I would file away all of the large catering tickets in my tickler system by month. So if I booked your holiday party in October, I would file the ticket away to pop up in my files next October.

The theory is to reach out to your catering customer to rebook the event the following year. Besides being a sure fire way to make catering sales, you are helping out your client. Most people have 101 things on their to-do list. If you can take that holiday party off their list, then you’re a hero.

Restaurant Catering Systems has built in an automatic anniversary reminder system into our catering software. After you book an order, a pop-up prompts you to set the reminder to rebook. 

This particular prospect for our system revealed they lost a $7,000 catering sales last holiday season, because they failed to have an anniversary reminder system. Though they were lucky enough to have won the business back this year, nothing will make up for last year’s lost $7,000 event. 

This prospect was excited to see this feature in our system. If she had our system last year, the profits on that one rebooked event would have more than paid for our services.  

Even if you don’t invest in our catering software system, you can create your own anniversary reminder. 

Stop chasing the bright, shiny new catering clients and make sure you are getting everything you can from your current ones. It will allow you to really grow your catering sales! 

NOTE: In the spirit of working to help our community of RCS Catering Software clients (and future clients), we are putting together an extraordinary catering conference for restaurants called Caterpalooza! 

This two day catering conference will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, March 7th & 8th, 2016. I expect this event to fill up.

Though the complete website is not completed and some of the speaking slots are to be filled, I encourage you to grab a spot or two. 

Just go to www.Caterpalooza.com 

We will also be crowning our RCS Catering Spokesperson. If you are a current RCS client and interested in competing, please check out this link for all of the info:

http://caterpalooza.com/contest 

My team and I hope to see you in Nashville!

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 software, catering sales, catering marketing, restaurant

Generate More Catering Leads With Your Website

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Oct 21, 2015 @ 11:29 AM

Imagine a proverbial case of free lemons. Most restaurant operators I talk to see a card board box full of sour problems. At minimum they complain, because they have an extra cardboard box to break down. 

The better operators are grateful. They see an opportunity to make lemonade or lemon box pie they can sell with a low food cost. 

The winners see the seeds of a chain of lemonade stands making them millions! 

I have a client named Mike who is such a winner. We recently started working with him on his catering business, creating catering menus, marketing pieces and a catering lead generation website. 

Now the catering websites we design for our clients are great marketing pieces. One included element is the lead capture form that feeds into the RCS Catering Software CRM. The form asks your website visitor to complete some qualifying questions. 

For instance, if someone is looking to book an event for eight people, they’re probably not a highly qualified lead. 

Another lead generation tool we provide our clients is the Catering Giveaway Promotion. Instead of capturing business cards with a Catering Giveaway fishbowl, entrants are required to fill out a questionnaire with qualifying questions like how many people work at their office. 

These entry forms allow you to determine whether a recipient is qualified, thus deserving of a free catered lunch for their office. This is a short cut method to get in front of more qualified catering decision makers with a complimentary tasting. 

Since Mike doesn’t have much foot traffic in his operation, he has had us take the Catering Giveaway Promotion and add it to his website. This helps him increase qualified leads. 

The first thing Mike did was create a pop-up box on his restaurant’s regular website. As our catering website is newer, he is piggybacking off the popularity of what he already has. The pop-up window directs the visitor to click to enter a catering giveaway. They are then whisked off to our catering lead generation website to complete the entry form. 

So what else is Mike doing to capture qualified catering leads? 

1)  Email blasts. Most of his customers sign up for his online ordering, which then gives him permission to blast them weekly with marketing messages. This has produced the best results immediately.

2)  Facebook. Mike has almost 10,000 followers, plus he finds their targeted advertising to be the best price to reach a new customer. He says it costs pennies to reach a person.  This gets good and bad leads, so it's more to filter.  Some people are just too far away, and others give him just their home address.   

3)  LinkedIn. He is just starting to work on that, so no major results to report. Our software has a LinkedIn search tool in our Sales Tempo catering lead generation tool. I love LinkedIn, since it is the “Facebook” of business.  

4)  Twitter. It is similar to Facebook, but he doesn’t do ads.  He integrates his Facebook auto post to his twitter account to keep it active, since he doesn’t always have time to update twitter.  

5)  Instragram is his next step. He updates it personally, but hasn't really pushed the contest yet. 

Wow! That sounds like a lot to generate catering leads. In fact, it isn’t. Look at the list above. Most of the people he is targeting with the Catering Giveaway Promotion are existing customers. 

This is like taking the catering giveaway sign and putting it on steroids. You want to use every tool at your disposal to make sure all of your customers know you cater, and find an in with the companies they work for. 

Kudos to Mike for “plusing” one of our ideas. We will definitely be adding the contest page to catering lead generation websites.    

NOTE: The Louisville Catering Seminar I did last week was a huge hit! We had an excellent turn out with a lot of engaged operators, who shared generously. 

I am a big believer that half the benefit of attending a seminar is the networking opportunity and what you learn from fellow participants. 

In the spirit of working to help our community of RCS Catering Software clients (and future clients), we are putting together an extraordinary catering conference for restaurants called Caterpalooza! 

This two day catering conference will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, March 7th & 8th, 2016. I expect this event to fill up.

Though the complete website is not completed and some of the speaking slots are to be filled, I encourage you to grab a spot or two.

Just go to www.Caterpalooza.com

My team and I hope to see you in Nashville!

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 software, catering websites, restaurant

The ABC's of Catering Delivery

Posted by Michael Attias on Tue, Sep 22, 2015 @ 11:47 AM

You are only as strong as your weakest link. For many operators that link is catering delivery. 

How to handle catering deliveries ranks as one of the top questions posed. 

Let me start out by saying I am not in the legal, accounting or insurance advice business. Please consult your professionals. 

With that said, you can probably crank out an unlimited number of drop-off caterings each day. But can your delivery drivers keep up? 

If not, you will be leaving tons of catering profits on the table. Factor in the popularity of last minute orders, and you can buy a third world country with the extra catering profits. 

Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Having cut my teeth at the Corky’s BBQ in Memphis, I modeled practically everything they did. Don Pelts, the owner, contracted with a delivery service to handle all drop off catering. He just passed along the charge to his clients 

When I was building out my Nashville store, I called just about every delivery service in the yellow pages (think Google if you were born in the last twenty-five). 

Most delivery services don’t want to be held to a tight delivery window, nor deal with food. Luckily, Chuck Hargrove with Courtesy Courier was up for the challenge. He was a pleasure to deal with and hired some great drivers. 

They were school teachers on break, musicians, retirees and stay at home moms. We had such a great working relationship, that we considered his team part of ours. 

To insure checks from orders would come back to us the same day, we offered his drivers a sandwich and drink to bring us the check after their run. 

If you can find your own Courtesy Courier, that is a great way to go. You may even contract with a courier service to handle overflow.

Another route to take is to have a long list of people ready, willing and able to make deliveries. Following Chuck’s model: school teachers on break, musicians, retirees and stay at home moms.

There are a ton of people happy to make a few bucks plus the potential for a tip. If I were retired, I would relish the thought of making some beer money each day.

The key is to have a long list of people you can call. 

Now as your catering grows, you may decide to invest in your own delivery driver(s). I wouldn’t hire one unless you are positive you can keep them busy on a regular basis. You may decide to use existing staff and send them out before your lunch rush hits hard.

Again, you want access to as many people as possible. There were countless times I, a manager or key employee left the restaurant to make a delivery or deliver something left off an order.

Which brings me to the second point. Nothing can be left off the order. I am a big believer in check lists and more checklists. We also added a very simple, yet effective bagging label system to our catering software. 

As you are boxing up an order, you place a shipping label (complete with the catering client’s info) on the box or bag. You write the contents on the label, then put the number 1 of ____ in the appropriate area. The second box gets 2 of ____ , the third box gets 3 of ___ and so on.

After all boxes are filled, you then go back in and add the grand total to all labels: 1 of 3, 2 of 3 and 3 of 3. That way everyone from the manager to the driver knows how many boxes to leave with.

It goes without saying that besides making sure nothing is left off an order, you must show up on time. For me early is on time. We work with our clients to offer an “On Time Or It’s Free” catering guarantee. By shooting to be at the client’s fifteen minutes early, you’ve built in buffer time for traffic and any other reasonable obstacles.

Another tip we learned by making mistakes: carry back-up supplies in all delivery vehicles. This included bbq sauce squeeze bottles, serving utensils, plates, napkins, wet naps, cups and spoons.

As this article is written, we at Restaurant Catering Systems are developing a Delivery Module. Right now, we have clients beta testing the routing map with great success. You pull up all of your orders for a day and assign them to routes. Each route is represented by a different colored line originating from your location to each point.

There are reports you can pull up as well for the driver along with point to point directions, catering tickets and production reports.

Our programmers have shown me the driver’s smart phone interface. Each driver logs into our software and selects a date. They see each route they are assigned to, along with each order on the respective route. 

From their smart phone they can see the ticket, get a checklist off all items to load and deliver and interface with a Google map for live directions.

They will also be able to send a message to the catering client letting them know they are en route with picture of driver and cell phone contact info.

The third version will allow you and your clients to see exactly where the driver is on a real time map.

As we build this delivery module out, what features would you like to see?

I had one client ask for the ability to get the ticket signed and a blank line to add a tip and total out the order.

Please email me at Michael@RCSMailBox.com and let me know your ideas. Great ideas make for great software.

NOTE: To learn how you can build your catering profit center, please make plans to attend an upcoming seminar in Louisville, KY, on Monday, October 12, 2015. 

You can get complete details at: 

http://cateringseminars.com/louisville/

Spots are limited, so register today.

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 software, catering sales, catering delivery, restaurant

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