The Catering Software Corner Blog

Catering To Uncle Sam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Complete details at: www.CateringSeminars.com/atlanta

Hope you can make it.

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

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

 

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

www.RestaurantsThatCaterGroup.com

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

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Key To Lifelong Catering Clients

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, fast forward two years to last night.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Complete details at: www.CateringSeminars.com/atlanta

Hope you can make it.

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

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

 

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

www.RestaurantsThatCaterGroup.com

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

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

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

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

How You Say It Can Sell You More Catering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(See pic below)   

 8-10.png

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What wording can you change in your selling language?

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

 

 

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

www.RestaurantsThatCaterGroup.com

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

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Wisdom Is In The Group

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

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

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

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

 IMG_4749.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Double Your Restaurant Profits Workshop:

The Ultimate Catering Sales & Marketing System For Restaurants

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

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

www.RestaurantsThatCaterGroup.com

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

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump, Hillary and The Psychology of Catering Sales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

How To Double Your Restaurant Profits Workshop:

The Ultimate Catering Sales & Marketing System For Restaurants

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

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

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

   

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

www.RestaurantsThatCaterGroup.com

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

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why You’re Losing Catering Sales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Double Your Restaurant Profits Workshop:

The Ultimate Catering Sales & Marketing System For Restaurants

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

    

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

www.RestaurantsThatCaterGroup.com

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

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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