The Catering Software Corner Blog

Another School Catering Niche

Posted by Michael Attias on Fri, Aug 22, 2014 @ 10:38 AM

Last Saturday was a big day for our family. My son Jerrod moved into Vanderbilt University. For the last couple of weeks, Jerrod and I have been driving around picking up things for his dorm; sheets, towels, and microwave just to name a few.

Vanderbilt has the move in process down to a science. You pull into a parking lot and are directed to the line for your dorm. I felt like we were going to Hogwarts as we were directed to the Sutherland Dorm line.

After about a fifteen minute wait, the lines started to move. We pulled up to his dorm and in about sixty seconds flat a team of co-eds unloaded our vehicle and whisked away his belongings to his dorm room.

Jerrod and I spent the next few hours unpacking, while his sister, mom and my girlfriend helped. OK. They offered more verbal than physical help. 

Pictures Below: Jerrod getting into his room for the first time (while his sister photo bombed) and Jerrod and I after the hard work was done. 

265_Jerrod_and_Jordyn_pic    265_Jerrod_and_Dad_pic

As much planning as we did in advance, there were still things to be purchased.

Jerrod and I sent the girls home, while we grabbed lunch and hit target for extension cords, bins and bulbs. Target was an absolute mad house. 

College move in day is Black Friday for Target and maybe a few other retailers. I do remember the Target near Vanderbilt ordering in lunch for their crew on move in day.

So file this article away for next year, if there’s a college campus near you. Approach the store manager four to six weeks before move in day about your catering services. The easier you can make it, the better. Offer complimentary delivery and set up. I would lend them my insulated containers to keep the food to temp for such a large group.

After our Target run, we returned to the dorms and met his roommate. Luckily his roommate went to summer camp with a lot of Jerrod’s friends, so it appears he picked a good one.

I helped the boys loft their beds, arrange furniture and assemble a television stand.

By the time we had that done, families returned for a school sponsored barbecue. Over three thousand people were fed pulled pork, chicken, coleslaw, assorted salads, marinated tofu (the college is a little on the liberal side), watermelon and ice cream.

That even was a big payday for one lucky caterer. Which brings me to another school catering niche: back to school gatherings. 

From elementary schools to colleges, most educational institutions hold some type of welcome back event. It can be as simple as an ice cream or dessert reception, to as fancy as a barbecue or dinner.

Though this opportunity has probably passed you by this year, please make sure and add it to your marketing game plan for 2015.

The perfect target is someone you know is buying at a particular time. This takes most of the guesswork out of the equation. Just assemble or rent a list of all the schools and colleges in your area and focus on the decision maker. A combination of direct mail, phone calls and personal visits will give you a new catering income source.

Our catering software has a CRM that makes keeping up with groups a snap. You can even send personalized one page letters to any one contact or all members of a group. Just write the letter, select the recipients and hit send. RCS does the rest while you sleep. 

Though Jerrod is all moved in, by job isn’t done. I need to swing by the dorms to drop off lights, dry cleaning and help exchange a broken couch to Target.

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

P.P.P.S. – If you are interested in a free 30 day trial of our catering software, please go to www.ezCateringSoftware.com

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 business, catering business planning

Experiential Catering: How To Increase Your Average Event Sale

Posted by Michael Attias on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 @ 12:13 PM

As most readers of this blog know, I am a big foodie. I enjoy a great meal; be it a bbq sandwich or a seven course dinner. All that matters is the food is great for what it is.

If you were to check my iPhone, you’d see a running list of all the restaurants in Nashville worth visiting. I’ve been to most of them, but still have some on my to-do list. My friend Rhonda forwards me press releases of new places opening up.

Should you find yourself coming to Nashville, please email me for the list.

My directory isn’t limited to Nashville. Yesterday a friend of mine in Tampa emailed me to find out where I like to vacation on the Gulf.

Not only did I send him a detail of the places to stay on 30A (between Destin and Panama City), but I gave him a complete breakdown of all the restaurants to visit.

Now as good as my Nashville restaurant list is, it is far from perfect. From time to time, one gets past me.

A few weeks ago my buddy Rich’s girlfriend Maggie turned me on to a new place worth checking out. It is called Mangia Nashville.

It’s what I would term a permanent pop up restaurant. The owner Nick uses a breakfast/lunch spot on Friday and Saturday nights, when the regular tenant is closed. I am assuming he pays a flat fee or percentage of his sales to the restaurant owner.

He’s been hosting this “pop up” for over three years. All the tables are arranged to host groups. Even if you call with reservations for two, you’ll end up with a new family by the end of the night.

Maggie made a reservation for nine of us a few Friday nights ago. Mangia only offers one seating per night. Our seven o’clock meal was over around ten thirty.

So what makes this place special?

You only pay fifty dollars per guest for a multi-course meal. Our meal included about three or four appetizers, one salad, two pastas, one main course of lemon rosemary chicken with a side of zucchini and two desserts. Each course is presented family style and passed down and around the table.

Frankly, it was more than any of us could handle, but Nick and his staff have a solution for that. They include a generous helping of entertainment.

Throughout the meal, traditional Italian songs play and the servers lead the guests in singing, clapping and arm waiving at the table. Half way through the meal, everyone gets up and dances.

It was nice to see drunk people get more attention than my pitiful dance skills.

The food is really good and with the entertainment, Nick has really latched onto something good. I’m betting he nets six figures for only being open two nights a week. Now that’s not such a bad gig.

Though it’s only fifty bucks to get in, it’s not fifty bucks per guest to get out. Mangia offers wine and cocktails.

They have quite a few signature martinis. As I am a sucker for a girlie martini, I ordered one with pomegranate juice. It was adult Kool-Aid.

Offering alcohol is nothing novel in the restaurant business, but not too many places have a portable bar cart.

About a third of the way through dinner, a lady came by with a martini cart taking orders. (See pic below)

Mangia Nashville resized 600

When someone is holding booze right under your nose, it’s hard to say no. And don’t forget the peer pressure of everyone at the table ordering a signature martini.

Do you want to be the only party pooper?

I think seven out of nine of us ordered a martini. I and another party pooper opted out.

Now I would consider this experiential selling. The selling came as a result of the experience of seeing these drinks being made.

The same concept can be adapted, and often is, in the catering world.

How many different catering stations have been or can be up sold for an event?

Pasta, omelet, carving, grilling…and the list goes on.

At Corky’s we sold onsite rib grilling as an up charge.

People will pay extra for a bit of experience to go with their meal.

Even our basic full service catering included a BBQ Chef to pull and chop the bbq fresh in front of guests. This did two things for us.

  1. We stood out from our competitors, because of the showmanship and freshness of the product.
  2. We kept food cost low, because we portioned out the most expensive part of the catered meal, the bbq.

If you’re not pursuing full service events, now may be a good time to get started. Holiday catering season is just around the corner.

If you are catering full service events, what can you add to your experiential catering line up?

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

P.P.P.S. – If you are interested in a free 30 day trial of our catering software, please go to www.ezCateringSoftware.com

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 marketing, catering business, catering menu

Your Catering GPS

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 @ 10:23 AM

Last week my daughter Jordyn received her drivers license (see pic below). Driving with a teenager is like watching a horror movie. You just sit on pins and needles waiting for something to come out and scare you.

Jordyn Driving resized 600

I know every driver and parent goes through this dance, but you’re not forced to enjoy it.

I made one big mistake while Jordyn was learning to drive. It was the mistake of assuming. I just assumed she knew how to get her way around town. I let her drive me to her babysitting gig with my mouth shut. I wanted to see how she’d do.

Unfortunately, she has her mother’s sense of direction. Even with a printed Google map, she went ten blocks out of her way before realizing she was lost. It was stressful, yet an eye opener.

While she was babysitting, I hurried to Best Buy to get a GPS. It had a large, clear screen and allowed me to prevent her getting routed via the interstate until she has more practice.

That GPS has made all the difference in the world! Her stress level and my stress level are down to zero.

Jordyn didn’t understand how we did it back in my day.

Let’s see. We used a phone in our parent’s house to call our friends. Some times we had to pull a quarter out to use a pay phone. Our friends would give us directions we wrote down. If we were lost, we pulled over to a gas station or a payphone.

Just to write that out made it sound like I tooled around on a horse and buggy.

Now mind you. My daughter is one of the only kids in her high school without a smart phone. Now how smart does that phone make them, if they’re reliant on it for everything?

That’s a whole other article.

A hundred bucks a month for a smart phone is crazy. It’s even crazy to her. If offered the phone, she’d gladly take it. If asked to pay for it, she’d pass.

That’s the litmus test with kids. Ask them to pay for half of everything they want. If they’re willing, then go ahead and pick up the tab. If not, you’ve just saved yourself a whole lot of money.

Though I have an incredible sense of direction, there are times I need a GPS. It came in handy on my recent trip to Portland, Oregon.

In business, we all need a GPS. There are challenges, projects and initiatives that require a guide.

For many operators, Restaurant Catering Systems has been their GPS.

Recently, Mark Rogers with Smoke and Spice used our “directions” and templates to systematize building his catering sales.

He rented a mailing list with our criteria, cleaned the list and used our 3-step lead generation program. He invested about $1116 dollars and generated $11,527.71 in catering sales within two months.

We are working on a new program at RCS to automate what Mark did. The program all starts with a list.

We have worked with one of the most sophisticated mailing list companies in this country to create a profile of the ideal corporate catering decision maker.

Based on what they profiled for us, our clients can target 5% of the businesses that fit our ideal client. That 5% of businesses have a 300% greater propensity to buy than the average business in the area.

The head of this company is a marketing friend I first met at Corky’s via the Direct Marketing Association. He is sharp, and so are his people.

He has a PhD statistician on staff to create these profiles. They are not cheap, but very worth the investment considering the benefit to our clients.

We plan on testing out this new level of service and have a few beta clients. Please stay tuned. This will be a major game changer.

On a related note, you don’t have to invest in a high priced “Catering GPS” with our company. Many of you only need software and/or a few tools.

I have launched a new version of our site that offers a free trial of our software. Please go to: https://www.restaurantcateringsystems.com/signup and check it out.

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering marketing, catering business, catering business planning

Your Catering Clients Buy What They Want

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Jul 9, 2014 @ 11:42 AM

If we all bought just what we needed, we’d all drive Yugos, never go out to eat, live in small houses and attend public school.

We are a country of “want”. Our kids want, want, want more than their parent’s generation. This want is disguised under the whines of, “I need an iPhone. All my friends have one,” and other assorted pleas used to play on the sympathy of dual income families and divorced parents.

Our “want” culture fuels our economy. I am no exception.

I love my iPhone. Yes. I don’t need it, but sure want it. While doing chores around the house or while exercising, I plug in my headphones and listen to podcasts. The headphones that came with the phone suck. They were always popping out of my ears.

So I went to the Apple Store and bought a set that have a piece of plastic that fits around your ears. This makes it very difficult for them to fall off. Leave it to me. I figured out how to get them to fall off. The long cord will catch on something and cause them to fall off.

Though frustrating, this was a much better solution than sticking with Apple’s headphones.

Last week I noticed the headphone controls stopped working. I could no longer push a button to adjust volume, turn off the sound or make calls with my pal Siri.

Off to the Apple Store I went to by a replacement. What I bought was not what I needed, it was what I wanted. Instead of buying another behind the ear corded headset, I fell in love with a Bluetooth cordless set of headphones.

I’m not talking any set. These were Dr. Dre Beats. As much as I am into function, aesthetics do play a role in my decision making process. I love anything in the color black.

This headset looked like a piece of art. It was cool looking. I was ready to ditch the nerd looking cord for a cool headset.

powerbeats 2 black standard thrqrtright O O resized 600

But two hundred dollars? That’s a lot of dough to listen to podcasts. I wasn’t sure, but the salesperson knew how to hook me.

Just like a drug dealer, she gave me a free sample of the goods. She offered to open up the box and let me try them out. I slipped them into my ears, paired the headphones with my iPhone and threw on some songs from iTunes.

The songs sounded incredible! I even had my girlfriend call me from across the store to evaluate the quality of the conversation from my soon to be new toy. She gave me a thumbs up, but wanted to give me a hard time about spending two hundred bucks on a pair of headphones…

That was until she tried them out. I think she wanted them for herself. She was impressed with the quality and comfort.

I ended up buying what I wanted; not needed. There. I said it.

Over and over again we buy what we want.

Your catering clients or potential catering clients are no different. They buy what they want to buy. It’s called emotional logic. They buy based on emotion, but justify with logic.

It’s your job to create the “want” in your clients.

Sampling is a very basic way to create “want”. If I taste the carved roast beef and the filet side by side, I’m going for the filet. I just need to justify how I’m going to pay for it.

What about ego, envy and keeping up with the Joneses?

There are basic emotional drivers that help create want.

How will this make you look like to your clients or prospective clients?

How will this make you feel, when all of your relatives are ooing and ahhing over this meal?

When it comes to food, I do the same thing.

A few weeks ago, my girlfriend’s sister was in town from Alaska. We had about eight people over for a last minute simple dinner.

I threw together baked penne pasta and garlic bread. As my identity is tied to my culinary skills, I wasn’t going to run to Costco and pick up a Stouffer’s lasagna.

I use Barilla pasta and San Marzano tomatoes. I pull the core from each tomato and crush them by hand. My garlic bread is grilled outside. A simple meal is never simple for me.

What are you going to change in your sales and marketing approach to turn your catering client’s needs into wants? The real money is made in selling the “want”.    

NOTE: Podcast progress report. I am going to move forward with creating a podcast. I now need your help in coming up with a title. I would like the following key words in the title: restaurant, catering and business. As my company sells catering software to the restaurant and catering industry, I need a title that will be easy to find with a key word search. So if someone is looking for a podcast with the term “restaurant business” or “catering business”, I want my podcast title to come up.

Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering sales, catering marketing, catering business, catering menu

How To Double Your Catering Sales

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Jun 25, 2014 @ 04:49 PM

“How To Double Your Catering Sales!”

Now that’s a bold, very bold statement.

This past Monday night I held a webinar. The day after the webinar I started calling all attendees to check in. As an aside: a follow up telephone call after a piece of mail is sent or after a webinar will yield a 300-1000% better response than no webinar at all.

Making these follow up calls reminded me of a very valuable lesson. You must, at all costs, have a live person answering your phones.

Over half of the attendees sent me to a voice mail, and these were their business lines. How much business is lost by this attitude of indifference?

Before I even opened my restaurant in 1992, I played a catering prospect. I called and visited all of the main barbecue competitors in Nashville. I wanted to taste their product, see their menus and talk with their catering salespeople (or order takers).

Back then, the majority either had an answering machine or a low level employee answering the phones. Most of them didn’t even bother to capture my contact information.

Playing prospect gave me perspective from the customer’s point of view. If I were calling to inquire about an event, an unanswered phone would cause me to call the next caterer on my list.

Maybe teasing you with promises of doubling your catering sales by answering the phones is ludicrous. For some of you, I’m not too far off.

Your phones are the weakest link in your catering sales system. Anyone entrusted to pick up the receiver and say hello should be pleasant, professional and properly trained. At minimum, they should have the sense to ask for your contact information, basic details about your event and quickly pass the info on to someone who can help.

Even if the right phone procedures don’t double your catering sales, you will see a noticeable improvement.

Start by playing prospect to your competitors. I once had a client order in catering from his top five competitors for a staff meeting. They spent hours dissecting everything from the order taking experience to packaging to the number of ounces of turkey on a sandwich.

Too radical? If you don’t think the Fortune 500 does this and then some, you are sadly mistaken. Even professional poker players spend hours watching television footage to learn the tells of their competitors.

NOTE: Last week I asked everyone to let me know their thoughts on doing a podcast. I have been toying around with the idea of interviewing different operators, industry experts and general business experts to create a podcast to the restaurant/catering industry. Please email me back your thoughts. Do you listen to podcasts? Would you be interested? Please let me know either way.

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering customer service, catering operations, catering business

What Are Your Employees Doing Behind Your Back?

Posted by Michael Attias on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 @ 12:26 PM

Sunday night my daughter Jordyn and I rented and watched 21 Jump Street starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. We wanted to see the first movie before going to the sequel, 22 Jump Street last night.

To say both movies were hilarious would be an understatement.

Unbeknown to me, my daughter decided to hijack my phone while I was making something in the kitchen. She snapped a bunch of pictures of herself on my iPhone and left them for me to find…a day later.

I had no idea what she had done behind my back. (See collection of pics below.)

Jordyn Collage resized 600

Unless you have your child(ren) under surveillance and on a GPS tracker, there’s no way to tell what they are up to. Now most of us won’t go to such extremes, but we will check up on them from time to time. Like the time I asked my son Jerrod, then an eighth grader, to see his text messages.

The look on his face was priceless as I busted him sexting his girlfriend at the time. Oy vey!

When I first opened my restaurant in 1992, I was very naïve to what employees would do behind your back. Hell. What about under your nose. I caught some servers in college walking out with cases of beer. I busted my pit men smoking pot at the dumpster and found my innocent high school hostess stealing money out of the register and hiding it in the back of a toilet for her friend to retrieve.

This business is never dull!

But there’s something your employees are doing behind your back, which will cost you more than a few cases of beer or fifty bucks. It’s how they are dealing with your catering clients and prospects on the phone.

Your telephone is the most overlooked area of opportunity to make more sales. From the enthusiasm in someone’s voice to the questions they ask, the phone is so, so important. Let’s identify a few high points:

  1. Are your phones being answered “live” and in three rings or less? If not, your caller is probably calling the next name on their list.
  2. Is your staff helpful or do they pass the buck? If no one is around to help field a catering call, does your staff cheerfully offer to take down the contact’s information and gladly forward it to a catering salesperson or manager?
  3. Are the right questions being asked? Order takers just act as the middle man to a catering order. By asking questions, you can identify hot buttons and areas of opportunity.
  4. Are your employees following your scripts and upsells? Suggestively selling brownies on each catering order may seem petty. But considering my restaurant sold over 20,000 Pepperidge Farms Fudge Nut Iced Brownies the last year I owned it, that $10,000 in bottom line profits is important.

Whether you choose to mystery shop your phones, use the phone system in our catering software or have someone walk into your restaurant and play catering prospect, you must never take your eyes off what your employees are doing behind your back.

NOTE: I have been told I should do a podcast. I have been toying around with the idea of interviewing different operators, industry experts and general business experts to create a podcast to the restaurant/catering industry. Please email me back your thoughts. Do you listen to podcasts? Would you be interested?

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering customer service, catering business

Catering To The Water Crowd

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Jun 4, 2014 @ 11:15 AM

In the mid 90’s I decided to take up sailing. I really didn’t want to invest a minimum of ten grand to buy a boat. Running a restaurant didn’t leave me a lot of time to worry about cleaning and maintaining a boat.

What’s better than owning a boat? Having a friend who owns a boat.

Hamilton Creek Marina, on Percy Priest Lake is one of the major sailing marinas in Nashville. I decided to hang out there to check out the boats and learn about sailing.

The Percy Priest Yacht Club races every Wednesday night. I was told to show up before the race, and someone would need a crew member. I ended up meeting and crewing for a semi-retired gentleman named Les.

We usually ended up in dead last, but enjoyed an evening of food, beer and sailing.

Not too long after getting into Wednesday night races, I met a guy named Hank who owned a Beneteau. It was a fast, new boat.

Hank and I would take off early from work one or two days a week and head out sailing. Each summer we would trailer his boat up to Lake Michigan and sail for a few weeks.

Hank became one of my best friends. He decided to sell his boat and get into motorcycle racing. Unless they have training wheels, I need to stay away.

As summer begins, I know I’ll make it out to the lake. This summer will probably involve a pontoon boat or two. Whether someone sails or has a power boat, food is always part of the equation. It’s like inviting people to your home and failing to have snacks.

On a recent coaching call, a member who owns a sub shop told me about his plans to market his catering to boat owners.

Making drop-off catering packages available to boat owners is brilliant!

Getting out on to the lake is an ordeal; kids, guests, fuel, ice, beer, water, cleaning, food, etc., etc.

If you can simplify the process, you can make some money with this niche.

Start by putting together some per person catering menus. Offer up canned drinks and ice. Boat owners have more disposable income than the average person. If you package and market it properly, you can have a nice catering profit stream for the summer.

Try contacting the local area marinas to partner up. They have direct access to each boat owner and their contact info. They’d probably be happy to refer you business for a small referral fee.

If your establishment is on the way to the lake, make sure and have a nice banner or sign to promote your Boat Catering packages.

Building up your catering profit center is not difficult. By using niches like this, you increase your catering sales without spending a fortune on marketing.    

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering marketing, catering business, catering business planning, catering niches

The Hot New Catering Niche

Posted by Michael Attias on Tue, May 13, 2014 @ 08:27 AM

One is a very dangerous number in business. Relying on one key employee, vendor or marketing strategy makes you vulnerable. If something happens, you are left scrambling. I hate operating from reaction mode.

For years, many people who sought me out to find out how to reach pharmaceutical reps to get their catering business. I even published a book called Catering To Drug Dealers: How To Get A Ton of Pharmaceutical Rep Business. Over the last few years, this niche has become less dependable and lucrative. The enactment of the Sunshine Act required doctors to disclose gifts received like free lunches.

Though many doctors still allow pharm reps to cater in lunches for educational sessions, many large hospitals have created policies forbidding it. This makes compliance and transparency easier.

I have some clients who have seen a large portion of their catering sales disappear. Others still do a respectable volume with pharm reps, but it is down.

One of the keys to me selling a million a year in catering was my focus on marketing to multiple catering niches. A hot new catering niche is about to explode; bereavement meals. While I owned my restaurant, we would get the occasional post funeral meal. Some families would dine in our private party rooms, while others would have us cater at their place.

I recently interviewed Kyle Agha about how he was able to become the exclusive catering company for a local funeral home. Funeral homes are starting to offer catering packages to families. They can cater anything from the viewing to a post service reception. It’s a value added service they are providing to stand out from their competitors.

They usually contract out with caterer and get a small discount. They mark up the catering a little.

While I was flying to Baltimore last week to put on a catering seminar, I sat next to a lady whose family owned a small chain of funeral homes. We discussed how she handles catering.

Though Kyle gave me some excellent information in our soon to be released interview, hearing from the actual owner of a funeral home was priceless. Let me share the major point she made.

Her first caterer was very good, but had a problem handling last minute orders. Though it would make it convenient for everyone to know the exact date and time of granny’s funeral weeks in advance, that just ain’t going to happen.

She needed a caterer who could roll with the punches and embrace last minute orders. She fired the first caterer and found a second who is doing an incredible job. I’m guessing this funeral home will add up to a nice chunk of catering change for this caterer. Keep in mind,most funeral homes will only work with one caterer.

So the race is on to be the first to reach the gold buried out West…or should I say the gold buried in the cemetery.

Our members only website, www.RestaurantProfitPoint.com has a copy of a letter I helped a member write to send to churches. The goal of the letter is to let all of his local churches know his restaurant could handle catering meals/delivering food to a grieving member of their church family. The letter is available in the Sales Letters; Catering Sales Letter Section.   

NOTE: I will be at the Chicago National Restaurant Association show working a booth of one of our resellers, Michael Rosman with The Corporate Caterer. We will be in booth #9111 in the North Hall Level 1. Please stop by and say hi.

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering sales, catering marketing, catering business, catering business planning, catering niches

Year End School Catering

Posted by Michael Attias on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 @ 09:46 AM

In less than a month, my son Jerrod graduates high school. I am so proud of his accomplishments. He will graduate from one of the top high schools in the country taking all honors and AP classes, while making  straight A’s and becoming a National Merit Finalist. Jerrod has decided to attend Vanderbilt this fall.

I made a deal with him this summer. If he would sell Cutco knives, I would match his earnings dollar for dollar up to $3,000.

Why such a generous inducement? Because all the great grades and honors in the world can’t make up for selling ability. In the mid eighties, I had a buddy in college who sold knives for Cutco. He worked twenty hours a week and made a grand a week. That was quite a lot of money back then.

Of far greater value, were the selling skills he developed.

Whatever Jerrod, or any graduate for that matter, decides to do in the future, selling will play a key role. Clients, employees, prospects, colleagues, spouses and kids all require selling from time to time.

As a parent of a high school senior, I am bombarded with emails. Recently my interest was piqued by the announcement of a senior banquet.

For years I have been talking about catering opportunities at schools. Sports banquets, band banquets, teacher’s in service, teacher’s holiday parties and year end parties, are just some of the many catering opportunities. Just about every club or organization has a banquet or requires catering.

Now is a perfect time to reach out to the school principals in your area. Offer to have them in for lunch. A free dessert reception for the next teacher’s meeting will get you a few minutes in front of all the club and sports team decision makers.

Next year a new batch of seniors will be arriving; providing a great opportunity to connect with their parents for graduation party catering. Our members only website has an entire promotion created at:

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

Catering opportunities with schools is a niche available in every community. You just need to go get it!  

If you want to become a catering sales winner, then you need to make plans to attend my catering sales and marketing workshop May 5th in Baltimore with Frank D’Antona; long time member and truly a catering sales winner.

Go to www.CateringSeminars.com/baltimore for complete details. We have a hard limit of 40. I expect this to get filled up.   

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering sales, catering business, catering niches

New Catering Software Feature: Menu Manager

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 @ 09:14 AM

There is a story about a man who comes home from work for a large family dinner. He observes his wife preparing pot roast; a family favorite for generations.

He notices that each time she makes pot roast, she cuts the roast in half, then puts it into the pot. A little perplexed, he inquires, "Honey, why do you cut the pot roast in half before cooking it?"

"Hmm," she says. "I don't know. That's the way my mom taught me to do it. Why don't you ask her."

So he goes into the den to find his mother-in-law and asks, "Mom. Why do you cut the pot roast in half before you make it?"

His mother-in-law replies, "I really don't know. That's the way my mom taught me how to do it. Why don't you go ask Nanna."

So he goes out to the patio to speak to his wife's grandmother and inquires, "Nanna. Your daughter and my wife both start your famous pot roast recipe by cutting the roast in half. Why do you do that?"

"Well," she replies. "When Pappa and I were first married, we couldn't afford a pot big enough for the roast to lay flat."

And so it goes for many of us. We do things a certain way...just because that's the way it's always been done.

At Restaurant Catering Systems, we've always had the same menu manager. We have the ability to have an unlimited number of menus, categories, menu items and modifiers (we call them options, add ons and extras). Our interface wasn't difficult to use; just not intuitive.

Each element is created seperately. It requires a bit of work to toggle between menus, categories and menu items. All modifiers must be added in another interface.

Since we handle the initial menu entry for most of our clients, it really isn't a big deal...until now.

One of the things that keeps me up at night is usability. Our software must be robust, yet intuitive and simple to use. If the software could run itself, it would be darn near perfect.

I sat down with my lead developer and created a brand new Catering Menu Manager. This new interface will make it super simple for anyone to enter a menu in a fraction of the time of our old system. Please check out the brief video below to see it in action:

Feel free to start using it immediately. You'll love it.

If you're not a user, then please call Jillian at 615-831-1676 to schedule a demo of our system.

 

NOTE: If you want to become a catering sales winner and not be reliant on low prices, then you need to make plans to attend my catering sales and marketing workshop May 5th in Baltimore with Frank D’Antona; long time member and truly a catering sales winner.

Go to www.CateringSeminars.com/baltimore for complete details. We have a hard limit of 40. I expect this to get filled up.   

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering operations, catering business, catering menu, catering menu manager