The Catering Software Corner Blog

How To Find A Catering Windfall In August

Posted by Michael Attias on Tue, Jun 23, 2015 @ 09:08 AM

A few weeks ago my son Jerrod and I were having dinner at Corky’s BBQ, the store I sold about ten years ago. Very interesting that my daughter Jordyn is now a hostess there.

While there, some of the managers came to chat with us and brag on my daughter. Of course as her father, I am not surprised. Who knows? I may be back in the restaurant business one day. After all, I started at the bottom. Actually, she’s ahead of her old man. I started as a dishwasher. 

Anyway, the managers were telling me about how slammed their catering was in May. Between graduation parties, company picnics and even a very large Hospital Week event, they were covered up with catering. 

I have talked with a lot of clients and potential clients lately. They’ve all experienced similar caterings. 

May was always my favorite month, as we blew our sales and profits out of the water with catering. 

As Christmas only comes once a year, so does the busy catering month of May for many of you.

That’s why niche marketing of catering is so important. I hate sitting by the phone waiting for people to “discover” me. I am proactive and happy to make things happen. 

Since most of your catering competitors will not even bother to tap into niche catering opportunities, you have an unfair advantage should you wish to go that route. 

Now is the time to be thinking towards August catering sales.

The one niche that will be ordering catering all over America are schools catering in breakfasts, lunches and afternoon snacks for teachers in service meals. 

Teachers in service is like spring training for the education system. They report to school a week or two before the kids to set up their rooms and receive continuing education for the upcoming school year. 

So if you are looking for your own catering windfall in August, now’s the time to target elementary, middle and high school principals. 

It all starts with the list. 

Since the number of schools in your market will be relatively small, I would either download them through a service like Hoovers or Info USA. They both have options that have no minimums for do it yourself list rental. Their web interfaces are easy to use.

The other thing you could do, is Google your local schools. You should also look up schools via your local school board(s) website.

I like to have my list in a spreadsheet, then find someone to call to get me the name of the catering decision maker. As opposed to going through a complex script, just get the name of the school principal.

This will be the person you target with a catering sales letter. Members can download a template to get teachers in service catering via our members-only website. Here’s the link: 

http://www.restaurantprofitpoint.com/members/programs/fileinfo.cfm?ID=650&action=Display

The headline of the letter uses a quote I found, “Good teachers are costly, but bad teachers cost more.” 

I would mail merge and send the letters out about a month before teachers in service starts. I like to drop my letters on a Monday. This ensures most prospects will receive them by Wednesday. 

I would wait until the following Monday, one week after the letters were mailed, to call all of the principals. 

The letter ensures you are making a warm call at worst. Ask for the principal and reference the letter you sent him/her.

If the principal isn’t the catering decision maker, ask for the contact. Calling someone at the school saying you were referred by Principal Jones is a strong door opener. 

Now let’s be clear. There is no such thing as 100% success rate on any marketing strategy. Your goal should be to get a high ROI for your effort.

If you targeted two hundred schools and sold over three thousand dollars’ worth of catering, that would be pretty good.

The side benefit to this promotion is getting your catering business in front of your local schools. 

I would go after schools year round. They book athletic events, sports banquets, club meals, teacher’s appreciation luncheons and holiday meals for the teachers. This niche can reward you long past teachers in service. 

You just need to make sure you don’t give up on the limitless opportunities with the schools.

And it all starts by going after your August catering windfall from your local schools. 

NOTE: Webinar coming soon!

Why are some operators consistently doing 20-30% of their sales in catering?

Because when it comes to catering, they have…Mastered The Game!

These operators use certain sales, marketing and operational strategies to build a large, recurring catering revenue generating profit center.

Guess what? Go to www.FreeCateringWebinar.com and register to attend my webinar on Monday, July 6, 2015 at 7pm Eastern (6pm Central, 5pm Mountain, 4pm Pacific) and you, too, can master the catering game and win big!!!

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering software, catering sales, catering marketing, teachers in service catering

The E Myth Principle

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 @ 07:38 AM

The fall of 1996 changed my life forever. That September I flew to Los Angeles with barely two nickels to rub together to hear a man named Jay Abraham inspire me for three days straight.

He was my first direct marketing mentor. That seminar was like discovering religion for the first time. For three solid days I was surrounded by fellow believers. Their marketing success stories were like people testifying to being saved.

Now Jay Abraham was the first in a long line of Marketing Preacher’s who’ve inspired me like Dan Kennedy.

During that long marketing weekend, many people were talking about Michael Gerber’s E Myth. This must-read book walks you through how to systematize your business like you’ll be growing a major franchise like McDonald’s. 

Gerber talks about building your building on processes not personalities. You want to rely on systems to make things happen, not you hovering over everybody; fingers in every pie. Because at the end of the day, there is only so much you can accomplish. 

I have turned countless people onto Gerber. Now Tim Ferris, author of The 4 Hour Work Week, is a tangential version of Gerber focused on streamlining your time wasters. He is a big believer in outsourcing as much as possible to free yourself up. 

In the restaurant business four hour work weeks are nearly impossible to have, but Gerber’s and Ferris’s principles can still save you a ton of time and sleepless nights. 

At RCS, we have been on a kick to make things as “lean” as possible. My team and I are examining everything we do. Is it still relevant and necessary? Can it be streamlined or eliminated? Is there a technology available to save us time? 

Let me give you a few examples: Jillian, our Marketing Director holds marketing meetings with our clients to manage their marketing projects. She has between two and four meetings a day. 

If you’ve ever tried to set a meeting with a client, you know it can be a back and forth email ping pong match to find dates and times that work for all parties. I have turned Jillian on to Schedule Once, an online booking service she and her clients can use to easily set meetings; thus eliminating the back and forth. Weekly time savings? At least 2 hours.

Meredith, our Direct of Operations, spends about four hours a month entering and maintaining our company stats (client wins, losses, revenue, etc.). We are going to get our programmer to create a stats interface in our software, so anyone on my team can log in and instantly see past and current stats.

The time Meredith saves will allow her to focus on higher value work. 

I just signed up to use Receipt Bank. It is a service that allows me to scan credit card receipts and invoices from my smart phone and automatically upload them to my Quick Books software. I even have my vendors sending PDF versions of their invoices to my special Receipt Bank email account for auto-uploading. 

The will save me an hour a week, and the need to save hardcopies of these invoices and receipts. 

I could go on and on about all of the streamlining we are doing around here. Ultimately, our clients benefit, because we can focus even more effort on helping them out. 

I know running a restaurant and catering business is like waking up every day fighting a fire. But as Michael Gerber talks about in The E Myth, “You must work “ON” your business; not just “IN” it. 

I want you to find one hour in the next week and find a coffee shop to work in. Leave your cell phone in the car. Now examine everything you as the owner does day by day. 

What do you dislike doing? What takes up a lot of your time? What can be streamlined, systematized or outsourced? What never gets done consistently by your team? 

Now tackle one problem. You may have to go back and brainstorm with your team. After you streamline some of your own challenges, get your managers involved in doing the same for their jobs and areas of responsibility. 

It can be as simple as creating a checklist or training guide. You may find one of thousands of outsourced services that can save you time. You may even find you can eliminate something no longer needed. 

Get The E-Myth and The 4 Hour Work Week. Read it and share it with your team. When you’re ready to save yourself some time and make yourself some more money with your catering profit center, please think of Restaurant Catering Systems. We have lots of great ideas for you. 

For now, make plans to block off that hour and get going! 

Well, that’s all for this issue. 

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success, 

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software 

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

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering software, catering operations, The E Myth, 4 Hour Work Week

How To Get The Perfect List of Catering Buyers

Posted by Michael Attias on Tue, Jun 9, 2015 @ 10:03 AM

In all of the catering consultations I do for prospective clients, I get one question asked more than any other, “How do I get a list of everyone in my city that orders catering?” 

After all, the “list” is fifty percent of the catering success formula. If I were to email you an Excel spreadsheet with the names of all the people in your market who order in catering, the hard part of marketing would be done.

Even if marketing wasn’t your thing, you would be pretty close to seeing new catering orders flood your business.

 In college, I worked for Don Pelts, the owner/founder of Corky’s BBQ in Memphis. Don was a one in a million guy. Many were fooled by his disheveled look and goofy demeanor, but he was far smarter than anyone could have imagined.

Don was the first person to teach me about mailing list selection. He would rent a list of all businesses in the Memphis market with fifteen or more employees and mail them a catering flyer four times a year. The mailing piece was sent to the person in charge of the company (president or general manager) or to “Catering Decision Maker”.

At the time, this strategy served him well. There wasn’t a lot of catering competition. Even though the company president may never receive the piece, there was still a chance someone would intercept the piece and forward it to the right person.

 When left with no other weapon, a shotgun will do just fine.

As I’ve learned and tested marketing over the years, I have discovered a sniper’s rifle works much better to get a new catering client.

As opposed to advising my clients to rent a list of all businesses within ten miles of their restaurant with twenty or more employees, I now start with a much richer lead source.

Back in 1997, I was speaking about how to profile a list. There was a crude tool that allowed you to analyze your corporate client list by sic code (business category), number of employees, number of years in business, etc. Combine that with analyzing the types of events we catered, and we were able to create come good catering lists and identify some very profitable catering niches.

Today, software and analytics have joined to make list selection a marriage made in heaven.

About a year ago, I started working with a longtime friend and direct marketing genius named John Dodd to create a mailing list algorithm to identify corporations more likely to order catering than the average business.

John’s company employs a sophisticated piece of analytical software run by a PhD statistician on their staff. We paid John’s company to create a proprietary algorithm for Restaurant Catering Systems.

We sent John a database with 14,856 unique corporations across America who order catering. With his software and statistician, they were able to analyze many different variables about these companies and assign a weighted formula to create our algorithm.

They can then use our algorithm to identify corporations across America more likely to order catering than the average company. Using our proprietary algorithm to target the top 5% of businesses who match our formula will uncover corporations 9.77 times more likely to order catering than the average company.

Now why is this important? Your time and resources are finite.

You are better off targeting a thousand companies predisposed to ordering catering, rather than focusing on the entire universe of five thousand businesses in your market.

This allows you to employ multiple marketing touches to get a new catering client. After all, a buyer is a buyer, so don’t give up prematurely.

Though we can provide you a mailing list of companies predisposed to ordering catering, the names of the catering decision makers are not available. Our list can get you half way there. 

Then it’s up to you or someone who works for you to call each company to identify the catering decision maker and ascertain whether they are qualified. (We provide the script and coaching to our clients). 

Once you identify all of your qualified catering decision makers, you’re ready to start marketing to them.

Yesterday during a consult, a prospective client asked me if every business you called would give out qualifying information 

The short answer is no.

As in marketing, you are playing the odds and looking for overall return. 

No list is perfect. Companies close, change addresses and go bankrupt. 

Some gatekeepers are friendlier than others.

What I can assure you is that you must use a system like this, otherwise you are reliant on serendipity to grow your catering sales. 

Find your list of qualified catering prospects and work them diligently. Unless you are offensive or provide terrible food and service, you will get more than your fair share of the catering pie.

Why? Because most of your competitors are sitting around waiting for the Powerball Lottery gods to smile down on them. And that leads to a desk full of losing lottery tickets.      

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success, 

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software 

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

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering software, catering sales, catering marketing, Catering mailing list

How I Accidentally Sold A Million Dollars In Catering

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, May 28, 2015 @ 11:06 AM

I look at my kids and feel like a slouch. Great grades, common sense, involved in the community, incredibly kind and gracious. Oh. Let’s not forget funny. 

If they weren’t my kids, I’d hate them. It reminds me of the bumper sticker: “My kid can beat up your honor roll student”.   

God never blessed me with the ability to get good grades. My mantra in school was, “Why put in six hours for the A, when an hour will get you a B?” 

Rote memorization was never my forte. Now if it came to strategic thinking, I could do well. 

Though my slight ADD prevents laser-like focus for long periods of time, my atom colliding gray matter allows me to look at problems and identify opportunities from a thousand different directions at once…and it does not require the use of drugs. 

Yesterday, I was helping a catering conference organizer find speakers for her SoCal event. By the end of our fifteen minute call, she had dropped the idea of speakers and embraced my assessment of going in a totally different direction for the event; thus making it easier to market and profit from.

So how did I accidentally sell a million dollars’ worth of catering?

 Last week I was in Baltimore for a catering seminar I put on with Frank D’Antona of Cantina Mamma Lucia. We had a packed house with Restaurant Catering Software clients and non-clients. The group was super-engaged the whole day. 

When I speak, I never know exactly what will come out of my mouth. During the section on niche marketing, I mentioned that identifying profitable catering niches is easy: 

Whatever is happening on accident, can happen on purpose multiplied.

In other words, if you are catering a particular type of event or to a particular group of people without any marketing whatsoever, then imagine what you could do with laser-like focus and action on purpose. 

I first opened my restaurant in October of 1992. It’s crazy that it was that long ago. What’s crazier is that my daughter Jordyn is a hostess there this summer. 

Anyway, the first year in business on the day after Thanksgiving, we received a large drop-off catering order for around two hundred people from Dillard’s department store. At the time, I had never heard the term Black Friday. I’m not a shopper; rather a buyer. 

Out of curiosity, and let me tell you I am very curious, I called Dillard’s to inquire of the nature of such a large order. I was educated to the fact an entire day was manufactured by someone other than Hallmark to give consumers a reason to shop en masse. 

The lightbulb went off in my head with a phrase you need to adopt, “If one retail store is ordering for Black Friday, I’m betting all the other retail stores are order for Black Friday.” (Substitute retail store and Black Friday for other niches and event types.) 

So the next year I literally drove around the five main shopping malls/centers in Nashville and hand wrote a list of all the major big box retailers. I then used this old fashioned contraption called The Yellow Pages to build my first database.

I even called each one to get the name of the decision maker. Who’d I ask for? The head of HR. Why? Because my contact at Dillard’s told me who to target.

That second year I mailed forty-five retailers and followed up the letters with phone calls. When the dust settled, our POS system earned $6,000 in drop-off catering sales for the day, and I earned the respect and admiration of my management team…all without renting a list or having Al Gore’s internet for research.

Niche after catering niche was identified by paying attention to what type of catering business graced our doors: teacher’s in-service, Hospital Week, teacher’s appreciation, sports banquets, golf tournaments, high school graduation parties, rehearsal dinners, etc., etc. 

It’s because of my willingness to pay attention to the niche catering opportunities around me, that I was able to sell a million dollars a year in catering. And let’s not forget the ability to take action. 

You can go back and read my blog article for all the ideas in the world to grow your catering sales. Until you take action, you’re nothing but a consultant. (Definition of a consultant? Guy who knows 352 sexual positions, but can’t get a date on a Saturday night.) 

Just about every single marketing success in my life involved niche marketing. Take off the blinders and start profiting from the power of the catering niches in front of you.

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering software, catering sales, catering marketing, catering niches

Lesson’s From Shark Tank’s Mr. Wonderful

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 @ 10:31 AM

One of my best friends, Robin Robins, of Technology Marketing Toolkit, puts on an annual Marketing Boot Camp for her clients. Since its inception, I have judged her “Better Your Best” spokesperson competition where she gives away a brand new $65,000 Mercedes. 

Though seeing seven of her top clients compete to get the car is very inspirational, motivational and educational, nothing compared to being able to hang out with her top draw speaker; Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank. 

Don’t let this Simon Cowellesque star of The Tank, fool you into thinking he’s a bully or a big jerk. Never mistake discipline for kindness. He told me he gives his businesses thirty-six months to turn a profit, or he’s out. 

He was a very relatable gentleman. We talked about everything from my acquisition of three bottles of 1976 Dom Perignon for twenty-three bucks a bottle while backpacking in Europe to his upcoming wine selling debut on QVC. He sold out in seven minutes.

MR_Wonderful

So what lessons did Kevin share during his speech and the private lunch I attended? 

Here are three factors all businesses who received Shark funding had in common: 

  1.       They could explain their business in 90 seconds or less.
  2.       They had excellent teams. As a business grows, you must have a great team assembled. At Corky’s and RCS, my teammates all brought a different, valuable skill set to the table that allowed us to operate smoothly while building sales.
  3.       They knew their numbers. At Corky’s we took a daily inventory on our commodities and compared it to what we sold, we ran a daily and weekly P&L and stayed on top of our numbers. At RCS, we have certain KPI’s we track religiously. Without these numbers, we would be pissing in the wind…and that gets messy. 

There were two other big takeaway lessons.

  1.       The most important part of all his businesses is sales. Before he acquires a company, he takes the head of sales, not the CEO, out to dinner. If you can’t sell it, you can’t make money. His highest paid people are sales. He may have more equity, but the guys who deserve to make the big bucks are the ones that bring it in!
  2.       It is all about customer/client acquisition. I preach/teach the importance of getting new catering clients as evidenced by the new Sales Tempo we have added to our catering software. We are even helping clients by handling catering prospect list selection. Every business must master customer acquisition. The reason the Sharks do so well, is that due to the free publicity of a top rated TV show, clients are acquired for next to nothing. It’s called the Shark Tank phenomenon. Kevin invested in a cupcake business doing less than $40,000 a month before Shark Tank aired. They are now doing almost half a million a month. Not too shabby. 

You don’t have to land a deal with a Shark to profit from Shark Tank. The show should be a must-see on any business owners list. This show is great for your kids as well. 

Thanks to Shark Tank, the entrepreneur is going from villain to super hero. 

NOTE: Last year I put on a full day catering seminar in Baltimore with one of my most successful clients and longtime member, Frank D’Antona with Cantina Mamma Lucia in Baltimore, Maryland. We had to turn people away last year.

Saval Foodservice is sponsoring the event this year. It will be held Monday, May 18, 2015 near the Baltimore airport.

So if you have any interest, please go to www.CateringSeminars.com/baltimore for complete details. Hope you can join us. 

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 software quote module, Kevin O'Leary, Shark Tank

Will Google Kill Your Catering Business?

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Apr 8, 2015 @ 08:29 AM

At one time, Microsoft ruled the world.

Now the title goes to Google. Who’d a thunk that the champion of search engines would have their hands in so many technological pockets? Personally, I can’t wait for the Google driverless car technology to make it to Tennessee.

Imagine setting the GPS for Florida and sleeping all the way there. 

With all Google touches, search engines are their bread and butter. Any time they make a change to their search algorithms, web designers, programmers and search engine optimization specialists rush to keep up.

Recently Google announced that websites that are not mobile friendly will be adversely affected in search engine rankings. Will this kill your catering business? Probably not, but you can’t afford to lose search engine rank with a non-mobile friendly site.

Google recognizes that more and more web searches are coming from smart phones. As the #1 search engine, people trust Google to give them relevant search results. How happy would you be if Google sent you to a site you couldn’t navigate or read?

So what’s the answer?

First, you need to determine if your site is mobile friendly. If you send an email to Nicole in our office ( Nicole@RCSMailBox.com ), she will analyze your site at no charge. Just be sure and include your contact info.

If your site is not mobile friendly, call the firm who designed it. They may have a fix.

We are also available to design your website. 

If you have online ordering, make sure that service is mobile friendly as well. We offer a mobile enabled online ordering interface.

Last week, while in Memphis, I had dinner at the Rendez Vous. It’s been a tradition, since I was in high school. Looking around the restaurant, nothing has changed. That is probably the ultimate restaurant, an institution that doesn’t need to change.

However, even if you own an institution, you’d better make sure your technology changes to keep up with the rest of the world. Google’s changes to its search algorithm is a perfect example. 

Again, to determine if your site is mobile friendly. If you send an email to Nicole in our office ( Nicole@RCSMailBox.com ), she will analyze your site at no charge. Just be sure and include your contact info.

NOTE: Last year I put on a full day catering seminar in Baltimore with one of my most successful clients and longtime member, Frank D’Antona with Cantina Mamma Lucia in Baltimore, Maryland. We had to turn people away last year. 

One attendee, Vince with Trinacria credits us with his best catering Christmas season. He did over a hundred thousand dollars in catering for December 2014 versus $12,000 in 2013. 

Saval Foodservice is sponsoring the event this year. It will be held Monday, May 18, 2015 near the Baltimore airport.

So if you have any interest, please go to www.CateringSeminars.com/baltimore for complete details. Hope you can join us. 

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 software, catering websites, catering calendar, catering website searches, catering websites and Google

The Power of A Catering Sales Presentation

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, Apr 2, 2015 @ 01:24 PM

Last week my daughter Jordyn and I spent her spring break touring college campuses. On Tuesday morning, we jumped on a Southwest flight to Raleigh, North Carolina to tour the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The city was quite charming and picturesque. The admissions director did an excellent job of reviewing the facts about getting into North Carolina. His Power Point covered everything from standardized test scores to the percentage of out of state applicants accepted. Just about anything you’d want to know about the school was answered. 

The second half of the tour was led by a student ambassador. As we walked the grounds, our guide touched on the history of the school and was able to weave in stories about the type of educational opportunities available at the school. 

If she couldn’t draw upon her personal experiences, she used anecdotes from her friend. She did an excellent job of selling the school and the sense of community there. 

My favorite part was walking through the “pit” (student center area) and watching a group sing acapella. 

Overall, Jordyn was quite impressed with the school, its students and educational opportunities. 

On Wednesday we toured Vanderbilt. The experience was nearly the same. Beautiful campus, great representative from the admissions office and an excellent student tour guide. 

On Thursday we flew into New Orleans early to tour Tulane. I drove Jordyn straight to Café du Monde for her first true beignet experience. We then spent some time walking through the French Quarter before settling down at Felix’s for a fix of raw and chargrilled oysters. 

Jordyn has friends at Tulane and was looking forward to falling in love with the school. Unfortunately, though Tulane matches UNC and Vanderbilt in cost, it fell way short on the tour. 

I don’t want to get into slamming Tulane in this blog, but suffice to say, it didn’t even come close to meeting our expectations. The city of New Orleans gets two thumbs up, but Tulane won’t be making Jordyn’s cut. 

To really prosper with catering, you will need to be able to present yourself and your company. Whether it’s face to face at a tasting or in front of a large decision making committee, your sales presentation will make a difference. Yes, the quality of your food is important, but your prospect is also buying “you”. 

From how you are dressed, to the words you use, make sure you are prepared to answer questions that may be asked and touch on hot buttons. 

One of my favorite strategies in a presentation is to ask the magic wand question: 

“If I had a magic wand and could grant you one wish for your holiday party, what would that be?” 

Then be quiet and listen. Knowing a prospect’s hot button gives you some powerful ammo. I once asked this question to land a ten thousand dollar event. The committee let me know the caterer at their last event ran out of food; embarrassing the plant manager.

I let them know about our 120% Catering Guarantee and walked away with the job…and we were coming from two hours away! 

A great way to improve your sales presentation is to mystery shop your competitors. You’ll pick up ideas and identify their weaknesses. Making sure you improve upon their weaknesses will make you a sales champ! 

Frankly, I am surprised Tulane hasn’t done that. All it would take would be mystery shopping some of the top twenty schools to better their game. 

Another way to better your game is to record and listen to your phone calls. RCS catering software has the ability to record all incoming and outgoing catering calls. If you can’t be objective, hire someone to give you pointers. In no time, you’ll sound like a pro and increase your closing percentages. 

NOTE: If you are interested in learning more about getting more catering business, then please register for my upcoming webinar entitled: 

How To Generate New Catering Clients

With Your Own Sales Tempo Marketing Machine 

It’s limited to a hundred attendees and will get filled up quickly. Here’s the link: 

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7225283797001733122 

DOUBLE NOTE: Last year I put on a full day catering seminar in Baltimore with one of my most successful clients and longtime member, Frank D’Antona with Cantina Mamma Lucia in Baltimore, Maryland. We had to turn people away last year. 

One attendee, Vince with Trinacria credits us with his best catering Christmas season. He did over a hundred thousand dollars in catering for December 2014 versus $12,000 in 2013. 

Saval Foodservice is sponsoring the event this year. It will be held Monday, May 18, 2015 near the Baltimore airport.

So if you have any interest, please go to www.CateringSeminars.com/baltimore for complete details. Hope you can join us.

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering software, catering sales presentation, catering mystery shopping

Is Your Catering Salesperson Undermining Your Success?

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 @ 12:50 PM

I have clients and potential clients who employ catering sales reps. The amount of catering success these salespeople achieve are all over the board. Some restaurants and catering companies are really able to propel their catering sales with the right rep.

The wrong choice costs you time and money. Think about what it costs to bring on a new hire, train them, coach them, etc. Every day they aren’t producing for you is a day of catering sales you will never get back.

So how in the world can a catering salesperson be undermining your catering success?

Well, there are two types of salespeople: hunters and farmers. Other people prefer to use the term order taker versus sales person.

The universe of sharp people with excellent customer service skills, the ability to sell/upsell over the phone is far greater than the number of people who enjoy and are good at building sales via prospecting and lead generation.

Now I am not advocating cold calling or a purgatory of endless door knocking. What I am talking about is the difference between a professional visitor or salesperson as the late Zig Ziglar calls them.

What type of person would best help you reach your catering sales goals? 

On average, you should be able to generate ten percent of your sales in catering without doing much.

Now what do I mean by much?

  1. Create a good catering menu that is easy for your customers to understand and order from, as well as, is simple for your staff to take orders from.
  2. Use 4 Walls Marketing: Most of the people I consult aren’t using table tents, signs, banners, washroom signs, staff buttons, messages on hold, flyers for takeout orders, etc. to educate their current customers that they offer catering. Never assume your customer knows everything you do. Every great retailer knows how to use point of purchase to cross sell their current clients.
  3. Do a good job. As basic as this sounds: be easy to work with and likeable. Show up on time. Set things up for them. Make sure they have plenty of food. Make sure the hot food is hot and the cold food is cold. And please leave nothing off an order.
  4. Minimal Catering customer service. A thank you letter here or a follow up phone call there. Return their calls promptly.

If you do these four things, you should be able to grow your catering sales to the ten percent range.

My clients who own 3-6 stores in a market and follow the rules above will generate more than enough sales to justify a catering salesperson. If all their stores are doing five million a year, in a relative short period of time, that would equate to five hundred thousand a year in catering sales

An order taker should be able to facilitate growing this, but will spend most of their time handling inbound calls and proposal requests.

If you are at a place you really want to grow your catering sales, you will want to invest in a catering “sales” person.

This person is not afraid to prospect or talk to people who haven’t called them first.

With our new Sales Tempo Tool, you or your catering salesperson is only focused on working with people in your city they know cater. Yes. The list is over fifty percent of the equation, and we help our clients with that.

By using direct mail, cookie drops and LinkedIn touches to connect, you’re never making a cold call. It’s a warm call at worst.

By only focusing on catering buyers, you avoid the frustration of having to knock on a hundred doors or make a hundred calls to uncover one good catering prospect. 

If I am striking out 99% of the time, it beats me down. If I can be successful 20-30% of the time, then it’s fun.

Our Sales Tempo provides the system to keep you or your salesperson on track with only qualified catering buyers 

Are you fooling yourself into believing little Ms. Order Taker can go out and hunt catering opportunities? Did you sell yourself on their abilities or did they sell you a bad bill of goods? 

How can you tell an order taker from a true salesperson? It’s how they talk to you. 

Often times my consults involve the restaurant owner and someone they have hired to do catering sales; either part time or full time. 

The salespeople get excited about our tools. They realize we are providing a machine gun for the knife fight; not a plastic knife.

They are not scared their sales activities will be monitored. They welcome you listening to recordings or their calls. Every great achiever has coaches and needs feedback. 

The people afraid of actually selling catering make excuses and try to undermine a system like ours. 

Would I love for every person reading this blog article to work with my company and our systems? Absolutely! 

But more importantly, whether you work with me today or years from now, I want to use this forum to educate and help you. That is what has brought us successful clients. 

Only you know where your business is and what you need. Please do not fool yourself into thinking your order taker is going to be a sales shark. You will both fail. 

Meredith has been with me for fifteen years. She started out as a hostess at my restaurant. There are a thousand things she does incredibly well. Sales is not one of them. She knows it. I know it. 

Forcing her to make calls would be akin to wrestling with a pig. The pig gets pissed, and you get muddy. 

If you are interested in learning more about this, then please register for my upcoming webinar entitled: 

How To Generate New Catering Clients

With Your Own Sales Tempo Marketing Machine 

It’s limited to a hundred attendees and will get filled up quickly. Here’s the link:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7225283797001733122 

NOTE: Last year I put on a full day catering seminar in Baltimore with one of my most successful clients and longtime member, Frank D’Antona with Cantina Mamma Lucia in Baltimore, Maryland. We had to turn people away last year.

One attendee, Vince with Trinacria credits us with his best catering Christmas season. He did over a hundred thousand dollars in catering for December 2014 versus $12,000 in 2013. 

Saval Foodservice is sponsoring the event this year. It will be held Monday, May 18, 2015 near the Baltimore airport. 

So if you have any interest, please go to www.CateringSeminars.com/baltimore for complete details. Hope you can join us. 

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software 

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

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering software, catering marketing, catering niches, catering sales templates, catering leads

Hotels: The Key To Booking More Catering Sales

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, Mar 12, 2015 @ 09:09 AM

I know what you’re thinking. Hotels? How can I book more catering jobs because of hotels?

Not only do you get one strategy to book more catering via hotels, this week you’ll get two proven strategies. 

Let me illustrate with two different stories. 

When I owned Corky’s, we did quite a lot of catering to area hotels. To be more specific; we catered meals at hotels to groups renting meeting space. 

Many hotel chains have done away with kitchens, restaurants and all the associated overhead. They focus on rooms and offer meeting spaces for smaller meetings and events. 

Though the hotel may not offer food, their guests booking the meeting space still need food for breakfasts, luncheons, afternoon snacks and dinners. That’s where you come in. 

When a hotel that does not offer food books a meeting space, their clients will often ask for recommendations. A hotel is primarily interested in a caterer that won’t embarrass them. They must be easy to do business with, show up on time, leave nothing off an order, and make sure there is plenty of food for the guests. 

We had such a good relationship with some of the area hotels, we knew exactly where and how they wanted meals set up. They referred their clients to us because the food was good and we made them look good. 

It never hurt that we occasionally brought out food for the hotel staff.

Devote one afternoon to building a list of all the area hotels that offer meeting space, but do not offer catering. Our members-only website, www.RestaurantProfitPoint.com has some letters/promotions you can use to get in with these hotels. 

Members: Click below to see the templates:

http://www.restaurantprofitpoint.com/members/department56.cfm 

When you get in front of the hotel general managers, make sure you focus on their needs. Take the time to learn what they’re currently doing. Ask what they do and do not like about their current caterers. 

Some hotels will want a rebate or discount. You’ll find some wanting to handle taking the catering orders and then call you to coordinate. 

Make sure you are flexible to gain this repeat source of valuable catering sales.

We would create co-branded catering menus for the hotels we worked with. This allowed them to have something to show their clients.

Now on to my second hotel story. 

I picked up a trick years ago from a hotel salesperson. To find prospects to book rooms and meeting space, they will walk into the lobbies of their competitors and read the welcome boards. Those boards welcome the groups and companies in the hotel. They usually have the room they’re meeting in listed as well. 

In college, one of my best friends Mark Moskowitz and I started a bartending service called Gentleman Bartenders. It was a great little business as we went through school.

One day we decided to use the hotel salesperson trick. So we walked into an East Memphis hotel to read the boards, but ended up running into someone who worked with International Paper (the name tag gave it away). 

Luckily we were too green to know better and not afraid to talk to a complete stranger.

That hallway connection turned into some bartending gigs for International Paper and an entrée to the Memphis State meeting facility. The facility ended up hiring us out for some of their events.

I’m not advocating you walk into a hotel looking for someone to talk with, but a company name on a marquee can be a great lead source.

The same companies booking meetings have other events that need catering.

Half the equation to booking more catering is to find the catering decision makers in your market. As far as I’m concerned. That’s the hard part. 

Now you have two great “hotel” techniques to build your catering sales. Go get busy booking some catering jobs!  

NOTE: Last year I put on a full day catering seminar in Baltimore with one of my most successful clients and longtime member, Frank D’Antona with Cantina Mamma Lucia in Baltimore, Maryland. We had to turn people away last year.

One attendee, Vince with Trinacria credits us with his best catering Christmas season. He did over a hundred thousand dollars in catering for December 2014 versus $12,000 in 2013.

Saval Foodservice is sponsoring the event this year. It will be held Monday, May 18, 2015 near the Baltimore airport. 

So if you have any interest, please go to www.CateringSeminars.com/baltimore for complete details. Hope you can join us. 

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 marketing, catering niches, catering software quote module, catering sales templates, Catering to hotels, catering leads

Tax Season Is Catering Season

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 @ 11:25 AM

April 15th sends chills down the backs of many people. For some it means a big tax bill and for others an extension is filed; delaying the inevitable. 

April 15th is Christmas for CPA’s and tax preparers. From about now until tax day, accountants, bookkeepers and tax prep firms will be working feverishly to process mountains of returns for their clients. 

This means many late nights and weekends away from home. 

When asked why he robbed banks, the famous bank robber Willie Sutton replied, “Because that’s where the money is.” 

And so it goes with finding catering niches. If a person or niche is spending money to feed a group, then the efficient marketer needs to pursue that niche. 

Whenever employees have to put in extra hours at night or on weekends, you’d better believe the company is bringing in food for their team. 

Pink Logan, a longtime member, sent out a letter to CPA firms soliciting his catering business during tax prep time. I believe he picked up around three thousand dollars in drop off catering. 

As a result of that idea, I created a sales letter targeted to CPA’s. The background of the letter was a 1040 tax form. Members can find that letter template at our members only website; RestaurantProfitPoint.com 

http://www.restaurantprofitpoint.com/members/109.cfm 

Many prudent members have used this promotion with great success. Yesterday I was talking with a client who used the promotion for a second year in a row. Right off the bat he landed a deal to deliver $600 in catering a week from now until April 15th to a single CPA firm. I know he’ll land other CPA businesses. 

Marketing is not some big mystery. It doesn’t have to require the budget of Nike or Coca-Cola. With the software and services available today, the little guy can look like a big guy. 

Niche marketing allows you to focus a small amount of resources on a very tight group of high probability catering prospects. Some of my biggest catering victories have come from niche marketing. For instance, One year I targeted twenty hospitals with my famous x-ray mailer for hospital week catering opportunities. 

Twenty mailers brought in over $17,000 worth of catering.

There are less than two months to April 15th. Will you choose to read this article and ponder or take action? 

Small successes lead to more successes. My first marketing success in booking catering lead to another and another…eventually leading me to start this company.

For me marketing is fun. When it brings in sales, it is downright addicting! Try it. You just may get hooked.  

NOTE: Last year I put on a full day catering seminar in Baltimore with one of my most successful clients and longtime member, Frank D’Antona with Cantina Mamma Lucia in Baltimore, Maryland. We had to turn people away last year. 

One attendee, Vince with Trinacria credits us with his best catering Christmas season. He did over a hundred thousand dollars in catering for December 2014 versus $12,000 in 2013. 

Saval Foodservice is sponsoring the event this year. It will be held Monday, May 18, 2015 near the Baltimore airport. 

So if you have any interest, please go to www.CateringSeminars.com/baltimore for complete details. Hope you can join us.

Well, that’s all for this issue. 

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software 

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

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering software, catering marketing, catering niches, catering to cpa firms, catering sales templates

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