The Catering Software Corner Blog

Givers vs. Takers

Posted by Michael Attias on Tue, Dec 9, 2014 @ 10:55 AM

Whether you are religious and believe in tithing or are a subscriber to the laws of the universe and believe in paying it forward, the concept of giving dates back to the dawn of civilization.

As a kid growing up in Memphis, I had many Christian friends who would tithe. The idea of giving ten percent of your income to charity was mind boggling at the time. 

Seeing my parents struggle through bankruptcy, I saw money as a finite resource not to be squandered. Tithing was as foreign to me as the cast of Star Wars. 

I can’t tell you what caused it or when it happened, but at a certain point in my life my attitude about giving changed. The pie is not limited. If I give you a piece, I’m not a slice down. The world will lead me to a pie twice as large. 

There is no joy or satisfaction in being a taker. There are people who fall on hard times and need a helping hand. But for your sustenance to come via others, when you are able is detrimental. 

There is a sense of accomplishment from doing it yourself. To deny someone that experience is plain wrong. 

I live in an inner city transitional neighborhood. We have everything from soccer moms in Audi’s to SWAT teams raiding my neighbors home(now that was cool to watch).

There is a church that sits across the street from my home. I’ve become friends with Reverend Randy. Though I don’t subscribe to his religion, I am all for what his church stands for and the great community outreach done in our neighborhood.

A few weeks ago he invited me and my family to his church for a Thanksgiving dinner a few nights before the holiday. I asked what he needed.

He was in need of four hundred to go boxes and cutlery kits, as they were going to feed families in our neighborhood. Running out to Sam’s Club to get these supplies was better than any gift I could receive.

The fact my kids volunteered to help serve with zero arm twisting was incredible.

270_Giving_Back_(2)

As corny as it sounds, I am humbled by the fact God/the universe has blessed me with the ability to be a giver. As a kid living in a home going through bankruptcy, I was the recipient of generosity of my friends’ families. From lunch at McDonald’s to a movie, others paid for me.

I did not like the feeling. To this day, I bend over backwards to make sure I’m not on the taking end. 

If you believe the media, all the rich are miserly and do nothing but sit around and count their money.

That is so far from the truth. I have a group of friends who are as successful, if not more so than myself. Each one of them gives back…like my landlord friend who received a call from a tenant saying he couldn’t pay rent in December so his kids could have Christmas.  

As opposed to throwing him out into the cold, he’s deferring rent until his tax refund check comes in.

Or my friend who offered a recently fired single mom a zero interest loan to help her through a rough patch.

And please don’t think the “rich” give for the tax break. Would you give a dollar to save fifty cents in taxes?

Those blessed with abundance understand giving back is part of the package. It’s the unspoken deal you make for success. And they aren’t doing it expecting anything in return.

I have seen this played out so many times, it’s crazy. The vast majority of the “rich” I know get a greater sense from giving back than most anything else.

As 2015 approaches, we can talk about goal setting, focusing on selling more catering and the best marketing strategies, but the best tool I know of is giving back.

As you start to visualize your 2015, picture what your life would be like giving. How would you feel knowing you helped someone out in true need?

What pride would you get from passing on a giving legacy to your children?

Given the choice, we would all prefer to not need to be “takers”.

Moving forward commit to being a giver. Your financial and non-financial payback is infinite!    

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. – 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

How To Harvest More Catering Clients

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 @ 10:10 AM

Last September I bought a new home in East Nashville. East Nashville is just over the river from downtown and is a work in progress.

As soon as an old home is purchased, it is either renovated or torn down to make way for new construction. East Nashville is known as the cool part of Nashville. It is very transitional and the inhabitants are a collage of yuppies, hipsters and low income folk.

I’m not quite sure I fit into one of the categories above, but I love the food scene in East Nashville. Chains are non existent, and the independents are either really good or out of business 

I had looked for years to find my home in East Nashville and was thrilled to find a new construction with a courtyard backyard. I have no patience to rehab and a large backyard without small children is lost on me

My real estate agent turned me on to a great landscape guy who transformed my backyard into a wonderful stone and pebble entertaining area surrounded by planting beds following my fence line. Practically zero maintenance!

Below is a pic of my backyard before I planted.

269_Michael_Backyard

This past spring I took a drive to Bates Nursery to buy flowers, vegetables and herbs for my beds. I learned a few things. Though I love spaghetti squash, I will avoid the takeover of the backyard next summer.

My two favorite things to harvest were berries and tomatoes. I had a solid month of blueberries followed by raspberries. I feel like my tomatoes lasted all summer long.

My tomato plants remind me of marketing.

Every day I went out, watered my tomato plants and picked the weeds. Marketing is pretty much the same. You must consistently tend to your market or target market.

As it relates to catering, you must consistently use four walls marketing, cookie drops, trade shows, bridal shows, lead generation mail, client newsletters, email newsletters, birthday clubs, loyalty and referral programs, niche mailings, telephone follow up and tastings to get catering clients and repeat events.

When the day came that my gardening paid off with my first few tomatoes, I couldn’t stop watering the plants or picking the weeds. The day I cut off the supply to that plant, the tomatoes would cease.

Marketing works exactly the same way. Your catering business may not shrivel up today should you cease marketing, but soon it would.

Dan Kennedy, one of my marketing mentors, makes sure he does at least one marketing activity a day. Even if it’s sending a single fax, he won’t end his day without some type of marketing.

Recently I had dinner with my friends Jay and Terry Siff from Moving Targets. Jay and Terry met at the gym and are both are into their health. I asked Jay if he enjoyed lifting weights. He admitted he didn’t, but he knew he needed to do it.

For me marketing is a joy. I love for the next marketing campaign or challenge.

Winners do what they need to do, not just what they want to do.

Whether it’s you or a key person, marketing must be a consistent activity in your restaurant catering business. People ask me what’s the one thing you did to build a million dollar a year catering business.

There is no “one” or silver bullet. It’s the piling on of a million little things that lead to large sales.

Please don’t forget marketing is far more than a sales letter or cookie drop. Marketing is the impact of small impressions on your prospect: staff, uniform, hygiene, punctuality, phone skills, etc.

From my 30,000 foot high overview of what it takes to harvest more catering, this all sounds daunting and overwhelming.

The road to a million dollars a year in catering sales starts with one action. Decide today you will focus on one initiative for thirty days. At the end of that thirty days add another marketing initiative to your plate. Before long you’ll be harvesting bushels of “catering tomatoes”.

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. – 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

No One Has Dumb Or Ugly Kids

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 @ 11:31 AM

Since I can’t find it on the internet, I am going to attribute the following quote to myself, “No one has dumb or ugly kids.”

 Every parent, me included, thinks their children are attractive and oh so smart.

 I’m not sure whether I read it somewhere or saw it on TV, but there are reasons we think our kids are attractive. Besides the fact they look like us or our spouse, nature needed to make sure we wouldn’t abandon our children.

 As much as people don’t think they have dumb or ugly kids, similarly, no one thinks their business is ugly either.

 What’s an ugly business? Ask yourself the following questions: From a physical perspective, what do people think when they walk into your building? Do your restrooms smell like a Port-O-Potty used non stop for Extreme Makeover Home Edition?

 Are your uniforms a little dingy? Is your furniture starting to look over used? Are your menus dirty and worn?

 Ugly can take many forms. It can be your sales, profits, operations, staff…

 We are as close to our businesses as we are to our own children. We don’t see the flaws others get slapped upside the head with.

 It takes a very confident person to face their weaknesses head on and take corrective action.

 Your customers and friends will hardly ever shoot you straight. Every now and then someone will tell you what you need to know.

 About a year ago, I had a prospect who later became a client tell me our website did not match the quality of our software.

 We launched a new catering software website about six months ago. (Due to Google rankings, I will not post the new web address in this site. Feel free to email me for the new web address).

 Now there are mystery shopping companies you can use for feedback on your restaurant and phone operations. I know this works well for many.

 Some our clients use the telephone call recording feature in our catering software to mystery shop their catering sales team.

 Some people hire consultants to come in and give their place a thorough exam. Please don’t ask me, as I prefer you think of me as nice.

 Do you have a business friend you trust? Maybe offer to swap out and each evaluate the other’s business: top to bottom. 

 Can you handle the truth? If not, just keep to yourself in La La Land.

 Being able to check your ego and listen; really listen to what needs fixing, can have a huge impact on your business.

 All it takes is one small change to make a big impact on your bottom line.

 The holiday season is off and running. If not now, devote your slow January to evaluating and fixing things.

 You can’t fix ugly in real life, but you sure can in business!

 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. – 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 business, mystery shopping, catering phone system

Catering Lessons From The Shark Tank

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 @ 03:20 PM

Shark Tank is one of my favorite shows. I have been a religious follower since the first week. If you’ve never seen ABC’s Shark Tank, you must add it to your “must watch” list.

Each week different entrepreneurs pitch their business to five sharks. The sharks put them through the ringer and fight each other for a piece of the action.

The show is a classroom for business. They talk about valuations, marketing, manufacturing, scaling and a whole host of business challenges. This is the perfect show to watch with your kids.

A few weeks ago I was invited to have breakfast with Robert Herjavec from Shark Tank. He spoke at a conference for IT company owners hosted by my good friend Robin Robins.

You can see the picture of the two of us below.

267_Robert_Herjavec

Robert started a few internet security firms and sold them for over a hundred million dollars.

He went on to start another internet security firm.

Some times a fat bank balance is the kiss of death. The first year’s revenues in his current venture were four hundred thousand dollars. He lost a million dollars the first year and decided to move forward.

Building that business was slow and painful trudging his way to around five million.

He knew if he didn’t make a dramatic shift, he would pull his hair out growing so slowly. He decided the big bucks were going to come from the big companies.

His focus switched to large institutions like Banks, the Fortune 1000 and government institutions. By targeting the big fish, he has taken the company to over a hundred million dollars a year in sales.

I’ve been practicing and teaching this for years. I call it the Top 100. When I first started implementing direct marketing, I mailed and called the hundred largest employers in middle Tennessee. Within nine months, I had booked over $45,000 in catering sales. Keep in mind; this was around 1996; almost twenty years ago.

I have a long list of clients who have benefited from this strategy. Marketing is not a mystery. It’s one part common sense and four parts action.

During his talk, Robert also talked about the investments that made the most money on Shark Tank; products and services targeted to consumers not businesses.

Though it seems like common sense since the show is seen by consumers, it took them a season or two to figure out.

Robert was entertaining and motivating. After all, what guy wouldn’t be impressed by a guy who owns and races Ferrari’s?

But my big takeaway was the power of targeting.

I’ll sound like a broken record saying this, but the riches are in niches. Few, if any of us, have the pockets to blanket the masses with our message.

The other day on our Catering Coaching Call, a member asked about how to target individuals for their catering needs. Unfortunately mass media, even with an unlimited budget, is a losing proposition. I suggested he use target marketing to capture consumer based catering.

With niches like weddings, rehearsal dinners, high school graduation parties, B’nai Mitzvahs and other easy to target niches, his ROI would be much higher.

Just look at the largest restaurant chain, Subway. They have deep pockets and tons of marketing muscle. If they advertise catering to consumers, it’s an afterthought piggybacked to a direct mail piece of television commercial usually used at strategic catering times. If there was a way to target consumers with just a catering message, they would have figured it out.

Our members only website at www.RestaurantProfitPoint.com is full of ad templates ready to help you capture catering from a variety of catering niches.

Stop looking for ad reps to sell you a silver bullet for new sales. Roll up your sleeves, climb on the target marketing bull and ride it all the way to the bank.

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. – 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 niches

Profiting From Evergreen Catering Niches

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 @ 01:34 PM

As soon as September hit the calendar, the weather started to drop here in Nashville. As I look onto my backyard garden, I see the plants I need to pull down to make way for fall plantings.

 Luckily not every plant must go. My favorite fall herb is rosemary. This hearty plant will be a go-to, when I need a pop of fresh in a dish.

 In the world of plants, an evergreen is a plant that stays green throughout all four seasons. In the catering world, I have coined the term “evergreen catering” to mean a catering niche that is always blooming.

 More specifically, this niche has a new batch of opportunities each and every year.

 Let me give you an example: Each year across this country, men will propose to women. I guess if I’m being politically correct, men will propose to men and women to women as well.

 Not to get sidetracked. The results of these proposals are weddings. These weddings represent an evergreen catering niche. Until marriage is outlawed, there will always be an evergreen catering niche; new brides and grooms celebrating their big day with a catered event.

 What other niches are evergreen? Graduation parties, christenings, milestone birthday celebrations, anniversaries, baby naming’s, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, baby showers, bereavement meals and rehearsal dinners are great examples.

 In fact, one of my best friends Stephen is about to have a baby naming for his newest daughter Abigail. He and his wife Melissa will make it a double evergreen event, by celebrating their daughter Miriam’s third birthday at the same time. (See pic of big sister Miriam and her new sister Abigail below).

266_Miriam_and_Abigail_Sauer

 My daughter Jordyn and I will be there, and I’m sure the event will be great. Don’t tell anyone, but if Miriam was up for adoption, I’d claim her. She is my favorite!

 So where do you find the people to target for these niches? That would take a book to explain, but let’s at least get you headed in the right path.

 Become Sherlock Holmes. Where would you go to find people getting married?

Bridal shows are a biggie. What about working with jewelers and bridal shops? Which venues in your area are the ones who book the most weddings? Can you get on their preferred caterers list?

 You get the idea. We have created a marketing system for our clients to turn brides into bookings. Just click the link below and go to our private, members-only website:

 http://www.restaurantprofitpoint.com/members/department49.cfm

 What about Bar and Bat Mitzvahs? How do you capture that group? Network with Jewish Temples and Synagogues. Advertise in your local Jewish newspaper.

 What about bereavement meals? A long time client, Kyle Agha graciously allowed me to interview him for our April 2014 Profit Points about how he is making money on this valuable catering niche. Members can check out the interview at:

 http://www.restaurantprofitpoint.com/members/271.cfm

 You get the idea. The difference between a quarter million dollar a year restaurant caterer and a million dollar a year caterer is in the marketing. Focusing on niche catering allows you to hit homerun after homerun.

 Once you build your list of qualified catering prospects for these evergreen catering niches, you’ll want to use catering software with a simple to use, yet powerful CRM like Restaurant Catering Systems. If you have anyone accountable to you for selling, our built in phone module allows you to record all incoming and outgoing calls. This is great for coaching purposes!

 There’s never a better time than today to focus on building your catering sales!

 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.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 niches

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.

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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