The Catering Software Corner Blog

Now's The Time To Book Graduation Parties

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Sep 2, 2015 @ 09:40 AM

I know. I know. Graduation parties happen primarily in May. You’re probably wondering what the heck I’m doing telling you to start booking graduation parties in September.

Well tonight my daughter Jordyn’s school is hosting an open house for seniors and their parents to discuss colleges. Everything from applications to financial aid will be discussed. 

The most important part of any marketing initiative is the list. There is one company I know that sells list of parents of high school seniors, but that may not be the best list for marketing your catering services to this niche.

When I owned my restaurant, May was our biggest catering sales month. Graduation parties were a nice chunk of that business. Catering graduation parties is what I call an evergreen niche. It never dies. Each year there is a new class of graduating seniors whose parents will be celebrating unless they ended up taking the GED or going to juvie.

In one of my newsletters, I taught my members how to assemble their own highly qualified list of parents of high school seniors. 

Step one is to make a list out of all the high schools in your city. Now eliminate the ones you don’t feel the parents would be a good fit for your services. 

Now you may be able to get the schools or PTA’s to promote you to their parent body, but I always prefer to have my own list of qualified catering prospects. 

Call each school’s high school guidance department and offer to cater in desserts for their high school senior open house night; like the one I’ll be attending tonight. 

You can set out business cards, catering menus and hold a drawing for a free graduation party catering. Make sure your entry forms have qualifying questions. This way you will only build a target list of parents you want to do business with.

You’ll need to start in fall, so you have this list in the spring to aggressively market graduation parties.

I have created a special report and uploaded sample sales letters to help our members profit from this lucrative evergreen catering niche. Just go to: 

http://www.restaurantprofitpoint.com/members/login.cfm?hpage=department92.cfm 

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

You can get complete details at: 

http://cateringseminars.com/louisville/ 

Spots are limited, so register today. 

Well, that’s all for this issue. 

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success, 

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software 

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

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering software, catering sales, catering marketing, restaurant

You Only Have To Be A Little Better Than The Next Guy

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 @ 10:17 AM

I remember reading an article about how the youth of today are nothing like their parent’s generation. Their work ethic has slipped and if future generations follow step, then we are not far from the fall of this country. The article was written in the early 1900’s.

I am sure each generation thinks the younger generation has far worse work ethic. Or maybe it’s the fact that I turned fifty this year and now have far less patience.

About a month ago, my girlfriend and I took our kids to the beach for a vacation. The 30a part of Florida is my all-time favorite. After grabbing a latte at Amavida Coffee Company in Rosemary one morning, my girlfriend and I wandered into the Bombora Sun & Surf shop (#bomborasunandsurf ) a few doors down. 

I am a sucker for gadgets and things I probably don’t need. After four days of applying and reapplying sunscreen, I decided to upgrade to an SPF surf shirt. The only shirt that fit me had built in headphones and a waterproof case for an iPod or iPhone.

I asked the salesgirl if it was safe to take my phone into the water with this shirt. She told me yes, so I quickly plopped my credit card down to pay for the $78 dollar Jammer brand shirt (#jammer ).  I know my girlfriend and kids thought I was crazy. And I know I didn’t need to be listening to music as I hung out in the surf, but I like cool stuff.

Or so I thought it was cool, until I fried my $950 iPhone. And of course I didn’t have insurance. After all, I have never had an issue with a phone. The insurance is usually a rip-off.

I called Bombora about the issue, and it turns out the shirt was water resistant. I don’t read tags and relied on the salesperson. It seems impossible to find a salesperson at any retail store that has true product knowledge. I usually get someone who just reads me the tag or box, while I stand there.

The last time I checked, I wasn’t blind and could read just fine. 

Without getting into a blow by blow account, I will cut to the punch line. The store and manufacturer refused to reimburse me for my iPhone. Actually, I was reasonable and asked for half the cost of the phone back. I was willing to take partial blame, even though the salesperson said I was good to go in the ocean.

It is becoming harder and harder to find good customer service in the world. And when people do screw up, they just shrug it off as no big deal.

There are exceptions, like Nordstrom’s. A few months ago I went in to buy a pair of loafers, and I saw something I would have never believed.

A guy was demanding a refund or merchandise swap for a pair of $600 tennis shoes and expensive jeans, because he just fell of his motorcycle and had the clothes less than a week. Nordstrom gave it to them. I was flabbergasted.

Needless to say, I should have bought my shirt from Nordstrom. Not just for the way I know they would have treated me, but this company knows it product. I have always worked with people who knew their stuff 

Now contrast that to a new sushi restaurant in my neighborhood with a waiter who appeared to not have been trained. He didn’t know the difference between maki and sashimi. He was very shaky about the menu.

For you to sell more catering, you only have to be a little better than the next guy. What’s a good example of being a little better? Answer your catering phones live. If someone asks for a catering proposal, they should wait hours not days.

Show up a little early. Set up the food. Make sure there is more than enough. Be responsive.

And please, please make sure anyone interacting with your customers and clients is well trained.

It’s the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 

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

You can get complete details at:

http://cateringseminars.com/louisville/ 

Spots are limited, so register today. 

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering software, catering customer service, restaurant

Why Do My Catering Sales Suck?

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 @ 08:35 AM

Are you ever honest with yourself; brutally honest?

If your catering sales look like a flat liner in the emergency room, you must have asked yourself this question at some point, “Why do my catering sales suck?”

Let’s examine a few of the basic building blocks and head to what I believe to be the underlying problem. At its core, building a successful catering profit center is all about repeat catering sales and referrals. There’s not enough business to make it from one shot catering jobs in the corporate arena.

  1. Your Food: How good is your food? Do people ooh and aah over it? Being objective about your food is very difficult. It’s like a parent admitting their kid may be dumb or ugly. The good thing is that your food need not be stellar, just a high perceived value for what you charge. I have clients successfully selling Subway catering and others selling very high end corporate drop off at three to four times the price. There’s a market for all types, you just need to find the right niches. After all, Ford, Honda and Lexus all do very well.
  2. Your Service: This is one of the biggest factors in catering success. From how your staff is dressed to showing up on time, service breaks all ties. The real sign of a caterer who understands and wins the service game is what happens when something goes wrong. Early on I had a pharm rep who ordered lunch for a doctor’s office. The food was late, and she kept calling me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get hold of the courier. After about thirty minutes, I made a duplicate order and delivered it myself. Of course, the courier showed up a little before me. I ended up not charging her for her order, so there were two sets of food I paid for with zero revenue. To keep her business, I knew I would have to do better, so I picked up the cost of her next order for free. I begged her for a chance to show her we wouldn’t drop the ball again. Thankfully, she gave us another shot and ended up spending thousands a month with us and singing our praises to her other pharm rep friends. Three large orders for no revenue sucked. But sometimes you have to go overboard to salvage a relationship. I learned a very valuable lesson and earned the trust of an entire niche. 

So assuming you can deliver the food and the service, what’s the determining factor?

It all boils down to sales and marketing. The restaurants and caterers I work with who are the most successful, all put sales and marketing at the top of their priority list.

About an hour ago, I was on consult call with a gentleman just starting to grow his catering sales. He has tried repeatedly to hire someone to sell catering with no luck. In just a few minutes I realized he was the best candidate to sell catering. He had been a headhunter in a previous life, so he understood sales.

His goal after our call was to hire more help in the restaurant to free him up to sell. In the long run, he will make way more money.

I also have some clients who hire a catering sales rep. I can tell pretty quickly the winners from the losers. Farmers want to “service” the catering book of business, but are very resistant to go out and sell. They lack the “hunter” gene.

Whenever I get pushback from a client that our system isn’t working, I dig a little deeper and discover there’s a sales rep in the background whispering in their ear, “This is too much to do.”

When someone is accountable for following a Sales Tempo, having their calls recorded and their performance judged, the whiners come out. Sales winners aren’t afraid to be accountable and follow a sales process.

They know how to crush it!

Without a doubt, the answer to why your catering sales may suck lies within your culture.

When I was having lunch with Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank, he told me that in each of his companies the highest paid people are his salespeople. Why? Because nothing happens until you sell something.

Even on the franchise/chain level, the ones who are the most successful invest in sales.

I would like to claim I have special powers or am qualified to be the Wizard of OZ. I am not. I am a mere mortal…a mortal who has embraced, studied and perfected sales and marketing to grow all of my businesses. The same process I teach is the same one I use. 

Because at the end of the day I want to influence my future. I don’t want to be aimlessly bobbing in the ocean rudderless. 

It’s time to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, “Do you want to be a victim or a victor?”

To the victor goes the spoils.  

To learn how you can get more than your fair share of the catering spoils in your market, then make plans to attend an upcoming seminar in Louisville, KY, on Monday, October 12, 2015.

You can get complete details at:

http://cateringseminars.com/louisville/ 

Spots are limited, so register today.

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

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

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering software, catering sales, catering marketing, restaurant

Would Anyone Like To Date You?

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 @ 10:26 AM

As someone who has been divorced twice, I found it necessary to learn how to date to avoid living with five cats by myself in my old age. 

If you are currently single, wish you were single or suddenly found yourself single, would anyone want to date you? 

Dating and sales/marketing are closely related. The purpose is the same. In dating, your goal is to establish a long term, mutually beneficial relationship. In selling catering, your goal is to establish a long term, mutually beneficial relationship. 

The first place to start is with your target. In dating, you are better off establishing what you want and don’t want in a mate. Some of the characteristics are physical, like build, hair color, and other factors like education, children (age, number of kids, desire for more, etc.). 

Unless your goal is a one night stand, you need to pay close attention to what you do and don’t want. The same goes with finding a suitable catering client. You want to avoid the proverbial one night stand; clients looking for the lowest price. 

Great clients cheerfully pay a premium for great food, served on time by great people. Price shoppers need to be told where to go. I have often given the name and number of my low priced competitor. If it all boils down to price, run to Costco and pick up stuff in bulk and throw it out for your guests.

Catering clients come in all shapes and sizes. Some caterers are focused on weddings or social catering. Others are interested in loyal, repeat corporate catering clients. Regardless of your perfect catering client match, there’s usually an easy way to target them.

I have always been a big fan of mailing lists. They allow you to get the names of companies that are predisposed to buying catering. 

Once you’ve identified what your perfect date looks like, you need to attract them. The chances of going to a bar on a Saturday night and finding your perfect partner is slim to none. There may be a high quality datable prospect at the bar, but you’ll have to talk to a lot of crazies to find “the one”. 

Catering is the same. When I first started marketing catering in my restaurant in 1992, I used mass mail to reach all the companies in my area. I didn’t know to qualify them. I just blanketed all the company presidents whose names were included in my list rental. 

Since then, I have learned the value of the list. The proper list is the number one factor in making sales. By investing the time to identify the qualified catering decision maker at each company, you end up with a list of buyers.

Better to work a list of five hundred buyers than a list of twenty-five hundred unqualified names in search of the five hundred decision makers. To put it into mathematical terms: you can invest five times more time and marketing money targeting the right folks.

Now that we’ve identified the catering buyers to target, we need to make sure we are ready to pursue them. You’d never show up to a first date in cut offs carrying a six pack of beer.

Everyone puts in a little extra effort into their look before a date. Personal grooming and dress are important. Woman will tell you the first thing they look at are a man’s shoes and hands. Men? We know what they look at. 

All kidding aside, like on a first date, your catering prospects will size you up in the first five minutes. How do you sound on the phone? What impression do you make walking in the door for a cookie drop? What about your branding materials? Do your catering menus, flyers and website scream out amateur or give off an impression of trust and professionalism? 

So now that we have targeted the right person to “date” and have gussied up ourselves in the marketing sense, it is time to date.

A woman must be pursued. You must take her out on dates. You must text her and send flowers. You need to put effort into the relationship. 

If you had a shot at dating Heidi Klum, I am guessing you’d pull out all of the stops. 

When it comes to pursuing catering prospects, most people are scared to even pick up the phone and ask for a date. Maybe it’s the fear of rejection. What I do know, is you’d better be prepared to try multiple strategies, multiple times to get in front of that catering decision maker. 

Here are some interesting statistics shared on LinkedIn by a friend of mine, Robert Hartline.

Cold Calls

1. In 2007 it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today it is 8 attempts. (TeleNet & Ovation Sales Group)

2. 78% of decision makers polled have taken an appointment or attended an event that came from an email or cold call. (DiscoverOrg)

3. The early bird gets the worm. 50% of sales go to the first salesperson to contact the prospect. (Insidesales.com)

Lead Nurturing

4. 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after meeting. (Scripted)

5. The average salesperson only makes 2 attempts to reach a prospect (Sirius Decisions), but it takes approximately 7-13 touches to generate a B2B qualified sales lead (Direct Marketing Partners).

6. 92% of salespeople give up after no sales on the 4th call. 60% of customers say no four times before saying yes. (NuGrowth)

7. The number of conversations per passed account increased 15% year-over-year. In other words, SDRs were having more conversations per account (and across contacts) before passing the qualified opportunity. (The Outbound Index)

8. Texting after contact leads to a 112.6% higher lead to engagement conversion. (Velocify)

9. Companies that nurture leads make 50% more sales at a cost 33% less than non-nurtured leads. (Forrester Research)

Voicemails

10. The average voicemail response rate is 4.8%. (InsideSales)

11. A team of 50 sales reps leave approximately 1277 hours of voicemails per month. (RingDNA)

12. 80% of calls go to voicemail, and 90% of first-time voicemails are never returned. (RingLead)

Automation & Sales Processes

13. 80% of the avg. salesperson’s day is spent on non-revenue generating activities. (NuGrowth)

14. Automated & enforced sales processes generate 88% quota attainment (vs. 78% with merely “well documented” processes.) (Velocify)

15. 45% of sales reps say they need help figuring out which accounts to prioritize. (NuGrowth)

16. 20% of sales reps’ time is spent researching, not selling. (NuGrowth)

17. The average salesperson only sells for 90 minutes each day. (NuGrowth)

18. Only 33% of inside sales rep time is spent actively selling. (CSO Insights)

19. 71% of sales reps say they spend too much time on data entry. (Toutapp)

20. According to a Qvidian 2014 Sales Execution Survey, 88% of missed opportunities were caused because sales couldn’t find or leverage internal resources.

21. 42% of sales reps don’t feel they have the information they need before making a call. (NuGrowth)

When I get calls or emails saying our brand of marketing doesn’t work, I should email them this list. No one said there was a short cut to success. The successful companies understand the time and effort it takes to uncover a great long term catering client. 

One or two calls will never get the job done. That’s why we built a Sales Tempo and call recording functionality into our catering software.

What’s a Sales Tempo? It is a series of steps to get in front of the catering decision maker. It’s not enough to just knock on doors or make a few calls.

Selling is a system and most selling systems suck! 

With a Sales Tempo, you have an auto-pilot tool to keep you properly pursuing catering prospects. You can decide how many new catering buyers to target each week. Once in the Sales Tempo, the prospect moves down a marketing assembly line with direct mail, telephone, LinkedIn and face-to-face cookie drop steps. 

You are leaving no stone unturned to get in front of that qualified catering decision maker with a goal of doing a tasting lunch.

Each day you or your catering salesperson walks in, they have a list on their computer screen of who is getting a piece of lead generation mail (3 postcards in the sequence), who to call, who to connect with on LinkedIn and who to visit with a cookie drop.

We save the most expensive and time consuming step as a last resort.

Even if you don’t get in front of the catering buyer with the Sales Tempo, never give up on them. A buyer is a buyer. For every sale I make today, there is another I’ll make in twelve to twenty-four months thanks to drip and follow up marketing. 

Besides a general Sales Tempo, Restaurant Catering Systems is working on a Build Your Own Sales Tempo. This tool will allow you to create your own sequence of sales and marketing steps for specific niches. 

Let’s say you wanted to pursue retailers for Black Friday catering. Load your list of names into the crm, and create your steps. You may send out a postcard five weeks before Black Friday. Then schedule a follow up call to make sure the card was received a week later. A week after that, you may decide to connect on LinkedIn. And a week out from Black Friday, you may blitz the malls and shopping centers with face-to-face sales calls. 

Using a system like this ensures you are following a process to maximize your chance of getting new catering clients. 

If you were developing a dating system for a friend, I am guessing you would come up with different strategies to implement at different time intervals: dates, calls, texts, flowers, surprises, etc. 

Just like real dating, once you catch someone, the effort can’t stop. When you get a regular catering client, you can say you’re at the marriage stage. To have a healthy, happy catering marriage, you can never stop putting in effort. 

Thank you letters, follow up calls, loyalty programs and birthday wishes all go a long way to solidifying your catering marriage. 

Dating can be daunting. Building catering sales can be scary as well. Please mark your calendars for March 7-8, 2016. RCS is putting on a catering conference for clients and non-clients in Nashville next March.

You’ll walk away well equipped to win the catering dating game. 

There will be presentations on sales, marketing and operations. Check out our splash page: www.Caterpalooza.com and be on the lookout for more details. 

Well, that’s all for this issue. 

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success, 

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software 

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

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering software, catering sales, catering marketing, restaurant

How A Restaurant Institution Is Built

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, Aug 6, 2015 @ 09:05 AM

What’s the “one” factor you would like to have to make your restaurant a huge success and give you an unfair advantage over your competitors?

Is it an A+ location? What about a total restaurant makeover? If you had the best staff in town, would that be it?

The answer for me is simple. I would want to be an institution.

Restaurant institutions survive the test of time. Institutions aren’t chasing the fad or buzzword of the day.

Institutions don’t have to overhaul their concepts every ten years to be fresh and relevant.

When I go back to Memphis to visit family and friends, The Rendezvous is one of my favorite institutions. Hardly a thing has changed since I was in middle school. The tables, chairs, tablecloths, décor and uniforms are all the same. 

They’ve added a new menu item or two, but overall a time machine trip back in time would take you to the exact same spot. 

Last week my girlfriend and I took our kids to Florida for a beach vacation. We love to stay on Highway 30A between Destin and Panama City. 

The 30A area is peaceful and lacks to commercialization of Destin and Panama City. It is a great escape.

On this trip, I decided to take everyone to a Panama City institution; Captain Anderson’s. It’s the same restaurant my parents took me to about forty years ago. 

Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect. As a child I remember the restaurant being on the harbor with these large wooden tables that looked like they were carved out of the side of a large wooden vessel; complete with brass hardware and a half inch of shellac.

Back when I went, there were no refills on soft drinks. It was a contest between siblings to see who could make their Shirley Temple last the longest.

I remember long waits and being famished when we were finally seated. I stuffed my face with the crackers and butter our server brought out.

This visit was quite eye opening. Even though they had updated the building and grounds, the dining room was exactly as I remembered. Those nautical tables and décor and the Scotts plaid carpeting. 

I wanted to take my kids to Captain Anderson’s for the nostalgia, not the food. Frankly, I don’t even remember the food. 

The entire evening was eye opening. Captain Anderson’s has it figured out.

They have a gift shop and seafood market in the front of the restaurant to walk through while you’re waiting an hour for your table. 

They own their own boats and offer group fishing charters. I remember my dad taking me on one. 

I wasn’t expecting the food to be better than the great restaurants on 30A, but I was pleasantly surprised. 

Our appetizers were incredible and my grilled grouper was the best I’ve ever had. They cook over charcoal and use a special house seasoning, which I bought in the gift shop and took home. 

I know gas is easier, but nothing beats grilling over charcoal. I am tempted to ditch my gas grill and get a Weber charcoal grill for the backyard.

My son Jerrod ordered their combo platter with grouper and a steak. He loved his meal. In fact, everyone at our table loved their meal. It was probably the best meal of the week.

Based on the crowds still forming forty years after my last visit, Captain Anderson’s has the “institution” thing down pat. 

Is it food, service or ambience? I’m guessing it is a little bit of everything. 

One thing is for sure, I bet they’ve never veered from who they are: fresh seafood cooked up perfectly. Great service. A cool atmosphere. 

To be an institution, you need to draw the parents in, but leave a big impact on the kids. Captain Anderson’s obviously left a big mark on me. So much so that we drove forty-five minutes out of our way. 

Here’s to you making your restaurant into an institution! 

NOTE: Please mark your calendars. Info coming soon. RCS is putting out a catering conference for clients and non-clients in Nashville next March.

There will be presentations on sales, marketing and operations. Check out our splash page: www.Caterpalooza.com and be on the lookout for more details. 

Well, that’s all for this issue. 

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success, 

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software 

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

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

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

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

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

Topics: catering, catering software, catering sales, catering marketing, restaurant

Dig Deep; Not Wide For More Catering

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, Jul 16, 2015 @ 04:10 PM

The other day I received an email with eighteen interesting facts about lead generation. The one that stuck out dealt with the cost of an average B2B lead (business to business).

According to this survey of companies, the average cost of a qualified lead was fifty dollars. Based on my experiences and those of my clients and peers that is a very reasonable number to use in building assumptions. 

If you have to get in front of four qualified prospects to make a sale, you have a two hundred dollar cost of acquiring a new catering client. 

Unless you are selling high end wedding catering, you can’t build your catering business on the back of one-shot events. 

As they say in marketing: you want to go deep; not wide. What this means is that once you’ve earned the trust of a catering client, you want to explore any/all catering opportunities in that organization.

As I write this blog, I am in Portland, Oregon with my girlfriend spending ten days of half work and half play. Her little sister is a manager for Macy’s department store. 

I struck up a conversation about Black Friday catering opportunities and was enlightened to all of the catering opportunities within their store: Black Friday, manager meetings, departmental meetings, corporate visits, training events, customer special events, inventory, etc. 

From ordering a tote of coffee from Starbucks, to breakfast at Panera, to making meals themselves,  my girlfriend’s sister told me they were all over the board with catering solutions. She also told me that if a single caterer could come in and handle it all, they’d probably hand over the catering headache to them. 

Now I have no idea what their budget is. Some events may be highly profitable and others break-even to get the entire book of business. 

My point is most companies have multiple catering opportunities. From holiday parties to staff meetings, you need to dig deeper with each and every catering client. 

Call up your main contact and inquire about the other catered events the company books. 

Offer to bring in a tasting lunch for all of the other catering decision makers. Of course you want to bring in a tasting of your best items that pack a wow.

Bring plenty of catering menus and marketing materials. Make sure and get everyone to complete a basic contact info form. All of these decision makers need to be added to your crm for monthly follow up via phone, mail and/or email. 

When a prospective catering client is enjoying your food it’s the best time to play detective. Channel your inner Sherlock Holmes to uncover their hot buttons. What do they like about their current caterer? What frustrates them? What would they like to see improved? 

Once armed with this long list of hot buttons, use this information to highlight what you can do for them. 

Our natural tendency is to wake up each day looking for new business. By focusing on digging deeper with your existing catering clients, you will dig yourself some valuable oil wells that will take care of you for years to come. 

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

We Can All Use A Dose Of Old Time Religion

Posted by Michael Attias on Thu, Jul 9, 2015 @ 09:09 AM

As many of you know, I was raised in an Orthodox-ish Jewish home. I use the suffix “ish” as a qualifier.

Like many of you, we each bring our own spin to our religions. My family never ate pork in or out of the house. Shellfish was enjoyed on our family trips to Florida and occasionally on paper plates on the back patio fresh off the grill.

We drove on the Sabbath and watched TV. In fact after Saturday morning services, my dad and I would rush home to catch Channel 5 Wrestling with Lance Russel and Dave Brown.

Today, I identify myself as more of a cultural Jew with strong spiritual beliefs. Dogma doesn’t have a spot in my life.

Whether you are Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Buddhist (yes I know there are more religions and some of you don’t practice one), I am guessing through upbringing and your personal path, you practice your special version of your religion.

Though it is considered poor taste to discuss politics or religion, I have no problem with either. In fact religion has been very, very good to me. Aside from the personal benefits from my faith, there is a practicality to getting a dose of old time religion.

Though I don’t have concrete numbers, I have catered many events for/at religious institutions.

My first thousand person plus event was for a groundbreaking of a church down the street from me. They had twelve hundred members hit all at once after morning services. We managed to feed them all in twenty minutes.

I wish I had kept track of all the catering events done for/at religious institutions: fellowship meals after services, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, bible studies, vacation bible schools, church youth, church sports, Friday night dinners, etc.

Like any niche, you want to make a list of all of the religious institutions in your market. Google is a great place to start. You can even rent small lists from Hoovers or InfoUSA.

 Call each institution to find out the name of the catering decision maker. Though there is no set catering decision maker, get the name of the executive director. They will be the door opener to volunteers and professionals who can help you book events.

 For instance, wouldn’t it be great to get in front of all of the parents having a Bar/Bat Mitzvah over the next twelve months. The executive director of the temple can put you in touch with the person in charge of educating the children going through this lifecycle event.

 Often times all of the families will get together for an open house.

 The deeper you dig into religion, the more niches you’ll find to target.

 Fear not. I’m not trying to convert you to my religion, but rather to become a born again marketer.

Can I have an Amen?    

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

The Arnold Schwarzenegger Success Principle

Posted by Michael Attias on Wed, Jul 1, 2015 @ 08:29 AM

About nine months ago I bought a VW Jetta GLI. This six speed manual sporty car is my escape. As I work from home, any outing is an excuse to bring out my inner Mario Andretti. Just the other day I was hitting this backroad near my home enjoying the twists and turns, while my girlfriend was looking for a barf bag.

 When I bought the car, it came with a three month subscription to Sirius satellite radio. The Howard Stern Show is the only reason I have kept the subscription going. Besides his high jinx, I really like listening to his interviews.

His guests are fascinating, and he does an incredible job getting them to open up.

Last week I was listening to Howard interview Arnold Schwarzenegger. They were talking about the new Terminator movie coming out, his political career and about bodybuilding. 

Howard asked Arnold how he was able to become so successful in bodybuilding. After all, the information at the time was probably limited. Body building was in its infancy and the internet was nonexistent.

Arnold told Howard he got his hands on any magazine or book he could dealing with bodybuilding. He devoured each page and tested out the tips in a very scientific manner.

He made note of what worked for him and what didn’t. He made adjustments until he came out with the perfect workout for him. Keep in mind, a body builder is literally working each muscle or muscle group to get the desired results.

If Arnold needed larger calves, he would need to apply specific strategies to make that happen.

My goal is not to recruit you to bodybuilding, but rather to self-improvement and higher profits.

If you want to run a more profitable restaurant, the answer is easily within your reach. Want to learn how to be a better marketer or salesperson? No problem. 

When I first discovered the world of direct marketing, it was via a guy named Jay Abraham. That first five thousand dollar seminar led me to other mentors and hours upon hours of listening to tapes and cd’s, reading books and attending seminars. 

All told I may have invested fifty grand or more in my marketing education. That doesn’t even account for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing tests I conducted at my restaurant.

Looking at my bookshelf, I see a marketing book written in the early 1900’s.

As smart as any one of us thinks we are, there is a whole world of smarts waiting to be tapped into.

My rule of thumb is simple. If I can get one good idea, it’s well worth the investment. 

I remember reading a marketing book and getting an upsell script I applied to my drive-thru window. That upsell brought in an extra twenty-five grand a year in sales; well worth the money and time to read the book. 

My son Jerrod used to look like the ninety-eight pound weakling who got sand kicked in his face in the old Charles Atlas ads in the back of comic books. 

About three years ago, he dedicated himself to bulking up and adding muscle. He immersed himself in technique, diet and supplement education. 

Frankly, he looks amazing. And it’s thanks to hard work and endless education. 

Just about all my friends who have reached success, whether in pursuit of a personal or professional goals, invest the time and effort into learning from those who came before them. 

My business coach is a big marathoner and studies how great marathoners train.

When you wake up in the morning, what gets you fired up? Where does your true passion lie? 

I am not advocating that sales and marketing should be what gets you excited, but success in that arena leads to profits. Those newfound profits lead to the extra money to pursue your passion. 

In the spirit of The Arnold Schwarzenegger Success Principle, I hope you’ll make plans to attend my catering webinar next week. 

Do you wonder why some operators consistently do between 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

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

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