Category Archives: Catering Marketing – External

Erle’s Top 13 Reasons Why a Restaurant Catering Operation Fails

letstalkrestaurantcatering

Erle Dardick, CEO & Founder of the Catering Institute and MonkeyMedia Software

I was looking at some old files today and then I found this fun image that my friend Mike Tyler made for me a few years ago!  Those were from the days long before the Catering Institute!  Life is so much different today…. As the Catering Institute continues to evolve, so do I!

Today at the institute, we have successfully trained more than 2000 satisfied foodservice students using our various classes and curriculum.  We have also had tens of thousands of restaurateurs download our various resources, articles, essays and webinars.  Check out this video to see how much fun we have during our training sessions.

Much of my work these days in our software division,  MonkeyMedia Software ,is to remind and teach our team to remain true to the key principles that we have documented using the business framework of the ‘5 Pillars of Successful Restaurant Catering‘.

The way I see it, our software division has a core client responsibility.  They must use the 89 characteristics of the 5 Pillars to benchmark the operations.   (Call me at 604-831-7422 if you’d like to discuss the characteristics).  Using our scoring systems allows the group to decide as to whether or not a restaurant company is ready to implement our world class technology into restaurant operations.  We have so much experience now to know that  companies that are trying to implement sophisticated technology on top of poor business processes, are not suited for a successful implementation.  They must score high on the 89 characteristics that we have documented to succeed with software implementation.

And so of course the story goes.  It is the 89 characteristics that the Catering Institute will to continue to work on…..

And so, this leads me to today’s list of reasons why I believe off-premise programs fail.  I’m sure there are dozens more that we could add.  Here goes…..

1.  Lack of a documented takeout, delivery & catering strategy 

2.  Inability to establish standard operating procedures.  Management of off-premise business by “seat of the pants”

3.  Frequent critical incidents “putting out fires is common practice”

4.  No focus on takeout, delivery & catering as its own business unit

5.  Lack of investment

6.  Lack of  leadership and catering business experience

7.  No Separation of Menu Items between takeout and catering

8.  No differentiation in packaging between takeout and catering

9.  Too many service gaps

10.  Lack of catering authenticity

11.  Lack of management commitment to catering

12.  Lack of operational evaluation tools

13.  Inability to start entrepreneurial businesses 

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Want to grow your catering sales? Ask Your PepsiCo Sales Representative How!

PepsiCo Portfolio

For the last 18 years I have been helping restaurants to grow off-premise sales through MonkeyMedia Software , The Catering Institute and Catering Insights.  I am so lucky to do the work that I do.

My passion for this space came out of my own deli in Vancouver, BC where I spent many years as an owner operator.  I experienced success in providing more takeout, delivery & catering to my customers and ended up developing Monkey, The # 1 Cloud Platform for Takeout, Delivery & Catering.  Today we support more than 5000 restaurants in North America and we are growing nicely!

In addition to our software, The Catering Institute continues to develop fantastic curriculum to help restaurants implement the strategy of the 5 Pillars of Successful Restaurant Catering.  We are deeply committed to education in the off-premise space and we are so excited about what we are seeing happen with catering from our industry’s most important suppliers!

Allow me to explain.

To me, catering out of restaurants is going through the same market dynamics that drive thru did in the 1970’s.  Here is what happened:

1.  Markets shifted and innovation by restaurateurs came first.  It was just an idea.

2.  Technology caught up and made it easier for restaurateurs to grow drive thru operations.

3.  The largest supply chain companies in the world got behind the innovations and investments and pushed towards helping our community to grow more sales and profits in this channel.

These three key factors made it easier for restaurant companies to grow drive thru sales and the more we prevailed, the more consumers rewarded us with their business.

Fast forward to 2015.  It’s happening again!  But this time, the sales channel is catering!

The same dynamics are happening with the entire off-premise business opportunity, especially with Catering.

1.  Restaurants have been trying to cater for years.  Early innovation.

2.  Technology (like ours) is helping to make it easier to cater.

3.  Supply chain Partners are investing and helping

And so, as I sit here today contemplating why the largest supply chain companies in the world need to help our community, I call your attention to the great work that PepsiCo Foodservice is doing in the restaurant space.

You see, they are not only innovating fantastic products under their portfolio for takeout, delivery & catering, but in fact, they are diving deep into helping restaurant operators with their overall off-premise business strategy.  They are investing resources into helping their customers do more takeout, delivery & catering.

To me, this is what sets companies like PepsiCo apart from their competitors.  They are forward thinking and not just focused on selling more of their products to their customers.  They are deeply engaged in learning and completely focused on helping their customers to grow sales and increase profits by educating them to become experts at feeding their customers where they Live, Work & Play!

Want to grow your catering sales?  Call your PepsiCo Sales Representative today and ask them how!

Let’s talk catering!

 

 

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Our community is confused about restaurant takeout & catering – Segment Markets

blog-marketsegment1-150110I’m flying at 35,000 feet enjoying the modern miracle of Wifi on airplanes. I just spent the last week of my life visiting restaurant companies in the Northeast corner of the US.  I feel honoured to be called upon by some of the biggest restaurant companies in the world to help them with their catering and off premise business operations.  I am very lucky to do the work that comes with my job as Founder & CEO at MonkeyMedia Software and The Catering Institute.

I have been thinking deeply about catering & takeout out of restaurants for the last two decades.  I’ve written about it, made videos about it, presented at conferences about it and have been evangelizing to our community that our consumers will continue to demand services for our restaurant brands  where they Live, Work & Play.  The off premise business opportunity for restaurants will continue to grow and increase in complexity.

In my world, I see complex manufacturing dynamics in all of the restaurants I spend time in.  The way I see it, when it comes to feeding our customers where they Live, Work and Play, there are only two core service channels. (Takeout and Catering).

Now, to be clear, what I am proposing is a framework for every restaurant to consider when it comes to segmenting it’s markets, so that our operations can adapt to the complexity of order entry, conversation, manufacturing and distribution.  Depending on the service channel for off-premise restaurant services & products, our operations will react and behave differently based on the occasion and order dynamics.  Saying that, here’s the rub…. Our customers are not experts!  We are!  The look to us to tell them what to order when.  And so, we will only succeed with flawless execution and our customers expect us to know our business better than them.  And so, as experts, we have to recommend the right things, for the right occasion, every single time.

There is a lot to discuss here, and I am going to self publish and essay on this topic where it will be available at the Catering Institute, because I think this is the single biggest challenge that our restaurant community faces when it comes to maximizing transaction volume for our off-premise sales opportunities.

Here is what I want to say…… Language matters!  And it matters a lot.  If our operations are unclear on how to direct our guests based on their service demand and feeding occasion, then can you imagine how confused our guests are going to be when they place their orders?  I can tell you that serving multiple markets out of a single restaurant is absolutely daunting.  But, it’s also absolutely possible!

So, as you open the doors to your restaurant(s) tomorrow, I want you to think about segmenting your takeout and catering opportunities based on the market and consumer demand for more products & services for your brand.

Dine In, Takeout, Delivery, Curbside, Catering, Event Catering, Food Trucks, Online Ordering, and Group Ordering are all examples of market segmentations and the use of language.  There are probably 100’s more that we have not thought about yet!  Now you can see the complexity here!  To many things going on at once, and not enough team members inside our organizations that understand the dynamics.  This lack of understanding leads to chaos inside our organizations.  We have to work on this together.

To me, it’s about feeding your customers where they Live, Work & Play.  It’s about getting your customers to spend more money with your brand more often.  It’s about making your brand loyalists aware of these horizontal services and getting them to think of you at the right time, for the right occasion.

Takeout and Catering are closely related cousins.  Both can be available for pickup or delivery.  Both of these order types can be placed online, through mobile devices, through kiosks, in-store or on the telephone.

So, I ask you, how are you segmenting those services in your restaurants and what are the best practices for the order to cash cycle of each type of transaction?  I can tell you, if you don’t frame the conversation properly for your customers, they are going to walk away with a negative experience.

From what I see every single day in the field, few brands, if any are doing a good job at explaining this to their internal teams or to their customers.  And so, the result is confusing and less than stellar.

Until we take the time to properly segment our markets, and develop language internally and externally that makes sense, we will continue to make it hard on ourselves.

I am going to spend some time thinking more about what I can do to help our community frame this dynamic properly so that we can set ourselves up for success and grow the off-premise sales channel for restaurants.

I’d love to hear from you on this topic.

 

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