Category Archives: Catering Sales

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 

Tagged , , , , , ,

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!

 

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

Catering Sales Tactics you should try tomorrow!

All Proceeds of the Book Go To Share Our Strength

When we talk about the 5 Pillars of Successful Restaurant Catering at the MMS Catering Institute, active selling is the one pillar of focus that has the power to truly lead your restaurant catering business forward. To properly service your catering customers, your catering sales team needs to become very good at business-to-business selling. You will need to build key relationships within your community and its corporate sector, and you will need to become experts at feeding your customers where they live, work and play.

Every day, in every city across North America, people are having meetings, celebrations, seminars and many other types of events that require catering services. To reach these potential catering opportunities, your sales team(s) must understand the following key catering sales tactics that are designed to showcase your team as brand ambassadors for your catering products and services throughout the communities you serve.

1. Sample selling: The Promo Package. Being in the food business, the best way for people to get to know your products and services is to provide tasting samples to those you are trying to sell to. This can be done through your delivery drivers, who are already out in the community canvassing for leads while they are looking for new businesses to sell to.

Your sample offering should be in a fixed package and should be consistent each and every time. Keep in mind that the objective of this sales effort is not to buy your prospects breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is simply to introduce them to your products and services. Deliver these sample packages at off-peak hours and establish policies and procedures for your sample-selling program. Promotional packages should always be scheduled around your main meal times and the package you send should be standardized across all your restaurants.

If you do a good job of packaging your sampler product, you will get your prospects to think of your brand the next time they need catering services. When this happens, make sure your internal catering team members are experts at taking catering orders and executing those orders in a way that leaves your customers satisfied and happy.

2. Cold calling and telephone work. While cold calling is an old-school method of sales, in the case of selling catering services it really works. If you have a well-known brand in your community, cold calling can be an effective and powerful tool for lead generation and market awareness. Train your catering sales team on the art of cold calling and give them a sales script they can follow. If you’re an operator with 100+ units, consider outsourcing your cold calling services to a lead generation company. There are many to choose from.

Cold calls and traditional telephone work are great ways to find out information about your potential catering clients. Telephone work is also a great way to keep up with your current customer database. This serves a different purpose than cold calls because it’s about rewarding your customers who are already using your catering services. For example, if you reach out to a customer who hasn’t ordered from you for a while, you can find out why and whether or not they had a bad experience from you or perhaps they moved to another company. If the catering client has moved on, find out who the new person is and re-start the connection by offering them a promotional sample package. Additionally, you can now call your previous contact with the aim of re-establishing the relationship as well, at their new place of employment.

Keeping on top of these changes takes ongoing effort, but I cannot say enough about the positive benefits you will receive by being diligent and consistent on the phone. The telephone remains an important tool for your brand and you should not be afraid to use it.

3. Traditional Advertising. This medium is being utilized more and more by major brands looking to increase the visibility of their off-premise catering programs. If you already have a successful brand, you know about all of the avenues of traditional advertising available to you. Use billboard, radio and/or television ads to deliver a strong brand message surrounding your restaurant’s catering program. Make sure each ad has a direct call to action and watch the top-line sales of your catering program grow.

4. Walk-in catering sales. While your walk-in catering customers have the potential to disrupt the flow of your in-store operation, you don’t want to lose out on this customer opportunity. To make sure your walk-in catering clients are well serviced, you need to make a decision on how to best handle these sales at the store-level.

The best model when this happens is to direct your customers to an in-store catering specialist who is trained and able to handle these customers with care and accuracy. By redirecting walk-in catering clients to a single point of contact within your 4 walls, you will substantially raise the catering service bar and will have a much better chance at providing a predictable, consistent and scalable catering process. This leads to more trust, which is a key component toward closing a catering sale.

5. Referrals. In many cases, word of mouth is the No. 1 sales tool when it comes to acquiring new catering customers. It is simple to acquire referrals and is extremely effective when prospecting for new customers. As part of your standard customer service process, make a follow-up call for every catering order that is delivered. Ask for more business, and more importantly; ask them to send you a referral!

The goal of this call is to thank your catering customer for their order and to find out if there are any issues that need to be addressed. If the customer is satisfied with the services that your company provided, take the next step and ask for referrals. And if the referral turns into a relationship, take the time to thank your original customer and then give them some kind of compensation for the business. This will encourage them to let others know how great your brand is and creates another opportunity for cross-pollinating your retail business with your catering operations. If you compensate them with a gift card for your retail locations, you continue the sales cycle and drive more traffic into your stores.

It’s a win-win for everyone.

Tagged , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,950 other followers

%d bloggers like this: