Category Archives: Catering Strategy

Restaurant Catering Leadership Workshop in New Orleans – March 9 & 10, 2016

UnknownDuring 2016, I will celebrate my 20th year as the Founder and CEO at both The Catering Institute & MonkeyMedia Software.  We continue to grow.  Today, almost 6000 restaurants use our technology to power their takeout, delivery and catering operations.  We have processed billions of dollars of transactions and we have 10 of thousands of users.  I am so proud of my team and so grateful to do the work that I do each and every day.

At the Catering Institute, our training products also continues to evolve.  I am so grateful to our ongoing sponsors for their support which allow us to put these events on for restaurant operators.  PepsiCo Foodservice, Punchh, and Voice Teleservices to name just a few.

On October 13, 2015 we hosted our second Catering Sales Management Workshop in Dallas and the results were fantastic!  More than 150 attendees from 100 different brands gathered for a day of sales training and learning. Check out the video here.


I am proud to announce our next workshop topic in our series.  Restaurant Catering Leadership Development.

Our community needs an incredible amount of support when it comes to catering out of our restaurants and developing leaders remains a key passion and initiative forward for our organization.  I hope you will attend, or at least have someone from your organization join us in New Orleans.

Please join us in New Orleans on March 9 & 10th, 2016 for two full days packed with activities, learning and networking with some of the industry’s best minds when it comes to the off-premise business channel for restaurants.

To register for this intimate and limited attendance event, visit or feel free to reach out directly to me at 604-831-7422 with any questions.

Early Bird Discount available until December 31, 2015.


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Restaurant Catering Sales Tip #214 – Opening the Sales Call


At the Catering Institute, we are focused on helping restaurant operators to grow sales and increase profits by educating their people to be experts at feeding their customers where they Live, Work & Play.  Here and idea for your catering sales team.  Feel free to pass it along!

Always start off a catering sales call by covering 3 things:

1. Make sure your customers/prospects understand how long the call will take.  NEVER go past that time!

2. Make sure the customer knows what the objective of the call is.  Be clear and always close with that objective in mind.

3. Relate the reason for the current sales call to the previous sales call you had with the person, or to information you may have sent them in the past.

Connecting the current sales call to something previous gives the customer the comfort of knowing you remember fully everything that may have already occurred. This also gives the customer the comfort of knowing you respect their time.

Let’s talk catering!

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


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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