The Takeout, Delivery & Catering Show – A podcast for Foodservice Operators

Hi there,

Well, I finally have my studio going again and I’m really excited to be working on some brand new content to help foodservice operators get their minds wrapped around their Takeout, Delivery & Catering Strategies.

My work for the last 20 years through MonkeyMedia Software, The Catering Institute and Off-Premise Insights has been focused on helping Restaurant & Foodservice Operators to understand the paradigm shift of managing a new operating model to incorporate off premises sales.

Please feel free to send me your feedback.

Here is a link to my show.  We have completed 27 episodes or you to listen to. Hope you enjoy!

You can listen here.

 

Corner Bakery Moves System-Wide Catering Operations into the Cloud

Hi There,

I hope this note finds you well.  My team at the MonkeyGroup  continues to work with amazing foodservice operators to help them grow sales and increase profits with Takeout, Delivery & Catering.

We are especially proud of this announcement today as Corner Bakery is one of the gold standard brands when it comes to catering.  The strategy is deep in their culture and 25-30% of their sales are catering.

And so, I will enjoy this news today, and I hope you will too!

Check out the announcement here.

If you are looking to accelerate your off premise sales, reach out to us.

Leadership is the #1 Pillar for successful Restaurant Catering – It begins with the CEO

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I’m very proud of both my teams at MonkeyMedia Software and The Catering Institute.  For the last 20 years we have focused on a single business strategy called the 5 Pillars of Successful Takeout, Delivery and Catering.  All of our products and services are focused on helping restaurant operators to grow sales and increase profits through feeding their customers where the LIVE, WORK & PLAY.

Through our consulting and coaching, and our curriculum and technology, we have been able to provide a sound business framework that is scalable and predictable to the Fazoli’s team.  I want to point out here that the ONLY reason it is working is because of the leadership and franchisees at Fazoli’s.  They are leveraging it properly and are applying it methodically.  This is yielding exemplary results.

Yesterday, Fazoli’s put a statement out to the marketplace that they are doubling down on technology and catering.  I am not posting it here to boast, but simply to call out that because of Carl Howard’s leadership and the conviction of his whole team, they are moving the needle for their franchisees in a meaningful way.

For me, it’s always been about the people and I am blessed to be able to work with the leadership team at Fazoli’s.

The article is below:

Fazoli’s, The Catering Institute and MonkeyMedia Software Announce Strategic Partnership to Deliver Takeout, Delivery and Catering Solutions to Franchisees

 

UBEReats kills off instant delivery – April 19, 2016

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Hello everyone.  Sorry I have been remiss with posting.  I’ve been running hard with our growth at The Catering Institute, MonkeyMedia Software and Catering Insights.

Saw this article today:  UBER kills of Instant Delivery

As we all know by now, delivery and logistics for getting our food to consumers is a challenge.  I have always maintained that the business model for off-premise sales is evolving to a place where our restaurant community MUST understand the right business strategy behind takeout, delivery and catering.

As operators, our restaurant community is being bombarded with 3rd party delivery companies who claim to be the “next best thing” for the restaurant industry.  These companies are being funded with millions and millions of dollars of VC capital, and they have spent ALOT on sales and marketing.  Their objective?  To see if they can ramp up adoption of their technology and services by consumers.  This in turn, would provide them with enough business leverage to “squeeze” restaurateurs and force them to list their brands within the delivery companies ecosystem.

I have known for years that the business model for delivery ONLY works with large occasion group orders.  And so, when it comes to these types of orders, I argue that the consumer solution that restaurants need to focus on is “Catering” and not large scale “Takeout”.  Why?  The reasons lie in the subtlety of the business strategy.  

The differentiation between your “takeout” products and your “catering” products is a key component to achieving success with your off-premise business strategy.  If done properly, menu optimization is a critical step towards designing a consumer solution that your brand can scale.  A platter of sandwiches is a completely different product than a single sandwich in a bag, for example.  To continue, a fruit platter requires a completely different manufacturing, assembly and packaging process when compared to making individual fruit cups.

To this end, I am a BIG believer , that because of the inherant risks that come with large value orders, restaurant companies are far better off ramping up and controlling their own deliveries for the catering channel.

This brings up the big question for our community.  How do we manage “delivery for takeout orders?”

Well, one answer might be, focus on defining your catering program and the differentiation between takeout and catering.  Then, when your customers want delivery, drive them to your catering channel for easier and a more predictable experience.

How do you make this paradigm shift in your organization?  Listen to these wise words from Fred LeFranc, the founder at Results Through Strategy.  He specializes in helping companies to make this kind of shift in their thinking.

Your customers and your operations will thank you for it.

Who is driving your off-premise business strategy?  UBER?  Door dash?  Postmates? ….. I hope not.

Let’s talk catering!

Grub hub? Doordash? Uber? Postmates? Dispatch?- Stop wasting your time

 

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OK.  I am going to upset a lot of people with this post tonight.  I’ve been at this for far too long and have watched our customers work way to hard to grow their restaurant companies.  And so, I’m throwing my hat into the ring on this 3rd party delivery issue.

As a restaurateur, are you feeling confused about your options of how to handle 3rd party delivery services?  Are you being bombarded by Doordash, Postmates, UberEATS and so many other providers promising you the moon?  Promising you more sales?

Well, good luck with all that!  It’s a shakedown!  None of these services are adding value or growing your sales.  It’s a ticking time bomb.

Read this article in the Washington Post last week, “Not All Restaurants Are Fans of Food Delivery Services“.  The author does a great job at demonstrating how restaurants are losing control over their brand and off-premise experience.

I applaud In n’ out Burger for taking a stand and suing these guys for misrepresenting their brand.

Need more?  Check out these employment reviews about Doordash one of the darlings of the industry.  That’s a whole lot of bad will right there.  These are the people that are delivering your brand to the consumer.  Do you really want your restaurant to be reflected this way?

Here is another guy, taking to Youtube to show how Doordash is messing him up.

Postmates?  No better.  Check out this reality.

And then there are these guys!  These heavy hitters are claiming that they are going to revolutionize the business.  Not a restaurant operator in the bunch.  Technology engineers that are pitching their “fast growth” stories to Wall street and getting billions of dollars in funding.  Do they have any appreciation for restaurant operations?

None of these companies seem to care about your restaurant operations.  If they did, they would appreciate how complicated they are making things for restaurants.   As a matter of fact, they are working hard to further disrupt your restaurant operations, and they are taking a piece of the action while they do it.  And because this is a technology play, people will get super rich in the process.  This has Dot Com all over it.  The business model is doomed.

Well, I am really concerned about where this is going.  It’s a runaway train and it’s going to create dismal economics for our industry.  A lot of restaurant companies are going to go out of business in the process.

Let me share with you that I have worked in restaurants for more than 20 years.  And I can tell you, delivery for takeout is (and always has been) a challenge.

Let’s work on an example:

  1.  Let’s take a transaction of $12.00 (sandwich, drink and cookie)
  2. If you are a GREAT operator, your gross margins are at best 35%.
  3. This gives you a gross profit of $4.20
  4. 3rd party delivery services are charging 18% – 25% as a commission.
  5. This equates to $2.16 to $3.00
  6. This reduces your gross profit to $2.04 – $1.20.
  7. Your realized gross margin is actually 17% – 10%, depending on your arrangement.
  8. If you look at the math, you will actually see that with this scheme, you are splitting 50% or more of your gross profit with these services.  It’s just not affordable.

Now, I can tell you from experience that with a gross margin this dismal, it is impossible to make any money on this transaction.  In fact, I might argue that you will lose money on this transaction and you are better off not taking the business.  This is steep discounting.  It’s not going to work.

So go ahead!  Ramp up your takeout delivery business with these 3rd party players and watch your profits fly out the back door.  Watch your customers walk out the door and watch as you lose total control over your takeout business.  BEWARE!

Here are some additional facts:

  1.  The customer is not yours.  The customer belongs to the 3rd party delivery company.  The orders are being placed in their database and systems.
  2. Depending on your agreement, the more you pay and the more transactions you allow, the higher your listing and more visible your restaurant is on their websites.  They will drive more “non profitable” business your way.
  3. Not one of these 3rd party companies is making any money.  They are ALL being funded by Venture Capital and Private Equity.
  4. The business model is not sound.  Neither restaurants or the delivery companies can sustain this model.
  5. Their valuations are starting to decline.

Conclusion:

If you want to deeply discount your products and quickly cannibalize your sales, sign up for these 3rd party delivery services today.  It’s a sure way to lose your money, and fast.  Oh, they will bring you a “ton of sales”.  Thats for sure.  But you will lose money on each one.  Good luck with that.

Delivery for takeout has always been a challenge because the cost of distribution is prohibitive.  Delivery for catering works because the order values make sense.  You can afford to absorb the cost of distribution when an order is a few hundred dollars.

Saying that, do you want this guy doing your catering delivery?  Seriously?

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This topic is complex.  My recommendation for restaurants is that they should focus on the basics.  Do what you do well.  Focus on your core business strategies and don’t run head on into a technology gold rush.

If you want to do delivery, then do it yourself.  Do a good job.  Take good care of your customers and just do a good job.  Pizza operators have done that forever.  Just ask them.

Focus on a solid catering and takeout program and take care of the last mile yourself.

My two cents.

 

 

 

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!

 

 

The Best Reward And Loyalty Programs for your Catering Customers

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Here is an article I wrote that was recently published in Franchise Grade –

When it comes to catering out of restaurants, our industry still has trouble defining who our target customers are. At a surface level we continue to think of our catering customers as professionals, such as sales representatives, administrative assistants and pharmaceutical representatives, that are all in need of an exceptional off-premise catering experience where they live, work and play.

While that is true, I’d like to provide you with a different perspective.

I’d like you to consider that your catering customers are no different than your in-store customers. All your in-store customers can purchase or influence the ordering of catering. The thing is, your in-store customers are a diverse group of decision makers, and each of them has a need to feed others in their lives. We have discussed over and over that restaurants need to focus on a single consumer who is loyal to a brand, but is making different buying decisions depending on their needs at that time.

With that framework in mind, I’d like you to reconsider what the right strategy is when it comes to rewarding your customers for catering versus in-store transactions.

We all know that frequency builds routine habits and we also know that restaurant reward and loyalty programs drive increased frequency into your restaurant locations. Just check out the myriad of great reward and loyalty solutions now available in the marketplace. They all focus on the retail transaction, although that is now changing.

From the perspective of your catering clients, if you focus your operations on “flawless execution” the more your customers will trust that you can provide professional and reliable catering services. As a reward, theywill refer you to their colleagues, friends and families.

Commonly used rewards tactics are a way to “surprise and delight”your catering customers in the same way consumers strive to receive their Starbucks Gold cards or MyPanera cash rewards. However, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind that are relevant to catering rewards tactics.

1. Rewards can build on loyalty, but a brand must deliver all-around value, service and flawless execution.

2. Be careful navigating your ‘kick-back’ perception. This is a delicate dance.

3. Decouple your catering rewards program from your in-store loyalty program.

4. Provide reward options that include free product for personal or catering transactions.

5. Provide loyalty redemption options that include 3rd party gift benefits, such as prepaid Visa cards.

6. Provide your customers with the option to select which program they prefer

While a lot of brands use existing retail rewards programs to service catering customers we must remember that a catering transaction is not the same as a take out transaction. Catering is its own business and every aspect of that business needs to be treated separately when it comes to loyalty and rewards. You need to create and implement a different program for your catering transactions because the key business drivers are completely different.

Your strategic goal should be to maintain loyalty and frequency over the long term because you’re selling much more than the specific benefits your customers need. You are selling value, reliability and convenience, not price.

Surprise and delight your customers as it pertains to loyalty and think about a layered approach based on dollars spent. And remember: To be effective in surprise and delight, you really need to know your customer. Establish initial and valuable trust in the beginning of your catering relationships and offer rewards also based on referrals as an effective way to meet and acquire new guests.

Stop thinking about the relationship with your customer as a transactional one and offer rewards that showcase their incentives each month. Once you do, you will be better able to evoke an emotional response from the reward because you are reaching your clients by offering items that mean more to them. Make it personal.

Today, we’re living in a world where customers are extremely social and technology allows them to be social on a scalable basis. Social allows marketers to tap into a customer networks in the real sense, which also drives referrals.

Customers love when a brand understands them. So give them something your catering customers can’t resist. This will increase frequency and, in turn, your catering profits.

Let’s talk catering!