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

5 Pillars_slide

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

images

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!

Eliminate Complacency To Build A Thriving Catering Business

Complacency

Like any business, over time, a restaurant’s takeout, delivery and catering operation can grow inefficient. This is especially true if profitability has been high and cash flow is positive. When a business lacks urgency, it can suffer. Even in large multinational companies, at the divisional level, there needs to be urgency for the enterprise to thrive.

The most efficient place for a business to operate is just above break-even. If your enterprise is thriving above break even, then please don’t leave excess operating cash in your bank account. Not ever! Too much cash creates complacency in a business. If your catering operation is generating cash, then take the cash out and either reinvest it in the operations, pay down debt or simply put it away for another day. If you leave the cash in your business account, complacency will creep in. It will destroy your momentum.

When complacency sets in, your people will get tired, stressed and lose their sense of purpose. Many of the behaviors that made you successful in the earlier and hungrier days may disappear. When complacency sets in, it is time for change. And change is hard for everyone. But change is necessary to keep your business efficient.

In fact, change is essential in order to grow.  People, products, markets, customers and processes are dynamic and must change in order to adapt and grow. Nothing stays the same forever and if it does, it can easily lose its relevance and complacency will settle in. It’s just human nature.

We have all heard the terms before. Reorganize, downsize and streamline are all words that are common in business and is part of the dynamic and organic nature of an organization. And while these words are often discussed in business matters, they do serve a purpose.

My father used to tell me that every once in awhile, a person needs to get a haircut to grow healthier hair. And even more so, if your hair is getting out of control or wild, “don’t worry, it always grows back,” he said.

If your restaurant takeout, delivery and catering business is struggling, or if you just can’t seem to meet your budget expectations, I’d recommend a “haircut.” We’ve all been there, and as hard as it is, your business will grow again when you are on the other side of it. Take your operations down to the most common denominator and go from there.

Reorganize at the executive and divisional level. Downsize your expenses and personnel if necessary and streamline your operational processes. These steps are not easy, but they are important for keeping your business and your people on track. Don’t be afraid to raise your prices, renegotiate your supplies and leases and most important, reset the expectations for your team members. Yes, you can renegotiate their compensation packages. Put some urgency back into their day. It will serve them well.

Within my own organization I am sometimes reminded of my father’s words. And when that happens I quickly look to myself and my team to make sure complacency hasn’t set in. If it has, we work together to figure out how we got there and how we can move in a more positive direction. We change things. That’s what we do.

I’ve been in business for more than 30 years and I can attest to the fact that “haircuts” are needed even when we don’t think they are. My intuition usually tells me when it’s time to “shake it up.” I can promise you that I’ve always come out on the other side with a stronger sense of purpose for the business and the team members that are resilient enough to change follow along.

If you need to make a change In your restaurant’s takeout, delivery and catering operation, don’t wait until complacency creeps in. Just do it!  Your whole organization will grow just like you originally intended. Oh, and one more thing, remind everyone that it won’t be the last time because change is good and is essential to surviving in any business.

Restaurant Catering: An industry commitment

For the last 16 years as CEO at MonkeyMedia Software and the MMS Catering Institute, I have been hyper-focused on a single transformative idea. Catering out of restaurants.

I am proud to say that today, we support more than 5000 restaurants with our restaurant catering software and our consulting/education services.

I have always maintained, that the more our industry commits to this business strategy, the more we will get consumers to spend more money with us.

To demonstrate commitment, look at the high quality of the videos below. Each is specific and speaks highly to the commitment our industry is making to restaurant catering.

Think “Carpe Diem: Seize the Day” when it comes to catering!

Carpe Diem - Seize The Day

When I was a kid in Montreal, Canada I used to walk around the block knocking on doors and ask to shovel sidewalks and driveways to make a few quarters. On one occasion, I actually shovelled the snow on my neighbours walkway before I knocked on the door.  Luckily, I got paid anyways!  Not bad considering I was only 10 years old at the time.

In 1734, Richard Cantillon defined entrepreneurs as “non-fixed income earners who pay known costs of production but earn uncertain incomes”.   I mention this because shoveling snow in those days, was the beginning of when I got the buzz of providing services for an uncertain reward.

And while an element of risk is a fundamental part of entrepreneurism, I believe that the true essence of being an entrepreneur is carpe diem.

Carpe diem, to seize the day, is an old Latin saying that is commonly used in English and is a very important aspect of all business. In business, windows of opportunity rarely stay open for long so every second counts.

At MonkeyMedia Software and the MMS Catering Institute we do our best to take hold of every moment because we know that you can never get back wasted time.

Catering is the restaurant industry’s equivalent of carpe diem because, very much like a certain young kid walking around shoveling driveways, it brings our services directly to the customer.

When you wake tomorrow, think carpe diem when it comes to catering out of your restaurants!

Need Catering Sales? Learn to Close from “The Bronzer” – Stu Larkin

Someone on my team at MonkeyMedia Software sent me this fantastic mini-documentary about a great sales guy.  He’s always “closing”.  Send it to your catering sales managers.  They’ll love it!

It’s basic, simple and true.  I love the part in the middle where he talks about his different closing techniques…. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  At the very least, call Stu to bronze your shoes!

Stu Larkin is a dying breed: one of the last traveling salesmen left in America. He travels the country taking orders for bronzed baby shoes, which has been a popular American tradition for over 80 years. This short documentary follows a quirky and passionate character as he provides a rare insight into his craft, human nature and small town Americana.

 

 

 

A paradigm shift for growing catering sales in a franchise ecosystem

Franchising

Growing restaurant catering sales inside a franchise ecosystem

Through my work at MonkeyMedia Software , I’m inspired to write this essay to address the ongoing confusion, distress, frustration and communication disconnect that I often see inside many franchise systems that I work with, when it comes to growing catering sales on top of current franchisee assets.

I feel obligated to share these thoughts with our restaurant community, because I have been very fortunate to not only come to understand the business challenges, but in fact, I have been given the opportunity to solve for these business challenges through my work in the restaurant industry.

 I am not trying to lay blame on these issues.  I simply wish to bring visibility to the reasons why I think things might be the way they are when it comes to growing catering sales, and I wish to propose a solution or perspective that perhaps we may not have considered.

 I hope you will send me your thoughts on the subject matter below.

There are no secrets, but intellectual property counts

It’s no big secret that the franchising model for growing restaurant companies continues to be a key driver in our industry. Just look around. Everyone is franchising. After all, who wouldn’t want to collect an ongoing annuity based royalty for the licensing of valuable intellectual property?  The restaurant industry is no different from the music industry, the movie industry or even the software industry.  It’s an industry full of creativity, processes, proprietary flavors and culture. It only makes good business sense to leverage those items  across the globe . At least, it looks that way on paper. It’s easy, right?  The plan is critical.

A franchisee is an important animal in the restaurant industry.  Why?

Read the whole essay here