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.

How Holiday Catering can make up 50% of your sales this year

We love the holiday season at Monkey Group!

For some businesses, things slow down, but for restaurants, it’s one of the biggest opportunities of the year for takeout, delivery, and catering sales.

Our clients at MonkeyMedia Software, The Catering Institute, and Catering Insights tell us how catering orders can account for 30, 40, even 50% of their sales.

There’s a huge opportunity here.

Over the past 21 years, we’ve been using our strategic framework, The 5 Pillars of Successful Restaurant Takeout, Delivery and Catering, to educate restaurant operators on how to take advantage of this incredible opportunity so their fourth quarter can actually make their whole year.

Holiday catering-specific marketing materials become crucial to sales performance, and while that may be obvious, you still have to make some noise.

The following advice comes from personal experience as a former owner-operator, from listening to our clients, and from working with restaurants and foodservice operators of all kinds over the past 21 years.

(Remember – catering is a different business than your in-store operation and not just an ‘add-on’ service! You must be specific and thoughtful, and always stick to your brand promise.)

Your most valuable marketing tool is your people.

Train your people to speak and write the language of restaurant catering. This is true when you’re gearing up for holiday catering sales season, and it will carry through to help you build momentum for your current program year-round. Train your people at the operations level to tell your catering story to the public. Your front-line people should be able to direct your catering customers to the right team within your organization at the right moment, which will ensure that your customers’ expectations are set properly for guaranteed service execution.

Use all advertising methods at your disposal to tell your catering story.

Showcase your whole team as catering experts – no matter who your customer talks to, that person should be a catering expert, and be able to help your customers. Display a list of the clients you currently service in your store and on your website for prospects to see. Post a sign in-store that says “Today’s Deliveries,” showing your orders for the day – it’s a great way to help drive customer enquiries and interest!

Develop and showcase a holiday catering menu.

Your holiday menu should be different and complementary to your current menu. Focus on a category. Be clear that it is a limited time offer. Stick with one specific, high-value (and high margin) offering.

Document holiday policies and procedures for your team and customers.

The holiday season increases stress for your people and catering operations. Your catering strategy during the holiday time should provide a logical plan for the seasonal spike in sales. You may need seasonal staff. Align your holiday strategy with your existing plan, then include a separate policy and procedure guideline focused specifically on your holiday catering customer.

The holidays should be remembered as a time of festivity with co-workers, friends and family. Give your catering customers an experience to remember and they’ll have even more to celebrate, as well as tell all their friends what a great catering experience you were able to provide.

Feel free to reach out directly if you have any questions! And best of luck this season,

Erle Dardick

What I learned about restaurant delivery from Silicon Valley -Take control of your restaurant operations today!

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What an interesting week it has been for me!  A few days ago, I marked my 20th anniversary in the foodservice industry.  I’ve loved every year of it.  I love the work we are doing in this incredible industry.  My team is focused, powerful and winning.  Our customers are happy and we still “jump to the pump” for our customers.  We win on service.  We are a passionate group of people and our strategies are making our customers more money.

Takeout, Delivery and Catering is our niche, and we are very good at it.  I am very proud of my team today.

In 1996, when I became a partner at Tony’s Deli & Catering Company, I had no idea that I’d be meeting with the most interesting and innovative technology companies in Silicon Valley some 20 years later.  As we all know, these technology companies are innovating marketplaces for consumers to order from their favourite restaurants, (UBER, Postmates, Amazon, Google, Yelp), and these companies are also working on solutions for solving the logistics challenges of delivery for restaurants.  Thing is, with this kind of change, it’s bound to be painful.  Why?

Because all this technology is completely disconnected from a restaurants off-premise operations.  Now, before you say that’s easy to solve for by yourselves, you’d better stop.  It’s not easy at all.

That’s what inspired this blog post today.  Because my journey of 20 years in foodservice has not been easy.  It’s been arduous, painful, slow, uphill the whole way.  I’ve been so lucky just to have the support of incredible people to allow me to continue on this quest to help restaurant companies conquer the takeout, delivery and catering channels.  And now, we are just getting going.

We have an end-to-end business solution that provides our industry with the business framework, strategy, curriculum, training, certification and software that it needs to take control of off-premise restaurant operations.  It’s what we are.

With more than 6000 restaurants using our software, and the world’s largest brands implementing the strategies outlined in our business framework, our industry is finally beginning to understand what we are doing.  And its amazing!   Our customers use our ideas and our tools to execute a full 360 degree view of their takeout, delivery & catering operations.  What’s even more beautiful, is that through our API, our technology is open to be able to accept order from all other order channels.

This gives our customers all the “plumbing” that they need to guarantee flawless execution of all orders.

Restaurant operators are faced with a barrage of order channels in today’s environment and what’s even making it more complicated, is that the markets for services continues to segment.  So, as consumers become more demanding and want specialization, and the markets become more competitive, only restaurant operators that are able to offer new consumer solutions to their brand loyalists are going to win.  So, where takeout and catering begin and end will become more and more important every day.  For everyone.

Trust me, I know.   The restaurants I am visiting these days sometimes have to up to 9 different order channels and they are all showing up on tablets in the back of the restaurant.  What’s even worse, is that takeout orders and catering orders are all lumped together.  It’s a mess. The operations are disconnected from these orders, and this is where it’s gets even more complicated.  These companies are all running towards integrations with POS and other systems, but it won’t work.

And so, you might ask yourself why these technology companies are interested in the work we are doing at MonkeyMedia Software, The Catering Institute and Catering Insights?

These companies are beginning to understand that in order for this system to get more efficient and for these partnerships to work, the operators need systems  and processes that allow them to scale and provide a consistent, reliable and predictable experience.  That is the only way that these companies will win.  Only if restaurants win.  Because then, customers are happy.  Flawless execution is key.

And so today I am encouraged by what I see.   The energy, enthusiasm and investment pouring into takeout, delivery and catering is super exciting for me!

My team is more focused then ever.  The business framework of the 5 Pillars of Successful Restaurant Takeout, Delivery & Catering is shifting the perspective of not only operators, but also supply chain partners that really want to appreciate the business strategy and strengthen their understanding of what restaurant operators are going through.

Becoming true partners.  And so, I am honoured that these companies want to work with our organization to further improve the industry.  To benefit from our ideas, our concepts and most importantly our perspective.

My organization has been focused on a single idea for 20 years!  As a restaurant operator, you must first understand your business strategy before you unleash the digital ordering channels that are going to keep on growing.  This strategy lays deep in the foundation of your brand, and it must be core to the vision.  It is directly connected to your product offerings and the subtleties of daily behaviours of your people.  It touches every part of your business.

Catering needs to be core to your DNA, and then takeout will get easier.

From there, you must invest in a framework and only then, you must invest in an IT stack that allows you to have best of breed solutions for all parts of your technology ecosystem.

And so, I am proud today to be standing in Silicon Valley with a life’s worth of work which is only now being appreciated by so many very smart people that are investing heavily into takeout, delivery and catering.

They understand that restaurants need the strategy of the 5 Pillars as well as an IT stack that allows them to handle the order flow and business logic of ALL digital channels.

This is what we have become.  A platform for our industry to execute takeout, delivery and catering orders at scale.

I could not have dreamed this up.  It happened only because our customers are winning with these ideas and tools.

Give me a call or shoot me an email.  I’d be happy to explain more.

 

 

More than 40 Brands and 130 Attendees Registered! Only 8 Days To Go!

imagesWell, here we go!  On October 13, 2015, in Dallas Texas, we will be gathering with more than 130 attendees to focus ALL our attention on How To Grow Sales and Increase Profits with Catering out of Restaurants.

There is still room so hurry up and register today!

We are so grateful to our event sponsors.  PepsiCo Foodservice, MonkeyMedia Software, Punchh, Voice Teleservices, Realcomm Solutions, Texas Restaurant Association,Georgia Restaurant Association and FSR/QSR Magazine.

The Catering Institute is very honoured to be hosting the following brands to our workshop for a day of learning and networking: Backstreet Cafe, Badazz Burritos, Berry Hill Baja GrillBruegger’s BagelsCaracolCristina’s MexCorner BakeryCowboy ChickenCrushed RedDickey’s BBQGarbanzo’sFirehouse Subs, Fuzzy’s Taco ShopGarden Fresh, Hugo Restaurant, Hungry Howie’sLa MadeleineLittle Greek, Le Boulanger,  Lockharts Smokehouse, Luis Foods, Matt’s El RanchoMcAlister’s DeliMoe’s SW GrillNalley FreshOn The BorderOriginal Pancake House,Pepper JaxPollo CamperoPotbelly Sandwich WorksQdobaRestaurant WorksSchlotzsky’sSpaghetti WarehouseSpec Ops Burritos, SubwayTaco BuenoTooJay’s, Villa EnterprisesVooDoo BBQWhichWichZoe’s KitchenZoup!

It’s not too late so register today:

Your registration includes:

  • Breakfast Networking Event
  • Lunch Networking Event
  • Two snacks throughout the day’s curriculum
  • Access to Amphitheatre with up to 300 attendees
  • Access to Vendor Showcase
  • Catering Sales Management workbook binder and workshop materials
  • Catering sales certificate from The Catering Institute

Agenda topics:

  • Building a Sales Culture inside your organization
  • Cold Calling Techniques
  • Lead Generation and Prospecting
  • Consultative Selling
  • Buyer Types and Motives
  • How to get your current brand fans to spend more money with you
  • How to isolate and handle objections
  • Closing Techniques
  • How to Run Effective Sales Meetings
  • Motivating your front line team members to sell more catering
  • Using the power of delivery to get more sales

For more information visit us at:

or call us at 1-877-6-MONKEY

Restaurant Catering Sales Tip #287 – Isolating Objections

Isolating Objections

Sales objections are just a part of selling.  Whenever a customer objects, they are never telling you the truth!  Of course, I am not saying that your customers are liars.  No.  I am just saying that they are not telling you what the real problem is.  The real reason why they are not buying from you.

The key to a successful sales call is being able to find out what the real objection is, and then isolating that objection to make sure that there is nothing hiding in the background of your prospects mind.  If you isolate the objection, you can now deal with it and close the sale!

Ideally, your Catering Sales Manager(s) will be offering solutions throughout the sales call to many of the possible objections that a prospect will bring up during the sales call.   Very often the customer may say “okay, I understand,” yet still not have accepted the solution.

A good Catering Sales Manager must figure out what needs to be asked in order to find out the real objection so it can be addressed. The process of doing this is called isolating the objection.

Move closer to closing by following these steps:

1. Validate The Objection:  appreciate the way that the customer sees the issue. Use phrases such as “I understand,” “I know how you feel.”

2. Ask why or what: “why is it that…?” “compared to what?” . An excellent Catering Sales Manager asks questions and finds out what the customer is thinking.  Remember, customers never say what they mean.

3. Isolate the Objection by Asking “Besides the (Objection) Is There Any other reason that is preventing you from purchasing today?  If they say yes, find out what it is and then isolate the two objections together..  if they say no, then move to step 6.

4. Find common ground and get permission to move forward:  “If we can get together on the issue of (objection), will we be able to move ahead?” Notice that you have not handled the issue yet, but have simply learned why and what makes it a concern to the customer. If the customer answers “yes,” then answer the question and close the sale. If the customer answers “no” or “maybe,” then continue to step five.

5. Stop Talking and Listen:   Stop talking and listen to the customer so you can figure out the real issue.  Great Catering Sales Managers realize that resisting handling the issues first presented and probing for other issues is essential to effectively overcoming the objection.  Keep going through this cycle until you have isolated the issues.  Once the issues have been isolated, then you can move to Step 6.

6. Solve The real issue:  The process of isolating the objection is a skill that takes time and practice to develop.  Once the issue is isolated, you can now close.

Let’s move to an example where the objection is, “It’s Too Expensive”. Here is a possible dialogue between the Catering Sales Manager and The Customer

CSM:  So, I understand you feel our product is too expensive? (Step 1)

Client:  Yes.

CSM:  Too Expensive Compared to What?  (Step 2)

Client:  Too Expensive compared to your competitor.

CSM:  Besides being to expensive, is there any other reason that you won’t move forward with our services today?  (Step 3)

Client:  No

CSM:  So, if price were not an issue, would you move forward then?  (Step 4)

Client:  Yes.

CSM:  Ok. If you place 12 orders with us, we will provide you with a 15% discount on select menu items.  (Step 6)

There is ALOT to discuss here.  Isolating objections every single time is the key to closing more sales.

Let’s talk catering!

Restaurant Catering Sales Tip #214 – Opening the Sales Call

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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!

The Importance of Employee Training To Boost Catering Sales

My passion has always been about the people.  Nothing makes me happier than training restaurant employees to do more catering.  It’s the work we are focused on at The Catering Institute.

I believe that the only way to really impact sales in a positive way is through ongoing development and training.  I was doing research on the importance of training and found this video.  Thought I’d share it here.

Through my travels as the CEO and Founder at MonkeyMedia Software, The Catering Institute and Catering Insights, I have come to learn that it really is about the people.

Want to get more catering sales?  Invest in your people.  Send them to a Catering Sales Management Workshop in Dallas this October.

Certainly, you will yield results.