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.

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

Ford concept uses drones and self-driving vans for deliveries – The future of Takeout, Delivery & Catering

As I celebrate my 21st year as the Founder and CEO of MonkeyMedia Software, The Catering Institute and Catering Insights, I feel completely blessed to be able do the work that I do.

In my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined that I would get to work with our industry’s most important and largest brands when it comes to their takeout, delivery and catering strategies.  I am so proud of our organization as we continue to influence the off-premise strategy of our industry in a BIG way.  The work we do is very important.

Our customers are winning and growing their sales, every single day, using our ideas and our technology, MONKEY, the #1 cloud based solution for takeout, delivery & catering.

Our business framework, The 5 Pillars of Successful Takeout, Delivery & Catering, along with our software solution, are enabling our customers to provide a predictable, scalable and reliable experience when it comes to the operations of their off-premise business operations.  Our customers are using our technology solution as an “order bucket” for 3rd party digital orders, as well as their own e-commerce transactions and they are executing their operations using our business logic.  We help them to control their execution at scale.

Through our API’s, companies like Doordash, EZcater, UBER, Amazon, Caviar, Yelp, Google and so many others, are able to inject their orders into our solution.  And that is giving full control of takeout, delivery and catering back to restaurants, because that is what we do.  We are a platform for foodservice operations to control and scale their takeout, delivery & catering operations.  We are unique.

We provide restaurant and foodservice companies with the tools they need to get ALL those orders into a single platform, where they can also connect their customers, call centres, sales teams, accounting teams, and franchisees and restaurants in a cloud based environment.  This moves the entire strategy for off premise foodservice transactions into a rich cloud based and real time environment which provides a full 360 degree view of each transaction, in real time.  The experience is very rich.  It focuses on flawless execution and that is a HUGE missing link for so many companies we meet.

It’s amazing!  And, its working!  We have the data to prove it!  Just ask.

It gets even more interesting because through our software and technology, we are able to interact with other 3rd party companies using their API’s, which allows us to dispatch delivery vehicles in real time.  We are already doing this with many of our customers who are manning their own fleet of vehicles, as well as developing partnerships with professional 3rd party delivery companies.

And so, you can imagine how excited I was to learn about Ford Motor Company’s research into the delivery space this week.  And this concept video below really shows the future of what delivery is going to look like in the decades forward.  You can learn more about their program at this article called:

Ford concept uses drones and self-driving vans for deliveries

I can see forward that we will be sending the transaction data from our systems on behalf of our restaurant operators directly to these vehicles and the birth of Automatic Deliveries will be real.  It’s coming for sure, so get your operations in order.   It’s really amazing.

I am so happy to be part of this and look forward to the future of takeout, delivery and catering in a BIG way.

Check out this video below!

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.

 

 

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!

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

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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