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

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 #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!

Catering Sales Tactics you should try tomorrow!

All Proceeds of the Book Go To Share Our Strength

When we talk about the 5 Pillars of Successful Restaurant Catering at the MMS Catering Institute, active selling is the one pillar of focus that has the power to truly lead your restaurant catering business forward. To properly service your catering customers, your catering sales team needs to become very good at business-to-business selling. You will need to build key relationships within your community and its corporate sector, and you will need to become experts at feeding your customers where they live, work and play.

Every day, in every city across North America, people are having meetings, celebrations, seminars and many other types of events that require catering services. To reach these potential catering opportunities, your sales team(s) must understand the following key catering sales tactics that are designed to showcase your team as brand ambassadors for your catering products and services throughout the communities you serve.

1. Sample selling: The Promo Package. Being in the food business, the best way for people to get to know your products and services is to provide tasting samples to those you are trying to sell to. This can be done through your delivery drivers, who are already out in the community canvassing for leads while they are looking for new businesses to sell to.

Your sample offering should be in a fixed package and should be consistent each and every time. Keep in mind that the objective of this sales effort is not to buy your prospects breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is simply to introduce them to your products and services. Deliver these sample packages at off-peak hours and establish policies and procedures for your sample-selling program. Promotional packages should always be scheduled around your main meal times and the package you send should be standardized across all your restaurants.

If you do a good job of packaging your sampler product, you will get your prospects to think of your brand the next time they need catering services. When this happens, make sure your internal catering team members are experts at taking catering orders and executing those orders in a way that leaves your customers satisfied and happy.

2. Cold calling and telephone work. While cold calling is an old-school method of sales, in the case of selling catering services it really works. If you have a well-known brand in your community, cold calling can be an effective and powerful tool for lead generation and market awareness. Train your catering sales team on the art of cold calling and give them a sales script they can follow. If you’re an operator with 100+ units, consider outsourcing your cold calling services to a lead generation company. There are many to choose from.

Cold calls and traditional telephone work are great ways to find out information about your potential catering clients. Telephone work is also a great way to keep up with your current customer database. This serves a different purpose than cold calls because it’s about rewarding your customers who are already using your catering services. For example, if you reach out to a customer who hasn’t ordered from you for a while, you can find out why and whether or not they had a bad experience from you or perhaps they moved to another company. If the catering client has moved on, find out who the new person is and re-start the connection by offering them a promotional sample package. Additionally, you can now call your previous contact with the aim of re-establishing the relationship as well, at their new place of employment.

Keeping on top of these changes takes ongoing effort, but I cannot say enough about the positive benefits you will receive by being diligent and consistent on the phone. The telephone remains an important tool for your brand and you should not be afraid to use it.

3. Traditional Advertising. This medium is being utilized more and more by major brands looking to increase the visibility of their off-premise catering programs. If you already have a successful brand, you know about all of the avenues of traditional advertising available to you. Use billboard, radio and/or television ads to deliver a strong brand message surrounding your restaurant’s catering program. Make sure each ad has a direct call to action and watch the top-line sales of your catering program grow.

4. Walk-in catering sales. While your walk-in catering customers have the potential to disrupt the flow of your in-store operation, you don’t want to lose out on this customer opportunity. To make sure your walk-in catering clients are well serviced, you need to make a decision on how to best handle these sales at the store-level.

The best model when this happens is to direct your customers to an in-store catering specialist who is trained and able to handle these customers with care and accuracy. By redirecting walk-in catering clients to a single point of contact within your 4 walls, you will substantially raise the catering service bar and will have a much better chance at providing a predictable, consistent and scalable catering process. This leads to more trust, which is a key component toward closing a catering sale.

5. Referrals. In many cases, word of mouth is the No. 1 sales tool when it comes to acquiring new catering customers. It is simple to acquire referrals and is extremely effective when prospecting for new customers. As part of your standard customer service process, make a follow-up call for every catering order that is delivered. Ask for more business, and more importantly; ask them to send you a referral!

The goal of this call is to thank your catering customer for their order and to find out if there are any issues that need to be addressed. If the customer is satisfied with the services that your company provided, take the next step and ask for referrals. And if the referral turns into a relationship, take the time to thank your original customer and then give them some kind of compensation for the business. This will encourage them to let others know how great your brand is and creates another opportunity for cross-pollinating your retail business with your catering operations. If you compensate them with a gift card for your retail locations, you continue the sales cycle and drive more traffic into your stores.

It’s a win-win for everyone.

Want to Crank up your Catering Sales? Register for this Workshop! – PepsiCo Foodservice Customers Save 8%!

Increase Catering Sales

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well 2015 is off to a great start!

At the Catering Institute, we are working hard to bring you great sales training workshops this year.  We are very grateful to PepsiCo Foodservice, Our Partner in Education for supporting our efforts to educate the restaurant industry on Takeout, Delivery and Catering.

This two hour workshop is a worthwhile investment and is recommended for your GM’s, Delivery Drivers, Catering Sales Managers, Catering Coordinators and anyone else in your organization that touches catering customers.

Course Details:

  • Where: The Catering Institute™ Online Classroom
  • When: Thursday, January 29, 3 pm EST (12 pm PST)
  • Duration: 120 minutes
  • Cost: $139

PepsiCo FoodService Customers get an 8% discount off the regular price – Register Here

Non PepsiCo FoodService Customers – Register Here

 

In Order to Increase Catering Sales, you have to Learn How! – Train Your Team Today!

The Catering Hot Target List Workshop returns on Thursday August 14, 2014 and here are a few reasons why you should grab one of the few remaining seats:

  • This is a targeted, sales specific training course
  • You will learn customer acquisition and relationship building skills
  • The importance of lead generation and qualification will be highlighted
  • You will take away examples of segments to target with your catering offers

Workshop Details:

  • When: Thursday August 14, 2014
  • Where: Online (via personalized link)
  • Time: 12pm PT | 3pm ET
  • Duration: 120 minutes
  • Cost: $99.99*

REGISTER NOW

Space is limited! Don’t miss out on this valuable workshop!

*Includes the online workshop with Q&A session, the Hot Target List Booklet, 2014 Marketing Calendar, and shipping.

“It added value to my job and I came back with
so many ideas that I have already started implementing.”

~ Hot Target Workshop Attendee Moe’s Southwest Grill

About the MMS Catering Institute™
The Catering Institute at MonkeyMedia Software was created to meet the needs of operators, franchisors, franchisees, and vendors in the restaurant and food service industries. Through strategy consulting, education and certification, the Catering Institute Team provides real solutions for real business challenges. Your catering and off-premise profits await.

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How Restaurant Catering is Changing the Balance Sheet of America – RLC Presentation 2013

As many of you know, I’m passionate about catering in multi-unit restaurant ecosystems.  As part of my duties at MonkeyMedia Software, I recently had a wonderful opportunity to speak at the Restaurant Leadership Conference in Scottsdale last month.  My team captured the whole presentation on video, and I thought I’d post it here for anyone who is interested in seeing it.

I hope you enjoy it.  Send me your thoughts!