Heading to NRA 2013? – Join the Celebration of Technology Dinner, May 19, 2013

I always look forward to this time of year.  As a restaurant operator in Vancouver years ago, I always made sure I attended the National Restaurant Association gathering, year after year.  Mostly, it was for the learning.  Lot’s of learning.

Even today, 15 years later, as the CEO of MonkeyMedia Software and the Founder of the MMS Catering Institute, I still go for the learning.

There are so many events to choose from in just 5 short days.  One of my favourites is the Celebration of Technology at Zed 451 on Sunday night, May 19.  I’d recommend you attend if you are in Chicago.  You can register here.

But today, it’s become more than just learning for me.  As our organization works with thousands of restaurant operators, day in and day out, all focused on their catering operations.  We owe it to our community to reach high and be the best that we can be.  A never ending commitment to make ourselves better.  We can only do that by taking part in community based activities.  We need the feedback, validation and the passion of others.

Well, over the years, you end up making great friends.  Real friends.  Nice people working in an amazing industry.  I enjoy circling back, year after year.  I really go there for community…. to be part of something fantastic and make sure that I have a place to “hang my hat”.  Check out this video that Dawn Sweeney made, as the president and ceo of NRA.

I think she does a great job at setting her passion for her work in this video.

Well, there’s always alot to discuss.  Me?  I’ll look forward to meeting you on the show floor, or perhaps, if you have time, you might come by our booth where we are showcasing the services of the MMS Catering Institute and MonkeyMedia Software.  Booth #6878.

Hope to see you there!



Save The Date June 6,2013 – Chicago Restaurant Catering Workshop


Join the MMS Catering Institute TM Team for a one-day Catering Sales Management Certification (CSM) workshop on June 6th, 2013 in beautiful Downtown Chicago. This workshop is open to restaurant executives and management teams looking to develop their catering programs and drive real results through improved operations and increased sales.

The CSM course was developed to educate and engage your catering leadership team on managing successful catering operations. This workshop will outline key Catering Sales Management initiatives to realize maximum sales potential.

Curriculum will focus on:page1image11520

Canvassing and Lead Generation • Consultative Selling Techniques
• Effective Cold Calling Tactics

• Buyer Types and Motives for Purchasing

• Sales Meetings that Make Sense
• A Day in the Life of a Catering Sales Manager

This workshop will be filled with representatives from many different restaurant brands and will offer a unique opportunity to learn, participate in real world practice scenarios and network with fellow industry members during our networking lunch.

Date: Thursday, June 6th, 2013
Place and Time: TBA, (Downtown Chicago)
Cost: $249.95* each for up to 3 attendees ($199.95* for 4 or more from the same company)

Register for this invaluable workshop, and send an email to workshops@monkeymediasoftware.com










Contact Tracy Avolio, Sr. Catering Analyst at the Catering Institute.
Phone: 1-877-6-MONKEY ext. 127 | Email: workshops@monkeymediasoftware.com

To learn more about the services, certification, workshops and resources offered by the Catering Institute, or to request a catering assessment for your restaurant, please contact us via phone or email.

Let’s talk catering.

* Course materials and a catered lunch will be provided. Travel expenses not included.



One Lucky Film Maker! – I love the restaurant industry!

I am in Chicago, on the last leg of a 10 day road trip.  Being on the road is always bitter sweet for me because on the one hand I get so much done, but on the other hand, I am away from my family.  That part is hard and the sacrifice is substantial.  But, in the end, I think it will all be worth it.

My post today is about community.  It takes a village, as they say.  Our little film project, Back To Basics, is really getting some attention.

The story line is resonating with alot of people, everywhere.  Yesterday, I had a wonderful meeting at the NRA offices in Chicago with a fantastic group of people.  They are so excited about our project and as you might know by now, we have earmarked all of the net proceeds of the film to Prostart.









Well, I can’t say much about it yet, as the details are just unraveling.  What I can tell you, is that in total, we now have more than 30 people working on this project as a community effort and our prospectus is being prepared for support from the Food Network! We have also agreed on our official release date of the film which will be coordinated with NRA 2014.  The Food Network will bring Hollywood Celebrity Power to the film, which will help to support the thesis of the project and further support the stories that will be told by our fantastic cast of leaders;

After all, with Star power like Ed Rensi, Jon Luther Sr., Ron Shaich, Don Fox, Jim Vinz, Paul Mangiamele, Al Bhakta, Roz Mallet, Kat Cole, Carin Stutz, Dawn Sweeney, Peter Romeo, Darren Tristano and Bill Cunningham, it’s tough to go wrong!

Over the next year, the film will be used to help raise awareness around the work that is being done around Prostart.

Watch for some amazing developments in the next few weeks as we make more details public.  We’ve got alot of surprises in store and based on how fast things are moving, and the amount of community support we are getting, this film is going to go mainstream on the Food Network as well as Theatres everywhere.

It just gets better and better.  Please visit the website for the film and stay up to date.  www.backtobasicsthefilm.com

Drop me a line to show your support. I am one lucky film maker!  Thank you to MonkeyMedia Software for agreeing to be the Executive Producer of the project!

Who is this kid?

I am just coming off a fantastic trip to Chicago for NRA 2012. I need to debrief! So many great people doing so many great things. It’s amazing! My head was spinning by the time I hit the pillow last night!

I entered the food business 15 years ago focused on fixing a distressed deli in Vancouver. At the time, I was just looking for a good business opportunity to get into, but I had very few resources.

I had a young baby and my family was growing. I really just had to make a living! My decision to purchase the deli came without much thought. It just felt right to me. So, as I have always done in business, I followed my intuition. It has always served me well.

Tony’s Deli – Vancouver, Canada

There is no way that I could have predicted the outcome of that project. What I know today, is that by focusing on what I thought was the right thing, the Deli became my food business laboratory.

Fast forward 15 years! Boom, just like that! (Ok, not “just like that”. It’s been 15 years!)

On Monday night, May 7 2012 in Chicago, more than 300 friends, colleagues, prospects, customers and suppliers came to Bennigan’s to gather for conversation.

Conversation not just about the restaurant industry, but in many cases, to share personal stories. Many new connections and friendships were forged on Monday. It made for a fantastic evening.

So much happened at NRA for me this year, but what stands out most in my mind is the smiles and the optimism that surfaced in the room at Bennigan’s. It reminded me again that our industry is full of kind and generous people who work hard every single day to serve our customers. The food industry is amazing. It is huge! There is so much opportunity for those who persevere, as long as they are authentically adding value somewhere in the chain.

In order to have a positive business experience, you have to add value along the way. If you do that, through effort, sweat and persistence, luck is the dividend. But it takes time. I learned that from reading about Ray Kroc. He was so, so smart.

Two things I want to share with you today from the party the other night, that I hope you will consider:

1. Below is a photo of Jim Vinz, Co-CEO LeDuff America, kindly accepting a check for $5000 to Share Our Strength from the up to date net proceeds from the sales of my book. It was an important moment for me, on a personal level.

I am driving to raise $100,000 through these proceeds, but that will only happen if the book adds value. I am told by those who have read it, that it is worthwhile.

If you are serious about catering and growing your off premise restaurant sales, purchase the book for your team members or if you are a supplier, buy copies for your customers. The proceeds go to a great cause and towards improving the lives of many people.

Mo Asgari (President, MonkeyMedia Software), Jim Vinz (Co-CEO, LeDuff America), Erle Dardick (CEO, MonkeyMedia Software)












2. Below is a video that we shared that night. When this video was played, the whole room stopped and it was the only moment in the evening where everyone was focused on a single transformative idea. That was really great to see!

I was trying to think of something more important to write about today, but I realized that what happened that night WAS important. Why? Because that room, (and I am certain hundreds like it at other NRA gatherings), was full of amazing people all doing their part to make a difference in a complex world.

For me, it was a night of learning. I find the human spirit fascinating! People are powerful when they unite.

Let’s get together soon. Oh… before I go, let me put up this quick graphic for ordering the book. Just scan the QR code with your phone and you can order copies of Get Catering and Grow Sales! if you think it might be time well spent for you.

Thank you for your support.

All Net Proceeds go to Share Our Strength.