Order Entry is the frontline when it comes to Catering! – Meet Jason Schlenker

Meet Jason Schlenker.  An expert at Call Centre Operations.  I just had a great opportunity to spend some time with Jason and his team in Miami, and everything I saw reaffirmed what I previously wrote in my book, Get Catering and Grow Sales!.

Jason’s call center company (Inktel) will be the first “Get Catering and Grow Sales!” Certified Call Centre in the world!  

Our Professional Services Team at MonkeyMedia Software, will be providing Jason’s team with our restaurant catering bootcamps this fall on how to be great restaurant caterers and we will be certifying his people in the art of catering! I am sure we are going to see his call agents get better at their jobs, which will result in higher sales for his restaurant customers!


Jason is a talented man.  You can watch Jason win the 2009 Employee of the Year at Inktel.  Super nice Guy.

In my book, I stated that:

“The order entry process is grossly misunderstood in our community. The order entry experience is one of the single most important parts of the catering order-to-cash cycle.

This is the first point of contact for your catering transactions and this is where the customer experiences the service level your brand.  You MUST greet them with a SMILE!  This is also the place where the client is reaching out to your brand for help with this stress-driven catering transaction in order to fulfill their needs for off premise services.

Working with multi-unit operators, I often find this is a major point of confusion and internal debate. Many operators have set themselves up to take orders at the store level only.  Whenever I see this, I try and argue for a new perspective.

While taking orders at the store can be one strategy, you must consider the impact on your system’s operations by taking this path. It can be done right, however, you will have to understand the impact of teaching hundreds of team members in your organization to take orders, assuming you have many stores.

My perspective on this is that I believe that the distributed order entry process at the store level makes it more difficult for your unit operators to properly execute and maintain a proper and predictable catering experience both internally for your team members as well as externally for your customers.

For example, if  you have 100 stores and you allow for catering orders to be placed at the store level, you may find training more than 100 order takers not only a challenging task, but wrought with risk for your brand.  Furthermore, you will require more than one order taker per store, and as such, the results can be disastrous. To be successful in conversational ordering, it might be a better strategy to create a role for internal (or outsourced) order entry specialists depending on the size and scope of your organization.

There is a strong argument to be made that training specialists to be responsible for catering orders and for maintaining and building customer relationships over the phone will yield in higher sales, more accuracy and a better service experience for your brand.

Many operators I speak to get confused on this issue.  The key issue here is that in our minds, we  must separate out the ‘selling process of catering’ from the ‘service process of catering.’  ‘Selling’ your catering services needs to be done at the neighborhood level so that you can reach out and touch your customers.  ‘Serving’ your customers’ needs to be approached with what is most efficient and profitable which is in the best interest of the overall catering experience.

When I refer to a centralized point of contact for order entry, I believe it can be implemented in various forms, depending on the structure of your organization. There is a discussion to be had around centralized vs. decentralized strategies for order entry.

You will need to make policy and procedure decisions regarding order entry specific to your own brand circumstances. A lot of these catering concepts will depend on your current system structure such as ‘corporate’ vs. ‘franchised’ structures and the willingness of brand owners to take control of the service experience.”

Call Jason if you have any questions!  He’ll explain the ROI.  You can call Jason directly at (305) 523-1129, but make sure you tell him how proud you are that his company is making such an incredible commitment to our wonderful and fantastic restaurant industry, by recognizing the level of professionalism that his people need to reach to be true experts in the off premise catering business for our restaurant community!

We are very proud at MonkeyMedia Software to have these wonderful partners who can help our customers, feed their customers where they LIVE, WORK & PLAY!