Is On Demand Delivery Threatening the Restaurant Catering Business?

 

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Happy New Year!

Feeling confused about your off-premise business strategy?  Takeout?  Delivery?  Catering?  Get some ideas here!

Check out this article published by Foodable TV discussing the restaurant industry’s developments with takeout, delivery and catering.

 

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

letstalkrestaurantcatering
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 

For Restaurant Catering To Succeed, We need Executive Alignment

 

Let’s Talk Catering!

imagesHere at the Catering Institute and MonkeyMedia Software, we work with the most amazing restaurant companies in America.  I am always dissecting new ways of doing things, and always looking at ways of how to make catering work in restaurants.  After all, a restaurant is a complex manufacturing plant!  Adding more revenue channels is complicated.

The single most important lesson I have learned is that we need executive alignment to make catering work inside these complex operations.  It requires commitment.

So, here are 5 things to think about as you consider growing catering sales.

1.  Slow Down – We have to take the time to understand the 360 degree strategy of takeout, delivery and catering.  They are all closely related.  They are interdependent on each other.

2.  Plan – We have to take the time to make a proper plan.  We ALL need to do a better job at that.  Planning is hard for everyone.

3.  Menu Differentiation – We need to focus on markets.  The market for these services is different from our current restaurant products and services.

4.  Sales – We have to become very active in our selling process.  It needs to become part of our culture at all touch points of our companies.

5.  Patience – All great things take time.  Growing catering out of our restaurants is a major commitment and it will take investment and time.

Of course, I could make a list of a hundred more ideas… just call me at 604-831-7422 if you want to chat more.

I am living and breathing this material all day long!

To grow restaurant catering sales you need a plan

At the MMS Catering Institute we help our clients to build their business plans for growing catering sales out of their restaurants.  You can’t expect real results without a solid and well thought out roadmap.

It’s basic business.  Don’t just take my word for it, listen to the catering kid in the video below.

Let’s talk catering!

Smash your restaurant catering sales goals for 2014! – Attend January 30, 2014

Are you looking for help with setting, and sticking to, your restaurant catering sales goals for 2014? Are you looking to find new customers, and learn how to keep them coming back to you for all their catering needs?

Join the MMS Catering Institute™ with guest speakers from Moe’s Southwest Grill and Panda Restaurant Group for The Key To Restaurant Catering Sales Production. During this valuable webinar you will learn:

  • How to allocate your time to sales generating activities
  • How to aquire new restaurant catering customers
  • How to maintain customer relationships and leverage them for future business
  • Winning sales habits to drive your efforts
  • How to stay on track

Directed towards sales managers, operators, franchisees, and sales directors, attendees will learn how to structure their week, month, quarter and year ahead, understand which activities will gain the greatest return on investment, and know how to factor in non-sales activities so that they don’t become disruptive.

Calendar

Register now to join the MMS Catering Institute Team for this worthwhile webinar!

Webinar Details:

  • Date: January 30, 2014
  • Time: 3pm EST
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Register here

Let’s talk catering,

The MMS Catering Institute Team™

 

Catering By Design – Scalable & Predictable

 

To succeed in catering, you have to create a scalable, predictable and reliable experience.
To succeed in catering, you have to create a scalable, predictable and reliable experience.

When I talk to prospects and clients about their off premise catering requirements, many of them tell me that they want to create a catering experience that is scalable and predictable. They want a program that will make it easy to grow as they open additional restaurants and franchises.  It just has to be easy and it has to scale.

Scalability is an important component of the restaurant industry. So is predictability. I am certain that one leads to the other. Our industry has performed wonderfully by replicating predictable and scalable restaurants across our great nations. Without it, the biggest brands in our industry would simply cease to exist. And if that happened, where would the rest of us be?  We depend on the big brands to push innovation.  They invest a lot of resources and it helps make us all smarter!

The idea of scalability and predictability is no different when it comes to layering a successful off-premise service component on top of your existing restaurant infrastructure. In fact, reliability, predictability and scalability are three objectives restaurant operators must focus on at all times when developing their off-premise sales channel.

Ahh… But here’s the million dollar question? How do we scale a “new business,” with completely different demands, on top of an infrastructure that is aging and has been designed for a totally different market and experience?

It’s time to be thoughtful. It’s time to think of the off-premise sales opportunity for our restaurant community as the fastest growing sales opportunity we have. There is no sales lift bigger that we can seek than filling the off-premise demand for our consumers.  That’s what we believe at MonkeyMedia Software.  Catering is BIG!

If you can design a reliable, predictable and scalable off-premise experience for your team and your customers, you will impact your unit-level profits like never before – the flow-thru of the dollars from these sales to the bottom line is substantial and very different from the dollars that flow to your bottom line from your in-store sales traffic.

As restaurant operators we must continue to raise the bar on the dedication and standards needed to excel in this new business channel. And the fact that these standards remain underdeveloped in our industry is both a community challenge and opportunity. I’d like to see certification. A catering institute focused exclusively on solving these issues.  Well, I’m building The Catering Institute as I write this.  I hope you will all take some time to learn more about it.

As an industry, if we invest in creating reliability, predictability and scalability in our catering and off-premise channel it will grow for many years to come. It will be AMAZING!

But, it’s going to take dedication and a commitment to innovate and change. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take money. It’s going to take effort.

Oh. And the answer to the million dollar question above?

“Catering by design.” That’s how. Just like you know how!  Let’s talk catering!  Let’s learn from each other!