Want to grow your catering sales? Ask Your PepsiCo Sales Representative How!

PepsiCo Portfolio

For the last 18 years I have been helping restaurants to grow off-premise sales through MonkeyMedia Software , The Catering Institute and Catering Insights.  I am so lucky to do the work that I do.

My passion for this space came out of my own deli in Vancouver, BC where I spent many years as an owner operator.  I experienced success in providing more takeout, delivery & catering to my customers and ended up developing Monkey, The # 1 Cloud Platform for Takeout, Delivery & Catering.  Today we support more than 5000 restaurants in North America and we are growing nicely!

In addition to our software, The Catering Institute continues to develop fantastic curriculum to help restaurants implement the strategy of the 5 Pillars of Successful Restaurant Catering.  We are deeply committed to education in the off-premise space and we are so excited about what we are seeing happen with catering from our industry’s most important suppliers!

Allow me to explain.

To me, catering out of restaurants is going through the same market dynamics that drive thru did in the 1970’s.  Here is what happened:

1.  Markets shifted and innovation by restaurateurs came first.  It was just an idea.

2.  Technology caught up and made it easier for restaurateurs to grow drive thru operations.

3.  The largest supply chain companies in the world got behind the innovations and investments and pushed towards helping our community to grow more sales and profits in this channel.

These three key factors made it easier for restaurant companies to grow drive thru sales and the more we prevailed, the more consumers rewarded us with their business.

Fast forward to 2015.  It’s happening again!  But this time, the sales channel is catering!

The same dynamics are happening with the entire off-premise business opportunity, especially with Catering.

1.  Restaurants have been trying to cater for years.  Early innovation.

2.  Technology (like ours) is helping to make it easier to cater.

3.  Supply chain Partners are investing and helping

And so, as I sit here today contemplating why the largest supply chain companies in the world need to help our community, I call your attention to the great work that PepsiCo Foodservice is doing in the restaurant space.

You see, they are not only innovating fantastic products under their portfolio for takeout, delivery & catering, but in fact, they are diving deep into helping restaurant operators with their overall off-premise business strategy.  They are investing resources into helping their customers do more takeout, delivery & catering.

To me, this is what sets companies like PepsiCo apart from their competitors.  They are forward thinking and not just focused on selling more of their products to their customers.  They are deeply engaged in learning and completely focused on helping their customers to grow sales and increase profits by educating them to become experts at feeding their customers where they Live, Work & Play!

Want to grow your catering sales?  Call your PepsiCo Sales Representative today and ask them how!

Let’s talk catering!

 

 

A Successful Catering Event is Music to the Ears

When something goes as planned, it is pleasing and so we often say that’s “music to my ears”.  Thing is, to make great music, like great catering, it takes practice.  It takes perseverance.  It takes an ongoing commitment to doing the right things.  Every day.  All day.  Any great musician knows that they have to practice and train on their instrument.

To be successful at catering, like in life, you have to work at it.  Day in and day out.  Only after planning, training, playing and doing it, over and over, can you then be really good at something.  You can’t just put a sign in the window saying you do catering well.  You can’t just send out an email saying you are good at it.  You actually have to work at it over and over.  You actually have to feel it;  to live it; to mean it.

I have heard that you become an expert at something after doing it for 10,000 hours…. I wonder if that’s true.  If so, you’d better get back to work because we have a lot of work to do!  Catering out of restaurants is serious business.

Listen to this girl sing.  Listen to the notes.  The melody.  The perfect pitch.  When something sounds this good, it’s music to your ears.  And music to your ears, feels good.  Just like restaurant catering.  When done well, it will be music to your ears.

Enjoy a little music from 11 year old Maya Rae.  It’s music to my ears.  I hope it is to yours too.

Let’s talk catering!

Your Restaurant’s POS System is not designed to scale catering sales – Another Perspective

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For many years I’ve been publicizing the sales, marketing and overall business case for layering a catering program on top of your existing multi-unit restaurant operation. I believe strongly in the year-over-year sales life that a solidly executed catering program can provide.

Yet in order to fully sell your catering services, and to capture those transactions at the point-of-purchase, you will need to apply the business logic and technology to keep this aspect of your business organized and streamlined.

While there are several items to discuss as they relate to how catering software fits into an existing IT infrastructure, I’d like to focus this conversation on the role that your POS systems plays in the catering ecosystem.

As restaurant operators, we are sunk into our POS systems as the core technology infrastructure for our restaurants.  Many restaurateurs believe that POS integration is a requirement when it comes to catering; however, in my nearly 20 years experience at MonkeyMedia Software, I can tell you confidently that POS integration is not required for the successful execution of the catering transaction.

Today’s point-of-sale systems have not been built with the right business logic needed to succeed in the catering market.  As you approach the business logic for catering execution, consider that your POS cannot manage the conversational ordering or the batch manufacturing and distribution requirements that are so integral to the successful catering transaction.  POS was designed for a retail transaction, not a business-to-business transaction.

Because catering orders are taken online and by telephone, conversational ordering systems are needed during the catering transaction so you can provide your catering customers with a consistent and predictable order experience.

From the beginning, you will need an order-entry system to generate invoices, statements, collection notices, and to manage accounts receivable. Naturally, the system must also extend into your production and distribution process. It’s important to understand that order fulfillment for a catering transaction, follows a different internal dynamic when it comes to making and delivering your products to your catering customers.  POS is designed to fulfill one single transaction at a time and when it comes to catering, we are facing a micro-batch production dynamic.

I am clear that POS systems are not geared to handle the subtleties of each catering transaction and that they do not have the right business logic to properly and effectively service the catering channel.  Catering is about relationships and to be successful, your sales teams need the appropriate customer relationship management tools that POS systems cannot provide.

In our world at MonkeyMedia Software, our products stand outside the POS and our customers use our technology to focus solely on the catering transaction.  POS is not required.

Now, as part of a successful enterprise deployment of catering software in your ecosystem, allow me to move the conversation to reporting.  We do need to continue to find ways to report catering data into the overall restaurant’s IT infrastructure in order to scale.  In many instances, we can look to an end of day catering process where we drive the day’s catering transaction data back into the POS ecosystem, not for the execution of orders, but simply to report data in real time to your management team.  This is where POS integration can play a role in the catering transaction.

Catering software: What to consider

The right software will ensure that the correct data is gathered from your catering client at the point of order capture. Additionally, once fully deployed, the catering software system should be fully integrated with your back-end reporting systems, where it makes sense. Your catering software system should be web- and enterprise-based, and should be standardized to easily share data across your entire organization. This will provide complete transparency into your catering business and will provide the organizational framework to grow catering sales while feeding customers where they live, work and play.

Let’s talk catering!

 

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!

 

 

 

It’s all about the magic! – Why I attend Industry Conferences

I hope you all read this because I feel that Industry conferences are just so important. I love the way people come out to learn new ideas and share old ones. The energy is high.

I have always maintained that my love for the restaurant industry is because of the people. As restaurateurs, we touch people each and every day. We touch them through food, experience and magic. Yes magic. Not the “trick” kind of magic, but the magic of connection. Personal connection. At least, that’s how it is for me.

To me the restaurant industry is magical. I mean, how do you pull off all of the different variations and combinations of preparing and packaging food for consumption the way the restaurant industry does? The magic of free markets? The magic of competition? The magic of providing a consistent, scalable and predictable experience, day in and day out? The magic that dreams are made of. After all, somedays I feel like I am living proof. I could not have ever imagined that today, my company would be working with the smartest people that this industry has to offer. But, to my good fortune, I am. And not just a few people. ALOT of really, really smart people!

There is nothing more magical than watching a group of people collaborate on a new idea. The coming together of their passions, their beliefs and their desires. In the photo above you can see a team of Rosati’s Franchisees coming together during my presentation to help them imagine a new catering world. A better world for their business. A better world for their team members and their customers.

Me? I have a great job! I get to stand up in front of our community and present to them a perspective that they may not have considered. What matters to me, what fills me up is when people share openly. They share their victories, their failures. Their pain. Their pleasure. I love watching our community work together to solve important business and world issues. Things that really matter. Real challenges and real solutions.

I just spent 10 days on the road and I covered alot of territory. I stopped in at three conferences, visited a handful of customers and spent time with several new prospects. Alot of territory.

I lost count along the way, but I’d venture to say that I met more than 300 new people over those ten days. Now, I didn’t get to spend quality time with each person, but I did make some fantastic intellectual and emotional connections with the ones I did get to spend some time with. Thanks to each of you, I listened and learned. I thank you for your personal stories and for trusting me enough to hold your thoughts in confidence.

For me, conferences are a place of community. A place to belong. A place to make great memories and great friends. I find it fascinating how strangers or acquaintances can be exchanging high fives and hugs goodbye after just a few short days together. I find this human connection to be the most compelling reason to attend a conference. It’s why I go.

Sure, I am there for business. Just like all of you. And, I make sure I am accountable to that. I make sure I get my business done. But, because of the short and intense burst of time together, I find that the new friendships that I make are really what feeds me most of all. That’s the magic, from how I see it.

For those of you that attend conferences, I encourage you to keep doing so. I know they are alot of effort. I know that they take you away from your families. But I promise you, that the magic that happens in between the workshops and presentations is the real reason to go. That’s where you make your long term relationships and get to learn about what great people this industry is made of. Everyone from operators to suppliers to editors of magazines and media. All doing their part to make our industry better.

What a great industry we are part of! Thanks for letting me be in it.

Hope to see you at the next opportunity!

Blown away by the quality of leadership in our multi-unit restaurant community

Last week in Scottsdale, Arizona I had the good fortune of attending the Restaurant Leadership Conference for 2012. I had so much fun, especially with sharing my dream about Ray Kroc in this Video!  For those of you that missed it, just before the Bill Strickland presentation, I’ll share it here just for fun.  I’ll come back to Bill Strickland in a bit.

So, I have to say, that I am blown away by our community!  Really blown away! I think many of the attendees were.  And so, as I returned to Vancouver, It really got me thinking.  I mean, REALLY got me thinking.

Here’s the thing.  Of the 30% of attendees that I was lucky enough to meet, to greet and to make some acquaintance,  I felt that the quality of the our conversations were insightful, optimistic, kind and generous.   Those conversations were a gift for me on a personal level.  These gatherings are so important for all of us, because the food business is about people.  Making connections.  Intellectual, spiritual and emotional.  It’s just about the people.

So I started thinking more about that.  I really started to zero in on the quality of the  Keynote Speakers this year. Not that previous years have been anything to sneeze at; but this year, it was different.

Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo 

Joshua Olshansky Managing Director and Head of Consumer Retail Practice, Golden Gate Capital

Herman Cain Former President/CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, Former Chairman, NRA

Howard Stoeckel CEO, Wawa Inc.

Ronald M. Shaich Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board Panera Bread

Edward H. Rensi Former President & CEO, McDonald’s USA; Co-operator, Tom & Eddie’s.  

Seeing that this was a Leadership conference, I studied these leaders.  I observed, I listened and I learned.  I saw how each of them really connects with their audience when they are speaking.  They spoke with high energy, intense belief and a passion towards a higher purpose in their work.  It was fascinating for me to watch.  I was mesmerized.  Impressed.  And most of all, I was learning.  

“That’s it!”, I thought to myself.  “It’s the learning!  The intellectual connections!  The idea of advancement!  Of making our industry better, so we, as people can be better!”.  Well, at least that was part of it for me.

So I started thinking more about that. 

Then I thought about the followers under these great leaders and within that following is yet even more leadership.  As a matter of fact, each facet of our business operations needs to have solid leadership.  And so, I started to wonder where exactly that begins and ends, from an organizational perspective.

Then I thought to myself that not all people can be or even want to be leaders.  Or do they?  I mean, if leadership remains a key theme throughout the entire culture of our organizations, then clearly if we can be leaders in our markets, then all of the people who work for us will feel like leaders.  So, it’s not necessarily about individuals as much as it is about whole organizations, industry’s and communities.

I want to call out two particular things I learned from the conference.

1.  Ron Shaich spoke on the topic of Conscious Capitalism.  Ron’s message struck me hard.  It’s brilliant and he has taken this perspective and applied it to the Panera Cares concept.  Here is a video that I found on Ron’s fantastic and creative effort towards making a difference in the communities he serves.

When I heard this perspective, I felt like I was watching a master, an artist.  I was watching a man that had so much trust in the human spirit, that he risked his neck on a new idea.  One that everyone called crazy.  And guess what?  It’s working.  The communities are embracing this new economic model and while that is happening, less privileged people are eating great food at Panera.  Getting respect and the end result is that these communities are healthier and those that are suffering from hunger, are getting food.  This approach to our community issues is not only brilliant, it serves shareholders as well.  This presentation really blew me away at the conference.

2.  The second most important presentation for me was from Bill Strickland.  Bill was so effective in his presentation, that he had most of the room shedding tears.  Why?  Because of his authenticity in his mission and his ability to connect with the human emotion.  For those of you that missed Bill’s presentation, I am including a clip that I found.  

I was so moved by Bill Strickland’s work, that I decided to learn more about his education perspectives.  He is building a facility in Vancouver and my plan is to get involved, from the beginning.  To bring purpose to others, to wake with intention and to be involved in impacting the human emotion in a positive and purposeful way.  

I took away a feeling of hope from these speakers.  That in fact, we can do more in our professional careers to make a difference.  To really make the world a better place instead of just living to increase shareholder value.  I love that idea.  Build it and they will come.  If you look after your customers, and you create the right environment, behaviour will change.  Profits?  Well, according to Ron and Bill, if you don’t focus on them, and you just focus on your “higher purpose” as an organization, the money will come.

I woke up very grateful to these two leaders today.  I want to thank them both for the gift they gave me in Scottsdale last week.  I encourage each of you to learn more from these great human beings.

The Leadership of Ray Kroc and his drive to Catering Sales!

I decided to write this blog in advance of the upcoming Restaurant Leadership Conference in Scottsdale from March 25-28, 2012.

In preparation for the conference, I have been reading everything that I can about Ray Kroc these days. As I dig deeper and deeper into his story, I become more fascinated with his meticulous attention to detail. Like all entrepreneurs, he struggled to make his venture work. He went through the growing pains, set the culture and set a clear direction for his people. He fought hard.

As an entrepreneur and working on my 9th business, I can identify with his relentless desire to succeed. He was a fantastic businessman and very passionate about getting it right.

I found this really cool video, made by a few creative high school students, Zac Smith, Michael Warren, Jason Kiracofe and Daniel Alweis. I have embedded the video here for all of you to peruse. Good job on the school project boys. I think it tells a lot about who he was and what he was about.

I wonder if Ray were here today, what he might tell us about the current state of our multi-unit restaurant industry? I wonder if he would be happy with the outcome of what McDonald’s stands for today. Would he be proud? I wonder what he would say about McDonald’s building a catering revenue channel for his brand? I had a dream this week that Ray read my book. He loved it. Thanks Ray. I appreciate the support.

From what I have read, and as I have come to know him through other people’s words, his own book, Grinding it Out, and the number of videos and articles that are available on his leadership and management style, I would venture to say that Ray would have mixed emotions today based on where his brand stands. Sure, he might be proud of the stock price. Or would he? I think he would be horrified at all the negative tweets and comments. Knowing Ray, he would do something amazing to set it all on the right track. Just as great leaders like Howard Schultz or Ron Shaich have done with both Starbucks and Panera. Oh, and if Ray saw the traction that Panera is getting on their catering operations, he would want a piece of that market for sure. Because that’s what he was about. Being in front.

In the beginning, for Ray, and for all our leaders, it was all about looking after his customers. He wanted growth, but not at the expense of diluting his brand and experience. Of course, in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the world was a different place. I am certain that had Ray known that his McDonald’s would eventually become the fast food giant that it became, he only would have wanted it to do so if it was in the best interest of his customers.

He had a vision for the business, for the systems, for the experience and for his internal culture. He could not see the negative impact ahead on the dietary issues of fast food on our children and our communities. I have no doubt, that had he seen that, he might have managed it differently. I am certain, that if he were with us today, he would be working very hard to fix it.

Today, as McDonald’s continues to be the largest hamburger chain in the world, it still amazes me that even though the culture of Ray Kroc may just be a ghost in the wall, the organization continues to try to adopt to the ever changing needs our consumers. In my opinion, McDonald’s has done a superb job at trying to keep up with the trends, trying to morph their menus towards the more current fast casual type model.

Of course, to move a system this large to a new model, is not only difficult, but it requires a tremendous amount of investment and gumption. McDonald’s may not be the healthiest choice in the market place yet, but I predict that in the next 10 years, they will move into the top position of the fast casual market. They will do it, because they have the real estate, the brand and their consumers are going to only shop there if they continue to adapt to the ever changing dietary needs. Especially in North America.

So, this brings me to my next question? Will McDonald’s offer catering services that are scaleable across the brand? What will the program look like? I believe that they already have, but they have not hired the right leadership to take them the rest of the way. I found this little nugget in the United Kingdom that really convinced me.

Is McDonald’s Fast Casual?

Well, it all starts with the Deli doesn’t it? Well, at least that’s how it started for me!

Then as I dug further, I found this:

So, you tell me! What kind of leadership will it take for our multi-unit restaurant community to finally decide to take catering as a serious business? Especially in the QSR segment. If you have a powerful brand, and you tell your customers that you offer alternative services, they will buy from you. We already know that. So, the next question I have is “can they execute?”.

I believe that if any of our community leaders decide to pursue catering as a serious business, then they would in fact see a lift in their sales that our industry has not seen since the day’s of franchising and drive-thru. But, it doesn’t matter what I believe. Or does it? Because like Ray Kroc, I too am an entrepreneur. And so, I will live or die by my conviction and my leadership. And so, as I put this article to rest, I call out to all of you in a restaurant leadership position to really take a hard look at the facts. Catering is here to stay. If we don’t do it, the grocery segment will (as they already are).

Ray would want us to compete and compete hard.

I believe that catering offers our multi-unit restaurant community a true opportunity to grow. So much so, that I put it on Video, wrote a book and am betting my entire future on this transformative idea. This video is 3 years old. So, it’s now 15 years.

Tell me. What do you think? I hope you can share your thoughts with me. This is a great debate!