Erle’s Catering Sales Tip#345 – ABC



My team at the Catering Institute is working hard in the field today, as they do every day.  We spend all our time in restaurants helping them to grow sales and increase profits by educating them to be experts at feeding their customers where they Live, Work & Play.

One of the key elements that we get asked about every single day is how to sell more products and services in the business to business (B2B) channel.

Well, I have learned that in order to sell more off premise products and services into companies, we have to really focus on active selling.  We have to become professional selling organizations, every single day.  This is not for the light hearted.  It takes organizational resilience to really be selling at all levels of a restaurant company.

One idea that I like to focus on with all of our clients is on the “ABC’s” of selling.

Always Be Closing!

It is amazing to see how many of us experience an uptick in sales when we just start focusing on the basics of asking for business.

Here are 5 ideas that you can implement tomorrow to help you grow more sales.

1.  Ask for the order 3 times

2. Be persistent every single day.  If a prospect says no to you, it’s not that they are really saying no.  They are not buying for another reason and it is your job to find out.

3.  Know when to Cut Your Losses and Move on To Another Prospect.  This is part of the qualification process.  Are they qualified to purchase your products and services.

4.  Learn to Isolate Objections.  Make sure you ask your prospect “Besides {put objection here}, is there any other reason you won’t buy from me today?”

5.  Once Isolated, ask the Prospect, “If {put objection here} was not an issue, would you buy then?  Then solve for their objection.

Let’s sell more catering together!


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!

Think “Carpe Diem: Seize the Day” when it comes to catering!

Carpe Diem - Seize The Day

When I was a kid in Montreal, Canada I used to walk around the block knocking on doors and ask to shovel sidewalks and driveways to make a few quarters. On one occasion, I actually shovelled the snow on my neighbours walkway before I knocked on the door.  Luckily, I got paid anyways!  Not bad considering I was only 10 years old at the time.

In 1734, Richard Cantillon defined entrepreneurs as “non-fixed income earners who pay known costs of production but earn uncertain incomes”.   I mention this because shoveling snow in those days, was the beginning of when I got the buzz of providing services for an uncertain reward.

And while an element of risk is a fundamental part of entrepreneurism, I believe that the true essence of being an entrepreneur is carpe diem.

Carpe diem, to seize the day, is an old Latin saying that is commonly used in English and is a very important aspect of all business. In business, windows of opportunity rarely stay open for long so every second counts.

At MonkeyMedia Software and the MMS Catering Institute we do our best to take hold of every moment because we know that you can never get back wasted time.

Catering is the restaurant industry’s equivalent of carpe diem because, very much like a certain young kid walking around shoveling driveways, it brings our services directly to the customer.

When you wake tomorrow, think carpe diem when it comes to catering out of your restaurants!

Restaurant Catering Tip: Stay in Shape

Been having fun with my restaurant catering tips!  We can all use operational fitness, even my team at MonkeyMedia Software and the MMS Catering Institute.

Call our MMS Catering Institute to set your catering standards!


What Is My Purpose in the Restaurant Industry?

I was in the studio and this video came out of the session.  I thought I’d share it with you.  Been thinking alot about what I should be doing with my time in the food business.  Just thinking out loud really.  Hope you have a great weekend.

Loving the work we are doing at MonkeyMedia Software and the MMS Catering Institute.


Catering Onboarding The Right Way! – Rosati’s Catering

I am so proud of my team at MonkeyMedia Software and the MMS Catering Institute.  This generous article was written by Alicia Kelso and featured on Pizza Market Place.  I’ll repost here because it’s really something to be proud of and it speaks the truth.  Hope you enjoy it!  Let’s talk catering!!



Chicago-based Rosati’s Pizza has been around since 1964. Since that time, the company has offered catering meals featuring beef, chicken, pasta and pizza.

But now the nearly 200-unit chain is adding off-premise catering — not just a carryout option as it’s been, but a separate revenue channel and business, complete with devoted staff, training and packaging. Because of increased competition and consumer demand, now is the right time to enhance the service, according to Rosati’s president Marla Topliff.

“Pizza is pizza; it’s not going to change. You either add another dimension or you don’t grow. We’re all looking for that next step to take and catering is probably it,” she said.

Rosati’s recently selected MonkeyMedia Software to set up its new program, and hired a new catering director in Jennifer Freskos. The chain is currently onboarding its off-premise catering program via MonkeyMedia Software’s Catering Institute.

“It’s not a giant leap, but it is adding a giant dimension to make it more profitable for stores and to add more revenue,” Topliff explained.

Added customer service

MonkeyMedia’s Hillary Jacob, senior catering analyst, is helping Rosati’s with the process and said the biggest difference between this program and the previous one is the customer service dimension.

“Now, when you have a catering call, the customer will talk to a trained catering rep; someone who is trained on the menu and can help them plan their meal for any occasion. Delivery is stepped up a notch as well — they’re in uniform, they greet you, they set up your meal, take lids off of pans, simple things like that. These little steps of service add up and make a great experience for the customer,” Jacobs said.

MonkeyMedia’s Catering Institute includes back-of-house training, delivery, customer service, CRM, sales and marketing and more. A brand that chooses to undergo such training then becomes certified by the company. Time and money spent varies depending on the size of the brand.

Freskos said there is not only an increased demand for off-premise catering but customers want these service upgrades as well.

“The biggest focus is on business to business consumers — the power lunch, the client meeting, etc. That’s why we need to have that top customer service every step of the way — from the initial call to picking up the boxes afterwards. These customers are too busy to worry about all of that,” she said.

A big part of the business

Topliff said catering is a big part (about 10 percent) of the Rosati’s business and with the new platform, she’s anticipating it to become “much bigger.”

“I could see it becoming about half of the business. The opportunity for catering is so huge right now. It gets customers fed the way they want to be fed and when, and that’s what they want and need right now,” she said.

The Rosati’s catering menu extends well beyond its signature pizza. Freskos said it’s important to include a variety of options, such as sandwiches, salads and antipasta, and there are also some “non-mainstream” entrees, such as chicken Marsala and lemon chicken, as well as new desserts. (See some of themenu items here).

The meals will be served in Rosati’s Catering-specific packaging. Topliff said the packaging was designed to look sophisticated and upscale, to help “take the program to another level.”

Rosati’s will market the service with a sampling program, bringing food to target customers. It will also be heavily advertised in stores, on the brand’s website and through social media channels. A My Rosati’s Catering Facebook page was recently created, for example.

Rosati’s is in the process of certifying restaurants to include the new catering service and will add a “few at a time.” Topliff said the company needs to start small, test and make sure it’s right before going chain-wide. Every store that includes the program has to be certified before going live — that includes training for the entire staff. Training covers operations, marketing, menu knowledge, how to upsell, how to answer phones and identify different buyers, back-of-house training and more, Jacob said.

“Training goes down to the amount of ounces of cheese included in a salad, which utensils to use and dressings to put on the side,” she said. “”There are a lot of pieces that go into catering; it’s not just an add-on business, it’s its own business. We need to make sure everyone in the store can speak to the program.”

Once the foundations are in place at each store, the MonkeyMedia software will be rolled out. The web-based application enables operators to manage sales, orders, payments, production sheets, order distribution and more. Through this platform, for example, Freskos will be able to look up every order a client has ever placed, complaints, compliments and more.

To ensure its success, Rosati’s has developed a catering council. Topliff said this allows store owners to provide feedback and menu ideas.

Part of a bigger trend

A recent report from marketing research firm Technomic projects gains in consumers’ use of restaurants for catering of 5-plus percent annually. Not only do customers want the service, but operators are seeing the benefits as well.

“If executed properly, operators can expect $1,000 a day in incremental sales per restaurant,” Jacob said.

Topliff said the biggest hurdle for many is to try something new.

“It took me almost two years to say yes. All of these questions and fears came up,” she said. “But pizza isn’t the only segment delivering anymore. That used to be our differentiator. So where do we go? Catering adds to the bottom line, customers want it and it causes brand awareness outside of your four walls. If you don’t stay current, you don’t grow.”