The Catering Opportunity – Watch the Treat Segment in the months ahead!

English: Ben Greenfield and Jerry Cohen, found...

In my own work at MonkeyMedia Software, I am fascinated by the endless opportunities presented to our multi-unit restaurant community when it comes to catering.  These days, no matter where my travels take me, every restaurant category is exploring the off-premise catering opportunity.  Pizza, Sandwiches, Salads, Sushi, Pasta, Chicken, Hamburgers, Tacos, Burritos and even Steak!  Yes, steak.

While all of these segments are exciting, to me, it’s the treat segment that really has incredible upside.  Why?

Because bringing treats in to feed a group of people serves a different purpose and market than bringing in services for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  A totally different reason to buy!  If you really want to bring smiles to the faces of your guests, what better than bringing them a treat!

Check out this video I found for Ben and Jerry’s Catering.  No wonder their catering services are growing faster than a speeding bullet!

So, this got me thinking!  If it works for ice cream, then it works for frozen yogurt, popcorn, cookies, coffee and so on.  And as I mentioned, it’s not just about feeding people, like when our guests need to cater meals.  No.  It’s bigger than that!

It’s about making people feel good.  It’s about cheering employees up after a tough quarter or celebrating something special like a new contract.  It’s about bringing smiles into someone’s day.  It’s about making the day special, for some reason.  It’s a clear signal to your guests that they are worthy of a treat!  Just like when you were a child.  Remember when Mom and Dad took you for an ice cream?  Emotional connection.  That’s what its about.  Yes, emotional connection.  Making memories.  Why?  Because it’s a treat!

Here’s the other thing I really like about the catering opportunity for the snack/treat segment.   If we are smart (and we are), we will leverage our brands in this segment, and look at “co-branding” our services with brands that fill the meal segment when it comes to catering.  So, imagine a day where our community brands co-exist as an ecosystem of caterers.  We actually bring each other into the catering contract. Isn’t that what caterers do?  They often sub-contract services.  So, why wouldn’t we?

Wouldn’t it be something to see when, say a brand like Ruby Tuesday, not only sells it’s own catering services, but in fact, brings in Ben and Jerry’s to complement the meal?  Now that’s opportunity!  Nowhere to go but up.  Nowhere to go but BIG!  Let’s work together to find new and exciting ways to bring our catering services to market.  Together, we stand united!

Let’s talk catering!

Live to work, or work to live? – Looking to 2013

Tomorrow it’s wheels up again.  But this time, it’s personal and not for business.

Some down time for my family.  Warmer climate.  It’s time for us to regroup and focus on what’s really important in life. Remind ourselves of how much we have to be grateful for.  Not that we don’t see it during the year.  It’s just that like everyone, things can get so busy, we just blink and it’s the end of 2012.  Bing, bang, smash!  The holidays are here and we don’t realize how hard we’ve been going until we actually slow down a bit.

This got me thinking….

“Do I live to work or do I work to live”?

Well, some days I am not sure.  But what I do know, is which pieces of my work I do live for.  The pieces that fill my heart.  The things that really light up for me.  The moments that remind me why I do what I do at MonkeyMedia Software.  The pieces that I love the most.

For me, it’s about the people. It’s probably not the first time you’ve heard me say this.  It’s always been this way for me!

Just check out this great video that we filmed at Ruby Tuesday with their catering team!  Focus on the people as you watch this video.  I love the way they light up!

I find it fascinating to watch the passion and dedication of these Ruby Tuesday Team Members!  I am so lucky to do the work that I do.  My whole team is simply focused on creating usable and friendly tools to help people do their jobs better.  And boy, is it ever working great!

I am so proud to be part of something this extraordinary!  The funny thing is, I never saw it coming.  Not a chance.  It just happened by making sure we focus on the little things that matter to the people who work hard for our customers, day in and day out.

It’s always been about the people.  That’s what I live for.  That’s what drives me to get through the grind of building a business, day in and day out, year after year.

Enjoy your holiday season and stay safe.  Let’s talk catering in 2013!  I can’t wait!



When I’m on the Road, I’m moving forward

Hey there:

Just came off a whirlwind road trip!  Like a boxer training for his next fight, road work is important for a growing business venture.

I’d like to tell you it’s easy, but that would not be the truth. Its tough.  Mentally and Physically.  It’s tough on your family.

For those of you that travel for work and have families, I am sure you will agree.  Especially if your business has a quick pace to it.  Well, as it grows, it gets faster. At least, that’s how it’s going for MonkeyMedia Software.

Our team is  fighting hard every single day for the efficiency and scale of our customers’ catering operations, and its going great!  Thing is, we’ve got to keep it going.  So, more road work is needed.  More site visits, more on site training and workshops, more hands on the street kind of effort and of course, more software deployments.

I dream that one day, the off-premise market will represent 50% of restaurant revenues.  That’s $315 Billion in annual sales, based on today’s revenues.  In reality, it will be more as consumers change their buying habits.  Ok.  I’m lumping in all delivery for takeout, catering, mail-order and licensing revenues into this number.  The countless ways that brands can extend their services outside the four walls of the restaurant.  Anyways, regardless, it’s a big number.

Ok.  I did say it was a dream!

So why do it?  It’s got to be worth it, in the end  so the whole effort and investment makes sense, but in the meantime, until “that day” comes, it has to be more meaningful in the moments.  Otherwise, it just too hard.  You have to believe you are doing the right thing to continue, or you need to change strategies, no?

Well, I’ve got the “believe” thing and the “strategy” thing pretty much in check.  So, I just continue.  That’s a good thing right?

So, I say, It’s got to be the journey.  The day-to-day.

So, I was thinking to myself, “I know what it is that I don’t like about being on the road, so what are the parts that I do like about it?” seeing that it’s a big part of my job.  And I do love my job!  So, I had better focus on the great things because there are so many!

So here are my top “likes” , if I were to capture the moments in between over the last few weeks.

1.  Validation – Feeling of Accomplishment fills my heart

Nothing makes me feel more accomplished than the happy faces of  the catering teams of our  customers!

2.  Learning – Fast Casual Executive Summit fills my brain with great information

My Facilitation of the CEO Discussion panel along with Tom Feltenstein. Great conversation and insight from Frank Paci, Don Fox, David Rutkauskas, Phil Friedman and Dean Loring.  I am so lucky to learn from these great leaders.

3.  Friendship – Making new connections with like-minded leaders

Great to meet you Wally Doolin! Love your passion and admire your leadership.

4.  Community and Fun – Laughter creates community, trust and sharing

Here we are shooting our “annual tradition” video. Soon to be up on Youtube! Great people, great fun.

5.  Teambuilding – Building Culture and a Team

I am very lucky to be able to serve the 32 team members at MonkeyMedia Software. They make sure things are ok at home as we do our road work.

When it comes to our business, when we are on the road, we are moving forward.  

Enjoy your day.  Thanks for stopping by.  Travel Safe.