Catering Treats and Snacks on the Boardroom Table – Some Thoughts




Several months ago I was invited to speak about catering at the global franchise convention for Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. It was an eye opening experience; not only is the culture of this organization unique but in fact, the off-premise catering opportunity might just be the largest growth opportunity that the scoop shops have.


I learned an incredible amount about the “scoop shop” business and many insights flooded my thoughts specific to the catering opportunity that exists within the segment of frozen and non-frozen treats.


The treat segment, both frozen and non-frozen, has it’s own specific opportunity when it comes to catering to America‘s boardrooms and other catering venues. Unlike the demand for catering breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails, the treat segment stands on its own.


Here are a few reasons that come to mind:


1. There is a substantial catering opportunity that lies ahead for treats on the boardroom table. Restaurateurs that have a strong “snack” business have a real opportunity to complement the services of existing catering day-parts. Bringing a frozen treat service into the office in the middle of the day is a real opportunity to celebrate something special in the workplace. The selling proposition for these services is completely different than trying to fill the demand for a traditional catering daypart. Consumers will purchase these services for different reasons.


2. As consumers consider their options for feeding groups where they live, work and play, there is an opportunity to meet their requirements with foregoing a major meal and just treating their guests to a “treat or snack.” Consumers experience a reduced spend, in this case, but still meet their objectives of taking care of their guests. The message is similar as regular catering, but the budget is smaller. That’s a win for restaurateurs with a strong snack service.


3. For those restaurateurs that have a proprietary “treat or snack” profile, there is an opportunity to wholesale services out to all the other restaurant brands and institutional caterers that are focused on major dayparts. Imagine a day where a well know brand brings in a well known ice cream brand as they negotiate a contract. This wholesale catering opportunity is unique to the treat segment. Imagine that other food purveyors can sell your catering services into the client for you!


4. Catering treats allows for further market segmentation as it relates to off-premise sales. Because the products in the treat segment are so focused and specific, programs can be developed for community events, private parties and office functions. In each case, menu and service will drive the differentiation. Because of the proprietary nature of the products, you can really focus on a simple, repeatable and scalable execution process.


5. As consumers consider their catering options, bringing in a treat for guests telegraphs a positive message. It’s clearly tied to a celebration and guests will always leave feeling great about being treated. Think about how you felt when your mom and dad took you to the local scoop shop for an ice cream! This kind of consumption dynamic leads to high emotional connection with guests and as such, the cycle of repeat business and referrals will be higher than normal daypart catering.


6. Catering treats and snacks is complementary to feeding guests breakfast, lunch and dinner. It complements the swells of meal times and therefore, if your product and service is proprietary, your company can charge a premium for a great experience, sometimes in between meals.


For brands such as Dairy Queen, Ben & Jerry’s, Menchie’s, Yougurtland, Marble Slab Creamery and Cold Stone Creamery, developing a catering and off-premise consumer experience is a wonderful opportunity to help smooth out the typical seasonality that lives deep in their operational DNA.


No doubt, there are many more insights that we can discuss as a community. Let’s chat about it over a scoop of Cherry Garcia!





Order Execution – A key enabler for successful restaurant catering

This year, I am celebrating the beginning of my 16th year at MonkeyMedia Software.  As an entrepreneur, I am pretty much “path dependent” on my journey at this point.  For better or for worse.  It’s not impossible to shift gears, but at my age, it’s logistically challenging.  Just like catering out of restaurants.  Logistically challenging.  Don’t get me wrong;  I am not looking to change careers!  No Way!  I’ve got way to much learning to do and everywhere I go, all I see is opportunity for the US restaurant industry’s catering channel.  I absolutely love this business!  I see a $100 Billion dollar business out there.  It’s out there, but we HAVE to execute!

To keep myself interested every day, I am always looking for “shiny new objects”.  Well, according to my friend and colleague, Fred LeFranc, from Results Through Strategy, I can’t help myself. ” It’s classic entrepreneurial behaviour “, he tells me.  Oh, and by the way, those of you who might be looking for a great strategist, call Fred.  He’s doing great work for some our restaurant community’s best known brands.  So today, I will celebrate this part of me.  The part that can’t stop innovating.  Can’t stop imagining.  Can’t stop hoping.  It’s just that I feel SO certain!  Some days I feel like a child in a candy store.  I have to choose carefully or I will end up with a stomach ache!

As the founder of the MMS Catering Institute, it’s my job to document a business model for catering out of restaurants, that is predictable, scalable and repeatable.  I spend hours thinking about it, days writing about it, and weeks working in the field with my customers.  Customers like you.  Restaurant operators just trying to survive day to day.

I have learned that one of the key enabler’s for successful catering out of restaurant operations is “order execution”.  Too many of us fail at this.  Why?  Because logistics are complicated.  Logistics matter.  Like all industries, we can learn from others.  And so, I found this fantastic video that really shows the logistics execution of Airline Catering Operations.  It’s impressive, to say the least.

There are many takeaways for us as restaurant catering experts from this video.  I’d like to hear your thoughts on what you take away from the video.

Drop me a line.  Let’s talk Catering!

Was not going to post today…. but then I saw this.

I wasn’t going to post on my blog today until one of my team members sent me a thanksgiving video that Boloco made for their team.

When I saw it, it reminded me a lot of the same team spirit that we have at MonkeyMedia Software.  Then it dawned on me; [again] we all like to do business with like-minded people.  Thank you team Boloco for being such a nice group.  Great culture, great results.

If you need to feed a group this holiday season, they have a killer catering program.  Just call them at 1-855-265-6246 or simply email them at  Their catering specialists will ‘jump to the pump’ for you and yours!  Great Hospitatlity!  Great Food. Great People!