How To Double Your Catering Sales

Michael Attias Jun 25, 2014
Michael Attias

“How To Double Your Catering Sales!”

Now that’s a bold, very bold statement.

This past Monday night I held a webinar. The day after the webinar I started calling all attendees to check in. As an aside: a follow up telephone call after a piece of mail is sent or after a webinar will yield a 300-1000% better response than no webinar at all.

Making these follow up calls reminded me of a very valuable lesson. You must, at all costs, have a live person answering your phones.

Over half of the attendees sent me to a voice mail, and these were their business lines. How much business is lost by this attitude of indifference?

Before I even opened my restaurant in 1992, I played a catering prospect. I called and visited all of the main barbecue competitors in Nashville. I wanted to taste their product, see their menus and talk with their catering salespeople (or order takers).

Back then, the majority either had an answering machine or a low level employee answering the phones. Most of them didn’t even bother to capture my contact information.

Playing prospect gave me perspective from the customer’s point of view. If I were calling to inquire about an event, an unanswered phone would cause me to call the next caterer on my list.

Maybe teasing you with promises of doubling your catering sales by answering the phones is ludicrous. For some of you, I’m not too far off.

Your phones are the weakest link in your catering sales system. Anyone entrusted to pick up the receiver and say hello should be pleasant, professional and properly trained. At minimum, they should have the sense to ask for your contact information, basic details about your event and quickly pass the info on to someone who can help.

Even if the right phone procedures don’t double your catering sales, you will see a noticeable improvement.

Start by playing prospect to your competitors. I once had a client order in catering from his top five competitors for a staff meeting. They spent hours dissecting everything from the order taking experience to packaging to the number of ounces of turkey on a sandwich.

Too radical? If you don’t think the Fortune 500 does this and then some, you are sadly mistaken. Even professional poker players spend hours watching television footage to learn the tells of their competitors.

NOTE: Last week I asked everyone to let me know their thoughts on doing a podcast. I have been toying around with the idea of interviewing different operators, industry experts and general business experts to create a podcast to the restaurant/catering industry. Please email me back your thoughts. Do you listen to podcasts? Would you be interested? Please let me know either way.

Well That’s All For This Issue!

Michael Attias

Restaurant Catering Software

P.S. – If you need help growing catering sales, then please go to and download my free eBook: Cater or Die!

P.P.S. – I make a limited number of time slots available each week for a free Catering Strategy Session with me. (You also get a catering menu critique and free analysis of your website for “Catering Effectiveness”). For complete details and to grab one of the limited spots, please go to:

P.P.S. – Anyone wishing to reprint my articles may do so. Please email me for the bi-line to use for proper author’s credits.

See more posts about: catering customer service, catering operations, catering business

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