The Food Factor

Michael Attias Dec 20, 2013
Michael Attias

A few months ago I joined an angel investing group. I would call us a band of mini-angels. Members have an opportunity to invest individually in the companies we review, as well as, use our group’s funds to invest collectively. A friend of mine started the group.

Once a month we meet for lunch and listen to a pitch from a different start-up. I’m usually more into strategically analyzing each venture than the lunch.

Yesterday lunch was catered by Jason’s Deli. We had box lunches. If you’re not familiar with Jason’s Deli, I suggest you check out their website. They have an incredible reputation for catering.

With all the great things I’ve heard about them, you would think their food would be over the top. I was expecting artisanal bread, fresh carved turkey and a cookie Mrs. Fields would lose sleep over.

Sadly, they were just above average for this foodie. I enjoyed my meal, but no wow factor.

Guess what? That is perfectly acceptable.

But why do they sell so much catering from all of their stores? It’s not just a one or two store phenomenon. I have no inside scoop to share, just my observations and stories over the years.

So here goes…


  1. They know what business they are in. They are in the business of marketing and selling catering. They hire full time catering salespeople. They realize to do multiple six figures to even seven figures in catering takes someone out selling and marketing each and every day. My most successful clients do this as well. Accident? I think not.
  2. They know what the marketplace wants. Go to their website and download their catering menu. Their USP, unique selling proposition is “Last Minute Catering Experts”. While owning Corky’s, at least twenty percent of our catering orders were placed for the day of; maybe more. To truly have a thriving catering profit center, you must embrace last minute orders.
  3. One-stop shopping for the corporate catering niche. They offer breakfast, lunch, box lunch and snacks for breaks. They have a menu designed to provide everything their primary target market wants. A catering decision maker planning a full day training session would prefer to order breakfast, lunch and an afternoon break snack from one caterer. One phone call and one bill makes their job much easier.
  4. A system to run their catering profit center. I know Jason’s Deli has developed catering software for their stores. I’ve heard it is not nearly as robust as ours, but I’m betting it more than serves their needs. You can’t operate a large catering profit center with pieces of paper and prayers.
  5. They more than deliver on the basics. Jason’s would not be successful and have repeat catering clients without efficiently taking orders, showing up on time, leaving nothing off of an order and providing billing for corporate clients.

Even though my sandwich wouldn’t have made it on Iron Chef, Jason’s realizes it’s not just about the food.

As 2014 quickly approaches, how many of the five points above can you claim you do well; very well? If not all of them, then you have something to focus on in 2014.

NOTES: Please join me in wishing Somers, our Marketing Concierge well, as she moves on to a new opportunity.

Please join me in welcoming Jillian Davis to the RCS team. She is our new Marketing Director and Marketing Concierge for our clients. Jillian has already hit the ground running and will be a big asset to RCS and our clients.

SAVE THE DATE: Jon Wool and I will be conducting a full day catering workshop in St. Louis, Missouri on Tuesday, February 11, 2014. It is called:

How To Turbo Charge Your Catering Sales:

The Ultimate Catering Sales & Marketing Plan Revealed

Marketing materials will go out the first week of January. If you are interested in registering before then, please email me: I’ll see if I can get Jon to agree to an early, early bird special for my members and clients.

Jon will spearhead the selling part and me the marketing part; together a deadly combination to help you grow your catering sales in 2014.

Please see Jon’s bio below.

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.

Jon Wool is considered one of the hospitality industry's foremost experts and personalities.  Following his tenure as a Senior Vice President with Wolfgang Puck Catering, he established Finesse Cuisine Catering and Events, a boutique catering company serving Chicagoland and beyond.  Over the years he fielded requests to conduct workshops at institutions such as DePaul University, Chief Executive Boards International, Catersource, ISES, and Special Events.  He also served as an Adjunct Professor of Hospitality Management at Kendall College and became central to the national Catersource Consulting Unit.  The success of these assignments prompted him to launch JHW Hospitality Consulting in 2010.  As a consultant, coach, and speaker, Jon has been applauded for his warmth, humor, and ability to clearly communicate complex concepts.

Jon received a BFA in Acting at Carnegie Mellon University and attended Loyola University's MBA program.  As an actor, he appeared in movies such as Wall Street, television's The Untouchables, soaps, commercials, and regional theater.  This experience inspires Jon to approach each speaking engagement as a unique piece of theater and to bring to each coaching assignment a director's eye for show stopping success.  

See more posts about: catering operations, catering strategy

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