Competition Proof Catering Sales

Michael Attias Mar 16, 2016
Michael Attias

Yesterday one of my good friends Rhonda asked me about my competition.

I know my answer came off as arrogant, “I don’t have any competition!”

In the broad sense I do. There are many places you can go to find catering software, but a closer look will reveal why we operate competition free.

We are the only catering software company that focuses on restaurants that cater. We are on the only catering software company that provides systems and tools to find new catering clients and keep them coming back. And we are the only catering software company that provides a system to operate your catering profit more effectively; saving time and making more money…like with online ordering and our new Delivery Manager that allows drivers to handle their orders via smart phone).

So how can you make your catering business competition free?

Last week my team and I at Restaurant Catering Systems threw a two-day event called Caterpalooza. The room was packed out and the attendees heard from some great speakers with ideas to build their restaurant catering sales.

One of the more eye-opening presentations was called: The Art and Science of Having A Competition Proof Catering Business.

I had my Business Development Manager call three different caterers and order in lunch. She called an independent deli, a national chain deli/sandwich restaurant and a catering aggregator; someone who resells catering from multiple concepts to a client.

They all had their challenges on the phone, but to no surprise to me, the independent deli offered the best food by far, but the worst performance over the phone.

Let’s be clear. The phone is often your weakest link. If you can’t fix that, then you will never be competition proof.

I learned this lesson, when I opened my restaurant in 1992. I mystery shopped four of my barbecue competitors in town and played catering prospect. What I learned transformed how I conducted my catering business.

So now back to our independent deli.

First Call: When my team member called to place an order, she was given the name and number of their catering sales person and told to contact her.

No, no, no, no, NO!!!! We are in the hospitality business; not the make the customer do more work business.

Here’s the script that their employee should have used, “Our catering sales person is Sue Smith. She is away from the restaurant right now taking care of one of our catering clients. May I get your name and number, so I can get it to her right away? Would you like her contact information for your records? By the way, have you been to our website to see our catering menu? I would suggest you start there, until you hear back from Sue in a few hours.”

Which scenario sounds better to you?

Ping Pong Calls: The next couple of calls were the catering sales rep leaving a message and back and forth a few times.

Order Taking Call: If I told you what happened on this call, you wouldn’t believe me. The catering sales rep started off by complaining about how much stuff she was doing: taking orders, making orders, delivering orders…

She then asked my team member if she had been to the website, as they usually want you to go online first and email them the information. She didn’t even know her prices.

If I wanted to work to place an order, I would walk in Costco and pick up a tray of sandwiches and bag of chips.

Excuse me. You are selling a product 20% more expensive than your competitors. The product is worth the price, but the service sucked!

Do not tell me your rules or what you want me to do. You have a client willing to give you a credit card, and for all you know could become a regular, do not make me jump through hoops. Your competitors who attended Caterpalooza know better and will steal me away!

Besides listening to the recordings, we actually had all three caterers deliver and set up the food live during my presentation. We critiqued every facet of the catering from delivery to portion size to packaging to set up.

One attendee told me this presentation alone was worth the entire cost of the conference.

As soon as our videographer gets us the DVD’s, we will be making them available for sale.

Hopefully, you can make plans to attend Caterpalooza 2017!

Well, that’s all for this issue.

To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,

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.P.S. – Please check out my podcast at

P.P.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 sales, catering business, catering strategy

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