How You Say It Can Sell You More Catering

Michael Attias Aug 10, 2016
Michael Attias

Last week I was in Portland, Oregon for a working vacation. I attended a wedding reception and put on a full day catering seminar downtown.

Portland is foodie town. I could spend a year driving around eating at great restaurants and not run out of wonderful meals.

The other night I went to Nonna’s in the Alberta Arts District for dinner. The place was cool and laid back. Our server was the bartender and made some wickedly good craft cocktails. He recommended the chicken and was spot on.

They use a locally sourced bird they brine for twenty-four hours, sear in a cast iron skillet and cook for seventeen minutes. Like in the Portlandia episode, I wanted to drive to the chicken farm.

Now one thing that turned me off about the Nonna’s was a little statement they printed at the bottom of their daily menu:


(See pic below)   


That statement did not sit well with me. So it’s my responsibility to add 5% to my bill and add 25% more to my 20% tip and provide their staff with health insurance. It comes across as pertinacious…like they are entitled to me footing the bill.

Should I leave a 10% tip and let them know I have deducted 10% from the tip to provide me an Uber, so I can grace them with my presence?

In actuality I think a business owner should make more than a fair profit and take care of their employees. I applaud Nonna’s owners for providing health insurance, but hate how they did it.

If my $10 appetizer cost an extra 5% or was $10.50, I wouldn’t notice or care.

Change the wording at the bottom of the page to read:

Our mission is to support our local economy. From sourcing locally grown produce and locally raised meats to providing our staff that serves you a living wage and health insurance, so they can lead a comfortable life. Thank you for supporting us in this mission.

Which sounds better. Don’t add a 5% health insurance line item. Just add 5% to everything and get your bookkeeper to keep up with the math.

During my seminar someone asked about charging for delivery for a drop-off catering.

If you can build it into your packages, then include “Free Delivery” as a selling point.

If you must charge for delivery, put a positive spin on it.

We are not charging for delivery. We are not making you pay for delivery, if you decide to pick it up. Subtle. But how you say it makes it easier to sell.

Take Donald Trump. I am all for a politician who can help us get this government running on a budget.

But someone needs to help this guy. He is shooting himself in the foot, hobbling like the guy with no legs in Monte Python.

Take the Muslim parents who addressed the Democratic Convention speaking about their sacrifice of losing their son, an American soldier who died fighting for our country. 

Trump minimizes their sacrifice by talking about his sacrifice to create thousands of jobs. Hardly the same.

He could have come across as a hero with the following statement:

“As a parent myself, I couldn’t imagine losing one of my precious children to war. It’s a real tragedy. But the real tragedy is the Democratic Party taking advantage of these parents’ grief. They have been used as pawns to further the liberal agenda.

Under the Democrats, military spending has been reduced by X% (then rattle other facts about the military that makes the Dems look bad).

When I am president, as Commander and Chief, I will give the men and women who serve this great country the tools and support they need to do their job as safely and effectively as possible. From an increase in _____ to reforming the VA. We have a duty to put our soldiers first.”

If Trump wants to hire me to write his talking points, I am available. Same for Hillary.

Now please don’t write me complaining about my politics. First and foremost, I am all about fiscal policy. I support many social programs; primarily those that teach a man to fish and don’t just give out fish.

And you know when the government is “buying” fish to give out: they overpay, overbuy and end up with fish rotting on the docks.

We have plenty of money in our budget to do good. Uncle Sam just needs to learn to live within their means.

This year we are faced with the lesser of two evils. After watching the Libertarians on CNN the other night, I pray they end up getting invited to the debates.

I think we are fed up with our government and just want some common sense people in the White House.

Johnson and his running mate were both Republicans in Democrat states. They made a ton of tax cuts, balanced their state’s budgets and were voted the top fiscally responsible governors.

Though I usually vote Republican, this year I am very open to voting for common sense.

Sorry to go on such a rant about health insurance and politics.

The big point comes down to how you say it makes a difference in selling more catering.

Another minor example: Instead of telling people we gave 5.33 ounces of barbecue per person in our party pack…

We give a third of a pound of barbecue per guest. That’s enough for one and a half “good sized” sandwiches per guest. Most women will make one sandwich and most men will make two. So you’ll have enough to feed everyone.”

What wording can you change in your selling language?

Please feel free to share on our Facebook Group:     



NOTE: Let me encourage you to a join our new Facebook group I created for our industry: Restaurants That Cater. It is open to clients and non-clients alike. Please post your successes and challenges and share your knowledge with our community. There are groups and associations for caterers and for restaurants, but none for restaurants that cater…a very important group that is grossly underrepresented. Click on the link below and request to join:

Please pass on this link to your colleagues and co-workers in the industry. The more of us, the better!

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 proposals

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