Trump, Hillary and The Psychology of Catering Sales

Michael Attias Jul 21, 2016
Michael Attias

Who are you supporting in the Presidential election? Are you a Trump fan or die hard Hillary supporter?

Please don’t email me back with your answer. This issue is as divisive as the North and the South in the Civil War.

The one thing that is a given is that your candidate resonates with you. On an emotional level we connect with one or the other (or a third party). Logic has little or anything to do with how we make a choice for our candidates or any other purchase for that matter.

If you are on Team Hillary, the incident with classified documents on her personal server is shrugged off as a witch hunt or not that big a deal.

If you are on Team Trump, then any of his crazy statements are easily justified or you hate Hillary enough to not place any weight on them.

The purpose of this article is not to start a political firestorm in the restaurant catering world. I merely want to illustrate that “buying” decisions are based more on emotions than logic.

This is just as true with the people who buy your catering.

I just wrapped up a call with a friend of mine who books millions of dollars of events a year and is a huge buyer of catering services for her clients. She admitted to me that the food her caterer provides is probably a “7” on a scale of one to ten.

The reason she uses him is that his catering tablescapes are over the top. You can’t throw a half million-dollar event for a client with great food served on disposable platters and Chinette.

The late Mike Roman, catering guru and founder of Catersource, taught that catering buyers don’t want to be embarrassed. What does that mean?

Accept last minute orders, show up on time, leave nothing off the order, have plenty of food, offer billing terms, etc.

For catering to a homeowner, maybe they want to be a guest at their own party.

Maybe the catering buyer has a connection with the catering salesperson: they find them attractive or funny. Maybe they share a political or religious connection.

It could be that the catering salesperson is great about making the catering decision maker feel good about themselves; always asking about “them” and not too much talk about themselves.

At Corky’s we used our 120% Catering Guarantee to book events; offering to not send a bill if the client ran out of food. Today my drop-off catering clients use an “On Time Or It’s Free Catering Guarantee” we developed for them.

I can’t tell you exactly how to connect with a catering prospect on an emotional level and tap into the psychology of selling catering, but I can tell you to become a student.

When dealing with catering prospects you need to have an out of body experience. Pay attention to what you say and the reactions you get back. I would recommend reading Dale Carnegie’s, “How To Win Friends And Influence People”. For those of you with the attention span of a gnat, it boils down to, “Be more interested and stop trying to be interesting”.

Another great read is from Robert Cialdini, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”. He cites his studies and those of others outlining how and why people buy. This book has helped me a lot.

This is the bottom line: I really don’t care who you support for President. All the logic in the world won’t convince you to vote for my candidate, nor me for yours. So let’s just agree to not talk about it and know either way America always figures out a way to win!

Secondly, realize the quality of your food and service is a small part of selling catering. There are a million emotional and psychological factors at play in a catering buyer’s choice. Do your best to figure these out, before your competitors do.


SEMINAR ANNOUNCEMENT: Please mark your calendar for Tuesday, August 2, 2016, and make plans to attend a full day catering seminar I am putting on in Portland, Oregon entitled:

How To Double Your Restaurant Profits Workshop:

The Ultimate Catering Sales & Marketing System For Restaurants

Logically: you need to attend to learn how to sell more catering and increase your sales and profits.

Emotionally, you need to attend to learn how to make more money so you can…retire earlier, vacation more, send your kids to college, etc.

For complete details, please go to


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

Leave a comment

Recent Posts

Start growing your catering business with catering software!
Take the software for a spin, or schedule a free 1-on-1 product walkthrough
No credit card required