One of my best friends, Mark Moskowitz, and I go back to our college days at Memphis State. Late last night, he forwarded me an article by Roy Williams, The Wizard of Ads, about belief.
It got me thinking about what I believe.
Mark and I started a bartending service called Gentlemen Bartenders based on our beliefs that:
- Bartenders should dress sharp in tux pants, a clean-cut tux shirt, bow tie and cumberbund; not a teal ruffled tux shirt and velvet bow tie like a '60s Vegas act would wear.
- Bartenders should show up early, so as not to stress the host/ess.
- Drinks should not be stirred with the same spoon; rather cocktail straws.
- Ice should be scooped with a proper stainless steel scoop; not a chipped coffee cup.
- Bartenders should be consultative; helping clients with quantities of liquor, beer, wine and mixers...not just show up and pour.
- Bartenders should go above and beyond and help the caterer out when needed.
Our “beliefs” resonated with a lot of people in Memphis. We quickly grew a following with the “it” crowd in Memphis and made considerable money from a niche business that allowed me to work less than my peers.
The Secret to Growing Your Catering Sales
As I sip my coffee at Pinewood Social this morning, reviewing Roy’s article, I have an epiphany.
My entire life has been influenced by my belief systems.
Coming to America at the age of two from Paris definitely opened up possibilities and opportunities unavailable to me in France.
One of my early beliefs was that I do not believe the harder you work, the more money you make.
I believe time - more specifically, your ability to control your time and not have others control it - makes you richer than Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos combined.
Do you think those guys can sleep in on a Wednesday, just because, or play hooky to go hit balls at Top Golf?
Working Smarter vs. Harder
These beliefs were shaped by seeing my father go off to work before the family awoke and come home at 6, 7 or 8 each night; having to wait for him to eat dinner. My father worked his butt off for five and a half days each week, then spent his free time doing yard work and cleaning the house with my mom on Sundays.
He was lucky to have a few hours a week to spend with me and my siblings.
All this hard work led to him getting the short end of the stick. He went bankrupt and was forced to cook donuts in the middle of the night to put food on the table.
He was no victim. He was a hard worker. But as a result of seeing him struggle and work hard, I believed all the money in the world wasn’t worth giving up my time.
While my friends were working minimum wage jobs, I chose to mow lawns. I was very deliberate in my criteria.
- The yard could not take more than an hour.
- The pay was $25 for each cut. (Back in the late ’70s that was a ton of money).
- No bagging. No blowing. No weed eating. I didn’t want to work that hard.
Please don’t judge. We all have a right to structure our business the way it suits us.
I had two clients. Made $50 a week.
That was all the spending money I needed.
That gave this poor kid all the time in the world to live the life of the privileged.
I rode my bike up to the Jewish Community Center each day. My mornings consisted of tennis. I was actually pretty good. My left-handed game threw people off.
I spent the early afternoon eating at the snack bar and swimming in the pool. I ended the day in the game room playing pool and ping pong and watching TV with my friends.
This work-less, have-more-time mindset has been one of my primary beliefs. I joke that I am lazy. The truth is that I am efficient; highly efficient.
Even as a server at Corky’s in college, my eye was always open to ways to make things run better. I re-engineered the drive-thru window system to turn more cars. Unfortunately, Robbie, the general manager, hated change and reverted to her archaic system.
I even had the idea for catering software to save Corky’s a ton of time back in 1986, but lacked the skill to program it.
How To Become a More Successful Caterer
So why this trip down memory lane Michael? Are you trying to rub it in Michael that you’ve always had more free time than us?
No. Not at all.
Today things are crystal clear. I realize CaterZen’s best clients are the ones who believe as we do.
You don’t have to work harder to make more money. You need to work smarter.
You wake up every day trying to find the system that will allow your catering business to run on processes; not personalities.
You believe that money spent on saving time and increasing sales is an investment; not a cost.
You believe that you can never rest trying to improve. You believe being a lifelong student of business keeps you a step ahead of your competitors.
We at CaterZen wake up every day believing we need to find/add that next “thing” that allows our clients to make more catering sales, save more time and overall make life easier. It’s an obsession around here. Just ask my team.
It’s not only what we sell, but we buy the same way; always on the lookout for ways to do more with less.
Are You Looking To Increase Sales AND Free Time?
What do you believe? If you believe the status quo is good enough...that doing it the old fashioned way...that hard work works...that there will be plenty of time to enjoy life when you retire….then being part of the CaterZen tribe is probably not a good fit for you.
But if you believe the purpose of your business is to make you money...to facilitate a great quality of life...plenty of free time to enjoy your family, yourself and friends...then CaterZen is a home for you.
If you believe in lifelong learning and continuous improvement, then CaterZen is a home for you.
CaterZen is not a catering software company. We believe that we are a catering software company that helps successful caterers become more successful.
Losers need not apply. You won’t like it here.
So I ask you, “What do you believe?”