What You Need To Invest To Build Catering Sales

Michael Attias Jan 11, 2017
Michael Attias

As we are all recovered from Christmas and the New Year, many of us have set goals or created resolutions. January is one of my busiest months, as operators realize catering can hold the key to more sales in 2017.

Any time I have a meeting with a prospective client, I ask them two things:

  1. How much time do you (or someone who works for you) have a week to invest in growing your catering sales?


  1. What’s your monthly budget to grow your catering sales?

At bare minimum, you need five hours a week devoted to building catering sales. Ideally, ten hours would be best. If you have the budget to invest in a full time catering sales rep, that will help you reach your goals quicker.

When I first opened my restaurant in 1992, I would leave the restaurant for an hour, two max, a day to work on my marketing. I turned off my pager (now that dates me), so I could have uninterrupted sales and marketing time.

To leverage my selling activities, I would invite prospective catering clients into my restaurant for an early or late lunch to “sample” our food. I could steal ten minutes to schmooze and sell before and after we got slammed.

That bit of time discipline paid off. Eventually I could invest more time and hire a full-time marketing director to prime our sales pump. Snowballing my investment of time eventually paid off to the tune of a million dollars a year in catering.

You’d be surprised at how many operators can’t or won’t find five hours a week to build sales.

Fire yourself from all of those minimum wage jobs you are doing around your restaurant and make yourself the CSO of your restaurant: Chief Sales Officer. You have the best understanding of what you can provide and are the best salesperson you have. Use yourself wisely.

Just like my desire to have a six pack, yet zero commitment to do a single sit up, stop “wishing” for catering sales. If you aren’t going to invest the time, then call yourself out. Stop talking about catering sales and please don’t call me to help you.

When it comes to the investment commitment to build catering sales, many operators have a very unrealistic expectation. On what planet, can you invest zero to get something?

Now don’t get me wrong. If you are a whiz at cold calling, you probably could build your catering sales. To this point I have met only a few operators that good.

Plan on investing a minimum of five hundred to a thousand dollars a month to grow catering sales as a starting point. This includes the cost of marketing materials, direct mail pieces, cookies for cookie drops and sample luncheons.

The more success you have in growing your catering sales, the more you will want to invest. Your goal should be to snowball your catering sales to fund a full time catering salesperson.

How much did you invest to start your restaurant? I am guessing a hundred thousand on the low end and over a million on the high end.

So why do you think you can invest next to nothing and grow catering? After all, catering can double your sales without renting an extra building, buying more equipment, hiring a new team of managers, etc.

For the single operator, one hundred percent of your marketing dollars should go to catering sales growth. Catering transactions are large and every catering order “pays” you to advertise your restaurant. It is the most prudent form of advertising.

Ask yourself:What are you prepared to invest in time and money to grow your catering sales? If the answer is nothing, then please stop talking about it. You will just drive yourself and others crazy.

If you are ready to invest in growing catering sales this year, please make plans to attend my webinar this Monday night entitled:

Crank Up Your Catering

The Hottest Growth Strategies For 2017

To grab one of the 100 spots and register, 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.

We have built a large following with some great posts and answers. This is a no-brainer resource if you cater from your restaurant.

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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