Monday, April 1, 2013

Roman's Opinion is Moving!!

Hello everyone

I want to thank you for following Roman's Opinion over the past few years.

It's been great to have a following to share with and hopefully I've helped you in your businesses.

I'm excited to announce that this will be the final post of Roman's Opinion because I'm moving all of my writing to my new site

From Catering Guru I will still regularly publish the same kinds of information that I did here, and so much more.

I'm doing videos, organized guides and all kinds of great new features.

Your subscription will automatically be switched to the new feed, so I hope you enjoy the new content!

Since you were one of my original subscribers, I am keeping your email tucked away in a special file.  Some day I hope to be able to treat you with a gift in appreciation for your time.

Thanks once again for following me!

If you have any questions or comments about the move please email me at or call me at (773) 549-7210.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Good Is A Good Way To Go

Caterers have huge hearts. Caterers are wonderfully obsessed with doing good things for their clients and staff. The question is whether having a huge heart and a desire to do good things is a wise business strategy. I think it is.

Over the last 20 years, I’ve had the privilege of interfacing with all types and sizes of caterers. The one thing I know for sure is that, in catering, the nice caterers who also follow correct business practices, finish first. Staff and customers are drawn to caterers who offer kindness, fairness, empathy and a genuine desire to help.

This does not mean that a caterer has to say “yes” to all requests from staff or clients. A catering business still needs to create profit. As business people, caterers need to make wise decisions about things that affect their bottom line. The quality and longevity of the bottom line is directly tied into how clients and staff perceive the actions of a particular caterer.

Recently I’ve spoken with many caterers who realize, now more than ever, that profitability is essential to their being able to do even more good things for others. With profitability, caterers can offer staff the increased earnings that insure them the good things they wish for themselves and their families. Profitability also permits caterers to offer pro bono catering to their community charities.

Caterers who follow the doctrine of doing good things gain the respect of those around them. They set the tone for those they come in contact with to also do good things. When a caterer demonstrates to staff and clients actions that go above and beyond what is required, the end result is fierce loyalty towards that caterer. Doing good things is contagious.

What about caterers who don’t practice doing good things? I’ve known some. The chances are you know a few also. Don’t they make money? Some do. But the ones I’ve known usually have more than the average problems with both staff and clients. The old axiom “what goes around comes around” is usually their downfall.
In life and in business, good is good and bad is bad. It is hard to hide either the good or bad actions that one takes. Staff and clients make conclusions about a caterer based on the consistency of the caterer’s actions.

Practice doing good things. It helps you be a better person and run a better business. And if you don’t do good things, it’s likely to catch up with you sooner or later.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Guest Article: Can Caterers Afford Not To Be Social? by Travis S. Taylor, Affairs To Remember Caterers, Atlanta

Remember when the scales of trust and sales tipped to the side of companies with websites, and companies without websites were destined for doom? I believe there are very few of us today who could even fathom doing business with a company that doesn’t have a website. Right?
We’re heading in that same direction with Social Media.
By its very nature, catering is a highly social profession. So why aren’t more caterers…Social? And just having a Facebook or Twitter account that’s not active or strategic doesn’t make one Social.

You have to engage with clients—regularly and relevantly—to be successful, and Social Media is a perfect tool for just that! The point of Social Media is to create or strengthen your business relationships…it’s really that simple.

Let’s look at an obvious fact. When we see a new relevant food, décor, or service trend, we whole-heartedly jump on it like our next paycheck depends on it. And, really, it does. We jump on that bandwagon and learn everything there is to know about that trend so that we can incorporate it into our offerings.

Ignore trends and we risk losing clients to competitors…and who among us wants that?
While catering hasn’t historically embraced technology as quickly as other industries, I’m here to tell you that times have changed!

Today, you see QR Codes on menu cards; wedding receptions are being planned on Pinterest; guests receive event invitations via Facebook…and this ‘technology’ is here to stay, and it’s only going to get more complex.

So bite the bullet and get involved now…because we know what happens to caterers who hide their heads in the sand!

How do you do it? It’s not that difficult, really. This is “Social” Media. You’ll be talking about what you do every day…and that’s not so complex, right?

Based on my experience and research, the most important thing is getting started. Choose a Social Media channel like Facebook or Pinterest and dive in. If you try to take on too many channels at once, you risk doing poorly across numerous platforms instead of being brilliant on the few that are a match for your particular business. 

Travis can be reached at

Monday, March 4, 2013

Upselling Creates Better Events

Most salespeople think that the goal of upselling is to make more money. Upselling certainly leads to more money, but the greatest benefit to a catering business is a better event for the client, guests and your company. Think of upselling as a sales tactic that is also a marketing bonanza.
You can upsell just about anything, by offering your clients choices. Here are some of the items that caterers can up-sell:
• Food items
• Multiple entrees
• Garbage removal
• Food presentation
• Unlimited bar service
• Table centerpieces
• Buffet display equipment
• Ice carvings
• Location and/or view
• Table sizes and/or shapes
• Specialty lighting
• Not using chafers
• Color and styles of chairs
• Entertainment
• Time of delivery
• Different plate garnishes
• Flowers
• Executive chef at event
• Glassware, plates, flatware
• Special effects
• Valet parking
• Linens and napkins
• Event-planning
• Bottled spring water
• Size of bride’s room
• Security personnel
• Non-alcoholic bar
 • Earlier or later start time
• Take-away guest gifts
• Plate covers
• Staff serving
• Style of service
• Souvenir menus
• Ratio of staff to guests
• Children’s menus
• An additional event
• Types of hors d’oeuvre
• Event insurance
• Portion size
• Pre- and post-event cleaning

Friday, March 1, 2013

You Have To Want To Sell Before You Can Sell!!

The decision to buy is first made in the mind of the salesperson. If salespeople think that they can’t or shouldn’t make a sale, then they won’t. If they think that the fences are too far away for their talent to hit the ball over, then they won’t. If they think that the shopper isn’t going to buy today then they won’t sell anything until tomorrow. It’s just that simple.

What most salespeople do is size up a shopper as soon as they first meet. The salesperson looks at the way shoppers dress, the cars they drive, the houses they live in, the jewelry they are wearing. This is how they decide if the fences are too far away. In this career-killing trap, salespeople determine too quickly that there is no chance of selling a particular shopper today. Even worse, many salespeople believe that the majority of shoppers are “just looking” and don’t plan on buying today.

A professional, knowledgeable, caring sales talent understands that most shoppers are going to purchase from someone sooner or later. In the sales winner’s eyes, sooner is today and the reason they are going to buy today is the salesperson’s ability to “see” the sale in their own eyes first. The fences are never too far for these winners; they will hit home runs!

The salesperson earns the right to close a shopper with the time and energy that he or she has invested. Shoppers must let salespeople explain their prices and procedures for reserving a date. It’s the price they pay for the energy and education we provide to them.

Closing shouldn’t be a chore for the salesperson. When it’s done by skilled salespeople, it can be a beautiful thing—even a work of art (performance art)—when undertaken by skilled salespeople. The best salespeople are always expert closers—and yet have the most clients who love them!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Caterer's Often Come Last In The Mind Of The Buyer!

Sometimes it takes years for a caterer to realize that for many buyers, planning event food and the caterer are not the first or most important thing they are thinking about. Often, the caterer is last on the list of things to secure. Not always, but most of the time.
For example, in planning a wedding the bride may put the wedding dress, location, band or DJ, florist and photographer far ahead of the caterer. Brides, working with their parents, move very quickly to hire or buy those things that pertain to the romance and wonder of the wedding. The caterer tends to come in last.
This is a result of the public’s overall belief that food is not what will make the event memorable. Food is assumed. For a wedding, the gown and the flowers tend to rank the highest in the list of elements that make up the event. Interesting, isn’t it, that buyers putting on events seldom bargain with the florist, DJ or photographer for lower prices? Yet, there is no hesitation in hitting the caterer for a lower price.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Roman On Downsizing Your Volume?

Why? Why not? Profit stems from a ratio of costs and selling price. More sales can bring more profits, but they can also bring more errors and loss of money and less peace of mind. For most caterers, the need to sell more is simply a case of paying the bills with cash flow created by the extra orders, but profit is more important than volume. Create a proper balance between what you need and what you would have if you booked everything that comes along.
To downsize to gain profitability:
·   Raise your minimum order size in some, or all, of your product lines. This will cause some of the very small orders to fade away, leaving more time to work for bigger ones.
·   Limit the number of events you do on a particular day to insure that too many orders are not booked that would result in overtime or the need for extra culinary staff.
·   Tighten up your payment policies. If they don’t pay on time, maybe you don’t need this type of client. Why carry clients who are dead weight?
·   Close one day a week, which gives everyone the same day off.
·   Close for the slower season, especially if past sales history demonstrates that you suffer financially.
·   Decide to be either a social caterer Thursday through Sunday or a corporate caterer from Monday through Friday.
·   Raise your prices on product lines that create the most work.
·   Institute a concept of extra charges for tent events and events that are a long distance from your location.
·   Eliminate any breakfast orders or third-shift catering business that causes you to come early or stay late.
The concept is not to beat-up on your clients or to get tough. Instead, you are only trying to make your business more manageable and user-friendly. These are just suggestions, but they do lead to simple downsizing of your catering business and more profitable sales. A sale has either proper profit or not. The problem becomes serious when the orders you sold on a given day that did not have a proper profitability begin to soak up the profit from the profitable orders. Simply put, the profit from some orders is being used to neutralize the orders that didn’t have profit in the first place.

Note From Michael: The info above represents priceless consulting info. Please know that the info above is part of the problem and solution for many catering companies!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Biggest Pricing Errors

·   Selling the price instead of what the price guarantees and brings to the buyer.
·   Failure to offer a middle price option.
·   Trying to match the competitor’s price.
·   Failure to offer different menus to get to a lower price.
·   Failure to explain what proper prices do for the event.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Overview of Pricing For Catering

How a caterer views the concept of pricing has a lot to do with the success of the caterer’s business. Selling price is the amount of money that a caterer can get from a willing buyer in exchange for catering. In other words, selling price is the amount that someone is prepared to pay for the catering.
Often, when deciding what to charge, a caterer thinks only of what they can get by with. Something like: “What price can I place on my catering that will insure the least chance that I’ll miss the sale?” Most buyers of catering tell us only when they think we are asking too much for our hard work, not when they think we’re charging too little. Imagine a buyer saying, “I’ll take the chicken menu but I want you to charge me $2 per person more because your price is too low.” What a wonderful day that would be! Until then, the only thing a caterer can do is to keep reaching for the highest selling price they can get without losing the sale.
The selling price is the right price that enables you to sell your goods and yields an acceptable profit, at the same time giving the customer the feeling of getting value for their money. Pricing to get the right selling price is a combination of both art and science. You need to constantly measure your price by balancing it with profitability, goodwill and repeat business.
When moving towards the right selling price, consider:
·   What is the buyer willing to pay for your catering?
·   What is the buyer expecting to pay for your catering?
·   How do your competitors price their catering?
·   Is the date of the event or delivery on a prime day or a soft one?
·   How much does this particular buyer want to use your company?
·   The complexity of the catering situation.
·   Your need for volume over profit or profit over volume.
·   The level of quality the buyer is searching for.
Then there are your costs in producing the catering. Each caterer’s costs are particular to themselves; it doesn’t cost the same for each caterer to create the same menu. A buyer is likely to get both higher and lower priced bids from different caterers for the same specs.
Your catering company does things in a unique way. You have your own methods of preparation and kitchen staffing. You pay your preparation team by your standards. This results in a set of costs that are unique to you and perhaps quite different from your competitors. Your competitor just might be able to produce the same level of quality for less because his or her costs are different. In order to neutralize these possible price variances, you need to present the buyer with a set of options that helps them realize that the price of catering is not set solely by the cost of food.
The selling price is the amount a buyer will pay for the whole idea of catering, not just the food. It includes the caterer’s level of culinary skills, the amount of the company’s liability insurance, the expertise of the serving staff, the level of safety in transporting the food, the cleanliness and sharpness of the banquet facility, the quality of the air conditioning, professionalism etc. Never defend the selling price. Explain it to the buyer before they encounter lower prices from a competitor. Each caterer needs to be in constant search of the correct selling price of their catering.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Reminder To All Salespeople

Out of every 10 complete sales presentations that a company does, three will not buy no matter what you do because they just don’t like what they hear or are not really in a position to buy. Another three definitely will buy from you because of your brand reputation and overall quality. Even if they get a poor presentation, they still will buy from you. The remaining four are the future of your company because they are truly shopping with an open mind and are ready to purchase from the company they feel has the most to offer.

Have you checked out my new website?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Discussion Points From Roman

Here are some unique brain twisters for your next sales meeting:
1. You need to care about the shopper while not becoming careless in your professionalism.
2. Selling, or teaching, is an emotional release for many.
3. A shopper will either be attracted to your style or not.
4. In selling you spend a lot of time in “basic training” getting ready for the war. One day in the war changes you forever.
5. Be aware that when you use one word or phrase over another it makes a difference in the result.