Friday, August 10, 2012

Reminders On Catering In A Tough Economy - Part 4

4. More action plans
a.   Mention and speak about past events you have catered.
b.  Acknowledge the new economic realities.
c.   Present a wide variety of price solutions.
d.  Be very user-friendly... be a good listener.
e.   Give info only when you get info.
f.    Qualify the shopper
·   date of event
·   approximate number of guests
·   type of catering
g.  Don’t ask their name until after qualification.
h.  Don’t ask their budget... tell them the price range based on
qualification information.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Reminders On Catering In A Tough Economy - Part 3

3. Core action plans
a.     Unlike other caterers, you must project that you are very busy!
b.    Speak and act positive at all times.
c.     Imply and offer multiple pricing solutions.
d.    Make a list of your ten top clients – work them!
e.     Believe in customer harassment. Personally speak with them... now!
f.      Send your best customers something.
g.    Relearn the power of “snail mail.”
h.    Go to the event – use your star power.
i.      Hold open houses to troll for new clients.
j.      Seek referrals from regular clients.
k.     Cross-market your product lines.
l.      Have your best people answering the phones.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Reminders On Catering In A Tough Economy - Part 2

2. The caterer needs to rekindle customer loyalty.
a.   Can’t assume loyalty.
b.  You need to remind past clients of the reasons you have already earned
their trust.
c.   Consider holding a customer appreciation event.
d. Touch each of your more important clients at least once a month with a phone call, emailed newsletter, phone call or U.S. mailed letter.
e. Develop a new "loyalty" program.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Guest Article: Fall in Love with Old Cape Cod By Jon Wool

Every summer, my family vacations on Cape Cod because, in the words of the old Patti Page song, we're “fond of sand dunes and salty air/Quaint little villages here and there....”  As anyone who has visited the area can tell you, behind each of those sand dunes stands a seemingly endless string of restaurants and clam shacks with identical menus and interchangeable names (Ahab's, Capt’n Parker's, The Yankee Clipper…).  Each establishment boasts “The Cape's Best Lobsters/Chowder/Fried Clams.”  You can almost imagine that every buttery lobster roll or fried seafood plate is cooked in the same gigantic kitchen.  

Yet, for all of their similarities, some of these spots thrive year after year while others last only to the end of the season.  Why do these restaurants have varying levels of success when they are all offering the exact same menu? The difference is in the execution:
  • The successful spots offer exceptional hospitality.  Note the smiling hosts, caring managers, and well-trained servers. At the shack with the longest line of diners, you never have to ask a sluggish waiter to wipe ketchup from the duct taped vinyl booth or to bring silverware with the meal.
  • Success is also based on operational systems that are simple and dependable. Sunburned families can trust that their piping hot dinner will arrive at the table before the cranky younger cousin finishes a second baggie of oyster crackers.
  • The best restaurants are well tended with clean rest rooms, new looking menu boards, and freshly painted trim. Patrons aren’t greeted by the unappetizing scent of cheap disinfectant, stale beer, old cooking oil, or the dreaded “fishy” smell.

Even in the most casual settings, the secrets to success in hospitality are not a mystery.  Placing a premium on care, cleanliness, and consistency makes all the difference. The companies who do this are the most financially stable and earn an ever-growing fan base.  

Having returned to Chicago some ten pounds heavier, I find myself dreaming of my loved ones, laughing around a table filled with succulent lobsters, a quahog or two, and a round of ice cold beer. Patti Page was right:

If you spend an evening you’ll want to stay
Watching the moonlight on Cape Cod Bay.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Reminders On Catering In A Tough Economy: Part 1

1. The shoppers’ needs and buying habits are changing. Buyers are looking for certain things when they shop for catering.
a.     Less costly catering and good events. It is normal for buyers to haggle when the economy is not strong.
b.    Catering that is “image” correct. In other words, buyers don't wish to look like they are acting foolish and spending wildly with their catering purchases.
c.     Caterers that will be staying in business.  They know that some caterers are going out of business. So, let your prospects know that you are sound and going to be around for a long time.
d.    Catering that is easy to buy.This is not a time for caterers to make prospects "jump" through hoops to make a purchase. 
e.     Expect them to be blunt, aggressive, and think they are in charge. Use this to your advantage during the selling process.
f.     Buyers may think caterers are a “wounded” industry. Tell them about your recent and future bookings so they know all is well!