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