Growing your catering business - Fast Casual Executive Summit

October 12, 2010 I am attending the Fast Casual Executive Summit this week and focused on learning the latest in best practices. On Monday, the CEO of Fresh City presented on how his company grew their catering business by 40% last year (that's right in 2009).  It is now 18% of his business. This is the summary format of what his team focused on to achieve those goals. Good input  for any fast casual concept seeking to grow their catering business. Manage what you measure. Fresh City created a s simple chart of what is driving sales. Because 80% of your catering business comes from just 20% of those customers, it is an important monitoring tool.  The report was reviewed weekly which forced them to focus on best clients and take care of them. Focused team. They have a Catering Sales Manager that serves up to five of their locations.  This position is salary and commission basis.  Their only role is to find new accounts and nurture big accounts. Nothing else.  They are not in Operations. They develop and manage relationships. Operations Consistency. Make deliveries consistent; ensure that the way things are packed is always the same.  Deliver 15 minutes early to allow room for errors and items that are forgotten.  You will LOSE catering business if you are late or make mistakes in the order. Food has to be good but on time delivery is key for catering. Order Taking. Make it easy for the clients to order whether online or on the phone.  Certify your team on the phones as part of your training program.  Do NOT allow people to answer the phone unless you are trained and can make customers feel confident. Inspire confidence; say Yes with confidence. "Sure, we will take care of you." Follow Up. Follow up on client experiences with your catering unit.  Someone needs to call, e-mail, visit and ask "did we deliver on the experience?" Know the Audience. Three customers in a catering scenario, each with different needs: 1.  Order placer -- they want the order delivered right and on time. 2.  Person paying -- value expectations by corporate managers. 3.  Those consuming -- they want to love product. Summary. Why do you lose accounts?  You are not paying attention. Focus for results.  

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