Further Defining The Service Script

What is the secret to building a great catering program?  Believe it or not, the answer is much simpler than most would expect.  Are you ready?  Here it is… TRUST!  

Here are the key trust expectations your clients have.

  • I trust that you will make my ordering experience a positive one
  • I trust that you will get my order to me on time
  • I trust that you will make sure my order is accurate
  • I trust that you will value my business

An additional and hopefully obvious part of building trust is consistency, as clients expect you to deliver on these four trust propositions over and over again.  In fact, as in any relationship trust is born from positive behaviors that are consistently repeated.

When making an investment in catering programs, multi-unit restaurant operators are creating an opportunity to engage with customers through several touch points during the catering order and delivery process. 

To further clarify, this is done best through first party systems, by owning the full customer journey you lead, manage and control the outcomes.

It has been found, however, that very few multi-unit restaurant operators have a comprehensive strategy that leverages the connections those key touch points present. 

Building consistency & trust involves applying a strategic process across these specific steps that ensure that your service script are aligned at each point in the user journey.

  1. Define & align a purpose that inspires
  2. Prioritize & secure the resources needed to achieve
  3. Create productivity by defining each specialized teams roles and responsibilities
  4. Train for alignment and effectiveness
  5. Lead and Manage as a single group
  6. Measure, evaluate and adjust with their engagement and consent

Through the utilization of a strategic process you want to develop a service script at each point that builds on the confidence and trust that is a requisite for repeat business, while taking advantage of expanding relationships through focused efforts. That is, if the acquisition and relationship of the client is managed effectively.

There are a number of available opportunities to fully capture the lifetime value presented when guests interact with your team in the following four steps of the order process. These opportunities are based on the specific tactics applied but must all be equally intertwined together in order to achieve your stated purpose and overall strategy.

  • Ordering
  • Operations
  • Delivery
  • Follow Up

Consumers, specifically business clients that order food are busy and just want to get it done, easily, quickly with the least amount of friction. They do not have time to look up individual restaurant phone numbers. They do not have the time or patience to be put on hold. They also do not want to put up with extensive phone trees and redirection. They don’t want to figure out which location is closest, they don’t want to repeat information that has already been given.

Whether online or through phone calls, the same expectations apply to define your service script. 

  • You know who I am and already have my pertinent information
  • A user journey that is intuitive and easy to navigate
  • I can clearly understand that the quantity of food ordered is correct
  • Easy and safe payment
  • Immediate confirmation of order details

Great companies who take advantage of these touch points are defining a service script with an obsession to capture and respond, a service script that is equally aligned regardless of the ordering channel chosen, phone or online. 

The heart of every restaurant is the kitchen, the operations team, and its ability to successfully and consistently deliver great food.  Although we don’t traditionally think of this part of the business as part of the service with customers and clients it is actually by far the place that most influences the outcome and eventual relationships we establish.

A strategic approach and process once again comes into play and defines the team’s ability to succeed.  Building consistency and trust in your operations needs the following to support the service script.  

  • Order received by your ops team – 100% confidence
  • Resource planning for food and labor the day prior
  • Consistent product execution through build standards and protocols
  • Order quality and quantity check process 
  • Packaging that delivers on your promise, appealing, while ensuring travel security 
  • Routing tools and procedures that ensures on time

Here, the properly executed service script can not only affect the frequency and loyalty of the catering customer, but can also have major implications regarding delivery of a brand’s promise! Interactions with the delivery representative from that company will absolutely impact each customer’s decision to come into its restaurants.

Companies that recognize the value of this touch point are scripting the service to align with the role of a brand ambassador and realize this individual plays an important role in expressing the brand within the neighborhood community. 

  • A call to the customer to confirm order and specifics of order
  • Tracking software keeps the customer informed on progress at all times
  • Uniforms are clean and the brand communicated in the apparel 
  • Service and setup is clearly defined
  • Order details reviewed with the customer for accuracy and satisfaction
  • Menus are left behind as a cue to solicit future orders.

Sincerity and the care of the human touch can be applied successfully when the script is delivered afterwards.  Follow up can happen through multiple members of your team based on the structure and division of roles.  For many teams the salesperson is the right fit, for larger teams, the ordering team may make the most sense.  Use these touchpoints to define your service script past the initial sale and ensure your build on the relationship.

  • Get feedback within 24 hours
  • Acknowledge the feedback and take appropriate action
  • Ensure feedback is shared to encourage or adjust behaviors
  • Establish regular correspondence with customer
  • Offer special reasons to be a regular customer- loyalty
  • Visit in person regular customers – show appreciation

Further defining the service script to include an expectation that catering sales managers connect with key clients or top spenders, who frequently generate orders and lapse users, or lost users, begins to allocate these resources appropriately. It can track performance through key indicators, such as the number of activities each week, number of first time order calls made, leads acquired and leads converted to sales.

From many years of experience selling and managing the selling process, we know that there is a direct correlation between high sales activity and growing catering sales. The companies that are establishing the service script and then holding teams accountable for measurable results are winning and being rewarded with new customer acquisitions and expanded relationships that interpret to double digit year-over- year catering sales growth.

Exhausting? Complex? Demanding? Yes, but the emerging and developing opportunity within the multi-unit restaurant community to take advantage of feeding people where they live, work and play requires an expertise and focus that is sometimes unique to operating, marketing and training skill sets. 

Let’s talk catering!


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