Improving Your Restaurants Catering Performance

Everyone deals with service breakdowns in their catering business. They can range from late deliveries, to missing food items, to even sending the wrong order or going to the wrong address or office.  Over the past 20 years I can say that mistakes are a part of doing business.

However, what matters more is how you handle these issues.  Handling complaints is as much a part of the business as washing the dishes. Like most other tasks in your job, education, training and experience helps you get better at this subtle craft. 

But this article isn’t about handling complaints, it is about something that I think is actually much more impactful, and that is how you reduce them from happening in the first place.  Now, there are lots of operational tips and tricks I teach our clients that are preemptive strikes to help reduce mistakes from happening but I am going to share with you one that is far more effective and also just plain fun!

My favorite solution is to turn this into a game and also create some bragging rights for your teams.  Track and categorize your service issues, then regularly communicate this with your operations team.  If your brand has multiple stores, you can use this as a  contest to see who has the fewest mistakes.  It can be a lot of fun and creates a positive but competitive spirit.  

Here are the four categories that I have used in the past to help me better understand what issues were happening.  Then, operations can help you address and fix the problems that are part of the issue.

  • Time: Late or too early
  • Incorrect: Missing items, incorrect items, made incorrectly
  • Customer Service: Not following special requests, incorrect charges , poor customer service
  • Quality: Poor food quality, sloppy presentation, cold food, spilled food

We actively solicited feedback from our clients and this was the basis of our scorecard.  Just to be fair, we did work with each team on each complaint before it was posted to the scorecard.

Implement and track these then share with all your restaurant teams.  Their naturally competitive nature will raise all boats.  We even put this into their bonus program and overall we had amazing results.

At the start of this program we had some great operators, and overall we were running about a 90% accuracy rate, meaning we had 10 issues out of 100 orders.  The bigger problem is that we had some outliers that consistently underperformed.  Now obviously we focused on supporting and training these teams to improve, but we also used this transparency on performance to help.

After 90 days, we improved the overall score from 90% to 95%, and eventually we consistently had more than half our stores at 98% or higher and our lowest performer went from 78% to 89%.  This was based on an order volume of about 480 orders per week. This reflects a decrease in order issues of 24 orders per week.

Not only did we improve our service and satisfaction but we also saved quite a bit of money in the process.  This occurred through less discounts and refunds as well as saved time and labor to fix these problems.  

Here is one last benefit, the restaurants started bringing issues or potential issues to us, as in the call center team and were actively engaged in the outcome of all clients’ experiences.

Give it a try!

Let’s Talk Catering

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