Optimizing Compensation Strategies for Off-Premises Sales Channel Teams: A Success Story

Compensation for off-premises sales channel teams is a common concern among operators seeking effective strategies for fostering ownership, teamwork, and team motivation. This article explores the journey of developing a successful compensation program, emphasizing the importance of team structure and collaboration.

In the initial phase, we prioritized specialization and centralization to maximize the efficiency of our teams—Operations, Service, and Sales. While creating three distinct teams, each with specific responsibilities, we recognized the need for a strong interdependence to overcome potential conflicts.

Ops handled food production and delivery, Service managed ordering and customer engagement, and Sales focused on customer acquisition and growth. The synergy created by these roles formed the “secret sauce” that contributed to our program’s success.

Our compensation plans, particularly bonus structures, served as a crucial tool in aligning the teams towards a common goal—increasing sales and ensuring client satisfaction. Regular meetings, both individually and in groups, were instrumental in maintaining strong relationships beyond just financial incentives.

Over the years, our bonus plans evolved to adapt to growth and changing circumstances. Ops and Sales teams had their distinct bonus plans, including a percentage of sales over the previous year (LY) and engaging spiffs to keep motivation high.

Recognizing the pivotal role of the Service team, we introduced a bonus plan, despite initial pushback due to hourly pay structures. The Service team proved instrumental in driving sales through retention, upselling, and identifying opportunities. Their cooperation with stores significantly contributed to handling last-minute orders and challenging clients.

  • Operations plans for General Managers remained separate but were tied to sales growth.
  • The Catering Sales team still had a commission plan.
  • The focus was on the CSC team (Catering Call Center) and their incentive to support clients, sales, and operations teams.

The outcomes of our well-structured compensation program were remarkable:

  • 100% retention of the CSC team
  • A robust quarter and full-year growth of +25%
  • Exceptional teamwork and interdepartmental cooperation
  • Execution success rate exceeded 97% for all restaurants combined
  • Sales team bonuses were based on LY growth.
  • CSC team bonuses were tied to growth over the budget.
  • All bonuses were calculated as a percentage of salary.

These results showcase the effectiveness of a carefully crafted compensation program in achieving organizational goals. For further insights and ideas on creating high-performing off-premises teams, contact The OPGA and Let’s Talk Catering!


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