The Obvious Thing About Catering That So Many Still Get Wrong

The OPGA’s 5 Stages of Stellar Takeout, Delivery and Catering is the strategic framework that we use to help brands understand how to build sustainable and profitable programs.

Every restaurant has multiple sales channels that drive revenue for your restaurant company. 

For many restaurant brands catering was never the channel the brand was built on and the core DNA of any brand is highly influenced by what types of customer experiences the brand is most highly engaged in.  We know this can change over time and brands adjust to both changing customer and market conditions to stay competitive.

Overall it’s safe to assume that your brand didn’t start out with the intention of having catering be the primary sales channel but it certainly can be an important one, especially when you have the right leadership in place.

Here is the obvious thing that I knew but still had to learn the hard way while building a first class catering program.

The catering channel is its own business, that sits inside your existing business.  

Here is why this is true!

Catering functions in a number of primary ways differently than your core sales channels..

  • You have clients instead of customers
  • You have a different value proposition
  • Relationship building start before the sale vs. after the sale
  • Direct sales drives customer acquisition vs. indirect (marketing)
  • It’s far more complex; ordering, production, fulfillment
  • Separate production & fulfillment space & procedures
  • You impact many vs few (higher stakes)
  • Your clients order for the future instead of the present

I am sure I could list many others but these cover many of the important things that make it separate business.

The key to success is understanding the need for separation and differentiation while incorporating it all into your existing business model.

Start from this perspective!  If my only sales channel was catering what would I do to create this business and make it successful?  This is the separate part.

  • Create a business plan
  • Survey the market and establish your unique position and selling proposition in that market
  • Create a strategic plan
  • Establish financial goals
  • Create a leadership team 
  • Create needed service, sales and operational supporting staff
  • Develop all your technology, service, & operating procedures
  • Create a sales and marketing plan

Now, look at your current business and figure out how to integrate and blend this with your other sales channels.  All but one (highlighted) of these points above can actively become a part of your existing infrastructure. Just make sure they all have a level of separation so they can be optimized, measured and understood as a stand alone business.

Let’s Talk Catering!


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