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Chicken is chicken

“Chicken is Chicken.” – Mike Roman

This is a quote I heard over twenty years ago while attending the Catersource Conference & Tradeshow in Las Vegas.  Let's face it, we all think that our product is the BEST (which you should). The hard truth is that when people are searching for a caterer sometimes all they see is the chicken. 

The question is then, how do you set yourself apart from your competitors in your market? For me the recipe was simple, building relationships. 

Relationships are what sold our services, not the chicken. The art of conversation has been lost for many. Having the ability to hold a conversation beyond the computer screen is intriguing to buyers. Sales calls are nothing new to us that have been in the game for decades. What we “old timers”, that others don’t know, is that people do business with people they like. Decisions aren’t always based on the bottom line. How are they going to like you if they don’t know you? 

We have all received a basic inquiry.

Hi, my name is Beth and I am getting married on June 1st at Flower Garden Venue. We have 100 people how much is the catering going to be? 

When the inquiry hits your inbox there are two choices:

  1. Send them a form questionnaire (this is okay as long as you follow up).
  2. Ask them to set up a time to speak.  

The second option is the way I always went.

Dear Beth, Thank you so much for reaching out to XXX Catering Company. Our team would love to take care of you on your special day. Please find the link to my calendar to set up a time to discuss the details of your event. If you prefer we can speak by phone or Zoom. Looking forward to speaking to you.  

Without fail, they would set up a meeting. The response from most of the clients was you are the first person who has responded and has taken the time to speak with me. This small interaction is what catapults you into a relationship with your client. 

Now it is time for the meeting. It is important to be emotionally ready to take the phone or virtual call. Flip the switch, sit up straight, and smile through the phone. When you speak, they need to hear your smile. The key is not to jump into details but to make some small talk. They are relaxed and the conversation is going well. It is time to get into the details. 

As they start providing you with the details this is your opportunity to expand on your expertise.

Beth, I love that you are getting married at the Flower Garden this is one of my favorite venues. Having executed many successful events here over the years, my team knows the ends and outs. The buffet set up in the courtyard is the best option for your guest count and the flow of the event.  

Beth now knows that you understand not just what she wants but you know the venue and what it takes to get the event done. 

All the information that you need has been collected and it is time to guide her through what happens next. Set up true expectations. If it is going to take you a week to put a proposal together then let her know. Guide her on what happens after she receives the proposal and what it takes to hold the date for her. 

The relationship is formed and before you know it you have qualified and booked a client who trusts and believes in you and your services. The secret to maintaining this relationship is to continue having the highest level of communication and exceeding their expectations.  


Kathryn Albarado

Generational business and life coach

As a third-generational family business owner, Kathryn spent 22 years navigating the hills and valleys of leading a family business.

There is more to her than being a businesswoman. For those who have seen ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ - this is her family in a nutshell. Of course, there are small differences but more commonalities than not....