Catersource is part of the Informa Connect Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

How to start a corporate drop-off catering division

Part 3 of 3

If you are searching for ways to boost your business, industry analysts suggest focusing on the corporate drop-off catering sector. As the economy continues to recover, demand in this market is on the rise and poised for future growth. Starting or growing a corporate drop-off catering division is a savvy strategy for generating a new revenue stream, while incurring minimal additional expenses. Whether you are located in the heart of a financial district or on the outskirts of suburbia, focusing on the following topic areas will help you get started and expand in this still under-tapped segment.

Last week, we talked about packaging, delivery, and marketing. If you’d like to refer to it, click on my profile under the People tab and you’ll find last week’s article.

CONSISTENCY

Consistency means giving your customers what they want—every single time. When customers feel a connection to your food and service, they will be loyal to your business. If you have lofty sales goals for your catering division, the most important components are consistency (product), consistency (service) and consistency (customer experience).

Tip: Innovation and customization can and should be prevalent, as long as the same consistency principles apply.

PROCEDURAL SYSTEMS

Systems and processes are the building blocks of a successful business. Every facet of your operation should be part of a system that can be managed and improved by applying the correct principles. Ideally, this approach eliminates employee indiscretion and replaces it with detailed procedures, standards, and accountability, as well as a method for measuring results.

Tip: Use specs, diagrams and pictures to define “how-to” steps for everything. (Example: turkey sandwich = 4 oz. sliced turkey, 2 tomato slices, 1 oz. sliced Swiss cheese, 1 lettuce leaf)

DOCUMENTATION

Put everything in writing. Systems documentation is an organized, detailed, thorough strategy for all key routines, daily tasks and back-up plans. It needs to be readily accessible and understandable to all of your employees.

Tip: Creating a detailed, documented “playbook” for your entire operation will increase the value and possibly the selling price of your business.

INFORMATION RESOURCES

Educate yourself about the industry. There is a wealth of information available to stay up-to-date on current trends and relevant news. Read trade magazines, research information on the Internet, sign-up for webinars, take classes, and stay connected with colleagues in the field.

Tip: Set aside the first 30 minutes of each morning to educate yourself. In the big picture, this practice will do your business a great service. •

Michael Rosman has been in the catering and restaurant industry for over 30 years in the Boston area, where he built a $1.8 million per year corporate drop-off catering operation. He’s the founder of The Corporate Caterer, a membership website and consulting company. To learn more, visit the website, email [email protected], or call 781.641.3303.

Michael Rosman

Michael Rosman

Owner/Founder, The Corporate Caterer, Boston, MA

Michael Rosman has over three decades of experience in the catering and restaurant industry. His career began in the management-training program with Creative Gourmets in Boston, where he spent five years working in different corporate dining facilities and catering venues throughout the city. He then purchased an existing café in Boston’s financial district and eventually took ownership of a nearby pizzeria. During this time he began creating the infrastructure for a corporate drop-off catering operation and five years later, he sold his client list to the largest independent catering company in the city.

As Director of Corporate Catering with Via Lago Café and Catering in Lexington, MA, he built an almost two million...