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.

Sales, Service and Survival in the Food Industry

I was attending a three-day workshop — Sales, Service and Survival in the Food Industry. One of the keynote speakers, a titan in the corporate drop-off catering world roared from the podium, “If you ever, and I mean ever, make a customer feel like they are interrupting your day, or that you have something more important to do, I guarantee that within three years, probably sooner, you will be a statistic.” 

I shuddered, and thought, If you injected me with truth serum, I would confess that occasionally I feel like a customer is interrupting my day.

“What sort of statistic?” someone called out from the audience. 

“Failed business ventures,” the titan retorted. 

He proceeded to quote some eye-opening facts. “Studies show the number one reason a consumer stops doing business with a company is because they received poor service. And 50 percent of consumers reported that one negative service experience was enough to stop doing business with a company.” 

Furthermore, “A survey was conducted of 400 catering clients. They were asked to rank certain criteria, and measure the importance of food vs. service. Seventy-five percent of respondents said they would not do business a second time with a caterer who provided ‘excellent’ food, but ‘poor’ service. However, 85 percent said they would do business a second time with a caterer who provided ‘excellent’ service, and ‘average to above-average food.’” 

He continued, “It is easy to say you want to build a successful catering business or restaurant. It is not easy to achieve it. To have a shot, and I’m not talking about paying your bills and making an okay living. I’m talking about creating a comfortable lifestyle. To do that there is one thing you must commit to with utter abandon. If you can’t do this, I want you to leave this room right now, because quite frankly you are wasting both of our time.” 

He takes a dramatic pause. 

“And I hate wasting time.” 

 Another dramatic pause. 

All 200 attendees were on the edge of our seats holding their collective breath. And you know what he said next? 

“First let’s break for lunch. The session will resume at 1:30.” 

For real, this is what happened. 

At 1:30, it appeared that all 200 people were back in their seats. I made a mental note—if his technique was designed to ensure a high return rate after the lunch break, it worked. 

Back on stage, he thundered, “To realize success in this industry, the single most important thing you must do is make every customer, feel like they are your most important customer of the day. It is your job to make them feel special.


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 resource membership website, lead generation and private coaching company. Whether you are just starting out, are a leader in your marketplace, or  somewhere in between, has an incredible wealth of insight and resources to help you begin or grow this division of your business. To learn more, visit the or call Michael directly at 781.641.3303.

















Michael Rosman

Michael Rosman

Owner/Founder, The Corporate Caterer, Boston, MA

Michael Rosman is the founder of, a consulting, coaching and lead generation company for businesses that aspire to take their corporate catering business to the next level or start a new division. He is also a Senior Consultant with He can be reached at [email protected].