While I was running my restaurant, I was keenly aware of any fast food chains ready to open nearby. This happened a few times and we still survived, but it was a constant worry. When we transitioned to 100 percent corporate catering I would often say, “well, this business has its challenges, but a business like corporate drop-off catering is so hands-on and localized that it would be very difficult for anyone to develop a successful franchise model.”
A few times I saw franchised operations that called themselves corporate caterers, but upon closer examination it became clear that they were merely delivery services; they didn’t produce their own food and merely delivered the products of other caterers.
Last week I had a meeting with my lawyer, and when I arrived I saw that the office had ordered food for a lunch meeting. Never missing an educational opportunity, I quickly found the administrative assistant who had ordered the food and asked a few questions:
Me: Do you often order food for lunch meetings?
Admin: About twice a month.
Me: Where do you normally get it from?
Admin: Up until now, mostly restaurants.
Me: How did that go?
Admin: The food was OK, but a lot of times it just came in random boxes and aluminum pans. We had to set it up ourselves and many times we had to have our own paper supplies.
Me: So, who brought that nice-looking food today?
Admin: Someone cold-called our office from Alonti Catering Kitchen and gave me a coupon for a future order. Eventually I tried them, and honestly, I’m going to use them again. Ordering was easy, the food came on-time, everything looked great, and the driver set it all up for us.
So this was a quality, research-driven interaction. These are very, very important. Check back next week as I explain the lesson I learned from my conversation with the administrative person.
If you would like to contact Michael Rosman directly about his consulting and coaching services, you may call him at 781-641-3303, email him at [email protected] and visit his membership website www.TheCorporateCaterer.com. Michael is a regular contributor to the Catersource.com website, and also has published two books which are available for purchase at www.catersource.com/catersource-store