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Sales, Service & Survival

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 statistic?” someone asked from the audience. “Failed business ventures,” the titan retorted.

He proceeded to share some eye-opening facts.

Studies show the number one reason a consumer stops doing business with a company is because they received poor service.

Fifty percent of consumers reported that one negative service experience was enough to stop doing business with a company, altogether.

He continued,

• A survey was conducted of 400 corporate catering clients. They were asked to rank certain criteria, and measure the importance of food vs. service. 75% of respondents said they would not do business a second time with a caterer who provided “excellent” food, but “poor” service. However, 85% said they would do business a second time with a caterer who provided “excellent” service, and “average to above-average food.”

He added, “It’s easy to say you want to build a successful catering business either independently or from an existing restaurant. Doing it is another thing. To have a shot, and I’m not talking about paying your bills and making an okay living, I’m talking about paying your bills, paying yourself a healthy salary, and producing a strong profit at the end of the year, there is one thing you must commit to with utter abandon. And If you can’t do this, you do not belong is this room. “In fact, I don’t even want you in this room. You can leave now and I’ll refund your money in full.”

Subtlety was apparently not a communication style he preferred.

He paused and visually surveyed the audience, almost daring anyone to take him up on his offer. No one said a word or moved an inch.

Three hundred attendees, holding our collective breath, on the edge of our seats, waited for what was next. 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 all 300 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 single customer feel like they are your most important customer of the day. It is your job to make them feel special.”

See Michael Rosman at #catersource 2018

Michael Rosman will be teaching “The Game-Changing 60-second Sales Script” at Catersource 2018. Click here to view his bio and session description.

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...