While it’s one thing to provide catering services to your customers, it’s another to market that service in a way that successfully drives incremental sales. In this Q&A, we speak with Paul Wartman, senior vice president of Primary Color and former Baja Fresh director of franchise development. Wartman discusses the in-store and community elements restaurant operators need to showcase their catering services. And offers advice on the number one thing operators should do to stay top-of-mind.
1. What are the crucial branding elements needed for restaurant operators to market their catering business?
In-store signage, including counter cards,window clings, flyers and brochures that can be taken as a tangible reminder as well as online content promoting the program.
The design of all these elements is crucial, since poorly designed collateral will lead to distrust by your customers. Make sure you invest in good design and always be consistent with your branding from one piece to the other.
2. Can you explain why signage is so important?
Your customers happen to be your best brand advocates so when they are inside your store, striking signage keeps the message in front of them and in their mind when they are not there.
3. How important is the look and feel of in-store POP?
Extremely important, and it needs to be well designed and creative enough to catch the eye with a clear message that is easy to read.
All brands need to be fully aware of what can be done creativelywith POP. They need to collaborate with their print partner to see what can be done to make them stand out from their competition.
4. How are brands successfully using in-store POP elements to drive catering sales?
By utilizing mock up displays, brochures and other visual marketing products that highlight this feature.
5. Why is direct mail still an important aspect of marketing restaurant catering services?
Direct mail is a trusted form of media and literally puts the restaurant into the hands of potential customers.Variable data printing can be utilized for better engaging recipients. This technology pulls consumer data from a spreadsheet and content such as text, graphics and images and may be changed from one printed piece to the next – on the same print run. The end result is a personalized and custom tailored mail piece that can help the campaign become more successful because it is unique to the consumer and will attract their attention.
Lumpy mail can build curiosity, excitement and increase the chance of getting it opened. Small promotional items such as a magnet or pad of paper could be placed inside to serve as a reminder of the catering service.
6. What role should direct marketing play as part of an overall strategy?
It should be a major component of the overall marketing strategy and can significantly increase revenues.
7. Describe some new and innovative ways restaurant executives can enhance their program’s marketing efforts.
The development of a corporate controlled marketing asset management platform. This platform is a centralized website for all franchisees/licensees to access assets and order customizable and localized marketing collateral. This enhances local store marketing efforts and creates superior brand control.
8. What advice would you give to restaurant operators looking to better market their catering programs?
The single most important advice is to be sure to display prominently to your customers that you are offering catering services both commercially as well as residentially. This can be done by utilizing counter cards and window clings, as well as adding this information to your menus and/or menu boards, customer receipts and your business cards. Also, make sure it’s part of your direct mail and online marketing efforts.
Paul Wartman is a senior vice president at Primary Color, specializing in business development with a focus on the restaurant and franchise sectors. Prior to joining Primary Color, Wartman worked with Fresh Enterprises, Inc., parent company of Baja Fresh, La Salsa and Canyons Burger Company. He received the degree of Juris Doctor from Temple University School of Law in Philadelphia, after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.