As my team and I prepare for our 2016 Restaurant Catering Leadership Workshop, to be held March 9-10 in New Orleans, I am amazed at how far we’ve come. We’ve been working with restaurants on their takeout, delivery and catering strategies for nearly 20 years and, needless to say, it’s been a big undertaking. With more than 5000 restaurants using our software and strategies, we’ve pushed the envelope, and the industry, to think outside the takeout and catering box.
As I head into 2016, I am seeing a positive shift in the way brands view their restaurant catering operations. For the brands that want to succeed, investing in their people is now a priority. Registrations in our workshops are growing steadily and our curriculum and software continue to evolve to help make restaurant companies more money. We are making it easier for operators to drive more takeout, delivery and catering sales.
I continue to believe that catering is an important service channel in today’s restaurant operations. Our workshop panelists will share their stories as to how catering has contributed to their brand value. Workshop keynotes will be heard from myself, Fred LeFranc and Michael Mack, while our panelists represent Panera Bread, Potbelly Sandwiches and Schlotzsky’s Deli. It’s a great line up!
Of course, none of this would be possible without our workshop sponsors, which include PepsiCo Foodservice, Punchh, Voice Teleservices, Foodable Network, the Colorado Restaurant Association and LBP Manufacturing. You see, turns out that our entire supply chain has services to sell to restaurant brands to help them grow their takeout, delivery and catering sales.
Leadership is Pillar #1 of the 5 Pillars of Successful Restaurant Catering and through our workshop in New Orleans we will explore the best leadership strategies for moving off premise sales forward for our entire industry.
We will discuss how restaurant teams can not only focus on getting their customers to spend more money, and also the ways that will make far better use of existing infrastructure thereby making restaurants more profitable.
I have always maintained that only through a commitment to education, restaurant operators will continue to experience improvements in their off premise sales channels, including takeout, delivery and catering. It’s all about the people.
Education is important to so many other areas of the restaurant business (after all, why else do we go to so many conferences each year) and when applied to catering, it has the same ability to keep organizations ahead of their competition. Education also offers a true competitive advantage for those catering community members willing to make the investment of time, money and energy.
Education not only keeps employees motivated, but it teaches them new skills that can be used to foster positive attitudes. This is done because workshops like ours clarifies the expected behaviors of everyone on the team. This raises the bar for entire restaurant organizations and helps to keep all of the stakeholders aligned. This in turn will further develop a catering culture that, as a result, will get your customers to spend more money with you every single day. It begins with the people, specifically the leaders.
I have said in the past that history has shown that many in the restaurant industry have attempted to launch catering strategies and programs, and have failed. I am positive that this is because these same brands failed to take the time to understand the leadership commitment that is required to succeed.
The most successful operators that I have encountered over the years have taken the time to understand the overall leadership strategy of catering and continue to educate their catering teams about smarter catering.
Through ongoing education, our goal is to offer this workshop to catering leaders and restaurant executives at all levels so they can better understand the leadership structure and tactics needed to make catering a success.
Hope to see you in New Orleans on March 9 & 10, 2016!