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EP 35 / Michael Attias / Founder of CaterZen & Mastermind of Catering Sales

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Catering has long been a fantastic way to grow sales for restaurants. However, for many, selling catering is a chore at best and an impossible enigma at worst. Michael Attias cracked the code for his own restaurant then springboarded into creating the tools and insights necessary for any enterprising restaurateur to build sales via a strong, successful catering program. In this episode, we tap into his knowledge and insights and the magic of CaterZen.

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EP 35 / Michael Attias / Founder of CaterZen & Mastermind of Catering Sales
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Show Notes

Michael and I have a great discussion about the nuances and details of selling catering and developing strong catering programs for restaurants.

Transcript

00:00.00
vigorbranding
Got you? Okay hey everyone welcome to the show today I am joined by Michael Atis he is the founder president and Ceo of cater and which we’ll get into what caters and does in a minute but for now Michael say hello give a little bit of backstory.

00:00.16
Michael attias
Ts atis.

00:15.59
Michael attias
Hey, how’s it going. Thanks for having me on your podcast. Super excited like probably a lot of the listeners started off 16 years old washing dishes at a restaurant in Memphis did such a bad job. They made me a bus boy thirty days later worked my way in every position ended up in college working for this barbecue startup called Cory’s barbecue friend of my friend of the family neighborhood friend father started it or my way up there. Um left there after college they were I had a sales job hated it. I fired my boss said you need another month that said no just fired me now went back to corrkies and told them I wanted to be 1 of their first franchisees I worked for half the day for free to learn the operations I’d never managed run open a restaurant waited tables to pay my bills just got married just bought a house. And probably 3 four months in I talked to guy and his wife to write a million dollar check and back me on a first restaurant. So as a result of that I realized um like I don’t like to work I’m lazy people. Color efficient didn’t want to work nights or weekend. So I focused on. Being a business person that has a restaurant then a restaurant person and learned how to build use direct mail direct marketing built catering sales so out of 104 c restaurant. We were doing 3000000 a year a million of it was in catering then I started. Running around speaking teaching info products coaching newsletter business on you know how to double your profits with catering in your restaurant and get paid to promote your brand and then when I sold my restaurant in o five I built caters in it was called. Restaurant catering systems um to be catering software for restaurants and now we do restaurants caters and about to launch private party room booking software so you know if you’ve got a restaurant you do catering and you have private party rooms our our system will run everything a to z. So that’s sort of like the out the long elevator speech exactly yeah, it’s about how long it takes to get there.

02:29.45
vigorbranding
I love it. Yeah, the the elevator in the empire state building speech so I love it. So let’s dive in indicatoring. Um, you know we you know at the Helm of vior. We’ve talked with a lot of clients about how to boost catering sales and so on and so forth. But.

02:41.40
Michael attias
I.

02:48.55
vigorbranding
I Think what we saw is a little bit prior to the pandemic if you were in some of the major cities, especially let’s say around the Bay area. Um catering was taking a hit like people weren’t going into the office those lunches those meetings weren’t happening and then of course the pandemic. Just.

03:05.32
Michael attias
Um.

03:07.35
vigorbranding
Squash The whole damn thing. So whatever you seen as a remedy as we try to get back to full capacity in offices. Is there a remedy and and how have you helped clients kind of cope with the lack of sales.

03:20.62
Michael attias
Well, you know I forgot where I read like technology doubles every five years right? Like if you think about you know my first cell phonee was a flipflown and you’d be lucky to get like a 1 megapixel picture that was grainy on your phone now I have an iphone that has more computing power. Than anything I had available in college and you know I’ve got 10000 pictures and videos and literally you want to know how to build a nuclear bomb. You can find it on your phone so exactly but you get the point and so.

03:47.52
vigorbranding
Yeah, we don’t suggest him in doing that by the way. But yes.

03:55.66
Michael attias
the the 1 thing that I think has kept me relevant in business and and my clients relevant is the big order during covid was pivot right? And smart people were pivoting before covid right? something happens in your marketplace. You know the mall shuts down I got to figure out how to replace those sales do I need to move.

04:02.00
vigorbranding
Yeah.

04:13.11
Michael attias
You know so you always have to be looking for the what’s next in your business. You know you you know you’re the braining agency today. This is what we’re doing well now you know Facebook was relevant. Well now Instagram is more relevant tomorrow. It’s going to be something else is more relevant so you can’t just think that hey I’m going to have this business model. And it’s never going to change for the next fifty years so it’s more of a mindset unless you have an institution as a restaurant and there are those that you know’ve been going for 3 generations. They don’t have to change anything about it in their pack but most people have to pivot so we pivoted our software during. Covid to allow for where our clients were going so family meals like look. We’re not going out to eat catering slow down but you know my family is not going to cook at all seven meals at home. But this restaurant’s going to allow us to have 2 family meals for 4 people that we can pick up cold or deliver in our neighborhood. So we need to change our technology to help them with that. Um, our best clients figured great. There’s aren’t people in offices but who is ordering catering health care government essential workers. Um, there are still people ordering catering. You just have to put on your head and say who are these people. I want to go after that business because most people just think hey I turn on the lights I got my the sign up the phone’s gonna ring you know I always went and hustle the business and figured out where’s the opportunity There’s always opportunity somewhere right.

05:42.33
vigorbranding
Right? Yeah, and that’s well i’ was going to say it’s a good point I mean a lot of people they they almost have a set it and for good at mentality. Um, with sales and marketing meaning you turn the light on like you said, but I think the ones who win are the ones that are looking for the.

05:45.34
Michael attias
Yeah, send on my client.

06:02.30
vigorbranding
Untapped areas and questioning. Why is it untapped is it untapped because it’s a bad idea or just because no one’s ever done it.

06:07.74
Michael attias
But even if they even if other people have done it right? There’s still plenty of opportunity because let’s say you own a mexican restaurant right? and you want to you do Taco Bars fajita bars whatever and I had a barbecue restaurant people are not going to eat barbecue every single time they need to food right. They want variety. So the question is is how do I get on their radar screen to be 1 of the options. Um, and and there’s other things that my clients pivoted they did cooking classes via Zoom. So hey we’re going to deliver a box of groceries and you know you and your wife and family can. Make something from home and it’s going to be fun right? Or um I had a client he sold groceries in the beginning of pandemic he had like a he used our online ordering portal to sell toilet paper you know ribe steaks because you know you’re buying from Cisco or Us foods or whoever in balk and he’s just.

06:51.69
vigorbranding
Yeah.

07:05.57
Michael attias
Packaging it down people aren’t going to the grocery store. Well you know if he’s willing to deliver to my house. What do I care you know and he’s going to make a markup on that stake because he’s getting a good deal on it and so you’ve just got to be thinking outside the box where is there opportunity and you know for some people there is an opportunity and you know what.

07:14.21
vigorbranding
Right.

07:24.66
Michael attias
There are businesses that die and their businesses that thrive like you know when Henry Ford created the car and made a mass produce all these people in the horse buggy business and buggy whip business. You know you think their business thrived no it went downhill and became very niched over time and the same thing you know with electric vehicles.

07:37.64
vigorbranding
M.

07:44.41
Michael attias
In 10 years you know we might not have very many gas powered vehicles so you can’t cry and go oh we’re going to reinvent our if you’re going to reinvent yourself. You see every major car company playing in the ev market right? They realize we’ve got to be a player. We can’t be late to the game. So it’s like yeah we don’t have a tesla. But.

07:55.95
vigorbranding
Night.

08:03.25
Michael attias
Would somebody rather drive a pimped out Audi that’s electorate because it or a porsche because it looks like a porsche not like a tesla. So yeah I’ll pay 150000 for a porsche panera. Electric because it’s a porsche and I want to drive a porsche and understand it’s not gas and so they’re making those pivots so there’s there’s always an opportunity someplace.

08:22.60
vigorbranding
Sure? yeah, and and 1 of the things that you know I say often is like do reinvent the wheel reinvent the wheel if we didn’t reinvent the wheel. We’d be riding on rocks you know, like. But instead we reinvented it. We thought hey maybe would and then like you said it with the Henry Ford thing maybe not would maybe rubber oh rubber you know and like reinventing the wheel is iteration and iteration is a part of the innovation process if you’re not reinventing the wheel. You’re kind of messing up.

08:51.32
Michael attias
Um, and um I I think not only that but you know what’s interesting is we live in a country with an outdated education system right? It’s It’s like a factory you go in.

08:53.14
vigorbranding
Um, and it sounds like you helped people do that with catering and catering sales like at least re-pivot their brain.

09:03.63
vigorbranding
Um.

09:07.40
Michael attias
Ah, kindergarten you come out at Twelfth grade. Maybe you spend a little more time on the factory land and you get a bachelor’s or masters. Everyone’s treated the same um and they think oh I’ve got my degree I’m done um number one different people learn differently. But that’s when your education starts. So. If I look what I spent to get through Memphis State University and graduate in 87 on the 5 year plan I spent more money every year on info products consultants seminars than I did to get my 4 year degree and the reason being is is you’ve always got to be learning and growing and expanding and that’s going to come from places like this podcast. Um other people on the internet going to seminars workshops learning from people in your industry I would network with people outside my industry. Learn how to write copy do marketing There is somebody else in another market who is doing what you should be doing and you’ve got to play detective and focus on working on that business and not like hey you’re not going to make any more money because you can make a better ham sandwich. You’re going to make money.

10:11.40
vigorbranding
Right.

10:19.91
Michael attias
Because you’ve gone out to San Francisco or New York or Dc and saying hey what are other people doing in the industry that I can adopt adapt creatively copy and make my own so you don’t have to be a genius I’m not a genius I’m just at a genius of paying attention and saying m.

10:30.41
vigorbranding
Right.

10:37.41
Michael attias
And they’re not all going to be home runs we know that right three hundred ball and baseball is an allar. So and I don’t consider them failures. They’re lessons right? I learned a lesson. It was great or wasn’t great and a move on and you’ve got to fail fast and most people are you pivot and most people are so worried about being perfectionist.

10:38.56
vigorbranding
Brand.

10:49.65
vigorbranding
Um, yeah, and then you pivot right.

10:57.17
Michael attias
You know back to the education system if you don’t get an a. You’re a loser right? But we all know it’s the Cd f students that run the world because they don’t play you in the lines. They realize that hey this didn’t work I’m gonna go after this and tomorrow I’m gonna go after this and this and this and then eventually.

11:01.78
vigorbranding
Right.

11:16.50
Michael attias
You come across something and it’s a home run but you’re not going to do that if you’re always like you know you told me you’re working on a book. Well imagine you waited till that book was 100% perfect you’d be 10 years from now where every comma work. It’s like good enough is good enough. Get it out there and then move on to the next thing.

11:23.46
vigorbranding
See him.

11:33.78
vigorbranding
That’s right, give me one second someone just came to the door sorry is 1 minute

11:35.29
Michael attias
Yeah.

12:08.76
vigorbranding
And yeah, know sorry I would lose just says it’s on space. But.

12:24.98
vigorbranding
Sentence hearts za see some Daniel.

12:39.32
vigorbranding
All right? So sorry Michael the next she used to be a neighbor here. They delivered a big package and I was I told her to come by. But um, she never texted so we’ll start from there um, 3 2 1 So.

12:41.15
Michael attias
Ah, now it’s all good.

12:48.49
Michael attias
Has It’s all good.

12:58.90
vigorbranding
All these things considered what do you think the future of catering looks like I mean I don’t think we’re going to go back to fully in office I know a lot of um I know office isn’t the only place. But for instance, we are hybrid. We’re going to do Monday Wednesday Thursdays. So the opportunities for that catering lunch that catering breakfast. Um, they they kind of it dwindles a little bit so what do you see as the future of catering.

13:20.56
Michael attias
Um, great question. So there’s always opportunities. Well first of all the guy who is willing to go out there and hustle has more opportunities. So let let me let’s talk about mindset first. So when I had my restaurant in the beginning I was pulling chefs. And I was working and then I realized I needed to work on my business so every day between 2 and three I go back home I was having this conversation with an operator yesterday who was just getting started say hey 2 30 3 30 go to Starbucks unplug and work on your marketing 5 hours a week that’s two hundred and fifty hours a year if you’re consistent. You’re going to get a lot done by focusing on sales and marketing and building your business then it’s just simply identifying where are the opportunities. So for instance, there are going be offices that are operational that do need those catering opportunities right? You’re not open five days but if youre open five days or three days you’re not going to order in food 40% more because you’re open five days it’s like hey we do once a week we bring in lunch or we have meetings once a month so there’s going to be that ramping up number 2 is a lot of these companies are um.

14:19.74
vigorbranding
Um, and you.

14:33.70
Michael attias
They’re finding alternative ways for their employees to connect my daughter works for 1 of the big 4 accounting companies and they have a budget for their teams or offices to get together outside office error hours to connect like they’re all working remotely for the most part unless your team wants to go in the office so she told me oh I was in charge of. Planning a happy hour for my team. So now you can go to these other people and say hey if you want to do team building or whatever we have a private party room. You know we love to have your team come and we’ll reserve you a big table to connect right? So they still have that budget. It’s just being creative and saying this is what we can do.

15:11.69
vigorbranding
Yet.

15:11.89
Michael attias
For your team. You know, using your private party room. You know, maybe they’re going to have something at someone’s house. So it’s just it’s reimagining it I Also think that going after full service events weddings holiday parties just sort of figuring out where the market is and going after that because most of these people are not getting called up right.

15:28.87
vigorbranding
Right.

15:30.92
Michael attias
Like there’s probably not somebody calling your office and saying hey can we do your catering business. They’re they’re either a lot of them went out of business or a lot of them just they were just reliant on an inertia for the phone to ring. So if you’re out there knocking on a door saying let me introduce myself are there any opportunities. For us to cater host an event for you. Whatever you’re going to be more Successful. You’re going to make up for whatever you lost by doing that.

15:54.64
vigorbranding
Yeah, it’s a good point and I think there’s there’s another layer too. Um, you know, being on this side of the you know of the equation meaning I’m not an operator and that is getting staff to come back to the office. Um. Isn’t necessarily easy and it just it seems like every time we start to get traction. A new variant has hit so it’s a little bit bumpy. However, it’s going to be about the perks and great I know you want me to come back. But why should I want to come back so catering could be. You know one of those perks. It’s like hey look you know, come in on Mondays, that’s when we have all of our meetings and guess what every week we’re going to have an amazing catered lunch. It’s going to be yummy. It’s going to be worth your while. It’s not going to be pizza. Sorry pizza. We love you and there’s certainly a time of place but like a real catered lunch from a great spot.

16:43.18
Michael attias
Yeah, So if I following your logic. That’s where you go knock on the door and you talk to the president company and say hey come out and have lunch with me, let me bring you lunch and let me talk about a way to make your employees happier right. Because they’re maybe not thinking that way and you’re the guy bringing the idea and put me in the rotation once a month. Let you know, let us do a fajita bar for your employees. They don’t want to come In. Um and some companies are just going to have to deal with the fact people don’t want to come in and probably have to acquiesce to the employees because everybody’s looking for people I mean.

17:13.79
vigorbranding
Yeah.

17:20.85
Michael attias
You know, nobody wants to go in the office and that’s fine and and I also think there’s a thing called Covid Fatigue like I’m over code covered right? like I I don’t I don’t I’ve had it I had it in the beginning I’ve had both vaccines I’ve had the booster you know I feel like I’m relatively.

17:28.42
vigorbranding
You meet both brother.

17:34.64
vigorbranding
So.

17:39.74
Michael attias
Safe right? I’m over anybody. You know you’re a pro vaxer. You’re an anti-vaxer I don’t care. Don’t don’t force your opinion down my throat I don’t have an opinion or force down like let everybody be I think everyone’s over it so people are like oh I went to party you know like you know a guy had covered. I’m not worried I had it I’m you know I’m not going to quarantine for fourteen days because I was in the same room with somebody I think people are just they’re over it right? You know hey.

18:03.53
vigorbranding
Right? Well I think I think the administration’s seeing that too not to get into the political front. But you’re starting to see the talking points shift. Ah, you’re starting to see admissions from the Cdc about comorbidity rates. Um, via the you know ah in conjunction with the death rates and they’re starting to try to pull the temperature back now you could speculate and say that’s probably because we’re coming up on a midterm election and there’s some fears of covid fatigue. But nevertheless we all benefit because.

18:20.86
Michael attias
Right.

18:36.10
vigorbranding
The Alarmism will start to come down the fear will start to come down.

18:36.46
Michael attias
Well I mean I can tell you in the last month everybody I know has covid like I can’t tell it’s almost like I know more people who’ve had covid in last month than don’t like my daughter texted me last night hey when did you know I was hanging out with some friends. 1 of them had covid I tested myself this morning I have covid.

18:42.33
vigorbranding
Um, yeah, yeah.

18:55.47
Michael attias
Feel congested. No big deal. Another friend. Oh yeah, feel you know two days three days of feeling rough. So I don’t think anybody’s like running into the ventilators with al macron and they’re just like it’s a bad cold I’m over it like I’m not like fearful of it and so people are just they’re going to get on with their lives.

19:04.00
vigorbranding
Yeah, yeah.

19:13.82
Michael attias
And then you know a year from now it’s going to be like it’s the flu. We know you know Grandma who’s sitting there. You know low immunity system because she’s in chemo. Yeah, she’s at high risk but she would have been high risk for the flu pneumonia anything else and most people who are fairly healthy.

19:26.63
vigorbranding
Right.

19:32.00
Michael attias
They’re going to get through it like a bad cold I mean again I’m not a doctor but that’s sort of how I believe and nobody’s going to. We are not a country to just sit inside now there are some like my daughter’s roommate’s mother has like a hundred test kits and won’t let anybody come to the house while without a test.

19:47.51
vigorbranding
Um, yeah.

19:50.81
Michael attias
And she doesn’t go anywhere but that’s that is such an outlier. You know if you told me hey let’s have dinner you know coming to my house but I want you to know that I had co tested positive five days ago like I don’t care you know I’m not that worried about it.

19:53.19
vigorbranding
Yeah, yeah.

20:01.51
vigorbranding
Right? when I think the temperature as it comes down more and more people are gonna be it is gonna become like the common cold I think one of the administration represents has already said that it’s something that a lot of people like ah one side of the aisle has said a lot about from the very beginning. Um. But it’s easier to hear that now as we start as we see that aakron Although incredibly contagious is incredibly not dangerous and with that. Hopefully we’ll start to see that shift back but the other side of of catering is outside of the business. The B Two C aspect and it is at the at home parties and.

20:25.89
Michael attias
Private.

20:39.39
vigorbranding
This is something we’ve constantly talked about with clients and internally which is is catering even the right word like my mom when she’s having people over. She never says gosh we’ve really got to consider the catering. So It’s more like how are we going to get food to this party is there a better word. And is this something that you guys have talked about.

20:59.50
Michael attias
We call it self service catering drop off catering party packs I mean you know I don’t think the word I think people understand if you are targeting the right here’s a perfect example.

21:04.74
vigorbranding
Party packs. Yeah.

21:15.10
Michael attias
You know we used talk about catering your fourth of July party or catering. Whatever. So when you are niching the event then whether you use the word party packs for you know the super bowl party people understand it’s catering it some kind of form of trays. Whatever.

21:32.24
vigorbranding
Are a.

21:34.10
Michael attias
So I don’t know that the word is as important as a context right? like if you have a pool right? Your problem you know and you’ve got I don’t know if you have kids what age which you have kids and you’re gonna or neighbors you’re gonna go hey we’re having a fourth of July party at our pool right? You’re gonna get food so it doesn’t matter. Say what you get, but if 1 said hey cater your fourth of July backyard party with us whether it’s like I’m gonna provide the hamburgers and the hot dogs and you grill them yourself or I’m going to do trays of barbecue. It’s more like oh we are having a fourth of July party here’s an option. It might be like a tray of wings. It could be the whole meal could be part of the meal.

22:09.16
vigorbranding
Hey.

22:12.32
Michael attias
So I think it’s more niche specific. Let us cater your home Christmas party. You know our you know Diy our food your platters perfect combination. So it’s more focused on the event so people go oh Thanksgiving dinner. You know everybody. Has something for Thanksgiving dinner hey we’ve got turkey and all the sides for 8 people and you’re going to spend a you know hundred ninety nine dollars because it’s got all this so it’s more the niche thinking oh didn’t think about them for my Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner for the July party Super Bowl party

22:35.18
vigorbranding
Turn.

22:49.63
Michael attias
You know Birthday Party Anniversary celebration. Whatever it is So I think context is more.

22:54.67
vigorbranding
Although yeah, those who are listening Um, you cannot legally use the word super bowl or the big game when you’re promoting these things you can try it. But you might get in trouble just I don’t know how many times we’ve had that conversation with clients. But it’s like you can’t use that word.

23:04.20
Michael attias
Correct no no no I get that but but we still promoted without using those words we still promoted and we with the promotion we sold twice as many ribs on Super Bowl sunday

23:12.71
vigorbranding
Right.

23:19.55
vigorbranding
Oh yeah.

23:22.17
Michael attias
Where um, then we did on fourth of July which is the busiest rib day of the year so so you know you can still you don’t have to call it the super bowl the big game for people to know Super Bowl Sunday is coming up I need food right? because that’s a major we’re going to someone’s house. They got.

23:24.92
vigorbranding
Oh that’s fantastic.

23:37.75
vigorbranding
Yep.

23:41.19
Michael attias
Great Tvs and everybody you know half the people care about the game and half people care about what kind of food you’re going to have don’t even watch the game they watch the commercials and they so.

23:51.47
vigorbranding
That’s right, yeah and and depending on the brand. There’s a way to have a lot of fun with that I mean we’ve done emails where it’s like you know Kate Cater an event on Sunday you know for whatever may be happening this Sunday that could be possibly important and worth watching on tv you know I mean like we just went on. We had a lot of fun. Just.

24:05.26
Michael attias
Right.

24:09.10
vigorbranding
To almost poke fun that you’re not legally allowed to say super bowl unless you pay for licensing. It’s pretty so pretty hysterical, but the sense of of category or the sense of like place I think is a really good point understanding that it’s not just hey you need food. So here’s a lot of it. It’s do it for this. Do it for this event. You know, um.

24:11.69
Michael attias
Right.

24:28.15
vigorbranding
How about this? Um, so that’s great and let’s talk about what it takes to be successful in the catering game. So I think especially with like fledgling restauranteurs who are starting up their first concept to them, especially if it’s not a cuisine that is primed for catering. Think there are some considerations. Ah, do you have like a checklist or some like hot takes on what you should consider to get your operations ready for catering orders.

24:53.55
Michael attias
Well first of all, you need to decide. Well my food is it catering friendly and I think the answer for most people is it is or can be but there’s some things not right? you own a vegan restaurant. You’re very limited. You know you’re in Berkeley you probably have a good market.

25:11.10
vigorbranding
Right.

25:12.82
Michael attias
You’re in Birmingham Alabama you know, crickets right? barbecue in the south you’re going to sell a lot so you need to ask yourself that then you need to ask yourself. Okay am I going to do just drop off catering pick up catering or am I going to do full service events most people I say start with drop off.

25:15.53
vigorbranding
Yeah, not so much.

25:30.52
Michael attias
Because it doesn’t require a lot of bandwidth um, you don’t have to be a genius. Um, what I tell people is go look in other markets that are noncompetitive. What are they doing so let’s just say mexican right? I’m to look Atlanta Georgia Mexican catering I’m going to look at you know Chicago Illinois mexican cater in Los Angeles I can literally spend an hour on Google and probably find 50 catering menus in my niche and to find out what they’re doing what they’re selling how they’re packaging it how they’re pricing it I can call up and play prosper hey. I’m doing a meeting in Los Angeles next month Twenty five people can you walk me through what you get? What I so 2 hours I’ve already got a menu that I can creatively copy and then I go to my graphic designer or my branding company say hey this is what I want to do and then you work backwards to come up with the quantities. Um. And how you want to package it and price it and whatever we were always big in to threetier ah packages like basic deluxe super deluxe low medium high because some people are on a budget. Some people will spend all the money you give them an opportunity spend and some people want a middle option. And then upsells for more premium entrees like shrimp is going to cost more than if you’re doing chicken. You know you might have a premium side like you know truffle mac and cheese adds a dollar person compared to you know potato salad coldlaw side salad fruit salad. Whatever right.

26:46.68
vigorbranding
Then.

27:00.97
Michael attias
So it’s just all the research has been done for you right? you you don’t have a concept that unique that there’s not somebody else in the United States and then it’s having the packaging you know, investing in the right packaging for transportation does it look good. Um, and then training. The reason I like per person packaging is anybody can take the order right? So if I say hey come to work for me tomorrow. All you need to know is these are 3 packages how many people do you have? do you have 27 people you have 33 people. It’s going to cost you Forty Ninety Nine a person times of 33 people you want another person. It’s 34 times that. And you just write it down and then you have a calculator tells you how much food do I fill up the pan a hundred percent 75% 50% or use a full pan a half pan to a roundup to full pans and half pans and then just build that into the cost you want to make it formulaic. You don’t. When I first got in this business operators were selling full and a half pan so you needed to know sort of mit math to figure out. Oh you want lasagna salad bread. That’s simple. Oh now you want 3 entrees now I got to adjust the pans because I don’t need 3 whole pans.

28:00.10
vigorbranding
And.

28:15.77
Michael attias
Cause then you got enough for a hundred people. So maybe I need three half pans so everybody gets a little bit of everything right? So when you do per person do the number crunching in your spreadsheet to know what needs to be fulfilled so all people need to know how many people what options you want past? do you want? Do you want to add a protein you know that kind of thing.

28:21.44
vigorbranding
Right.

28:35.50
Michael attias
The other thing that’s very important I’m sorry I’m rambling but there’s a lot I want to get in um play prospect in your market when I came and opened my restaurant in 9092 I played prospect to all the barbecue restaurants found out 2 things that call to order catering I’m either.

28:37.26
vigorbranding
No, this is great. Go ahead. Yeah.

28:52.31
Michael attias
Ah, got somebody in the kitchen who wasn’t a manager hey they’re out callback later didn’t take my name didn’t take my number have they’ll call you back I got an answering machine I was actually an answering machine the time not a voicemail so I always make sure that the phone’s being answered live and if I if somebody who knows how to take catering.

29:02.96
vigorbranding
Yeah.

29:11.43
Michael attias
Isn’t available hey Joseph’s on the phone with a client taking catering. Let me get your name and number he’ll call you right back right? And so you know you you treat it like you would any other you wouldn’t call a car dealership to buy $100000 mercedes and say yeah I’m interested in Mercedes well are salespeople.

29:20.54
vigorbranding
Yep.

29:30.86
Michael attias
Are done call back in 15 minutes oh what’s your name. What’s your information so you need to treat it like you would any other business and people just don’t run restaurants that way they don’t think about it as how do how do I get treated by other professionally run organizations right? I want to go get plastic surgery. This.

29:38.97
vigorbranding
Right.

29:50.58
Michael attias
Cost 10 grand they’re gonna take my name and and and give me special attention. They’re not just say oh call the the case manager back in and an hour she’s out to lunch. You know you’re spending all this money to get the phone to ring don’t drop it. You know when the phone rings.

29:58.72
vigorbranding
Right.

30:05.84
vigorbranding
Yeah, what? what? if the phone isn’t ringing I mean we we now live in an era where the phone man I avoid it like the plague I don’t know about you. Um, like if somebody calls me I text him like is there something wrong like why didn’t you text me So what about those alternatives.

30:18.17
Michael attias
I You know I’ve been talking on the I have been I don’t know how old you are. But I’ve been talking on the phone since I had a children’s phone number. So I love the phone. But yes, you can have chatbots on your site. You can do texting. In fact, we have a product we sell. It’s called Rapid reply.

30:26.74
vigorbranding
Um, yeah.

30:37.72
Michael attias
So if you get a busy signal. It will send assume you’re coming from a text a cell phone and it will text you back a link to online order and it will have a voicemail that says hey if you want to leave a message or you want to text another number and then we can actually give you an interface that you can text people.

30:44.85
vigorbranding
And.

30:57.28
Michael attias
From a tablet or a laptop so there are there are technologies to do that. But I think by and large when somebody’s planning an event and they’re not in a vat planner right? like you know you’ve never planned something you probably do want to get on the phone because there’s too many questions right? I’m having 27 people over.

31:12.21
vigorbranding
Right.

31:16.30
Michael attias
It’s not the same as I need to order 3 large pizzas. Everyone knows how to do that hey I’m planning my wife’s surprise Fortieth birthday I understand in general how catering works but I’ve got too many questions about hey we’re going to have so many kids when there’s a food need to be delivered. Do I need to put it in the oven.

31:31.78
vigorbranding
Man.

31:34.82
Michael attias
So you’re going to have to pick up the phone just like you wouldn’t buy. You’re probably not going to buy a house without talking to a realtor and having them interview you telling them what you’re looking for not that you couldn’t do the whole transaction via text and email. It’s just there’s just too many parts and pieces right.

31:46.31
vigorbranding
Um, yeah, yeah, it’s It’s a good point I mean it’s easy for me to say this but a little bit harder in practice. But you really do got to put yourself in the shoes of the customer and like you said what you call it play prospecting.

32:00.74
Michael attias
Play The prospect.

32:04.13
vigorbranding
Play the prospect right? So like where you call and you place orders to see how their system works. You can easily start to find pitfalls that you could easily just smooth over.

32:10.96
Michael attias
You know you know that’s how I was able to make inroads because people knew they could get last minute orders from us. They could get hold of us. Um I’ve also ordered Kate like I’ve done this for my newsletter, my clients. Or for when I did a seminar at Pete’s expo I went and ordered catering from different companies in the same niche to say. Okay, why are they charging seven ninety nine a person and I’m charging ten ninety Nine you deconstruct their sandwich and they’re only putting two ounces of meat.

32:46.78
vigorbranding
A.

32:48.18
Michael attias
Now I can say we provide 50% more turkey so your people aren’t going to. You know, be leave hungry so you’ve got to really deconstruct every part of the process because I can sell against anything right? It doesn’t matter what you’re doing if you’re a good salesperson as long as you understand what your competitors are doing.

32:58.51
vigorbranding
Right.

33:07.99
Michael attias
You can say oh yeah, well the reason they charged more is they give you seven ounces of turkey on the sandwich and that’s overkill none of your people need that or you know we don’t provide barbecue sandwiches. They get cold. We give you the meat and people can make their own sandwiches. It’s enough for one and a half good set sandwiches. Usually we find as men want to go back and have a second. Women are happy with one. So nobody’s going to feel like box lunches where I’m starve Joseph ate half of the sandwich or I can’t say dude can I have half your sandwich because you just don’t do that especially now with covid so you get me a point I can sell anything if I understand the value proposition.

33:36.13
vigorbranding
Right.

33:45.52
Michael attias
You know we had all you can eat by phase you know hey if you run out of food. You don’t pay what biggest fear is order or have this cater come to my event runs out of food I’m embarrassed so you need to understand psychologically people are buying things more for psychological reasons. How to avoid embarrassment.

34:02.48
vigorbranding
And it.

34:04.11
Michael attias
Then they are for This is the best you could have the best Italian food in the world. But if it shows up late and it’s cold Then what does it matter right? I’d rather have olive Garden and they show up and it’s it’s mediocre. You know it’s It’s good run of the mill you know chain.

34:10.90
vigorbranding
Right.

34:20.87
Michael attias
Italian food that most people would be happy with if you had a super bowl party. No one’s going to say Well why didn’t you go to this fine dining Italian but if they show up comes hot. It gets the job done So you just got to know where you fit in the marketplace and sell to the positives and negatives you know.

34:35.26
vigorbranding
Yeah, and like let’s let’s not lie I mean Olive Garden salad and breadsticks are pretty amazing.

34:43.92
Michael attias
Dude that with Alfredo dipping sauce for the breadsticks I mean I’m in heaven.

34:45.94
vigorbranding
Yeah, get out of here. Yeah oh oh gee. Well hey we have 2 more well 1 more question and then I would love for you just to give a little plug for cater’s in and how people can get a hold of you. The big question is it’s your final meal in this existence.

34:55.30
Michael attias
Um, yeah.

35:02.80
vigorbranding
What are you having and why.

35:06.67
Michael attias
That’s like asking who your favorite child is but I thought about this so there’s a couple there’s there’s a couple of things that I’ve had of my life that are just incredible. So when I was in college I learned learned how to make fetticinni alfredo from the original recipe alfredo’s in Rome. So. Um, and I buy like the freshest ingredients freshmade pasta local cream. So I would do homemade feticcini alfredo with my recipe and then um I don’t know if you’re familiar with Joel Rubicon the french popular french chef he’s got a place in Vegas.

35:36.96
vigorbranding
Um.

35:41.26
Michael attias
Called latia de jo rubicon which is the workshop and there’s like small bla bite plates I took my I’ve been there before but I took my son for his twenty first birthday and they do these wau beef and fogras sliders. They’re like the size of a quarter may be a little bit bigger.

35:56.63
vigorbranding
Yeah.

35:58.73
Michael attias
And they are the best bite you’ve ever put in your mouth. We were stuffed from everything we had. We still shoved down another order because I know you’ve had food that tastes so good and you’re full and you will gorge yourself because it tasted so good. You had to do it again. So I would probably want a big place it play to those like. Wimpy from Popeye you know play to burgers the wa they fly foggras fightrs that combination is like killer.

36:18.53
vigorbranding
Um, yeah.

36:25.70
vigorbranding
That’s awesome. This is great man. So how can people get in touch with you where they find cater zen and everything it’s all about.

36:28.69
Michael attias
Yeah, so cater http://zen.comcaterzn.com. We have a lot of free resources books um blog articles to help them build their catering sales. Even if they don’t do business with us if they’re doing at least. Um, a hundred thousand dollars a year through their catering or private party room sales. They should take a look at us if they want to book some time with me. Um, they can go to book time with http://michael.com and just take 15 minutes zoom I’m happy to talk to you about your business of see if it’s a good fit and then put you in a demo are happy to talk with you ah you know regardless

37:05.84
vigorbranding
That’s awesome. Well thanks so much for your time your insights everything that you’re doing at catering’s in is amazing. We’ll have all those links on the show page and in the show notes Michael was great chatting do the same.

37:14.39
Michael attias
Hey thanks so much have a great day.

 

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