As a restaurant manager, you already have a lot going on. Your first priority is running the restaurant and providing the best guest dining experience possible. Selling catering may be a seventh or eighth priority. But QSR Magazine says “some multi unit restaurant operators are now reporting that catering represents up to 25 percent of their top line sales.” How do you take advantage of that for your business, when you barely have enough time as it is? To take some of that pressure off your back, you might need a catering manager. But what does a catering manager do exactly? And, how do you know if you need one?
The Roles of a Catering Manager
Catering managers wear many hats because it’s a job with many facets. Here are nine roles that a catering manager can play in your business.
- The Speaker: Your catering manager is the voice of the company to your catering customers. All catering calls and email inquiries, from customers and platforms like ezCater, are directed to this person and only this person.
- The Confirmer: Every customer gets a contract or some form of confirmation when they place an order. The catering manager is responsible for taking care of this, so your customers know exactly what to expect from your company and when expect their orders.
- The Processor: Once orders come in, the orders need to get to the kitchen. The catering manager works with the kitchen manager or chef to make sure everything that was sold is then produced for your customers.
- The Packer: Once the order is ready to head out the door, the catering manager packs up the order, including all necessary equipment and utensils.
- The Checker: Before it goes out the door, the catering manager is the last set of eyes on the order. He checks for quality, accuracy, timeliness, and consistency.
- The Driver: When you’re starting out, you need someone to actually get the orders to your customers. If you don’t have dedicated drivers, the catering manager could be the one to drive the orders for delivery. Your orders need to arrive safely, and without spills or accidents. But you also need someone to be the face of your restaurant to the customer upon delivery.
- The Marketer: Not only will your catering manager work with the orders that come in, but he will also solicit new customers. Sometimes that can be by bringing menus or coupons to businesses in the same building of a current customer. Or you can strategize to focus on certain types of businesses or areas of town.
- The Biller: The catering manager makes sure every order is billed correctly. And then just as importantly, she also is responsible for rectifying all the payments.
- The Follow-Upper: Every catering order should be followed up with a call, handwritten note, or email to make sure your customer was satisfied with the service. This is a great way to build relationships, so customers will continue to order again and again.
Determining If You Need a Catering Manager
If you’re wondering if you need a catering manager, take a look at these scenarios. How many of them sound familiar to you?
- You’re not happy with your food and labor costs.
- One of your regular customers called and had difficulty placing a catering order.
- Your kitchen was too busy to process a properly placed catering order correctly.
- Your staff successfully delivered a catering order out only to discover there were several items left off the order and you had to make another trip to make it right.
- There was no invoice or bill generated for an order, so payment was delayed.
- After catering for a large corporate customer you never received any recurring orders.
If you said yes to more than one of those, you could really benefit from a catering manager right away. The person in the role becomes the voice of your restaurant brand. She will make sure your orders run smoothly, and follow up with your many new customers to ensure recurring orders. While it may seem like an added expense to add a new role, you’ll soon see how much value this person adds to grow your catering business.