This article is part of a series called “Getting Off-Premises”, which examines how to build an off-premises business.
Follow Jim Rand as he visits Haido Barnett, the owner of Andre’s Cafe in Boston. Haido shares how she reels in new catering customers.
Jim Rand: Trust is what it’s all about. So, what were some of the things that you did to kind of build that trust and to grow the relationship?
Haido Barnett: I would go out and introduce myself and I would make a personal connection with that person whether it was bringing them a little box of cookies or bring them a little something.
Jim Rand: That’s all it takes, right?
Haido Barnett: All it takes.
Jim Rand: It’s very, very simple. Do you include, like, lunches for the person ordering? Do you throw in a little extra?
Haido Barnett: Absolutely. You know everything’s tight every month. So, it feels [like] a lot to pull out a lunch for 20, but you might get them to order for a 400-person office three times a week.
Jim Rand: Exactly.
Haido Barnett: And all it costs was just that $20 lunch. So, I always say be very generous with the one thing you can be generous with, which is food.
In this economy you need to know what your customers are thinking. What do your catering customers really want?