In the catering world, your most valuable customers are the office and sales pros who order from you. Which is why we gathered a panel of our most high-value catering customers at CaterUp!. Our panel discussion, called “The Catering MVPs: Office & Sales Pros,” featured office and sales professionals who represent five use cases for business (B2B) catering. The session was a golden opportunity to learn what catering customers experience and expect, and how you can keep your brand top of mind. If you missed the panel, here are five key takeaways.
- Christina Barbaro, U.S. Events Manager
- Ashley Wisdom, Aesthetic Experience Manager
- Tim Mariakakis, Account Executive
- Zack Schnyder, Events Coordinator
- Megan Price, Manager of Global Accounts
1. Deliver Quality Catering
Yes, it sounds basic. But delivering subpar food—cold, soggy, unbranded, or missing utensils—isn’t a good experience for your customers. Ashley Wisdom says: “We depend on catering as a sales tool, but there’s also the emotional aspect of it,” because when the catering is perfect, clients know that “our company can provide things done right.” In other words, the reputations of business customers are on the line when they order catering. And their standards for quality food are much higher than that of your average delivery customer.
2. Improve Order Accuracy
Okay, you’ve heard it a thousand times. But your customers want you to know that they face high stakes when planning catering. That’s because they order catering on behalf of heavyweights like stakeholders and clients, some of whom have dietary restrictions. For these customers, there’s no bigger disappointment than discovering a missing item on Game Day, or worse, finding out the VIP’s order is wrong. So get it right for your customers and check orders twice to help protect their business. (Learn more about improving order accuracy and executing your catering strategy the right way.)
3. Deliver Catering Orders On Time
So here’s a story that might sound familiar: Your kitchen cooks the food with confidence and sends it out piping hot. But Google Maps sends your delivery driver in the wrong direction. When he finally gets to the site, he can’t find street parking. Then he’s stopped by building security and a slow freight elevator. This scenario is a compilation of disasters that customers like Christina Barbaro frequently experience. Late deliveries are so common that our customers have a piece of advice for restaurants: To prevent catering orders from going MIA, build in more lead time for possible delays. If an order is going to be late, customers want clear and open communication. Alert them of delays, and come up with a plan B so they don’t have to.
4. Make Ordering Easy
Food ordering has stepped into the app age, and a lot of customers can’t imagine going back to phone ordering. Ashley Wisdom says, “If my eight-year-old kid can order something from Amazon and it can be there the next day, why can’t my catering experience be that simple?”
It may seem like a minor difference to you, but customers see a huge difference between online ordering and calling a restaurant. That’s because business customers don’t just use an ordering platform to view the menu. They rely on the platform’s added tools as well. A lot of apps and websites offer plenty of nice features, like receipt management and budgeting tools. Ashley says she gets excited when an ordering platform syncs with the expense report software Concur, which is what salespeople use to keep good financial records in a highly regulated industry. Ultimately, business customers want frictionless ordering and helpful tools to stay on top of their work.
At our CaterUp! customer panel, our audience asked far more questions than our panelists could answer during our timed Q&A segment. While this recap only highlighted the key takeaways, we’re going to respond to other questions in blog articles coming down the pike. Stay tuned for more. In the meantime, use these customer insights to win valuable, brand-loyal customers, and see huge returns.
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