Do your guests come to an event that you’re catering to “eat” or “dine”? What’s the difference? Potentially a lot of money in repeat and loyal customers.
As people look for ways to balance “safer-at-home” with “get-me-back-to-my-life” and the meetings and events industry is starting to look for ways forward, your clients will be looking at catering organizations to provide a “dining experience” for their clients and guests that is professional, seamless, efficient, and safe.
A recent survey from Global DMC Partners (May 2020), asked meeting planners a variety of questions concerning the current situation in the meeting/event world. One of the questions asked respondents to share how their companies will implement future face-to-face programs?” The number 1 answer was no surprise — 90% said “more hand sanitizers.” The number 3 answer was no surprise as well — 66% said “Plated, Served or Boxed Meals only.”
As a catering organization, stocking up on hand sanitizer, or creating a great-tasting and attractive looking boxed meal are usually not a challenge. But creating a professional, seamless, efficient, (and now safe) way to offer plated or served meals….well, that’s another story. And one that keeps some catering professionals up at night (I know it did for me).
Sure, buffets and drop-offs can be easy for us, but elevating your service to the “next level” requires a two-fold comprehensive dining training program and a system to produce plated and served meals that first and foremost is professional and is also seamless and efficient.
When we debuted this training program at my company, it changed us forever and for the better. It starts with changing the mindset of the staff. They need to realize that of all the marketing the company can do, they are the most effective marketing resource. Think about this for your own company. Your staff can be (and should be) your best marketing and public relations for your business. The guests at your events may never meet the CEO or Executive Chef of your organization. Rather, they may base their entire experience on who they interacted with from your front line staff, and how they were treated throughout the event. And it will certainly impact their decision to hire you for their next event.
So, what is “Service Etiquette?” Does your team know what it means to look the part, act the part, speak the part, and serve the part? Do they understand why it’s so important to make sure that how they set the table, how they serve the food and clear the plates, and how they carry themselves all ties into the “Dining Experience?” And by doing all of these in a professional way your staff is the embodiment of your brand message and core values.
As the industry starts to open back up, your staff may be a “little rusty” on their skills, and perhaps a bit wary of how to keep themselves and guests safe, they may need a refresher course on where and how they focus on delivering first-class service AND a first-class experience. And maybe you’re a little unsure of how to create that plate-up system that will not only ensure that the food looks and taste great, but is served to your guests in a professional and efficient manner. Remember, it’s about creating the “Dining Experience” which in turn will create increased retention and loyalty among your clients (and employees). How do I know this to be true? It is the formula I created and implemented in my catering and event business.
Contact me for a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to take your employee training and on-boarding program to the next level!