Closing the Year with Strong Restaurant Catering Sales for December

Closing the Year With Strong Restaurant Catering Sales for December

As we recover from the busy Thanksgiving holiday catering sales week, too much food and shopping, it’s time to do it all over again!

While we may wish to take a quick break after pushing so hard to get Thanksgiving week and Black Friday weekend sales, we must persevere. December is just as busy, if not more so, and the events expand across most of the month.

Follow the same steps I outlined in Holiday Catering Sales Success:

  1. Have a plan
  2. Determine where your sales will come from
  3. Outline your sales tactics

And here are a few additional tips as we move into December selling.

Be sure to follow up with all Thanksgiving customers. This will help you build the ever so important relationship that catering relies on. 

  • Ensure your customer’s catering experience was all they expected and more.  If so, this is a prime opportunity to ask for December holiday business and referrals. Close additional sales while they are still reveling in the wonderful experience you just provided for them.
  • If your customer’s experience was less than perfect, now is the time to uncover the problem, rectify the situation and win the customer back – perhaps with a resolution on their next order in December. Show that you really care about the experience they receive and want to ensure that issues are addressed and resolved. Express that you greatly appreciate their business and want to win back their trust.

Call all clients that had quotes during the November holiday. You may not have converted all your quotes to sales in November, but these are still great leads for December.

  • Many companies and families host both November and December holiday events. This is a great opportunity for you to re-engage with these prospective clients and earn their business for December. Clients may not wish to offer the same food for both events as the guests may be the same, so this allows you an opportunity to provide a world class catering experience and offer the group meal variety for their festivities.
  • Sample food as often as you can. Create a standard sampling program during the holidays – make sure you sample holiday appropriate and popular items and ensure the samples you take are budget conscious. Sampling food and engaging with clients face-to-face is a highly effective way to win over a client.

Be persistent, while being courteous. Persistence is a virtue in the sales world, but have to do it delicately. You want to make sure that you are being a consultant, a resolution expert and a trusted partner.

  • Make sure you fully uncover and understand what your customer’s needs are for their event and prove that you can best solve for their needs. Ask lots of questions.
  • The holidays are very hectic; create a sense of calm and ease of planning for the customer.
  • Be the expert and offer suggestions on how to make their event shine.
  • Ask for the sale!
  • If you struggle to close the sale to no avail, ask the client what is holding them back from ordering with you.  As you build the relationship, this open dialogue is consultative in nature; you want to understand their needs and solve for them.

Remember, all this hard work you are doing in November and December will build a strong client base throughout the year in 2017.  Many of these “holiday” clients have regular catering needs throughout the year, as well as during the holidays. Your hard work will reward you all year long!

Best wishes for a very prosperous December!

Tracy Avolio - VP, Client Services, MMS Catering Institute

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