Growing Support for Restaurant Catering Sales Among Franchisees

Growing Franchisee Support for Restaurant CateringWorking in the multi-unit restaurant space, we come across many franchisors, and, when developing a restaurant catering program, these operators often experience hurdles when it comes to growing support in an often decentralized system.

Cultivating a system of support is necessary in any franchise operation, and in order to make restaurant catering as important a program to the franchisees as it is to franchisors and corporate leadership, having a strong network and the ability to communicate efficiently is so important.

As a franchisor, you can look to ways to generate and enhance support within your system, and to make sure your franchisees are on board with your programs:

Technology

  • Helps reduce the pressures created by an increased customer demand for restaurant catering services by streamlining operations pertaining to that program
  • Allows integration of multiple elements such as ordering, production, and reporting to keep the catering order on track from start to finish, creating a memorable experience for the customer
  • Provides the ability to collect important customer information for franchisees looking to grow sales and increase the revenue made possible through this channel

Develop restaurant catering brand standards

  • Ensures that all franchisees are on the same page when it comes to their restaurant catering programs
  • Ensures that customers receive the same level of service and know what to expect regardless which of location they visit or order from
  • Ensures that your brand is represented properly and clearly both inside and outside the four walls of the establishment

Provide training

  • Developing the catering program starts with speaking the language associated with it – having team members speaking the same language is facilitated through regular training programs, whether in-person workshops or online learning environments
  • Define processes for restaurant catering within the brand and ensure that training manuals and documentation are readily available to both existing and new franchisees at any time
  • Provide an opportunity for franchisees to learn regularly and have a place to ask questions and seek out more information to improve themselves and their teams

Share restaurant catering industry news and information

  • With the busy day-to-day operations for any franchisee, it is not often easy for them to know and understand what is taking place in their current market, whether in regards to competitors, new trends or important information that can change the restaurant catering landscape
  • Trends in food, beverage and service requirements can help franchisees make necessary adjustments to their processes, menus and service levels to continue striving for their catering goals, and adding those elements that help them to remain competitive
  • Company updates with regards to catering programs are key, as they ensure that franchisees maintain the standards set out by owners, and are fully informed of any changes that may impact them or their business efforts

Encourage customer service

  • Without customers there is no restaurant catering program – demanding high levels of customer service leads to better customer satisfaction and repeat business
  • Superior customer service can turn a regular restaurant customer into a higher profit regular catering customer – nurturing relationships can lead to long-term business and referrals in the future
  • Training is an important tool to maintain service standards within all locations, again allowing customers to have the same experience regardless of where they choose to go
  • The ability to resolve issues quickly and efficiently can turn a negative customer experience into a positive outcome, and support from the franchisor in this area means that the customer feels valued and the franchisee can continue his or her day-to-day operations

Keep lines of communication open

  • Despite there being many franchisees throughout your operations, many may feel isolated from their counterparts – providing clear lines of communication can allow them to share information, best practices, solutions to common issues, and networking opportunities in regards to their catering efforts
  • Newsletters and informational emails can be useful here, but online forums and meeting places are a great way to facilitate conversation among franchisees about their catering programs and what they are doing
  • Make sure you, as the franchisor, are accessible for feedback, regular updates, and information sharing – this reminds the franchisee that they are as equally valuable an asset as the customers to which they are selling their services

Provide a central destination for resources

  • Tangible products such as process manuals, training documents and marketing materials should all be made available for franchisee use to support the catering program – as these are items created by the franchisor and/or brand owner, the information being shared is consistent and reliable
  • Services for those franchisees looking to delve into additional marketing opportunities such as social media, blogging, contests or online couponing can be provided in a common location so that franchisees are not only aware of what they can use but they know who to approach to get it
  • Keeping franchisees coming back to the same place fosters a networking environment and involves franchisees in many business development opportunities that they can take away to use in their own program efforts

For a more in-depth look at Growing Restaurant Catering Sales in a Franchise Ecosystem, you can download the Catering Essay from our website.

 

Photo credit: (vincent desjardins) via photopin cc

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