How to Grow Your Catering Business

by Bora Kang

Catering has grown significantly over the last few years thanks to the widespread demand for this one word: convenience. Whether they be for office parties, conferences, birthdays or weddings, catering profits from the promise of efficiency, safety and most importantly—safe of mind.

But as consumer spending on catering grows, so does the competition. And while a little competition never hurts, continuing investments in your catering program will be paramount to your business’s success. Here are four strategies you can use in your existing catering business to gain a competitive edge in the crowded catering landscape.

EXPLORE NEW CATERING VERTICALS

Exploring new catering verticals is key to expanding your catering business. You may be used to catering for corporate meetings, office parties, weddings or cocktail parties, but what about outdoor festivals, picnics and movie sets? You may even get client requests you’re not used to, like having to add a food truck or using non-traditional type venues you would have never thought of using (1). But that’s what makes it a perfect opportunity. Take some time to explore what you can achieve as a business. Stepping out of your comfort zone is never easy, but challenging yourself to take on new catering opportunities will set you apart from the competition and increase your business exposure. It will also provide a marketing platform where you can meet new people and gain new leads.

INVEST IN TECH

It can be stressful to manage a growing catering business without relying on technology. From venue information, menus, pack lists, hiring, timelines, etc., there will be logistical challenges in trying to keep track of every detail without a business management software. According to Daniel Smith, writer for QSR Magazine, “technology is playing a prominent and escalating role in catering. Those who can harness technological tools like online ordering and loyalty programs are better positioned to succeed ,,, minimizing friction for the end user” (2).

If organization is important to you, you may want to invest in a management/ catering software that can automate a large portion of your business. A good management software should be able to track your sales, managing your staff scheduling and most importantly, boost the overall efficiency of your business so that you can dedicate more time and energy into helping more clients, as explained in detail in this CaterEase article (3).

We also recommend that you start utilizing some of these catering/lunch service apps (if they are available in your area) to increase exposure and volume:

Fooda (4, 5)
• A workplace food program that brings in a different pop-up restaurant to serve as the office lunch vendor each day
• Works in dense urban areas and suburban surroundings
• Primarily geared toward employers that have more than 400 or 500 people in a location.
• Roughly 75 to 80 percent of the restaurants Fooda works with are local, independent restaurants and about 20 percent are chains.

Foodsby (6)
• Serves in 15 cities, see reference:
• Connects employees in office buildings with local restaurants.
• Requires restaurants handle deliveries
• These employees can pre-order a meal from a restaurant in the Foodsby network, which Foodsby then aggregates and sends the collected orders to the restaurants. Your restaurant would deliver these pre-ordered meals in one single delivery. It’s basically delivering mass meals to one location.
• Advantage: restaurants can plan their labor and production days in advance.
• Because Foodsby acts as a marketplace, with the restaurants handling their own deliveries, the fee is much less than traditional third-party delivery services.

Foodee (7, 8)
• Works exclusively with corporate clients. Orders are typically a minimum of $200, restaurants are given 24-hour advance notice, and orders are prepared during non-peak hours.
• Orders are placed by clients either online or through staff. Foodee confirms and passes the order to the restaurant, and the restaurant prepares the food by the indicated pickup time, where Foodee drivers will take, package and present to the clients, including catering set up and quality assurance. They also offer all serving utensils with compostable options.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TRENDS

We expect the Coronavirus pandemic to have changed catering trends significantly. In an interview with Mike O’Hanlon, head of catering partner business at ezCater, with FSR Magazine, orders on ezCater containing individually packaged menu items have more than doubled as the result of the Coronavirus pandemic (9). Likewise, home delivery of family meals and to-go orders have been added to the catering software company CaterZen so that operators could diversify their services and meet this new demand (10). This trend of individual servings and lunchbox type meals is expected to continue for the remainder of 2020, and catering businesses will surely benefit from taking advantage of this trend as catering orders are expected to recover slowly, at least as social distancing and small gatherings remain in effect.

INVEST IN SOCIAL MEDIA

It’s never been more important to market yourself online. According to Nation’s Restaurant News, strategic social media marketing ideas for restaurants can drive sales and increase foot traffic (11). Especially now because of the pandemic, “Consumers are afraid to go out, so they are likely canvassing their social media much more than usual,” said New York City-based Four Corners Communications President Drew Kerr in QSR Web (12). Izea, a social media content provider, even found that about 63% of consumers expected their usage of YouTube and Facebook to increase during the quarantine (12).

Managing your online presence will be key, so make sure you have the basics: a Google listing of your business, an updated website with an online menu and a Facebook page are musts. Get your business on Instagram and even Twitter and share with your audience regular updates on the catering business, testimonials, expert tips on event planning and more. (More ideas can be found in our earlier blog, “5 Steps To Do Social Media Right.”) Be sure to take advantage of trending hashtags, especially ones involving food-specific holidays such as these upcoming ones #nationalhamburgerday (May 28), #nationaldoughnutday (June 5), #nationalsushiday (June 18), etc.

Lastly, consider utilizing these media outlets to send out a compelling brand message. Now that the pandemic has upturned our daily routines, many are creating new habits and behaviors, even the kind of food they eat. A compelling message and awareness of your audiences’ needs and trends will help establish yourself and to draw in new customers for your business. Kate Finley, CEO of Belle Communication, a restaurant digital marketing company in Columbus, Ohio, recommends that you “humanize your brand” (12). Businesses should form local, community ties and build bonds; offer foods that give people a sense of comfort, safety and nostalgia (12). Your business can also address current concerns by posting updated sanitation policies online and communicating these messages to your audience to show that your business prioritizes guest safety above all else. As Finley stated, “Now, is the time for social listening and proactive engagement. Devote time to proactively connecting with consumers. Pay attention to what’s important to your audience right now.”

We hope this brief guideline helps you build a framework for your catering program to move forward. Are you interested in managing your catering program?

Goliath Consulting Group, headquartered in Norcross, Georgia offers a dynamic array of business development solutions, tailored to meet the needs of each individual client – in addition to a full suite of knowledge and tools that help make restaurants more profitable, including strategic planning, menu development, project management, new restaurant development, branding, marketing, franchising, equipment, technology, evaluations, outsourcing, and more. The company also has a management division that manages full-service restaurants. Goliath Consulting enjoys a ten-year track record of creating client success among local, regional and multi-unit national restaurant chains.

Goliath Consulting Group is actively involved in the Foodservice Consultants Society International and is an allied partner of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

Reference:

(1) https://www.caterease.com/manage-fast-growth-within-catering-business/
(2) https://www.qsrmagazine.com/restaurant-operations/why-its-critical-perfect-your-restaurants-catering
(3) https://www.caterease.com/manage-fast-growth-within-catering-business/
(4) https://www.fooda.com/restaurant-partners
(5) https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-fooda-orazio-buzza-exec-qa-0702-biz-20170628-story.html
(6) https://foodondemandnews.com/06142018/foodsby-brings-lunch-to-suburbia-on-the-cheap/
(7) https://www.food.ee/blog/why-foodee-parnerships-work/
(8) https://www.food.ee/how-it-works/
(9) https://www.fsrmagazine.com/leader-insights/restaurant-catering-coronavirus-age
(10) https://www.fsrmagazine.com/content/catering-software-company-helps-brands-combat-coronavirus-crisis
(11) https://www.nrn.com/technology/how-social-media-can-impact-foot-traffic
(12) https://www.qsrweb.com/articles/is-your-restaurant-speaking-the-covid-19-era-customers-language/

Catering for Restaurants

Important points to consider before starting a catering program

Off-premise catering is undoubtedly a compelling business opportunity for restaurant owners. Aside from boosting revenue, catering can boost business during slow performing times, reduce excess food waste, allow for menu changes, and helps to increase employee retention as they gain new skills and varied tasks that challenges and keeps them busy (1). Catering also gives businesses brand exposure and valuable marketing opportunities. Instead of waiting for customers to walk through their doors, businesses can bring its brand to the customers in a catering environment (2). As for profit, the percentage is largely variable dependent upon the business model, size, and marketing strategies, but high-end caterers have boasted impressive sales—a pretax profit of over 25% (3). But on average these numbers are much more modest.

For example, Catersource magazine reported 7 to 8 % as the average pretax profit in the full-service restaurant industry (3). Nevertheless, we think it is a good time for caterers as recent studies have made clear the growing demand and popularity for catering. Chicago-based foodservice research firm Datassential, for example, reported that consumer spending on catering was capturing growth that is on par, if not beyond, that of other restaurant categories (2). A more recent research from Technomic reported that business catering brought in $22 billion in 2018, with catering expecting to grow 5.6% annually through 2019 (4). As Gene Lee, the CEO of Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants said in an interview with RestaurantBusinessOnline.com, “(Catering) makes a lot more sense for us to market and pursue than running around delivering $10 entrees at this point in time” considering that the average order for a large-party delivery catering in Olive Garden is $300 (5).

With that said, there are several factors restaurants must consider before starting a catering program for their restaurant. While it may seem like a big opportunity, off-premise catering is also a lot of work—requiring your time and energy for adding necessary staff, purchasing delivery vehicles, acquiring needed equipment, and paying for miscellaneous expenses that come with the service (2). It is therefore imperative that when starting out, restauranteurs tread slowly and carefully. A successful catering service may take years of adapting and fine-tuning before it is perfected. The personnel, storage capacity and vehicles are dimensions that can be added to the business as volume increases (2).

Possibly the most overlooked element in operating g a successful catering program is good organization. An absence of organization, according to catering experts Maulik Suthar and Nishin Sura, creates a huge time strain and causes simple tasks to take up an unnecessary amount of your day (6). Imagine being too late or too early to the venue because you did not factor in delivery timing, underestimating the amount of food or bringing incorrect food due to miscommunication.  Making your guests impatient and uncomfortable is the last thing you want to establish a good impression of your brand. We recommend that you set up a system in place that will allow you to keep track of venue information, menus, pack lists, hiring, timelines and more.

Alternatively, you can invest in a catering software to do this for you. First, find a catering software that can help you organize more catering orders. Basically, a catering software manages business functions for the catering, event planning and banquet management industries, and you start by compare product reviews and features here (7). We recommend that you find one where the invoicing is automated, such as Gather (8) or Total Party Planner (9). BEO (Banquet Event Order) binders, used by event professionals and venue managers to outline all the details on a particular event, such as food and beverage orders, A/V requirements, room info, decor, signed receipts, staffing and more, are also all managed digitally thanks to software like these (10). Other good features to have are integrated/shared team calendar, task management, communication tracking (for proposal or invoice re-reads or reviews), 3rd Party Integrations from excel spreadsheets, credit card payment processing and business insights.

Next, you should assemble your catering team. Having a point person who is dedicated to directing catering, to oversee operation of the catering business and handle with employee training, customer concerns and safety compliance, is a must because it helps catering operations to run more smoothly (5, 12). You’ll also need to cross-train some of your employees so that they can serve as backup staff for your catering service, as catering programs often require irregular staff scheduling and flexibility to handle catering orders that vary in size and complexity (13, 14). Having employees who can multi-task or who can work on a flexible schedule can help. You can also hire a catering salesperson, someone that who will manage business and customer relationships by sales calls, networking, advertising, and social media.

Other questions business owners should ask and answer before you start catering is whether your business has the right equipment, storage capacity and the delivery logistics in place. According to Aaron Hoffman, CEO and co-founder of DeliverThat, a third-party delivery service provider in restaurant catering delivery and setup, how restaurants implement their catering delivery strategies have changed much in these recent years due to growing popularity of third-party delivery (15). According to his article, restaurant owners who implement a hybrid approach to delivery—using both self-managed fleets and third-party delivery providers—have shown the highest customer and employee satisfaction rates. For example, a small fleet of delivery drivers and branded vehicles will cover a few daily runs while third-party providers will handle the most of restaurants’ catering deliveries or overflow on days with higher volume. “The hybrid approach also works well for brands that handle large catering volumes, see seasonal fluctuations, or have VIP clients that prefer one delivery channel over another” (15).

Whether it is simply dropping off the goods or offering more extensive services like buffets or a full dining service, catering is an excellent opportunity for your restaurant to draw in more vertical revenue streams. We hope that these considerations should give you a foundation you need to start your business, but the most important advice for a successful catering program is presenting a professional service that is organized, timely and executes on its promises.

References:

  1. https://www.caterease.com/boost-revenue-adding-catering-restaurant/
  2. https://www.fsrmagazine.com/fsr/events/right-way-cash-restaurant-catering
  3. https://www.catersource.com/business-operations/what%E2%80%99s-fair-profit-margin-caterer
  4. https://www.technomic.com/
  5. https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/operations/catering-strategy-key-driving-premise-dollars
  6. https://www.fsrmagazine.com/expert-takes/3-strategies-running-successful-catering-business
  7. https://www.capterra.com/catering-software/
  8. https://www.gatherhere.com/
  9. https://totalpartyplanner.com/catering-software/
  10. https://www.gatherhere.com/blog/gather-makes-beo-binders-obsolete-heres/
  11. https://www.catersource.com/business-operations/how-hire-great-salesperson
  12. https://www.catersource.com/restaurants/four-steps-building-successful-premises-catering-operation
  13. https://www.ezcater.com/lunchrush/restaurant/catering-feed-hospitality-training-chaz-patrick-podcast/
  14. https://www.restaurant-hospitality.com/food-trends/6-smart-tips-deliver-successful-catering-program
  15. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/outside-insights/how-hybrid-approach-eases-catering-delivery-challenges

 

Interested in setting up a catering program for your restaurant?

Goliath Consulting Group with headquarters in Norcross, Georgia offers a dynamic array of business development solutions, tailored to meet the needs of each individual client – in addition to a full suite of knowledge and tools that help make restaurants more profitable, including strategic planning, menu development, project management, new restaurant development, branding, marketing, franchising, equipment, technology, evaluations, outsourcing, and more. The company also has a management division that manages full-service restaurants. Goliath Consulting enjoys a ten-year track record of creating client success among local, regional and multi-unit national restaurant chains.

Get our latest update on menu development at www.restaurantsrise.com/resources

Goliath Consulting Group is actively involved in the Foodservice Consultants Society International and is an allied partner of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

Contact: getresults@goliathconsulting.com

Future of Food Delivery

How will restaurants deliver after COVID-19?

The coronavirus crisis has challenged restaurants to rethink the way they deal with food delivery for good. Larger franchises have offered free delivery (McDonalds, Applebee’s, IHOP, Panera Bread, Wingstop and Chipotle Mexican Grill, among many others) to accommodate decreasing on-premise sales (1). Meanwhile, smaller restaurants had to turn to third-party delivery services like Doordash, UberEats, Grubhub to deliver food to their customers. The topic of switching to self, or in-house delivery has been a widely-debated issue among independents these past couple of years, and it will most definitely be a hot topic as restaurants begin to open their doors again. So where is food delivery headed post-COVID-19?

In our previous blog article, we briefly touched on the various advantages of third party delivery services, like how outsourcing delivery to a third-party service has an advantage of allowing smaller, local restaurants to get started quickly (2). By partnering up with these big companies, restaurants have been allowed to take advantage of the software and support they offer and use these popular apps as a marketing tool—a way to attract new customers and gain brand recognition (3). Even larger brands, like that of the sub/sandwich franchise Jersey Mikes, relied on third-party delivery as a way of managing within its capacity (4).

However, the main issue with these third-party services have been their exorbitant fees, often ranging from 25 to 30 percent of sales (4). Other complaints have been unreliable delivery time and unsatisfactory food temperatures upon arrival (5). A report by the US Foods even found that 1 in 4 food delivery drivers admit to eating the food they were supposed to deliver (5). These issues collectively have made the shift to self-delivery so appealing.

The food delivery marketplace has exploded in the recent weeks due to the COVID-19 shutdown. Portillo, a Chicago-style comfort food restaurant in Illinois, for example, reported a 90% delivery sales increase through its third-party delivery since shutdown and 60% delivery increase through its website and mobile app (1). But for restaurant owners who had to rely solely on third-party delivery, this jump in food delivery has not entirely been welcome, driving them to look for alternative delivery measures despite some third-delivery services suspending some fees to accommodate for the crisis (6).

Having your own in-house delivery service allows you to have more control over your staff and drivers, reduce transit time and give you options to give better customer service (7). Having the same drivers deliver to your customers also come with perks of building long term driver-customer relationships.

Just as the third-party delivery model has its pros and cons, so does in-house delivery. While in-house delivery models are great in that you get more control and own the transaction from beginning to end, an in-house delivery route would require you to pay upfront costs to hire drivers to deliver your food (7). It also means you’d have to hire, train and pay new staff for this job including paying for insurance and vehicle expenses. For restaurants that have enough volume to keep their drivers busy the expenses will be worthwhile, but for up and coming restaurants that are in the process of building a customer base, self-marketing will be key whether it be by word of mouth, online listings or by keeping an active social media presence.

The good news is that in the long run, restaurants who have self-delivery services can expect higher returns (16, 17). As more restaurants fight back third-party delivery fees and lack of control, we could be seeing a lot more restaurants adopt self-delivery in the near future.

So, in summary:

Third Party Delivery

  • Pros:
    • Doubles as advertisement that increases exposure of your restaurant.
    • Provided drivers/ No training required
  • Cons:
    • High Fees
    • No control over the delivery time
    • No control over the condition of the food once it leaves your restaurant

Self/ In-House Delivery

  • Pros:
    • More control over your profit margin/transaction fees
    • More control over your driver
    • You can offer faster delivery
    • Offer better customer service
    • Allows you to build driver-customer relationships
  • Cons:
    • You’ll need to hire, train and pay your driver
    • Not recommended for low volume restaurants
    • You have to actively promote on social media to make up for the marketing

 

Interested in setting up self-delivery?

Goliath Consulting Group with headquarters in Norcross, Georgia offers a dynamic array of business development solutions, tailored to meet the needs of each individual client – in addition to a full suite of knowledge and tools that help make restaurants more profitable, including strategic planning, menu development, project management, new restaurant development, branding, marketing, franchising, equipment, technology, evaluations, outsourcing, and more. The company also has a management division that manages full-service restaurants. Goliath Consulting enjoys a ten-year track record of creating client success among local, regional and multi-unit national restaurant chains.

Goliath Consulting Group is actively involved in the Foodservice Consultants Society International and is an allied partner of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

Contact: getresults@goliathconsulting.com

Reference:

  1. https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/operations/why-coronavirus-shutdown-will-upend-delivery-services-good
  2. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/sponsored/how-third-party-delivery-helps-brands-drive-sales-growth
  3. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/restaurant-operations/house-versus-third-party-delivery-debate-rages
  4. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/reports/delivery-dilemma-rages-restaurants
  5. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/ordering/delivery-question-whats-happening-my-food
  6. https://www.restaurant-hospitality.com/delivery-takeout-solutions/what-third-party-delivery-marketplaces-are-doing-and-not-doing
  7. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/fast-casual/house-or-third-party-delivery-whats-better

A NEW TIME FOR OLD FASHIONED LEADERSHIP

Guest post by Robert Marshall – Organizational Health Consultant @ CSR

A guide for establishing a critical connection to your teams and employees

I hope this finds you well considering the unprecedented disruption of our personal lives and the negative effect it has had on the economy of this country. That we have collectively endured these last few months is a credit to our resilience. The one thing we know, is that companies are going to come out of this better and stronger or worse and weaker. But certainly not the same. How we lead during this time will determine our fate and long-term impact of this short-term disruption to our business and our lives.

Working capital is tight. Companies will return to regular operations soon with a philosophy of cautious austerity. While some have already adjusted to working with fewer people, others have fought to stay intact and keep their people in place. Whether future measures include a thinning of the workforce or are simply new policies designed to run leaner in the aftermath, chances are good that employee morale will be the big loser.

But what if there was a way to energize your workplace? What if there is a way to show your employees that you truly value them in a time where most have been shaken to the core? What if you had the opportunity to not only weather this storm but also reset the company culture. You can dramatically differentiate your workplace from your competitors by developing a “Branded” people program now.

Your employees need to know that they are valued. When you as management, operate from a place of caring and COMPASSION, this will be recognized. Your company will reap the rewards with increased productivity, improved morale, and individual loyalty. Brand your program, “People First”. This is your competitive differentiator! The way your people see you and the company, interested in their welfare, will re-engage them, and cement the foundation of your plan. Investing in the future of your company this way, will bring added credibility and allow you to maintain and/or ramp up your expectations with a positive response. The only way 2020 can be salvaged into something positive is if your employees are properly taken care of now.

Invest in the individual and watch their value as an employee grow. Make it about them. The way they function better as individuals, with a heightened sense of self-awareness, will make them better team members as they strive to achieve the team goals. More than ever, we “need them” on the team. A targeted, personal people program will address individual needs for the greater good of your entire organization and long-term health of the organization. We can do this now or miss the opportunity and pick up what is sure to be the more expensive pieces later.

This Is How Your Small Business Ultimately Survives COVID-19

Guest post by Elena Stewart

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people and businesses alike all over the world. As a result, those that have been classified as “non-essential” are forced to pause their operations. For many small businesses, this can spell devastation. However, there are ways you can keep your business afloat during this difficult time. After all, modern technology has made available countless tools and resources to keep people working remotely, which, in turn, can give your business a fighting chance to survive. We’ve put together some links to help you with the task.

Improve Your Workspace
Creating a clutter-free and work-friendly space will do wonders for your productivity.

● Find space for your home office setup.
● Look into affordable carpeting options for a cleaner, more professional look.
Declutter your workspace to inspire productivity.

Work Effectively
Leveraging the many resources and tools made available by technology will keep your business going without a hitch.

● Make use of solid collaboration techniques to keep your remote team productive.
● Think of pandemic-friendly ways to advertise your business.
Manage your team effectively while social distancing.
● Choose the best video conferencing tools to stay connected.

Get Adequate Help
Just because you’re operating remotely doesn’t mean you need to do it all on your own.

● Support freelancers by hiring on freelance platforms.
● Leverage online job sites to hire expert help when you need them, from a big commerce developer to marketing professionals and more.

Suffice it to say, there’s no need for your lifeblood — that is, your small business — to languish and move closer to failure as the whole world tries to recover from this pandemic. Instead, embrace the paradigm shift into remote work and operations, and maybe also learn a new thing or two along the way. Ultimately, that’s how your business succeeds through COVID-19.

Photo via Pexels.com

Pay It Forward with Give Care Initiative

Using CARES Act Stimulus Money to Support Medical Personnel, Front Line Workers and the Unemployed

 

#Givecare is being used to promote the donation of CARES Act stimulus money to charities that impact those people out of work and the people on the front lines of the battle against coronavirus.

Charities to support include food banks, organizations buying PPE/supplies/food for medical workers, funds supporting restaurants and restaurant workers and a host of other organizations that are focused on helping those in need.

Join us in getting the word out to #givecare and our message of paying it forward.

 From  www.facebook.com/givecarenow

you can help

With stimulus checks coming to most Americans, we are proud to promote the #givecare initiative.  For many, these stimulus checks will serve as a lifeline to make ends meet and put food on families’ tables during a time of need. For those with continued employment, who do not need the stimulus checks to keep their lights on and mortgages paid, we ask that you join us in donating to food banks and other charities that will support those out of work and also our first responders and medical personnel  dedicated to taking care of our communities.

Americans have a tenured history of supporting one another.  Multiple studies demonstrated during the recession of 2008, the ratio of Americans’ charitable donations to income remained consistent.  In September 2001, tip jars across the service industry were willfully replaced with collections for the first responders and victims. Recent data shows that around 20% of people with means plan to donate their stimulus checks. This is our tradition, and these are the values that make us a great nation.

This is an opportunity to redirect several billion dollars in stimulus checks to those most in need. Please join us in promoting #givecare and help make a difference.

 

Reference: 

NY Times: https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-stimulus-package-questions-answers.html

CARES Act Stimulus Payments

How large will the payments be?  Most adults will get $1,200, although some would get less. For every qualifying child age 16 or under, the payment will be an additional $500.

How many payments will there be?  Just one. Future bills could order up additional payments, though.

How do I know if I will get the full amount? It depends on your income. Single adults with Social Security numbers who have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less will get the full amount. Married couples with no children earning $150,000 or less will receive a total of $2,400. And taxpayers filing as head of household would get the full payment if they earned $112,500 or less.

Above those income figures, the payment decreases until it stops altogether for single people earning $99,000 or married people who have no children and earn $198,000. According to the Senate Finance Committee, a family with two children will no longer be eligible for any payments if its income surpassed $218,000.

Here’s good information on who will be donating this stimulus checks from FSR Magazine:

https://www.fsrmagazine.com/consumer-trends/restaurants-biggest-threat-market-share-today-its-not-other-restaurants?utm_source=fs_insider&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20200409

 

GEORGIA UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS – EMPLOYER BEST PRACTICES AND FAQ

By Colin Kopel

Filing for Georgia Unemployment Insurance (UI) can be a complicated process leading to multiple questions from both the employer and the employee.  This frustration of filing claims is magnified during the coronavirus pandemic due to the mass influx of claims overloading the GA DOL’s capabilities.  From long wait times via phone and the website servers continuously slowing down or crashing, I received multiple requests for filing assistance and answers to questions.  Most of the issues with the process are individual business specific.

If you have any questions, need assistance deciphering the process, or inquiries after filing claims, reach out to Colin.Kopel@GoliathConsulting.com.

Do I need to file a claim for my employees, or do they file a claim for themselves?
This is contingent upon your plans during the current crisis.  If you are temporarily laying your staff off and have the full intention of rehiring the staff, you will file on their behalf.  This is called a Partial Claim.  The employer is responsible to file each week the employee is out of work. It is not important which day of the week you choose to file for your employees, but it is important you file on the same day every week.  Filing a day early can result in the system rejecting your claims and filing a day late can lead to a delay in your staff receiving their benefits.

If you are permanently laying your staff off, they will file on their own behalf.  This is only recommended if you do not plan on reopening or you plan on reopening at a reduced capacity.

How do I file Partial Claims for my employees?
You will need access to the DOL UI Employer Portal.  If you do not remember your established login credentials, follow the “Reset” links below the login screen.  If you need to establish access for the first time, select “Establish Administrator Access.”  If you do not have a pin number, check the corresponding box and answer the security questions.  In the event your security answers are not working, call the DOL and speak with an operator.  They will verify the correct information over the phone so you can login.

Once your administrator access is setup, click “File Employer Filed Claims (Partial Claims)” link and download the template.  The DOL created a user-friendly YouTube tutorial you can find here.  It is critical your inputted data on the template mirrors the acceptable formatting rules or the site will reject it.  Once complete, upload your template.  The automated system will determine if there are any errors in the template and guide you through any changes needed.

What happens after I file a Partial Claim?  
After the DOL accepts the uploaded template, your claim is complete.  Remember, you must refile every week on the same day for your staff to continue receiving benefits.  The DOL will mail a letter to your listed business address listing each employee you filed for and their weekly benefit.  Your employees will receive further instructions from the DOL on collecting their benefits.  Remember: The DOL is currently using reported income from 2019 to calculate the weekly benefit amount.

What if my employee was turned down for UI or received below the maximum $365/week?
Once the DOL has a benefit determination for an employee, it is the employee’s responsibility to correspond with the DOL if a correction is needed.  Most of the issues reported to me involve lack of income during the 2019-time frame.  The DOL allows employees to dispute the reported wages via submitting earnings reports to the email listed on their determination letter for additional periods of time.  As an employer, you should send the earnings reports to the employee, but the burden of submitting it and contesting the amount currently falls on the employee.

Do recently hired employees qualify for Partial UI?
Yes.  Any employee on your payroll with hours effected by the coronavirus qualify for Partial Unemployment.

Most of the questions regarding Partial Unemployment are business specific.  If you have any questions on filing for your employees or need assistance with the filing process, reach out to me at Colin.Kopel@GoliathConsulting.com

Supporting Documents

COVID-19-Individual-FAQs (1)

PartialClaimFileUploadInstructions

Next Steps for Employers Filing Partials (1)

____________________________________________________________________________________________

About Goliath Consulting Group
Goliath Consulting Group with headquarters in Norcross, Georgia offers a dynamic array of business development solutions, tailored to meet the needs of each individual client – in addition to a full suite of knowledge and tools that help make restaurants more profitable, including strategic planning, menu development, project management, new restaurant development, branding, marketing, franchising, equipment, technology, evaluations, outsourcing, and more. The company also has a management division that manages full-service restaurants. Goliath Consulting enjoys a ten-year track record of creating client success among local, regional and multi-unit national restaurant chains.

Goliath Consulting Group is actively involved in the Foodservice Consultants Society International and is an allied partner of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

Contact: getresults@goliathconsulting.com

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES FOR RESTAURANT OWNERS AND WORKERS

We’ve built a Coronavirus resource page for restaurant owners and workers at www.goliathconsulting.com/blog

If you are a restaurant operator and have questions. We’re available. Book a call or send us a message via email.

We wish you and your family the best now in the coming months as we all get through the challenges of the pandemic.

 

What’s Packing Your Food? Restaurant Delivery Packaging Trends

A restaurant’s packaging is not just a vehicle for carrying food—it’s a statement that informs customers about your business’s brand and values. According to Technomic, a food industry research firm, 64% of consumers consider high quality packaging an important factor in deciding where to order food (1). And as Alicia McCabe, senior director of Food Packaging Category at Georgia-Pacific Professional, stated, “It’s important for consumers to have a good dining experience, even outside of the restaurant. The packaging is important to meet this need” (2).

A research conducted by US Foods reported that the top complaints from ordering customers included, “food was not warm or fresh” and “food got shaken or messed up during delivery” (3). With more consumers using food delivery services, the demand for better food packaging is stronger than ever. Wrong packaging could mean unhappy customers, bad reviews, and fewer repeat orders. On the other hand, restaurants with innovative, sustainable packaging can increase traffic among consumers.

Here are the top 3 considerations we think you should make when choosing your food packaging:

Quality
By quality, we mean that the food packaging should keep foods fresh foods fresh and hot foods hot. It also means that the packaging should allow for easy transport while keeping foods sealed and protected from spills or physical damage. Remember, the goal of food packaging is not just to contain the food that is delivered to your customers, it is to deliver them in a way customers would have gotten had they dined in.

Some basic rules of food packaging are: keeping hot and cold foods separate, placing sauces on the side, and using containers with tight seals (4). Temperature is also a crucial part of ensuring high food quality. With styrofoam losing favor over more environmentally friendly materials, restaurants are turning to new and innovative products like reusable or compostable containers, then relying on insulated bags to keep meal deliveries hot or cold (5).

Even if the risk of contamination or tampering is minimal, packaging experts at Packaging Strategies, suggests that restaurants go the extra mile with packaging so that they can show consumers that your restaurant takes their safety seriously (6). “Attention to detail is vital to protecting your company and your image,” said Chris Bekermeier, the Vice President of Marketing at PacMoore (6). “Food packaging is one of the first things a consumer will notice.”

Presentation
It goes without saying that the food inside the packaging should be clean and organized, as well as compartmentalized with dividers so that they do not mix during transport.

Unfortunately, off-the-shelf packaging doesn’t always fill the bill. According to Sheri Miksa, president and CEO of Tulsa, Okla.-based Mazzio’s Italian Eatery, “Custom packaging may be needed to be sure the product stays as fabulous once delivered, as when served in the restaurant” (7).

Major brands have addressed this concern by undergoing a packaging redesign. IHOP, for example, unveiled their proprietary IHOP ‘N GO packaging which was designed in a way that appeals to aesthetics while allowing the company’s famous pancakes to fit perfectly into the container right above the bottom compartment of other hot items, strategically designed so that they would keep the pancakes warm (8).

Wagamama, the US-based Asian fast-food chain, has also redesigned its takeaway boxes so that the packaging is segmented—perfect for their signature multi-component meals containing rice, proteins, sauces and multiple garnishes (9).

Sustainability
A Nielsen study reported that consumers are increasingly willing to pay more for sustainable brands (10). This probably explains the trend of previously-recycled and reusable packaging. Such packaging helps relay to your customers your restaurant’s values on being more environmentally responsible (11). It also resonates with younger customers, millennials and generation Z, who are more likely to help market your restaurant via social media (12).

In support of this movement, major Brands have already committed to sustainable packaging over these last few years. For instance, KFC pledged all plastic customer packaging recoverable or reusable by 2025 (13). Taco Bell, too, pledged compostable, recyclable packaging by 2025 (14).

Conclusion
Food packaging as the new differentiator, and it’s more than a simple shipping tool—but an important extension of your restaurant.

“Taste and test; taste and test,” stated Sheri Miksa, president and CEO of Tulsa, an Oklahoma based Italian restaurant. “Use your own product to be sure the delivered product is indeed excellent once received” (7).

Reference:
1. https://www.technomic.com/available-studies/consumer-trend-reports/retail-meal-solutions
2. http://www.worldcentric.org/images/aboutus/in-the-press/QSR%20Magazine%20-%20September.pdf
3. https://www.usfoods.com/our-services/business-trends/2019-food-delivery-statistics.html
4. https://get.grubhub.com/blog/the-secrets-of-properly-packed-food-deliveries.html
5. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/sponsored/one-easy-change-solves-delivery-headaches
6. https://www.packagingstrategies.com/articles/88986-the-role-of-packaging-in-food-safety
7. https://www.nrn.com/fast-casual/delivery-world-packaging-matters
8. https://www.fsrmagazine.com/employee-management/packaging-enters-new-frontier-foodservice
9. https://blog.euromonitor.com/delivery-demand-is-creating-a-need-for-better-packaging-in-foodservice/
10. https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/press-releases/2015/consumer-goods-brands-that-demonstrate-commitment-to-sustainability-outperform/
11. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/outside-insights/five-packaging-trends-2016
12. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/sponsored/why-packaging-major-influence-guest-loyalty
13. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/sustainability/kfc-pledges-more-sustainable-packaging-worldwide
14. https://www.restaurantdive.com/news/taco-bell-wants-compostable-recyclable-packaging-by-2025/570298/

About Goliath Consulting Group
Goliath Consulting Group with headquarters in Norcross, Georgia offers a dynamic array of business development solutions, tailored to meet the needs of each individual client – in addition to a full suite of knowledge and tools that help make restaurants more profitable, including strategic planning, menu development, project management, new restaurant development, branding, marketing, franchising, equipment, technology, evaluations, outsourcing, and more. The company also has a management division that manages full-service restaurants. Goliath Consulting enjoys a ten-year track record of creating client success among local, regional and multi-unit national restaurant chains.

Goliath Consulting Group is actively involved in the Foodservice Consultants Society International and is an allied partner of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

Contact: getresults@goliathconsulting.com

 

What’s Next? The Rise of Gen Z Trends

If you’ve been keeping up with our blog posts you’ve probably read what we had to say about millennial food trends in “Our Most Anticipated 2020 Food Trends List.” But what about Gen Z, the so-called digital generation? Born after 1997, research shows that this group will be responsible for up to 40 percent of consumer spending in 2020 (1). In fact, they will be making up more than one-third of the population at some time this year, surpassing both millennials and baby boomers as the largest generation (1).

While Gen Z’s tastes and preferences are often lumped together with those of the millennials, there is no doubt that this generation wants food to reflect their values and innovations of recent times. Gen Z, according to Chicago-based research and consulting firm Technomic Inc, is a generation “on the move that strongly prioritizes speed of service, technology, and having what they want, when they want it” (2). While this is a gross generalization, it is important to note that Gen Z’s priorities as a whole will be setting the trends of the restaurant industry. As Marcie Merriman, a cultural strategist at professional services and accounting firm Ernst & Young says, “The youth within our society have always been the drivers of change and trends. Five years ago, that just happened to be a millennial because that was the generation that was at that point. Now we have Gen Z. … If you can meet their needs, then you’re going to please everybody else” (3).

If you’re not convinced yet, just consider their estimated spending power. It’s been found, that on average, Gen Z spends $1 out of 5 on food, and $29 billion overall (4). That’s why it’s not too early to start marketing to this young audience. Here are some ideas to get started:

Make it convenient

Gen Z diners are going to use phones as part of their dining experience. Because their reliance on technology is stronger than those of the previous generations, we expect there’s going to be more customers digitally splitting checks, previewing the menu on Google, and posting online reviews in real-time (5).

Integration with technology is going to be the key to attracting this generation. Having a solid digital presence and active social media accounts should be your priorities. At the very least, we recommend that you upload your business information and menu on Google and Facebook so that your customers to find you online. It is not uncommon for Gen Z diners to decide to eat at a restaurant solely based on their social media accounts (6).

Other ways to increase convenience in your business are increasing delivery options, allowing online reservations via app, and allowing customers to pay by mobile app. The more convenient it is for Gen Z customers to order food from your restaurant the more likely you will bring in Gen Z customers as well as keep them. “The more knowledge you can give these guests ahead of time, the more it will help with your throughput” (7).

Be open to change and innovation

Generation Z is a generation that has grown up in a multicultural world, and thus around global cuisines. According to research by Mintel, a London-based market research firm, Gen Z consumers are driving the consumption of more emerging international food and drink (8). Research even shows that 36% of US parents of children under age 18 agree that their kids enjoy eating international foods (8). With exposure to international foods starting at an early age, Gen Z diners are more likely to break from tradition and more willing to explore foods however bizarre; they desire gastronomic experiences on top of food that looks and tastes good (3). This is even reflected in the way they shop: according to management consultancy Accenture, less than 38 percent of Gen Z customers frequent a single grocery store, compared with 55 percent of older millennials (9). According to Merriman, Gen Z is “a generation where things have constantly changed around them” (3). She also added that “They’re constantly looking for something different and new and fresh. For these restaurant brands and chains to continue to win them, they’ve got to constantly be giving them something different.”

Be Social. Engage. Offer connections

According to Michelle Tempesta, the head of marketing at Paytronix Systems, Inc, guest engagement programs could be key to winning over Gen Z (1). A well-executed loyalty program has many benefits, as it helps to understand their guests and engage with them on a one-to-one level. It also enables discounts and other promotions that will motivate customers from Gen Z to return to your business.

Tempesta also added that Gen Z wants to feel special (1). One article in the Society for Human Resource Management addressed a slightly different need—to feel connected—as a Gen Z trait (10). That said, engagement is going to be important to Gen Z consumers who rely heavily on social media. Restaurants would benefit from posting daily, offering giveaways and contests. If done well, social media would prove to be an effective marketing strategy, one that will boost the number of customers that post reviews online. Research by Harvard Business School showed that a one-star increase in a restaurant’s Yelp rating can result in as much as a 9 percent increase in revenue (11).

 Be authentic, and build a good brand image

Generation Z customers are looking for food that fits in with their values. According to Technomic Inc.’s Generation Consumer Trend Report, menu words such as locally sourced, sustainable, farm-raised, organic, and free-range have greatly appealed to Gen Z diners (12). Other values that seemed to resonate with this generation are transparency as well as social responsibility. Unlike previous generation diners, Gen Z diners are more invested in not only what they eat but how they are produced. According to a report by the NPD Group, Gen Z places a different perspective on the “value” of food (13). As written in the report, “this generational cohort has set expectations that food and food brands will follow their needs and not the other way around” (13).

As Susie Fogelson, Founder and CEO of Fogelson & Co. said, “The findings suggest ways for food, beverage, hospitality and dining brands to rethink their storytelling strategy” (14). One way to connect with these young consumers may be to first recognize their values, go to the digital platforms they frequent, and then engage them at a personal level.

However, we recommend that you balance engagement with authenticity. According to Desiree Le, cofounder of California-based Cauldron Ice Cream, “If you’re trying to lie to them or thinking about tricking them … they’ll call you out on it right away because they have so much information available to them. They’re loyal if you are honest with them, but in a second they can go to anyone else” (3).

Likewise, “Gen Z just wants you to be honest,” wrote Donald Burns for Foodable Network (15). “That means have strong values that they will identify with. So, know who you are and be authentic about it.”

Conclusion

There is no question that the Generation Z as a whole will leave an indelible mark in the food and dining industry. Marketing to this generation will require change, innovation and technological investments, sure, but these changes will ultimately provide opportunities for your business to grow and adapt to the group of consumers that will soon reign as the majority. It’s as Fogelson says, “Gen Z is really having a lot of fun with food” (14).

So maybe we should, too.

Reference

  1. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/outside-insights/how-restaurants-can-identify-and-engage-generation-z.
  2. https://www.technomic.com/newsroom/technomics-consumer-4sight-group-takes-deep-dive-gen-z-foodservice-usage
  3. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/reports/how-win-gen-z-restaurant-business
  4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/aliciakelso/2019/05/06/gen-z-consumers-are-different-than-millennials-heres-what-that-means-for-restaurants/#55db939a477f
  5. https://www.qsrmagazine.com/outside-insights/why-now-time-restaurants-court-gen-z
  6. https://upserve.com/restaurant-insider/generation-z-new-food-trends/
  7. https://restaurant.org/Articles/Operations/Ready-for-Gen-Z
  8. https://www.mintel.com/press-centre/food-and-drink/generation-z-set-to-impact-the-future-of-food-and-drink-innovation
  9. https://newsroom.accenture.com/news/generation-z-to-switch-the-majority-of-purchases-to-retailers-that-provide-the-newest-digital-tools-and-channels-accenture-research-reveals.htm
  10. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/1118/pages/a-16-year-old-explains-10-things-you-need-to-know-about-generation-z.aspx
  11. https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=41233
  12. https://www.technomic.com/available-studies/consumer-trend-reports/generational
  13. https://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/01/prweb15126038.htm
  14. https://www.foodabletv.com/blog/the-era-of-the-super-foodie-is-here
  15. https://www.foodabletv.com/blog/2018/5/3/what-will-it-take-to-win-over-generation-z-as-foodies

 

About Goliath Consulting Group
Goliath Consulting Group with headquarters in Norcross, Georgia offers a dynamic array of business development solutions, tailored to meet the needs of each individual client – in addition to a full suite of knowledge and tools that help make restaurants more profitable, including strategic planning, menu development, project management, new restaurant development, branding, marketing, franchising, equipment, technology, evaluations, outsourcing, and more. The company also has a management division that manages full-service restaurants. Goliath Consulting enjoys a ten-year track record of creating client success among local, regional and multi-unit national restaurant chains.

Goliath Consulting Group is actively involved in the Foodservice Consultants Society International and is an allied partner of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

Contact: getresults@goliathconsulting.com

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