SLAB BBQ on Catering and Channel Management as a Fast Casual Restaurant

On this episode of the Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show, podcast hosts Valerie Killifer and Erle Dardick chat with Mark Avalos and Rafael Robinson, the co-owners of SLAB BBQ.

Avalos began SLAB in a barbecue trailer as a catering business in 2006. He subsequently opened a food trailer at the University of Texas in Austin, and established the company’s first brick and mortar restaurant location in 2014 with Rafael Robinson. A second SLAB BBQ location was opened in 2016.

In this unique episode, guests Avalos and Robinson ask the questions. As a small, independent fast casual restaurant, they are concerned about the cost of maintaining their company’s catering business, where to invest their time and money, and how best to implement the five pillars in the context of their restaurant.

“One of the headaches that I’ve had is trying to figure out—does full service catering fit with the concept of a fast casual restaurant?” asks Avalos. “The full service catering side isn’t doing enough to stand alone, and we can’t hire people, so we have to share the resources of our brick and mortar. The busiest days of our restaurant are on the weekend.” As he notes, many fast casual restaurants do not invest in catering.

“Ultimately, you have a consumer who wants to spend more money with your brand. And they want solutions at a particular time in their day,” says Dardick. “The more solutions that you can offer for their particular opportunity to feed them, the more revenue you’re going to capture.”

“This is the complexity that you’re managing as an operator,” adds Dardick. “You need to figure out what your channels are. Once you understand that dynamic, you can backfill.”

Check out the episode above to learn more about the pros and cons of working with third party vendors, the necessity of gratuities, and best marketing strategies!

Produced by:

Nathan Mikita

Nathan Mikita

Director of New Media/Producer


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Building a Menu That Differentiates Between Takeout, Catering, and Delivery

On this episode of The Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show, podcast hosts Valerie Killifer and Erle Dardick chat with Tad Low to discuss the importance of menu differentiation within off-premise.

Tad Low is the Director of Off-Premise for Moe's Southwest Grill, an Atlanta based fast-casual restaurant chain with over 725 domestic and international locations. Low is leading a team that is working to bring delivery to the forefront of the guest experience.

When it comes to maximizing opportunity with off-premise, Low credits Erle at helping him understand the importance of recognizing the different revenue channels that exist within off-premise.

“We really have four main channels of revenue here. We have our in-store business, we have our catering business, we have our online business and we have now our third-party business. And understanding that each part of the business while representing a different percentage of our overall sales they each have a different impact to our bottom line,” says Tad Low. “And understanding that in order to maximize each of those channels we probably need to have a menu that is geared towards each of those segments.”

Learn how each menu for Moe’s Southwest Grill’s different revenue channels differ from each other along with more tips for off-premise success by listening to the podcast episode above!

Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez

Writer & Producer


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Training Sales Employees For The Modern Catering Landscape

On this episode of Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show, our podcast hosts, Valerie Killifer and Erle Dardick, sit down with Tracy Avolio, Vice President of The Catering Institute.

Avolio has been with The Catering Institute for eight years and with her, she brought her restaurant industry experience of 25 years to help multi-unit restaurant concepts develop, implement and grow their catering channels. The Catering Institute, which was founded by our show host, Erle Dardick, focuses on the Five Pillars of Successful Restaurant Catering: leadership, centralized services, sales and marketing, operations, and delivery.

On this episode, we will discuss how to train sales employees for the modern catering landscape, but the conversation will touch on how the five pillars are necessary for ultimate success.

“One thing I would add about leadership... the catering is really a business onto itself. It’s different than the retail part of the business...the consumers are sometimes different, their needs and expectations are different, menu is different, packaging is different, delivery is different, you name it,” says Tracy Avolio. “So, it really warrants having somebody that is leading that division and that part of the concept…”

Listen to the episode above to take a deep dive into catering sales and what’s necessary for success!

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Produced by:

Nathan Mikita

Producer


Operator Guidelines For Building Delivery Sales Through Third-Party Service Providers

The massive growth of off-premise third-party service providers is going to continue to proliferate. Working with third-party service providers can be a lucrative venture when done correctly, but it can also be a curse when done wrong. With so many variables, there are a lot of challenges that operators have to tackle on the quest to create a streamlined, successful, and profitable off-premise program. From technology, staffing, and packaging to call centers, order entry, and delivery – today’s restaurants have gone from a retail operation to a manufacturer with several distribution points.

On this episode of The Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show, Valerie and Erle speak with Gracie Prasanson, director of sales for Jason’s Deli and a member of the Catering Council for Multi-Unit Operators, about how restaurant operators working with third-party service providers can make sure that a strong foundation is in place, and known risks are mitigated so that your restaurant does not get outmaneuvered by the third-party service provider.

SHOW NOTES

14:21 - The data paradox
17:49 - There is a connivence customer and Amazon knows it
20:04 - Food safety and legal concerns with third-party service providers
22:34 - How can one unit operation navigate the off-premise landscape?
27:50 - Rethinking packaging when it comes to delivery

00:55 - Gracie Prasanson, welcome to the show!
04:24 - We have to separate third-party marketplaces from third-party service providers
07:02 - Make sure you understand the fees
10:38 - Every detail about these transactions are different
12:54 - Third-party completely changes your menu pricing structure

 

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Centralized Services Can Increase Your Restaurant's Efficiency and As A Result Your Revenue

Centralized services is one of the 5 Pillars of Successful Restaurant Takeout, Catering, and Delivery, and refers to the idea of minimizing the complexity of your sales, marketing, ordering, and even IT channels to one central point outside of the restaurant. This allows your restaurant operations to focus on what’s most important, the execution and presentation of your dishes.

For example in the takeout and catering channel, it is estimated that the average restaurant misses 6 - 12 calls a day that could be leading to additional sales and revenue. Enter Inktel and Voice Teleservices which provides centralized call center operations to make sure that your restaurant is not losing out on potential customers.

In this episode of The Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show, Valerie and Erle explore how a call center can help you maintain your customer relationships and increase sales, how centralizing these services can save you money by reallocating your labor, and how you can take your consumer back from the third-party service provider.

SHOW NOTES

00:44 - Call Centers and Centralized Services.
02:54 - Introductions to David Sawicki, President, Voice Teleservices and Jason Schlenker, Executive Vice President, Inktel.
08:57 - Third-Party Marketplaces are Beating the Foodservice Operator.
17:21 - What Are The Cost Savings Of Centralized Call Center Services?

21:50 - Amazon is Just Going To Buy It All!
25:27 - These Services Are Critical To Build, Maintain, and Protect Your Customers.
29:24 - How Can Independents Make Sure They Are Not Getting Left Behind?

 

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