I overheard this story in a local coffee shop in Austin, Texas and wanted to share it with you.
Needed Box Lunches
A small law office holds a monthly staff meeting where they always order lunch. They have used restaurants in the past, especially Matt’s El Rancho for Tex-Mex and Rudy’s for BBQ. Both did a great job of packaging the food, and Rudy’s went a step further as they included ice and even a gingham plastic tablecloth with the order.
Wanted Another Option
Even though everyone liked the food, the lunches were a bit pricey and the higher-ups wanted to save a few dollars. The person who orders was asked to try less expensive option. On Tuesday, she called a new caterer to order basic boxed lunches for the following Friday. That’s four-day lead time, and if all of your customers ordered that far ahead of time, we all know your life would be a lot easier.
The conversation went like this:
Office: Hi, I’d like to order some boxed lunches.
Caterer: Sure, what day are you looking for?
Caterer: This Friday?
Office: Yes, it’s only Tuesday, and I wanted to give you plenty of notice.
Caterer: I’m sorry, we have a very busy day on Friday and we can’t take any more orders. Again, I’m sorry; goodbye.
The receptionist reported this to her boss and said, “well, maybe I can try and use their online ordering system since the person who answered the phone probably didn’t know what she was doing.” Her boss said, “absolutely not. These people don’t want our money. Call someone else and take that place off of your list permanently.”
Last year I wrote about this issue in Catersource. No matter how busy you are, you just do not turn down an easy 12-person cold boxed lunch order for a new customer. I’m not going to repeat here what I wrote in Catersource, but there are many, many creative ways to get food delivered.
This scenario just led to negativity. Was that caterer too small, were they too arrogant, were they understaffed, was the phone answerer untrained, or did they just not care? Regardless, they not only lost an order, but they created bad word-of-mouth karma that might harm them for a long time.
I strongly feel that arbitrarily turning down business without thinking things through is one of the worst things any caterer can do. On the flip side, a different caterer got that order and now may have a new regular client.
If the “I’m Too Busy” caterer would have been a member of TheCorporateCaterer.com, just like you, I guarantee they would have known how to handle this situation. If you ever have a question about any aspects of your business, all you have to do is email us. Our staff has almost 100 combined years of catering experience and we’re here to help!
Have a great catering week!