Catering Sales: How to Maximize Revenues and Optimize Sales Productivity

By Brenda Fields Founder, Fields & Company | March 06, 2010

One of the biggest challenges in small hotels is to clearly define catering responsibilities. Does it belong with Food and Beverage or does it belong with Sales? Is it an operations function or a direct sales function?

Over the years, customer needs and tastes have evolved, and new competition has emerged with demand for free standing restaurants, lofts and penthouses, and tourist attractions. With the many venue choices for customers, it is important to understand how to drive business into your venue. And with the impact on GOP, it is important to maximize those revenues generated. The components of this generation are: direct sales, operations, marketing, pricing, and yield management.

The first step is to clearly define the "sales" and "operations" responsibilities" of the staff, to maximize performance.

The Components

  • Direct Sales - Many times, we refer to "Catering Sales Managers" as sales people. But in reality, the catering sales manager handles only inquiries that come into the property, sends out contracts and event orders, and oversees the functions in an operations capacity. "Sales" is really just order taking and takes a back seat to operations.

    By definition, "sales" is the proactive approach to identify and solicit business person to person. If "sales" is the goal, it is important to establish an action plan based on an overall strategic plan. The strategic plan should include targeted market segments, position in competitive set, and demand/need periods. The action plan should be very specific and targeted, addressing in great detail, how to achieve the targeted revenues.

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