Wow! This falls under the category of “You have got to be kidding me!”
I was hired by a major corporation to find a chef-driven fine-dining restaurant in Dallas, Texas, for a Sunday luncheon. This lunch would be attended by many heavy hitters and give the restaurant great exposure. As a bonus, my client had the budget to make it worth their while. STOP HERE.
What I’ve discovered in my years as a culinary consultant around the world is that the hospitality community in many cities take on a particular nuance. Dallas is no exception.
While doing my research to find the perfect restaurant, I discovered that most fine-dining restaurants in Dallas are closed Sundays. Technically, that’s even better, because in any other city, chef-owners would get excited and gleefully open to make extra money while not having to worry about displacing other customers. Not so in Dallas. The reason: Many of these restaurants have a 20-something sorority girl as a catering manager. She’s very excited to help plan parties for a living but doesn’t understand the business side of what she does.
What’s even scarier is that these catering managers are making financial decisions — on behalf of the business owner — that they’re not qualified to make. No one asked about my budget or who would attend. No one had the savvy to say that normally they’re closed but they’d take the question to management. No one had the foresight to consider that doing so might lead to a relationship that could grow with additional business. No one realized that this potential client is a major vendor partner of their owner’s. These catering managers simply heard they’d have to work on a Sunday, and they rejected the business.
Here’s the takeaway I’d like chef-driven restaurant owners and managers to consider. These catering managers are costing you business. Before any piece of business goes away, it should come to your attention. It should never be the option of the catering manager to say no, because, at the end of the day, they don’t report to your investors. You do.
That’s my story for now, and I’m sticking to it.