Catering represents a potential goldmine for restaurants equipped to offer it, but it also offers unique pitfalls and a customer base which makes purchase decisions using very different criteria compared to the typical dine-in or carryout customer. On the other hand, catering business typically requires more customer information than counter business, offering an opportunity to analyze these customers at much greater depth. This was the situation that led a mid-size restaurant chain to reach out to New Perspective to help them better understand and improve their catering business.

This chain was not in any way leveraging the data assets they had in their orders database, instead each location was operating fairly independently with their catering efforts with little data to support their efforts. As a result, some locations were experiencing great catering success, while other locations in similarly dense markets were not nearly as successful. The company was ready to unify their catering efforts at the corporate level and was also considering a centralized preparation center for catering orders in key markets. These priorities meant that a greater understanding of WHO their customers are and WHERE they are located were critical to achieving their goals.

New Perspective’s first step was to assess the data available for analysis. In this case, the client had a large volume of customer order records but the quality and consistency of these records was lacking. Utilizing our in-house tools and custom scripts, New Perspective was able to clean and normalize the catering orders file data to maximize the number of records that could be analyzed. This process allowed over 100,000 additional records to be included in the analysis. Additionally, wherever possible, company names and industry SIC Codes were appended to the cleaned records allowing for aggregation by customer and industry. Finally, the cleaned records were geocoded.

Armed with a large volume of accurate, geocoded customer records, New Perspective was able to offer insights into the catering customers, in total and by market. Among the immediately actionable results was a list of top customers by market for direct marketing, a list of top industries by market for prospecting and expansion, and an overview of sales patterns by distance from store for insight into the best locations for a centralized facility. The client was surprised to learn how dominant the medical and education industries were among their catering customer base in many markets and also learned of a significant opportunity for sales among legal services professionals, especially among those located within 3 miles of a restaurant location.

The client was so pleased with the initial findings, they requested a second phase for key markets. In the second phase of the analysis, key markets were analyzed at the block group level for current sales performance, presence of key industry workers, and distance from a restaurant to prioritize these block groups according to four criteria:

  • Maintain – High actual sales and high potential according to analyzed indicators
  • Growth – High potential sales with lower actual sales. Marketing to businesses in top industries was the obvious place to start here
  • Prospecting – High potential sales with no current sales
  • Non-Targets

New Perspective provided direction for these markets through a presentation to key stakeholders and detailed maps and reports for marketing and advertising staff.

The maps and reports created by New Perspective became an important resource when formulating a corporate catering strategy. With new streamlined messaging meant to appeal to workers within key industries, the analysis was a road map to executing this new strategy effectively. The results were also key in evaluating locations for the centralized catering kitchen, ensuring such a site would be located for maximum efficiency.

Contact us at New Perspective Data Solutions for more information or additional work samples at 630-668-3129 or