Catering is Marketing

Catering is a growing trend in the restaurant industry that brings enormous growth opportunities and since the pandemic, opportunities that bring new customers to the table are critical.

The restaurants that embrace the innovative possibilities of catering are seeing the benefits. One national multi-concept restaurant platform believes catering isa great way to introduce new customers to their menus. Modern Restaurant Concepts, the operator of three fast-casual restaurant brands, QDOBA Mexican Eats, Lemonade Restaurant Group, and Modern Market Eatery, utilizes business catering to spread the word and the food.

Rob McColgan, CEO of Modern Restaurant Concepts, sees catering as an essential marketing component driving the overall success of his restaurant’s brands. He spoke with Barbara Castiglia of Modern Restaurant Management and host of The Main Course about why catering is a critical strategy that restaurants must consider.

“I view, and our team views, catering through the lens of marketing as much as anything else,” McColgan said. “A lot of people probably know us here in Denver and Colorado, but we got to newer markets, and we’re new. People always underestimate when you travel outside of your home market how important the awareness you’ve built up is. So, going into a new market, catering is a fantastic way to get your food into people’s hands and mouths and to try it.”

Castiglia and McColgan discuss several topics, including:

Working with franchise partners and providing technology tools

Embracing technology innovations into the restaurant industry to create new opportunities post-pandemic

Dealing with supply-chain challenges and creating opportunities in restaurants through fresh, from-scratch ingredients

“When you’re not tied to just serving steak, burgers, or chicken, you can spread around and adjust your menu accordingly to help mitigate some of those inflationary amounts on specific items,” McColgan said. “So yes, our basket of items and our order guide are
all going up, but we’re not only exposed to certain things that may be going up more and have no way to pivot.”

Rob McColgan is the co-founder and CEO of Modern Restaurant Concepts, a rapidly growing restaurant company based in Colorado. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from The University of Notre Dame in 2002 with degrees in Finance and Film and then spent six years in New York with Goldman Sachs.

McColgan left Wall Street in 2008 to co-found Modern Market Eatery, a restaurant company focused on serving healthy fare in a fast-casual setting. Since opening its first location in Boulder, Colorado, in late 2009, Modern Market Eatery has grown to almost 30 locations around the country. In early 2019, Modern Market Eatery partnered with Lemonade Restaurant Group to form Modern Restaurant Concepts. The company aspires to be the dominant platform for better-for-you restaurant brands worldwide.

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