Fork in the catering road

Clover loves MetroPedal

We’re busy planning for this coming year. One of the topics we’re trying to figure out is catering. We’ve always been a bit hesitant about catering. We don’t want to chase catering at the cost of developing our daily customers. But thanks to all of you we keep getting requests. And what started as a totally informal program is growing into something pretty substantial.

So now we’re asking ourselves some important and serious questions:

- Are we going after catering in the way we should? Do people know we offer these services?

- Are we proud of our catering food quality?

- Should we limit our offerings?

- Should we work with others?

- How do we convince office ordering people that we’re really great for everybody? At the trucks/ restaurants 90% of our customers are not vegetarian, but we still find people who aren’t so familiar assuming our food is only good for 10% of their workforce.

If you have any thoughts and would like to shape our future, send them our way. You can talk to us in person (best), comment on this post (we’re improving that with the new site), or leave your information at our new contact us page. Thanks all!

(btw, that’s Wenzday from Metro Pedal. They do our catering deliveries. She’s always ontime and awesome.)

4 Responses to Fork in the catering road

  1. Kelly 15 January, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

    We work at 41 Avenue Louis Pasteur- AKA the building the LMA truck parks behind-, and would love to use Clover for our occasional luncheons of ~11 people (and could even pick up the food ourselves, no delivery necessary!).

    However- and I’m sure many other groups in the LMA area are in the same boat-, as a Brigham and Women’s Hospital division funded by grants, we’re unable to provide any payment upon receipt. The way we pay vendors is to submit an official invoice to the Accounts Payable dept of the Brigham, and have them process/cut/send checks accordingly. So, the vendors we work with are aware of this delayed payment requirement, and have set up a “catering account” with us where they bill us after delivery, and maintain all of our info on file so all we need to provide is the time, date, and food order each time we order.

    These “catering accounts” seem to be standard practice for businesses in the area, and if you’re thinking about doing catering yourselves, I highly recommend considering such a system. I think you’d make a killing in the LMA at least; there are so many hospital/academic groups/divisions/departments/meetings who order food around here, and with Clover being local and healthy, it seems like a natural fit.

  2. lucia 16 January, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    That’s a really great idea. Thanks so much Kelly! We’re going to look into it, and get back to you.

  3. Steph 27 January, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    This post Is a really proactive, creative, and humbling approach to kickstart the catering side of the business. I’ll actually be interviewing for the special events coordinator position for Clover within the next week, but I was so inspired by this advice seek-out I thought I’d contribute now.

    It seems Clover’s values lie within providing excellent quality and service that its employees are proud of so ensuring that catering will uphold these ideals is first. If the company is somehow incapable (financially, operationally, etc.), then catering services should not be offered.

    If that all works, then it’s ok to tackle the other questions. Researching potential customers and their needs/desires- through reading, feedback, hands-on observation and more- will help you guys figure out how to best target the right people. Sad as it is to say, not everyone in the market right now wants all natural, vegetarian, locally-produced food. But by targeting those who do and proving the food is delicious and the quality is superior, the hesitant ones will turn their heads and open their minds to the concept.

    And once they try the food, how could they not be interested?

    Look forward to sharing more ideas soon!

  4. lucia 28 January, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    Looking forward to meeting you!

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