Catering is a fast-growing area of the hospitality industry, but how can your restaurant handle high volumes of catering orders, plus a typical event schedule? Find out how Tripleseat has enabled Maggiano’s to do all of that and more.
Maggiano’s relies on Tripleseat, Tripleseat+ Direct, and the Tripleseat community to execute up to an average of 5,000 on-site and off-premise events per month across 52 locations. Before using Tripleseat to manage catering, Maggiano’s had been using the old-school method of cold calling, emails, and sales blitzes to drive business. With Tripleseat, Maggiano’s receives inquiries 24 hours a day through the Tripleseat lead form. This is useful when managing the high level of repeat business Maggiano’s sees. The automation within Tripleseat provides Maggiano’s sales managers with the freedom to focus on clients who may need more personalization or discussion around more detailed events.
About the company
Maggiano’s was founded in 1991 through the creation of its mothership location in the River North neighborhood of Chicago. Since then, the brand has grown to 52 locations across the United States. The restaurants each have a personality of their own, many following the traditional style of the mothership Maggiano’s with the big restaurant and beautiful ballroom while others show a smaller model with flex spaces for private events.
No matter the location or occasion, Maggiano’s brings friends, family, and colleagues together over delicious family-style Italian food. While the events schedule will vary depending on the time of year, Maggiano’s locations see about 3,000 to 5,000 private events per month, including on-site and off-premise business. Maggiano’s is known as the “special occasion location,” so every event is a celebration for their social and corporate clients.
We sat down with Bobbi Jo Ballard, Banquet & Catering Operations Support Manager at Maggiano’s, to hear about her experience using Tripleseat+ Direct. During her 12-year tenure working in various roles surrounding the private events business at Maggiano’s, Ballard brings her industry and Tripleseat product expertise to the table in this conversation.
View our interview with Ballard below.
Challenges and objectives
Before using Tripleseat to manage catering, Maggiano’s had been using the old-school and time-consuming method of phone calls, emails, and sales blitzes to drive business. Not to mention, collecting payments required outdated credit card authorization forms with minimal security protection. Staffing shortages during and after the pandemic made handling high levels of business challenging. As a large business, many moving parts need to be managed in a streamlined fashion.
“Tripleseat allowed the option for some of the heavy lifting to be taken off the operators and sales managers’ plates, but still being able to capture those sales without feeling like ‘I can’t get a hold of anybody, so I’m going somewhere else.’ It really allowed us to have that opportunity to still capture those sales and then give us the opportunity to build the relationship we pride ourselves on,” Ballard said.
How Tripleseat helped
Maggiano’s joined the Tripleseat family in June of 2020 and shortly after realized the value in adding Tripleseat to their repertoire of lead-generating initiatives. As a brand with 52 locations, it is essential that Maggiano’s uses technology to generate, manage and execute all the inquiries they receive daily.
As a restaurant that receives high levels of repeat business, Maggiano’s realized they could benefit from a self-service solution that would let customers book orders all on their own. The Tripleseat lead form on Maggiano’s website allows customers to select a Maggiano’s location, on-premise or drop-off catering event type, guest count, event date, event time, food and beverage selections, and a payment method all in a matter of minutes. This not only makes the ordering process easier for the customers who know exactly what they want but gives extra time back to Maggiano’s sales team.
“We have so many repeat clients, especially for off-premise, that already know what they want and don’t need to talk to me, so they can just click, click, click, and pay online. Tripleseat really gave us the opportunity for the sales team to touch the guests that really needed their hands held versus the guests who just wanted to make sure they had dinner for tomorrow night,” Ballard said.
Tripleseat eliminates the time once taken to explain and gather mundane information, like contact info, food and beverage minimum, room capacity, and other details that are often difficult to capture over the phone. Now, the sales managers know that Tripleseat will manage the easier orders for them, and they can prioritize their time with personalization, customization, and intricate details on the events that need it.
“Tripleseat had this amazing product — Tripleseat+ Direct — and it allowed us another avenue to be able to touch guests and still have the opportunity to build that personalization and that relationship with them while still giving them the freedom to know their date is booked, their event is booked, we can worry about the details later. We thought Tripleseat was a great tool for us, and it has been amazing ever since,” Ballard said.
Since Tripleseat has helped streamline Maggiano’s sales team’s schedule, they can also handle much more business at one time than they could before. Ballard specifically describes how Tripleseat allowed some of the heavy lifting to be taken off the operators’ and sales managers’ plates by capturing the leads for the team right away when they were very busy handling other inquiries. The COVID-19 pandemic altered the state of the events industry in many ways, one being changes in restaurant staffing that is still an industry-wide challenge today. As the industry made its way out of the pandemic’s impact, Maggiano’s had not fully anticipated the volume of business they would receive right out of the gate. Tripleseat helps streamline the booking process, allows Maggiano’s to continue offering an exceptional guest experience, and has helped to increase sales. This certainly speaks to the efficiency, organization, and effectiveness of the Tripleseat technology.
“Tripleseat was the only product we considered because of the integration with Tripleseat+ Direct,” Ballard said. “We had worked so closely with the Tripleseat team and they were so responsive to anything and everything when we were building out our platform for Maggiano’s. Even if there were another program out there, we would not have even considered it because of how amazing the team was onboarding us as a regular Tripleseat client.”
Maggiano’s values each restaurant’s relationships with its guests, and Tripleseat provides another avenue to reach this dedicated client base. When the sales team is busy with other clients, there is no worry that a prospect will feel ignored or unanswered because all inquiries are met with an automatic email response set up in Tripleseat. As the industry has returned to normal, Tripleseat is a key component in managing this high volume of business.
Maggiano’s knew that technology for streamlining off-site catering, like Tripleseat, was just as crucial as using regular Tripleseat for on-premise events. After an efficient onboarding process to the Tripleseat product, choosing Tripleseat to manage catering orders was an easy decision. Maggiano’s currently uses Tripleseat to handle all off-site orders coming in from the Tripleseat lead form and plans to use Tripleseat to encourage on-premise bookings as well.
Maggiano’s forecasts more on and off-premise events for the rest of the year and will use Tripleseat to do so. Ballard comments how there is no limit to off-premise business, so it will continue to be a huge revenue center for Maggiano’s. When it comes to on-premise events, Ballard plans to utilize Tripleseat even further to sell private events on days that may not usually see business. Tripleseat has and will continue to allow Maggiano’s to maximize their spaces and, therefore, overall profitability.
“The Tripleseat team is amazing. It has been such a pleasure to work with the team since the beginning, and I can’t thank y’all enough,” Ballard said. “Having been with Maggiano’s for 12 years and being the planner, the controller, the decider — all of those titles — the thought of going to Tripleseat and taking that control out of my wheelhouse was absolutely terrifying, and I know I wasn’t the only sales manager and operator who felt that way. But then seeing, once we did and we stepped back and looked at the benefits it really provided, again, it was just a win across the board, not just for us, not just with the guest but for everyone as a whole. It still allowed us to have that control but more flexibility as to our relationship and contact with our guests. It (Tripleseat) is amazing, and I would recommend it to everybody.”
Are you ready to increase sales with Tripleseat+ Direct?
Tripleseat+ Direct provides your customers with a simple online booking solution where they can book, plan, and pay for in-house private events, off-site catering, pickup, and delivery with zero friction. If your venue isn’t using Tripleseat+ Direct yet, book a demo to see how we are helping your competitors.