"We ask at least 10 people"
Thats it. Nothing else in the email. Now, I know if you have an email address out there, you will get tons of stuff, relevant or crap. But to respond to what could be a genuine inquiry, as though it isn’t, is just plain stupid.
Their response to my question is technically correct. I had asked "What is the minimum amount I need to order to have you deliver to xxxx, CA?"
Does that make the one-liner response (and the lack of follow-up) acceptable? If you are already running a business that’s too successful and have no bandwidth to accept online orders or inquiries, then don’t.
Look at the elements of this transaction:
1. Local order made by someone sitting 3000 miles away
2. Delivery to a large client, so potential future business
3. Lost opportunity to distribute business cards
4. Eroded brand equity online (I’m tempted to tell you who it is)
5. Lost current sales
Ram Charan places a premium on execution. And you ought to have a laser sharp focus. Catering is about two things: food and delivery. Your food quality depends on the ingredients and the cooking process. Delivery depends on how easy you make it for me to order and how well you bring the finished goods to my door. I can get to the food part of the equation only if you make delivery enticing enough.
Marketing cost = 0
In catering, the food markets itself. So when someone orders it, they’re marketing and distributing your business. All you need to do is make it easy for them to order and show up on time to deliver it well. This business is highly dependant on word-of-mouth marketing like Chipotle does and they do a bang up job. It becomes especially important if you’re a small business trying to make it big. You WANT your consumers to love your food and tell others about it. Every inquiry becomes valuable, if not now maybe for later? Had their response been any better, I would have recommended them to my client for their delivery quality (if their food sucks, then no one can help them, can they?).
– Harsha Raghavan