Is Your Private Dining & Catering Service Leaving Money on the Table?


A major player in the restaurant industry, this hospitality company has more than 1,700 restaurants nationwide and 175,000 team members. It operates some of the industry’s most recognizable chains, from casual to fine dining brands.


One of the difficulties in evaluating restaurants lies in attempting to connect actions to sales. Do customers choose a restaurant for the food, the service, the location or value for money? Separating the many variables that affect the bottom line rarely yields clear answers.

In private dining and catering sales, however, the connection between actions and sales is much easier to determine. Every time a prospect calls to inquire about booking a private event, the restaurant either gets the sale or does not. If the client chooses to go elsewhere, the restaurant loses potential revenue.


For years, this restaurant client has relied on mystery shoppers deployed by Coyle Hospitality’s to evaluate the sales teams running its private dining and catering services.

Coyle Hospitality was asked to screen its restaurants nationwide. To date, it has conducted over 4,000 tests, making sure to create varied and credible scenarios and use a wide panel of evaluators to ensure the client’s associates never (not even once!) recognized its representative as a mystery shoppers and not an actual customer prospect.

Coyle rated the associates on over 30 items, answering questions such as:

  • How long was the customer calling in kept on hold?
  • Did the associate ask probing questions to determine the customer’s needs or were they just an order taker?
  • Did the associate find out if the customer had been to the restaurant before and was familiar with the brand?
  • Did the associate ask when the customer was likely to make his or her decision?
  • Did the associate follow up by sending a written proposal or other written materials to the customer?
  • Did the material sent by the associate after the call contain easy-to-find contact information such as the salesperson’s name, email and direct phone number?


Coyle Hospitality was able to identify opportunities for improvement that could have a significant impact on sales and revenue. Some of the items were related to service basics while others involved fine-tuning methods for closing sales and maximizing the price for each sale.

“We provided the client with a full accounting of each call so that individual associates could receive coaching on any issues that we identified,” explained Jeff Gurtman, Managing Director of Coyle Hospitality. “Furthermore, our data is helping the client determine training initiatives and priorities geared toward increasing revenue.”

Having worked with two of the hospitality company’s restaurant brands in its private dining and catering sales and delivering quantifiable benefits that show a significant ROI, Coyle Hospitality was recently asked to work with a third company brand in the coming year.

© 2024 Coyle Hospitality Group. Reproduction of any material without written authorization is strictly prohibited.

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