Thirty years after it launched its original program, Capriotti’s is revamping its catering menu to include more variety.
The new catering program will include three options: a sandwich tray with side options, including salads; boxed lunches with a nine-inch sub, chips, drink, and cookie; and a meatball bar that lets customers build their own meatball subs.
Ashley Morris, CEO of Capriotti’s, says catering has historically accounted for just 4–7 percent of business system-wide. The old program only offered trays of downsized subs, with the opportunity to add chips or drinks.
“We believe this new catering program should be able to get some pretty significant results,” Morris says. “We’re anticipating somewhere in the ballpark of a 5 percent increase in our catering business across the system.”
The meatball bar is the highlight of the new Capriotti’s catering menu, he says, as it lets customers taste the Las Vegas–based concept’s signature homemade meatballs and also offers a catering opportunity unique to the chain.
“It’s a really fun way to cater, and you get to have a hot offering,” Morris says.
He says the company is hoping to cater more events, like parties, and is also hoping to serve larger groups, like sports teams and offices. The boxed lunch, he says, makes Capriotti’s catering offerings flexible to different groups.
“It’s a good way to do as little as five people and as many as 500 people, and give them each individual lunches,” he says.
Though many catering customers scaled back on their purchases during the recession, Morris says catering sales are climbing back to pre-recession levels as companies find more room in their budgets for that type of spending.
With those better sales, and with catering only requiring a small initial investment from the operator, Morris says the new program is a good fit for Capriotti’s.
“It fits into our franchise model really well,” he says. “There isn’t really anything that has to be added, with the exception of a couple of pieces of paper, so it makes a lot of sense for us.”
By Sam Oches