DAYTON, Ohio -- Dorothy Lane Markets here is among the supermarket operators who are returning to catering having learned some important lessons from earlier disappointments.
ering catering services, the project was eventually abandoned because the store could not keep up with requests, said Abby Fox, director of catering operations.
"We are getting in slowly," said Fox. "We don't want to ruin our reputation and we are working hard on consistency. We have a name and a reputation of providing good food, and people associate Dorothy Lane Markets with quality.
"Also we realize that we have to offer something different to set us apart," she said. "We are competing with caterers, not other grocery stores. And we don't want to compete with fast-food chains, either. In our market, Arby's and Kentucky Fried Chicken are aggressively marketing their catering options. We are going upscale with our offerings."
What's more, Fox said, the catering department will now possess its own identity, fostered by a unique name and logo, DLM Caterers.
It will also gain the support of a dedicated catering sales person, who will interact with catering customers and shepherd orders through the various other departments as needed.
Dorothy Lane created the position so that the catering operation can avoid "the mistakes that can happen when you are working within a store across department lines," Fox said.
"The convenience of ordering products at our locations is tremendous," said Fox. "We have better resources than individual caterers."
On the operational end, Fox said Dorothy Lane has just instituted a procedural manual, which updates the make-up of the department's party trays and offers customers a wide variety of options regarding cost.