Maui Wowi’s catering business model is truly a hidden gem. For the franchisees who take advantage of it, it can turn into a business with high potential reward.
Mark Rome in Houston, Texas has been a franchisee since 2014 and is taking catering to the next level.
Originally, he started out working employee appreciation events, Mitzfas, graduation parties, pool parties, wedding receptions, and doing a few festivals. But Mark knew there was more potential to be had. He attended a conference for the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), which represents the owners and managers of all commercial property types including nearly 10.5 billion square feet of U.S. office space.
Mark was able to get the last space available at the conference and paid for a scanner to allow him to collect email addresses of the attendees. There, he was also able to showcase his business to potential clients and serve samples of the delicious Maui Wowi smoothies so they could taste for themselves. Within three weeks of attending the conference, Mark had secured and completed several catering events that provided a great return on the investment he initially made to attend.
From the smaller scale employee appreciation events, Mark has grown his network and is now working catering gigs for tenant appreciation events at office buildings with upwards of 500 people.
By creating a unique catering experience, Mark has managed to exceed his client’s expectations. He says a lot of buildings in the area offer ice cream socials for their tenants but that they’re looking for something new.
Mark and his team of about four people come in and set up. They have a table at the front where the building managers typically welcome their tenants and express their appreciation. They hand out leis and bananas and then direct them to the photo booth.
Mark brings a fun Hawaiian backdrop and props, including the Maui Wowi surfboard for tenants to take pictures and capture the moment on their phones. Sometimes the building managers will take the pictures and then deliver them to the tenants, which creates an additional appreciation experience. After the photo booth, it’s on to the tiki bar for a refreshing fruit smoothie, offered in five flavors, such as strawberry and mango orange. In the winter, Mark also does Hot Koko bars and coffee.
One of the clients that Mark met at the conference was so impressed after the first tenant appreciation event, they booked him to work events at four more of their buildings.
“Catering has such great potential; I mean, look at the payoff…I’m doing jobs!” said Mark, who also thinks it’s a great way for new franchisees to get started. “Franchisees should do catering as they’re working toward opening a store or finding events. It’s money you can count on and keeps you going. It’s also a great way to make connections with high-end companies. You never know who you’re going to meet.”
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