Success Stories

Anthony’s Italian Kitchen

For Italian restaurants who also deliver, owner Anthony Barrasso says that targeting lunchtime catering orders to pharmaceutical reps can be especially profitable and rewarding!

For nearly twenty years, Anthony has satisfied Portland locals with his family style Italian cooking. An especially profitable and growing part of Anthony’s business is catering lunchtime sales presentations by pharmaceutical reps to medical offices. Reps typically buy lunch for the entire office staff in order to get the doctors to listen to their sales presentation. Anthony is familiar with how drug reps operate from having been one in a former life.

Because their employers consider these lunches “a cost of doing business,” reps have expense accounts specifically for this purpose, and they don’t blink at paying Anthony $18.95 per person, including tax, tip, and free delivery, for his lunches. To Anthony, typical orders are worth $350 to $450 each.

Anthony says that several things are critical to keeping this type of business. First, the orders must ALWAYS arrive correctly (including all of the necessary serving utensils, plates, etc.), on time every time, in the right place. This requires carefully confirming exact directions to each office. Second, the delivery person must be well groomed and polite.

Third, at least in Anthony’s area, the restaurant has to accept American Express, the card which his local pharma reps carry.

To keep things exceedingly simple for the reps, Anthony offers a choice between two fixed menus. The first features stuffed shells, cookies,

and soda. The other offers “Chicken Anthony,” ziti, and broccoli.

The orders are delivered in full catering trays, from which the office staff serve themselves, family style.

Hot items are delivered in insulated boxes which, like the trays, are disposable. He pays a premium for the sturdy plastic “silverware” and plates he provides because a quality presentation helps reinforce the superior quality of his food in the minds of the reps and their guests. He even includes a few disposable lidded containers so that office employees can take home any leftovers.

While most of his clients come via word of mouth, he also promotes the service in his local newspaper with a small three line ad which says simply: “Pharmaceutical sales reps. We serve doctor’s offices. Celebrating our 23rd year in business.”

By focusing on getting each order exactly right every time, Anthony has earned a strong reputation among local reps as a dependable, no hassle catering partner. As a result, his “pharma catering” business continues to grow!