Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, September 13, 2019

Puckett’s launches open house catering service for Realtors

These pimento cheese stuffed mushrooms are one of four heavy hors d’oeuvres Puckett’s included on its open house catering menu. - Photograph provided

Keller Williams Realtor Emily Barryman has hosted her share of open houses – which means she’s also experienced her share of stress as she’s prepared homes for public viewing.

Now Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant has launched a service that will allow Barryman – and other Greater Chattanooga Realtors who have too much on their plate – to easily cross one big thing off their to-do list.

With a quick phone call from a Realtor, Puckett’s will deliver a specially curated selection of heavy hors d’oeuvres and treats to any open house in Hamilton County.

Catering an open house is nothing new. But Puckett’s approach to catering opening houses might be.

The menu itself, which includes whiskey glazed grilled chicken skewers, whiskey glazed grilled vegetable skewers, bacon-wrapped asparagus and pimento cheese stuffed mushrooms, was devised to be open house friendly.

“These appetizers aren’t going to make a mess as people are walking around the house snacking,” says Puckett’s Event Sales Manager Graci Burnett. “The chicken skewers are brushed with whiskey glaze, so there won’t be any barbecue sauce dripping on your client’s freshly cleaned carpet.

“Also, they’re easy to carry around on a small plate and eat.”

Triple treat cookies and fudge brownies round out the menu, giving homes an inviting aroma, Burnett says. “That fresh-baked smell will make people think of home when they step through the door.”

Realtors can also purchase iced tea and lemonade. Plates, cups, napkins, wire chaffing racks, chaffing fuel and serving ware are included. All this can be delivered and set up while the Realtor attends to other matters.

So far, this is standard catering. Where Puckett’s excels, Burnett says, is with the extras.

At the top of that list are the sign-in incentive cards. “Convincing people to sign in at open houses so you can follow-up with them afterward isn’t easy,” Burnett adds. “But people will respond to an incentive, so each catering order comes with a stack of branded sign-in cards. The backs contain the Realtors’ name and company and the fronts say, ‘Welcome to the neighborhood’ and ‘Visit Puckett’s for a free appetizer.’”

Barryman is a fan of this feature. “One of the hardest things for Realtors to acquire is the contact information of potential clients,” she says. “Providing them with a token of our appreciation makes it easier.”

Puckett’s is incentivizing Realtors to try its open house catering service by giving them a $50 credit toward their first order. Given the price per item, this would be enough food to feed about a dozen guests.

Realtors can save the delivery fee (which is 20% of the price of the order) by picking up the food and equipment at Puckett’s downtown.

Burnett is asking Realtors to place their orders 48-72 hours in advance. “Please don’t call us the morning of your event,” she pleads.

Barryman encourages her fellow Realtors to consider the benefits of serving food and drinks at an open house. “Buying a house is stressful. Doting on a homebuyer with warm service will make them happy.”

Barryman says catering could be crucial when hosting an open house in a vacant home. “It makes the space more inviting,” she adds.

Above all, Barryman likes having one less thing to worry about. “As a busy Realtor serving Tennessee and Georgia, it’s very helpful to have an event coordinator like Graci help with some of the details.”

“The idea is to make Realtors’ lives a little easier,” says Burnett, who devised the program and then sought Barryman’s feedback to make sure it would appeal to real estate agents. “They’re already busy and driving all over the place.”

Puckett’s is a family-owned chain of restaurants that began life as a country grocery store in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee. It has since grown to include locations in Nashville, Murfreesboro, Columbia and Pigeon Forge.

Although Puckett’s no longer sells groceries, the owners kept the word “Grocery” in the company’s name as a homage to its humble beginnings, says Burnett.

To inquire about placing an order, Realtors can contact Burnett at 423 708-8505) or g.burnett@puckettsgrocery.com.