It’s shocking but true: a successful catering event isn’t just about the food. A lot more goes into making your clients happy – no thrilled – than simply serving top notch cuisine. So, if you have the cooking down, but still struggle to book more jobs, then it may be time to take ask yourself these 5 questions:
1.Am I thinking outside of the box?
Clients are always looking for the next big thing. If you aren’t looking for innovative ways to present your catering business (and your food), then you could be losing valuable leads. There was a brief moment when donut walls were the big draw at events. Caterers who quickly saw the trend and added them to their dessert menu made an impression. Those who didn’t (or were late coming to the game), lost both momentum and respect when it came to building their businesses. The same was true of the infamous “bacon bar,” popular a few seasons ago. The lesson here is simple: watch for new trends and get a jump start on finding unique ways of adding them to your catering offerings.
2. Can I Handle Any Problem Thrown My Way?
Catering is a business wrought with emergencies; mistakes; and problems. Vendors fail to show; produce comes in looking sad and droopy; and sudden menu changes come rolling in. One of the best ways to make a big impression on your customers (and potential clients attending the event), is to be ready for anything – and I mean anything! No matter what is thrown your way, remain calm, polite and find a solution – quickly! Those in attendance will notice.
3. Do I Go Above and Beyond (no matter what!)?
Forget the standard buffet! Today’s caterer has to present their food in a manner that grabs attention. The taste of food is important, but so is the creativity and artistry you put into its presentation. Whether you are designing an elegant dessert table for a wedding or a whimsical one for a baby shower, knocking the socks off of your clients requires making your food stand out in new and innovative ways. Pay special attention to the details. They not only enhance the meal, but boost the perception of its quality, setting your catering business apart from its competitors.
4. Do I Serve Hot Food Hot and Cold Food Cold (every time)?
Speaking of presentation, it is more than just looks; it also involves serving food at the proper temperature. No one wants to eat hot food that is lukewarm or cold food that is now room temperature. Plus, improper food temperatures can make food unsafe – and that isn’t good for anyone. One of the easiest ways to ensure that your food stays the perfect temperature is to transport and hold it in insulated food carriers and storage containers. Also make sure they are ergonomic and lightweight enough for your staff to pack and move, but strong enough to handle the stress of a big catering job, industry-grade pan carriers offer the kind of easy use and safety you need to make the food for every event memorable.
5. Am I A Follow-Up Guru?
When it comes to standing out, nothing beats awesome follow-up. Don’t let those ending details fall through the cracks. When the event is over, be sure to take extra care to ensure that you leave the kitchen and dining areas in pristine shape. Nothing can sour a perfect event faster than a client who is forced to pay an additional fee due to your sloppiness.
Caterers aren’t just food servers anymore. Today’s catering professionals also double as party planners and event coordinators, handling everything from linens and centerpieces to food prep and servicing. Some even coordinate other vendors for the event. Don’t let overwhelming expectations stop you from rocking your next catering job! Use the questions listed here to guide you through the day to make it a success.