An expatriate of New Orleans – and professional chef – who has lived in Los Angeles since her childhood, blogs about the journey from New Orleans to Los Angeles back to New Orleans, and points along the way.

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Need to Trim Your Event Budget? Planners Weigh in on What’s Worth Keeping and What’s Not

By on May 11, 2009, 2:44 pm in Pet Peeves and Rants, Reflections on the Catering Life, Small Pleasures Catering, Special Events | 0 comments

Yesterday I catered a Mother's Day dinner for a new client who had never hired a caterer before. She walked into the kitchen as we finished up serving dinner and had started in on the clean up. " Wow- you even do the dishes" she said, "this is great". Of course, we left her kitchen completely clean, as we had found it. She commented that she had always handled all the cooking, cleaning, setting up, etc, of her past parties herself, but that she was always so tired she couldn't really enjoy the party.

"That's exactly the reason to hire a caterer," I responded.

The truth is that no one person can handle all the aspects of a successful event by themselves. A good service team is crucial to the success of a party.

Biz Bash Magazine, a publication catering to the event planning industry, recently surveyed event planners across the country on the subject of where to spend and where to save in today's budgets.

It's no surprise to me that over and over again, professional party staff landed in the "worth keeping" category.

I find it frustrating that service staff is so often one of the first areas where clients look, when trying to cut costs. It's a recurring theme of mine, that catering is more than just great food.

Here are some of the comments of top event planners across the country that landed in the "worth spending on" column:

"Working with a fine caterer that has exceptional service is always a must, but absolutely in this environment. You can always work to pare down a menu, perhaps serve something simple yet elegant, rather than fussy… Having a great catering staff that allows your guests to have a wonderful and carefree time is always worth the money."- Kara Minogue, President, Kara Minogue and Company, New York

"It's a mistake to cut service or staff. People don't remember if the steak was outstanding at an event. They remember if it was cold, or took a half hour to get a drink."- Kristy Pozulp, Events and Communications Manager, Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, Chicago

"Your staff is a reflection of your company and provides one on one contact with your clients… When times are tough, well trained service staff is one of the best assets you have."- Hillary Harris, Director of Special Events, Warner Brothers, Los Angeles

"Second only to food, drinks are one of the most important elements of a great event… and having capable bartenders is extremely important to the flow of the event. Guests don't like to wait around with an empty glass." -Lauren Farruggio, Events and Meetings Coordinator, The Boston Consulting Group, New York

Bon Appetit!

Gisele

www.smallpleasurescatering.com

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