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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The Advantages of a “Boutique Caterer”-Part 1

The Advantages of a “Boutique Caterer”-Part 1

By on Apr 22, 2010, 12:19 pm in Reflections on the Catering Life, Small Pleasures Catering, Tips on Hiring a Caterer | 1 comment

I was chatting this morning with someone about the food business, in general, and the catering industry specifically, and when she asked more about my company, I used the term boutique caterer to describe Small Pleasures Catering.

“You mean like a boutique hotel” she asked. Exactly!

Wikipedia describes boutique hotel as a term used “to describe intimate, usually luxurious or quirky hotel environments. Boutique hotels differentiate themselves from larger chain/branded hotels and motels by providing personalized (and highly attentive, I might add) accommodation and services…”

I went on to give her what I thought were a couple of the advantages to hiring a boutique caterer, and related this story to her.

I once-in the early days of my company, lost a job (an office party for 250 guests), because the prospective client was concerned about my being able to handle that large a number. The office manager, who had recommended me for the job, had been a guest at an intimate wedding shower I had catered, and really fought for me. In the end, she said, they decided to go with a company that catered parties for 1,000’s.

Talk about overkill! A truly successful event depends largely on the quality of the team, and even though I was new to running a catering business, I knew this dirty little secret. Bigger companies often have less experienced staff people working their parties. Here are some of the reasons why. Catering staff are freelancers, they work with a variety of caterers around town. So, at best, you will get the same quality staff with a smaller caterer as with a larger one. More likely, you will get less experienced people. People starting out working in the catering world will often start with the big companies, but eventually get burned out, and move on to smaller companies. They will often get paid more at smaller companies (yes- another dirty little secret- even though the larger companies will charge at least as much and maybe more for their staff, they usually pay most of the staff less). Additionally, the servers, bartenders and chefs, prefer working in a more personalized environment. In my company for example, I have had a core group of party staff that has been with me for years. I know everybody’s name (larger caterers often don’t even know the names of people working their parties). In fact, I know them very well. I know their likes and dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses, and their "energy", if you will, so I can staff them accordingly. They also know each other very well, and we all have a sort of short hand when it comes to working together. And because they have been loyal to me, I like to believe they are happier working with me (and I work to keep them happy), and have more of a stake in the success of my company.

Tune in next time to hear another advantage!

And please visit my other blog



    1 Comment

  1. Seems to be a very promising catering services ! Great catering is dependent on two factors: excellent service and unforgettably great food which I think you can provide both!


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