August 19, 2013
If you have spent any length of time in the catering business, you know you aren’t always blessed with the perfect conditions or facility to serve a meal. Catering a meal outside in inclement weather is about as nightmarish as it can get. However, in nice weather that same situation can make for a perfect setting.
In spite of the circumstances, you are always expected to pull off the meal service without a hitch. But unlike a restaurant, a caterer often has minimal or little control over the ambiance or attractiveness of a location.
Focus on what you can control
Unless you are a caterer that has stepped into the role of an all-inclusive wedding package provider or event organizer, you likely don’t have the manpower or equipment necessary to completely makeover a venue. However, you do have control over two of the most important facets of your business, your food and your service. Pull off these and you are certain to get recommendations.
Sprucing up where you can
That being said, there are a number of things a caterer can do to dress up an ugly location. The caterer should take note of the location’s appearance when they scout it out beforehand to note what facilities are available and how things will be arranged for food service.
The caterer should primarily focus their attention on those areas in proximity to the food. For instance, the serving tables should be draped with clean linens and nicely decorated. Use fabric colors that match the mood of the occasion.
Provide a well-designed menu that again, corresponds to the occasion. Even though the guests may not have a choice of menu items, they will still appreciate knowing what they are going to eat. In addition, providing a simple one page menu conveys the feeling that the patron is receiving restaurant quality service.
If the caterer isn’t supplying the chairs and they are an eyesore, look into dressing them up with chair covers. If the serving or seating area is up against a particularly unsightly section of the venue, dress it up with sheets of fabric strung between uprights. This will also work if you want to make a large open area feel more intimate.
Flowers are also a great way to spruce up an otherwise drab area. Another option is to look into renting trees or potted plants from a local nursery.
If, in spite of your best efforts…
If in spite of your best efforts nothing will help dress up an unattractive venue, then create as much of a distinction between you and your location as possible. Focus on your food and service. A well set and inviting table and serving stations will stand out in stark contrast to the location. Ensure as always that your food and service is impeccable. In such a circumstance, make it obvious that your food service and overall presentation belong in a much finer location. The difference will be duly noted by the guests you are serving.
Trisha Jefford, is a self-proclaimed foodie and wine enthusiast who loves scouring the net for new ideas and trends in food creation and presentation. She currently writes and blogs for the website EZ Cater a site that specializes in helping you find local catering or the perfect corporate caterer.