When you cater to customers, whether in-house or out, are you making money? Details make the difference—from logistics to menus to marketing. Let’s review some best practices and practical ideas for weddings, sports team-ups, holiday gatherings and more.
One Degree of Separation
When it comes to in-house events, outside catering and takeout, some of the most successful operations maintain menus different from the regular dining options. These could simply be shorter lists, selected for fast preparation, long holding time and portability. Or you could present some different choices altogether. Quality pre-made products can be your go-to here, and it’s easy to add special touches.
That long table of tempting options remains popular with guests, especially when there’s a customizing aspect. The dessert bar could include Katy’s Kitchen® chocolate sauce, nuts, sprinkles and other toppings, for everything from cheesecake to brownies to cookies. Logistically speaking, Brickfire Bakery® frozen cakes, brownies and cookies can go right to the display table and get cut into smaller pieces after you’ve done other setup tasks. Also in vogue: DIY spreads that let folks build their own appetizer plates, etc. Fill shakers with zesty Katy’s Kitchen® seasonings for everything from Intros!® fried veggies and cheese sticks to popcorn and meatballs. Promoting a theme can help boost bookings, like offering a “bread pudding and sauce,” tacos or sliders. What’s more, great ingredients mean excitement – leading to repeat sales and recommendations. Why not offer rich and flavorful Prairie Creek fully cooked, all natural short ribs,, creamy coleslaw and Intros!® Thin Cut Onion Rings as part of an array of sliders?
For knockout appetizers, complement appealing products from Intros!® with signature sauces – ethnic, spicy or with a flavor twist. Pair classic fried zucchini slices with stirred-together Ranch and Italian dressings from Katy’s Kitchen® for comfort food plus unique taste. Sauces made with beer are definitely on trend. Try premade potstickers from Intros! ® teamed with a simmered-together mix of light beer, garlic, pimento, scallions, brown sugar and butter. To serve sauces, squeeze bottles are fun – or use mason jars and small ladles. You could even put beer-based sauces into their beer bottles with a dispenser top and an extra label reading SAUCE (a funnel comes in handy for filling the bottles).
Finger foods have real appeal – especially when you pay attention to presentation. For example, add your favorite Katy’s Kitchen® seasoning blend and a touch of hot sauce to create spicy cauliflower bites, served in paper cones. Or let partygoers grab a cup filled with Intros!® Battered Zucchini Sticks and then pick and choose from an array of sauces to fill a second cup for dipping.
Forgetting to greet guests. Wobbly tables. Spotty glassware. To make sure everything is attractive and functional, put a staffer in charge – with a checklist – even if you’re using someone else’s services or catering at an off-site venue. A successful event featuring food and drink reflects heavily on the operator providing that food and drink. And do instruct employees to keep up with spills and used tableware.
Line trash bins with double layers of ProPak® can liners. Simply remove the first bag and a second is instantly ready for business. Another savvy trick: Turn the table itself into the serving “platter,” with items such as sliced meats, roasted vegetables, sliced breads, cheese cubes and mini tarts artfully arranged on an attractive, impermeable tablecloth or mats. Place serving utensils in decorative containers; offer dips in pretty bowls or sturdy cabbage leaves. Fewer dishes to transport and wash!
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