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Preparing for the Unexpected

In case a global pandemic wasn’t enough, this past January, Empyrean Events & Catering in Indiana was thrown for a loop with another unexpected challenge—a forced move of their entire operation. Life is unpredictable, and that’s part of what makes it so special, but situations like this are also part of what makes it so incredibly difficult at times. But overcoming challenges is what makes you stronger. So, Empyrean Events & Catering buckled down, rose above and recently shared their story during our last International Caterers Association roundtable discussion to help other caterers faced with similar challenges.

Photo courtesy Catie’s Captures Photography

The Backstory

In January 2021, after a year-long battle with COVID-19 ravaging the hospitality industry and the world, Empyrean Events & Catering’s landlord visited with a surprise. They informed the caterer that they were terminating the lease with 30 days’ notice unless they were agreeable to a 400% increase in rent. As you can imagine, this simply wasn’t possible in a good business landscape, never mind during the pandemic.

So, in 30 days, Empyrean Events & Catering had to find a new home for their off-premise catering site and their venue housed by the lease, which was no easy feat. Once they found an ideal location that ticked all the boxes, they called each client individually to explain the move, provided a peek at the new location and rolled out a PR campaign to advertise their new space. They recently opened with a large grand opening soiree to mark this new chapter!

Photo courtesy Catie’s Captures Photography

Tips for Catering Companies to Prepare for an Unexpected Move

This scenario was one that couldn’t be avoided, but being prepared and unwavering allowed Empyrean Events & Catering to flourish rather than fumble. Here are their tips for other caterers who may run into similar unexpected challenges:

Ensure your leases and contracts support your business.

When Empyrean Events & Catering was purchased from the original owner, they inherited the lease that caused this unexpected issue. The clauses were strict and not favorable for the catering company, which is why the landlord was able to push them out in the way they did. So ensure there are protective clauses that allow you time and security should a move be required in the future.

Search for properties that support your operational needs.

In the location Empyrean Events & Catering was in, they were operating an off-premise catering company from a high-rise building. As you can imagine, this wasn’t conducive for growth. In a way, the move was a blessing in disguise because it gave them an opportunity to prioritize what they needed to fulfill their vision for growth. Make a priority list of facility requirements that will help facilitate your growth, not stifle it.

Budget time to purge and organize.

There’s no better time to rid yourself of excess clutter or equipment that isn’t useful anymore than a move. Make sure you budget a few days to purge and pack up only the necessities so you can start fresh!

Photo courtesy Catie’s Captures Photography

Be proactive so you can take your time.

Sometimes, like in Empyrean Events & Catering’s case, a move is unpredictable. But if you see things going south and have a flexible lease or realize that your current location isn’t working for you, start the process sooner rather than later. Be proactive with a search for your next location and leave sufficient time for negotiations of leases and potential renovation needs in a new locale. It’s not easy to operate and execute these things efficiently when you’re being rushed.

Challenges Make You Stronger—Rise Above!

Sometimes the greatest challenges are the greatest opportunities for growth. Empyrean Events & Catering is a perfect example of a company that took a painful roadblock and made it into a positive opportunity to grow.

For more information and to be notified of future catering industry webinars and education opportunities, visit

International Caterers Association

For motivated caterers, International Caterers Association is a resource that provides Education, encourages peer to peer Relationships and Inspires creativity while embracing all segments of the catering industry. For more information, visit