Part 2: Here Comes the New Bride…and the Future of Catering
Last week, Albert Manzo shared some stories about how he got into the business and the basics of his $17 million success. This week he gives his perspective on the future of our industry.
What changes have you seen over the years in what clients are asking for?
The industry has transformed. It’s about who we are as a people in this country. 38 years ago, weddings were being planned almost exclusively by parents. The groom was completely irrelevant, and the bride had very little say. I’ve now done weddings for the children of people I did weddings for.
Brides used to be ‘window dressing,’ but now they are very involved and really enjoy themselves at their weddings. I hardly ever meet fathers anymore. I usually meet with the brides and grooms. Today’s couple is being heavily influenced by social media and the big designers they see in media who dictate trends. Brides now come in with Pinterest and request what they see.
Clean food alternatives are also becoming very popular, although many people still want the ‘fun stuff.’ Quirky touches like old school dessert and doughnut stations are becoming even more popular.The Super Sweet 16 remains really popular.
How has technology helped or hurt your business?
I think it’s only helped. If we don’t embrace it, we’ll be left in the dust.
What are some of the most unusual requests you've gotten from prospective clients?
The vast majority of requests are pretty standard. I have produced events when multi-cultural families have disagreed about things like music and I may need to function as a mediator. Sometimes people who aren’t in the wedding party (like bridesmaid’s or groom’s dates) get jealous.
An event at The Brownstone
You just got through a busy season. What are your tips for staying calm and delighting clients during high-stress times?
I am an unflappable type of person. You’ll face many challenging moments in the business. If you’re a ‘common sense thinker,’ you’ll do the best in this industry. Don’t panic, prioritize what you need to do, and enlist your key people in problem-solving. And always appear calm in front of the client.
Anything else you'd like to add?
“There’s no magic in our business. It’s really just hard work and customer focus. What you did yesterday doesn’t mean anything. You have to prove yourself every day to every customer.”
Want more wisdom from 35 years of catering success? Join Albert Manzo at Catersource 2019.