One of the hardest things to accomplish in off-site catering is the ability to have consistent food at events. Why? The food is either par baked at the kitchen and finished off at the event site, (which usually does not have a stove or oven), or the food is totally prepared off site on equipment brought in just for the event.
With the challenge of keeping food consistent when off site, you don’t need the added challenge of inconsistency with the recipes.
Someone said to me recently, “Well, you probably have a great chef or two to produce all of that food!" I responded, "No... I've just got some great cooks." They replied, "Well, that makes sense. Chefs might want to change your recipes and make them their own."
It doesn't matter if they are a chef or a great cook. Anyone who is not instructed correctly will change your recipes. I've been down that road! You know that road... the one where you find the original recipe you approved now has pencil written notations and yellow sticky notes and it doesn't resemble the original recipe. I put a stop to that. WHY? Consistency is important and consistency pays off in spades — or, I should say, in dollars.
Taste-test recipes for guaranteed return & new clients
What? Is that all we made last year? Part two: Consistency Equals Big Money
First of all, if your recipes aren't consistent, how can you accurately know how much they cost to make and how can you know what kind of profit you are making? Second, if someone hired you three years ago for an event and wants to hire you again for that one special item they ate three years ago and it tastes differently, why would they hire you again or recommend you to someone?
My catering company is going to reap rewards for being consistent. Three years ago we catered a large wedding. Eighteen months later, a friend of the bride's mom requested we cater a birthday party for her daughter with 30 guests, serving what she had eaten at the wedding two years earlier. It tasted just like she remembered. Fast forward to the present, 18 months later, the daughter now has a position at a large corporation that operates a catering venue. First week on the job she was asked, "Do you know of a great caterer who is consistent in food and has a great on-time record?" You guessed it... she recommended us! Happy ending? I would say yes! Gross sales will be at least $200,000 to begin with and expectations are high for a huge revenue growth and the possibility of a second venue.
What if the food she had requested for her birthday did not taste the same as she remembered? What if my wait staff had not been courteous at her party? What if, what if, what if... we would have never known we missed out on a huge revenue stream.
Expect your staff to be consistent with your food. Inspect your food to make sure it is consistent. Test it, taste it, and better yet, surprise them with a visit to spend the day “on the line” in your restaurant kitchen or off-site catering preparation areas helping them prepare your food. You'll never be sorry!
Sandy Korem is the CEO and founder of The Festive Kitchen, a one-of-a kind catering company based in Dallas Texas. No other catering company in America has established such a diverse and profitable “take-home catering” division. In 2008, Sandy was awarded the White House Food Service Medallion for outstanding service to President George W Bush. Her company, The Catering Coach, helps restaurateurs maximize their off-site catering potential and, if desired, establish a ”take-home catering “ revenue stream. Sandy uses her 20 years of experience to teach independent restaurant owners how to increase sales and profits with little or no investment and maximize earning potential by adding catering to their existing business. For more information about Sandy, visit www.thecateringcoach.com.