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Takeaways from Catersource 2017

My first catering educational experience was with Mike Roman in New York City in 1987. That was exactly 30 years ago. There were 12 of us there. My, my, my, how have things changed. Catersource NOLA brought more caterers than ever to share, learn, party, and dine. If you were there, great, if not, now’s the time to think about next February in Las Vegas, February 18 to 22. I Iike to visit that city once a year to say hello to my money at the casinos.

Yours truly (who is usually careful about what he eats) managed to down grilled and fried oysters by the dozens at Drago’s, Pascal’s Manale, and The Pelican Club. Grease, fat—but oh, so good! I was even filmed participating in a street dance in the French Quarter. Visit my Facebook page to see me dancing in the streets. And as my wife says, I’m always half a beat behind. See for yourself. I’m the skinny guy in the dark clothes…and by far the oldest of the bunch.

Seriously, Catersource NOLA was awesome. One new feature was the Campfire session where many of us were queried by our colleagues about issues they face, all while chowing down on s’mores. Panel discussions were a hit too, where small, medium, and large caterers responded to the same question. What powerful insights! As the moderator, I learned things too. And not just from the larger caterers, but the smaller and medium sized caterers also had great answers. We can all learn from one another.

If you’re like me, you leave Catersource with beaucoup ideas—which are great, but only if you put them into action. If you don’t, you fail to reap the benefits. Therefore, I have always suggested a review of your notes and handouts before you get back to work and then list those three or four things that stand out and start planning to implement. Trying to do everything will end up with your doing nothing. It can definitely be overwhelming. Think 80/20! Pick the things that will bring you the greatest benefits with the least amount of time, treasure and talent. If you could not attend, I’m sure you can purchase the content from Catersource.

So, after 37 years in the business, what did I learn? You’ve heard the saying that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. But learning is not a trick and people are not dogs.

One speaker described catering as a career where you can work all day, so you can work all night, so you can work all weekend. And that’s true, but we LOVE what we do so it’s not work.

The team from Blue Plate and Footers have truly set the bar for the rest of us when it comes to great human resources benefit programs. Happy people make people happy is what Blue Plate strives for. Anthony and his team from Footers have embraced employee engagement to the fullest. We all can improve our people management and leadership skills.

Keynoter Mitch Joel shared five massive movements in technology world. And I must admit, I didn’t understand it all, but I did learn:

We need to create online tools that solve problems for our clients. One toilet paper company offers maps of where we can find public restrooms in most cities. Perhaps we can create an app where clients can find venues where we can cater. In South Florida, we’ve created a venue-finding website,, to make it easier for clients to find venues.  

The only screen that matters is the screen that’s in front of you. And I think you guessed it, our mobile screens are becoming more and more important.

I could go on and on and on, but my editor tells me only 500 words, and I’ve already used up over 600. So, that’s it for this month.

I wish everyone many blessings in the coming 11 months until we convene at Caesars Palace and the Las Vegas Convention Center next February.


Bill Hansen, CEO Bill Hansen Luxury Catering and Event Productions

Bill Hansen

Bill Hansen

CEO, Bill Hansen Catering and Event Production, Miami, FL

From catering for four U.S. Presidents, to Pope John Paul II, to champion Super Bowl teams, Bill Hansen brings over 50 years of catering, entrepreneurial and food service management experience to his consulting practice. A published author, Bill’s extensive expertise has made him one of the country’s leading food experts and Founder and CEO of one of South Florida’s top catering firms.

Bill’s areas of expertise are in leadership, and management. In 1980, he founded Bills’ Catering with his best friend Bill Hendrich. In 1990, Bill began teaching Catering Management at Florida International University. After 403 years, Bill’s firm continues to prosper, while spawning scores of South Florida caterers...