Tips for Creating a Custom Menu

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August 31, 2017

When it comes to working in the events industry, it is all about client satisfaction and giving them a custom, one-of-a-kind experience. Everything from the décor to the music to the food should reflect their vision for the event and overall theme. For caterers, much of that comes from helping clients create the perfect menu for them and their guests to enjoy.

Below, we have some of our best tips for creating a custom menu for every client. 

Ask the right questions

First things first, you’ll want to sit down and have an initial meeting to discuss and better understand what type of event they’re having: theme, likes and dislikes, any dietary restrictions, service style preferences, and budget. For us, we also like to get to know their food personalities a little bit by asking questions such as, “what’s your favorite type of restaurant to dine in?” and “If you you could order anything without worrying about budget, what would it be?” This helps us better connect with them on a personal level and get more creative with our menus.

Photo Emily & Steven Photography

Listen, listen, listen

Once the proposed menu has been set and the tasting is scheduled, this is where you are going to want to really put your listening ears on. They are going to tell you what they like and don’t like, what they want tweaked, what they want added or taken off, as well as which wine pairings they enjoyed the most. Be sure you are taking copious notes on everything from spice and salt levels to facial expressions, so you know what adjustments need to be made before the day of the event.

Photo Kate Anfinson Photography

Go above & beyond

For a client’s experience to truly be custom, make sure that you are always going above and beyond their expectations. It can be little things that may not seem like a big deal but will remain in a client’s mind long after they leave. We always make sure to include a small cheese display and a bottle of wine for couples to take back to their room after the wedding.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received is, “to hire team members with the hospitality gene.” Those that have a personality that will help create a fun and customer-focused work environment will enhance every event and guest’s experience.

With these tips and tricks in your back pocket, we guarantee clients will leave happier and singing your praises.  

Heather Jones is the Catering Sales Director for Wente Vineyards, a family-owned property that is home to a winery and vineyards, a golf course, restaurant, and a handful of unique facilities for hosting weddings and special events.

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