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Get Successful with Custom Menus

In the landscape of today’s event industry, it seems as if clients are always looking for the next best thing. They seek innovation and creativity in their services, and this especially comes to play in the catering field. After all, the culinary experience of an event is often the best memory that guests take home with them—or, at least, it has the chance to be.

That’s why event hosts are looking for custom menus more than ever before. It’s almost considered passé to see a wedding menu offer typical beef, chicken, and fish entrees, as food is now seen as part of the guest experience.

Many new clients are unfamiliar with the culinary world within the realm of catering, so they will look to you for guidance. Learn how to hone in on their personalities and values in order to tailor a menu with ingredients that fit in with who they are. Let’s look at some strategies for creating custom menus for each and every client that walks in your door.

Get to know them

Before anything else, you must understand your client’s background and what their goal is for the event. Get a feel for their preferred style of service (are they casual or formal?), their favorite foods (and their least favorites), dietary restrictions, and budget. We like to get creative with our interview, as the tougher questions can reveal far more than simple likes and dislikes. For example, one of our go-to questions is: “What is your favorite type of restaurant to dine in?” Their answer tells us a number of things, including preferred cuisine and dining style.

Photo courtesy Mike B Photography –

Have fun with the bar

Food is always fun to play with, but the bar menu can really be a blank canvas for creativity. Signature cocktails with cheeky names are a great way to personalize the experience and add an extra pop of personality. Likewise, beers and wines that carry a special meaning or hail from a favorite destination can also have a profound impact.


Photo courtesy Stephanie Yonce Photography –

Surprise and delight

We all want to go above and beyond for our clients and there’s no better way than with a special day-of surprise. Whether it’s a unique wine choice for a corporate client or a late-night dessert bar filled with the newlyweds’ favorite treats, think of something that will touch your clients and create memories that will last a lifetime. While you don’t have to keep it a secret, that surprise element can really make an impact on the big day.

By providing your clients with top-notch quality and extraordinary service, you increase the likelihood of securing repeat business and qualified referrals to friends and family members. Treat each client as your top priority and never stop asking yourself how you can elevate the client experience. 

Heather Jones

Catering Sales Director

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.