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You Are the Driving Force of Your Company

Bill Pannhoff will be your Head Ambassador for CSES2016


“WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF EVERYDAY you went to work for a different boss, in a different office, with a different computer, with different goals and standards, and at different times every day? Most people would just spontaneously combust! But we caterers—we love it,” says Bill Pannhoff, owner and chef at B&B Catering and Event Planning, Fayetteville, NC. “That’s the nature of the catering beast.”

If you are new to CSES or haven’t attended in a few years, then the first class you should be taking on Sunday morning bright and early is Pannhoff’s “Don’t Miss a Thing! The Catersource and Event Solutions Review.” Bill will provide a guided tour of what’s new and what not to miss at CSES2016. You’ll learn about the focus of each stage on the Tradeshow floor, get insider tips, meet the CSES Ambassador team, learn how to use the conference app, and more.

Says Pannhoff, “Catersource is one place where we can come together. Because let’s face it—in our markets, none of us are friends. We’re not enemies, per se, but we are also not friends. Yet we can break down all of the barriers of localities that are formed up all year, come out here, and just share. The networking and marketing aspect of Catersource is really one of the strongest things that we are.”

Get off the fence

Pannhoff will be the first to admit that he owes his success to being smart enough to invest in his business by investing in himself. A Catersource attendee since the very beginning, and now part of the Catersource team as a speaker and consultant, no one has more passion for the reasons you need to attend Catersource than Bill. “When you get me talking about Catersource, you get me really excited,” he enthuses.

To that end, he offered a few insights on why you should consider attending:

Accessibility. The industry leaders are so accessible and eager to help. All of the speakers at Catersource are willing to freely give so much information. Approach them!

New trends. It’s amazing that the people who are gathered together to speak to you are the people who are setting the trends in this industry. Every year I look forward to bringing back new ideas to my market. In reality, Catersource makes me a market leader and makes me look great in my clients’ eyes every year. I even tell my clients that I’m going to Catersource—and why—and they want to wait to meet with me until after I get back so I can share all those great new ideas!

It’s a buying show. Catersource has assembled hundreds of vendors that are not only catering specific but are offering amazing discounts at the show. You will actually save money by shopping at the Catersource Tradeshow every year!

Think outside of the box. Too often we get stuck and we feel alone in our own markets. Caterers in the same market are seldom friends who talk to each other, much less exchange ideas. At Catersource you’ll meet similar caterers from across the country who are more than willing to exchange ideas with you, without the fear of direct competition. This will give you a fresh perspective and outside of the box thinking that will pay for the conference itself!
R&D. Not research and development but “Rob & Duplicate.” I know it sounds a bit harsh, but thousands have gone before us and Catersource is a great platform to learn the ups and downs of their journeys. Whether you are a big or small caterer, you do not have to go it alone, you do not have to reinvent the wheel. Steal a great idea, duplicate it, add your own spin—the amount of information available to you through education is staggering.

Catering is an extreme profession

“I always worked hard,” Pannhoff admits, “but I just didn’t work as smart as I should have. I want to help you as much as I can to make a change from good to great. I want to challenge you to look outside the box and take a hard look at your numbers. Maybe it’s time for you to quit and get another job—catering is an extreme profession. Maybe you just need to go away for two weeks and get it right. Maybe you need to hire a consultant or catering coach to get you there. So many of us don’t think we can afford that. I would venture to say—yes, you can. I wish I would have done it years ago: the return on investment for a catering coach or consultant is tenfold easy. The return on investment on going to the Catersource Conference is tenfold easy. Maybe you just need to take some time to invest in you, because you are the driving force of your company.

“Here are a few tips, and you will get even more from me at the show,” says Pannhoff. “You need to implement policies and procedures and systems. You need to invest in people that are your equals. You need to have strong and stable accountability systems. You need not be afraid to tell an employee what to do or how to do it. After all, it’s your business and at your business the buck stops with you. Maybe you’re saying, ‘Bill, I’m not a business owner, I’m just a manager.’ Do you realize how many people you influence as a manager? As a salesperson? As a chef?”


From Bill:

I have noticed over the years of hanging out with caterers that we have a common flaw. We—notice I said we—have a tendency to put our heads down and charge hell with a water pistol.

‘Joe, can you cater in the field with no power and also unload down a wet mud hill?’


‘Fred, can you grill steaks at night in the rain?’

‘Yes, I can!’

‘Jean—can you run a buffet station for thousands of people over nine hours?’

‘Yes indeed!’

My goal is to bring some grounding to this wide-open job style we all live in.

We all want empowerment.

We all want a profit.

We all want to be liked.

We all want success.

And most of all, we want to be understood.


Bill Pannhoff will be presenting four seminars throughout the CSES, all while serving as the Catersource Ambassador. Click here for a full list. 

Kathleen Stoehr

Kathleen Stoehr is the Director of Community & Content Strategy for Informa Connect | Catersource and Special Events magazines, including all digital content for both websites and e-newsletter products. She also vets, hires, guides and coordinates all live education at Catersource Conference & Tradeshow, Art of Catering Food, Leading Caterers of America Executive Summit, and bridge content at The Special Event.