Wedding Food Trends for 2018
With 2017 drawing to a close and 2018 upon us, it’s time to explore the upcoming trends in wedding food. Successful caterers and event planners have to be at least one step ahead of the crowd when it comes to trends since before you know it, the next best thing will become the trend that everybody must have. The last thing you want is to be left behind when it comes to keeping up with the latest wedding culinary ideas and innovations.
Weddings Are Multi-Faceted Events
Wedding trends cover all the elements of a special event – from décor to flowers to attire; but, as a caterer you want to focus on food trends because that’s what affects your business. Food trends cover the entire meal – from hors d’oeuvres for the reception, to drinks at the bar… onto the main meal and, of course, the dessert buffet. Wedding food trends tend to sweep the industry like a brushfire, and only those who don’t have their fingers on the pulse will get caught unawares.
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All About Chafing Dishes
A chafing dish (from the French word, chauffer, which means “to make warm”) is a portable and essential piece of equipment in the food industry. For catering businesses, the chafing dish is the foundation of any food presentation. They are also essential in restaurants that specialize in buffets with hot dishes. Chafing dishes (a.k.a. chafers) are made to keep food warm – from two to six hours – and they are the most affordable and convenient way to heat your delicious buffet items.
What is a Chafing Dish?
A chafing dish is a multi-layered apparatus: it uses chafing fuel to heat a large, shallow pan of water, which in turn heats a pan of food above it. The food in the pan stays hot, and the indirect heat, along with the water, keeps it from scorching or drying out. Electric chafers and induction chafers are other types of chafing dishes that don’t use fuel, but still use water as a medium to transfer heat, and are great for permanent buffets (like in restaurants).
Continue reading Why the Right Chafing Dish is Essential to Every Catered Buffet
Opening a Catering Business – Part II
Earlier, we discussed the first steps you should undertake before launching a new catering business. These steps included researching the local competition, finding a niche for your business, identifying potential customers, and writing a business plan. In addition, we discussed contacting your state’s occupation licensing authorities and health department to find out exactly what you need (the National Federation of Independent Businesses website can help you in that regard). With those preliminary actions under your belt, you’re ready to move on to the next and more enjoyable stages: planning your enterprise.
Creating a Catering Menu with Pricing
Creating a catering menu will help you figure out how much kitchen space you’ll need, what appliances you should buy and install, and how much you can expect to bring in financially. Base the menu on your specialties and what your targeted market niche wants on its plate. Price the items so that you stay competitive but still make a profit.
Pricing, always a challenge, is especially difficult for those just starting out. In general, prices are determined by the time it takes to prepare the dish, plus the cost of the ingredients, plus the profit margin you’re aiming for. Keeping your menu a manageable size, with foods you’re comfortable cooking and items that are made with ingredients you know you can source, are your best options for creating a realistic menu with fair pricing.
Continue reading More Advice for Launching a Successful Catering Business
Help Your Client Choose Between DIY and Professional Event Planning
As a caterer/event planner you have to balance your skills as a chef with your business acumen. Booking new business is obviously an important aspect of developing your company, but it’s particularly complicated in today’s event industry where costs are rising and clients are often looking for ways to cut back on expenses. Do-it-yourself (DIY) events are becoming a popular route for budget-conscious people, but it’s up to the business-savvy party planner to convince potential clients that some things are better left to the professionals.
Let the Client Arrive at the Right Decision
In the Harvard Business Review, author Michael Schrage explains how you can guide clients in the direction of a smart decision by allowing them to persuade themselves. Professional service firms, he says, should look for ways not just to better communicate the value of their work, but to give people the tools that let them sell themselves on the firm’s value. When a potential client is on the fence regarding professional services vs DIY, the hard sell is not the way to go. Don’t shower the customer with ominous warnings and bleak scenarios. Present all the angles of the upcoming event, along with something as simple as a colorful, well-organized, self-explanatory cost-comparison chart, and watch your clients draw the right conclusions by themselves.
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Venue Criteria: How to Find the Right Event Space
When you are hired to cater an event, you – and your client – are faced with a long list of decisions, ranging from date, to décor, to food, to timetable. Before anything else connected to the event can be decided, however, choosing the venue is priority #1. Since your clients already chose you to cater and manage their event, this means that you must play the role of psychologist, adviser, and friend from the time your involvement is established to the morning after the event (and, often, beyond).
Guide your Client to the Perfect Event Venue
From the outset, you have to follow your client’s lead: Some customers want and need just a little guidance, while others will rely on you for everything. Be prepared, patient, and knowledgeable – no matter what is expected of you – and you will be able to add one more satisfied customer to your resume.
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The National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) “What’s Hot: 2016 Culinary Forecast” included not one, not two, but three ethnic cuisine-related trends in its Top 20 roundup. Continue reading The Ethnic Cuisine: What Restaurant Owners Need to Know