As anyone will tell you who just completed catering a big wedding reception, the business is a lot of hard work. Whether you are doing breakfast catering for a business meeting or event catering for non-profits, the work is physically demanding, the details can make or break an event and the rush is short-lived. That being said, it can also be very rewarding when you see an event take off and your catering is part of the success.
But like any business, there are always ways to improve. For many catering companies this comes at the start, when you are putting together bids for a job. From big wedding events with hundreds of guests to simple business lunches, the bid is where it all starts. Here are a few tips on how to get that job and make it a success, starting with the bidding process.
Watch the Money
It is always tempting to low ball a bid, especially when it is for a big event. But getting the job and then finding out you will need to go over the intended budget to meet all the requirements can be a hard lesson to swallow.
You may find you have to compromise on some other part of the event in order to make your budget work. In the end this compromise might mean losing the good faith of your client. So, make sure your numbers honestly reflect everything you have in the budget, with a bit of wiggle room for unexpected costs.
Include all Extras
Sometimes when budgeting out a bid we can forget the little things, like the extra glassware or the cost of that extra bartender. Go over everything and make sure that these little things won’t come back and bite you in the butt when the event is happening.
You may know in your head that a crowd like this will want more drinks then the usual, and hiring that big bartender that bounces at the clubs on the side would not be a bad idea. Just be sure you can afford him, and put him in the budget.
Allocate Timing and Serving Style
You know that the dinner for 150 is not going to be served at the tables on time, so why even try to budget it that way? While a buffet may not sound as classy, if you know that serving on time is key for this client, then make the suggestion that this will get the job done right. If the client insists on the white glove waiters serving each person individually the five-course meal, you better find a way to keep everything hot and have enough servers to handle it.
Handling Special Requests
These days any food oriented event is fraught with special diets and requests. Know going in that there are going to be several requests and that this needs to be handled diplomatically. Not every food menu request can be met, and that needs to be make clear from the beginning. While allergies can be catered to within a menu, requests that are simply due to food fads need to be handled carefully but firmly.