Hat’s off to the JW Marriott Grande Lakes in Orlando, where the catering team is anything but ordinary.
An event at AT&T Stadium in Dallas exceeded expectations and offered lessons.
When in doubt I recommend going with your heart.
In the case of longtime senior sales manager Jim Barto, everyone at the Atlanta Hilton Downtown did the right thing down to the last detail.
The crux of this Monthly Morsel is trust, when it’s earned and when it’s not.
I’m thrilled that my column smacking a bit on Dallas’ private dining scene did exactly what I wanted it to do: Get people talking.
What I’ve discovered in my years as a culinary consultant around the world is that the hospitality community in any given city can take on a particular nuance. Dallas is no exception.
The point of this rant? Read your banqueting menus very carefully. When you see print that you think isn’t true, call them out on it.
Our Monthly Morsel column shares tales from the dark side, what catering managers can do to make sure they book an event and some of the major turnoffs.
Since the holiday season is upon us, I thought I’d write about entertaining at home. Some people look forward to this all year long; others dread it. Which are you?
People try to cut corners by using someone who enjoys food or has minimal food knowledge. When that happens, the inexperienced managers almost always shoot themselves in the foot.
To a catering manager, culinary team or banqueting department, change a four-letter wor
Venues in the gambling capital leave a bad taste with their refusal to bend for a Sunday event. What’s a planner to do?
What’s wrong with this picture? Read this month’s morsel on “Hiring an outside caterer” and, if you can answer the red flag question, you’ll qualify to win a Starbucks gift card.
It’s our job as planners to specify the plate size and give our guests the food we have purchased.
When does it make sense to do catering in an exhibit? We have some food for thought.
Talk with the banqueting team during your planning process and share with them what you expect. All necessary cleaning must be done back of house and not on the floor.
Today we’re going to talk about the fine art — and I do mean the fine art — of shorting guarantees.
The bottom line: Restaurants, if you sell group business have a staff trained to handle the request. Most importantly, have a catering manager who will get back to the customer on a timely basis.
Let’s talk trends. As I see it, 2013 isn’t going to be just about the food anymore. It will encompass many aspects of the entire experience.
Centerplate, the contract catering company, had a staff person dedicated to following this trade show’s Twitter hashtag in real time, so if someone tweeted a viable comment or complaint, managers could fix it right away.
My two exhibitors saw an attendance of more 2,500 people at their trade shows; only one person asked specifically for decaf coffee.
Remember, banqueting needn’t be complicated or splashy in order to be fun. It can employ simple things that are done cleanly.
Clients ask a lot of questions about menu tastings. Here’s a sampling of those questions from meeting and event planners. The answers should help guide you the next time you’re in a place to taste.
In banqueting, learn to ask questions and then go in and negotiate price points accordingly.
To me, and based on my experience, industry standards are best practices that are formula based, not scenario based.
As planners we have options when it comes to deciding what to eat. This morsel is designed to help you put a twist on the everyday picnic.
Garnishes make Claire Gould a touch crabby (who knew?). Find out why …
Be specific when you do party invitations. When you host a party, it’s your responsibility to write the invitation with as much clarity as possible.
Usually I write my monthly morsel about an experience after it happens. Today I am writing it at the beginning of an event. A client of mine hired me to do an event in the Washington, D.C.-National Harbor, Md., area. The event instructions were simple: casual get-together with beer and wine for 150 to 200 guests. The […]
Don’t confuse “innovation” with “popular.” They are two very different areas.
I did some work for a client last month who had a nice-size food & beverage minimum to play with. Or rather I had a rather large-size F&B minimum to play with. We fed and watered the people all day long. All the guests of this high-income group enjoyed themselves very much. No one wanted […]
Love is in the air … Valentine’s Day — Feb. 14 is here (or gone). The day we either love, or hate, or the day we would love to hate. It’s always a bit awkward for planners who have an event falling over Cupid’s holiday. Especially if your attendees are primarily men and the destination is out of town. […]
I am late (again) with writing this morsel because I just got done doing the food for the Miss California USA beauty pageant. The first thing that should come to everyone’s mind is this question: What am I doing feeding girls that are participating in a beauty contest?! Those girls don’t eat. Well, my dear readers, you are […]
I had a major corporation ask me to participate in an RFP for a 10,000+ person annual event. Most people would have been overwhelmed by this daunting task, but for some reason I wasn’t. I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to dig deep within and show this company what I had to say about […]
As many of you know, I spent 10 days in October working in Vegas for four different clients. Suppliers in this town say they haven’t recovered from the recession. If you’re like me, you’d expect them to be flexible and accommodating so they leave a positive impression that encourages business, right? Nope. Here are some […]
As I was working a wedding last weekend, the Director of Catering at the “wedding in a box” venue (Mike) and I got into an interesting conversation about tipping. To give you some background, this venue is pretty exclusive, so you need to have a healthy budget ($400 pp+) to hold your wedding at Mike’s facility. What surprised — […]
This month I want everyone to hold on to your bouquets because I am doing a … wedding! The lucky couple are getting married in Los Angeles,Calif. They are having a midday wedding/lunch and a party that evening at the groom’s second home, so this has turned into a destination wedding. So what I have learned from planning this event (other […]
Everyone who’s tired of seeing picnic lunch menus that feature grilled 6-oz. burgers and chicken raise your hand and say “I”! Since we’re in prime picnic months, allow me to suggest some picnic-themed banqueting items that can give this ho-hum menu a “food lift.” Salads I am not a fan of deviled eggs, yet I […]
It is very rare that I write my column based on meeting someone, but I came across such a “find” while working the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. I was so blown away by Ashley Hall and her extensive wine knowledge that it would be wrong of me not to share both with you, my dear readers. […]
This month I want to pay tribute, tip my culinary cap to a group of people and give them a bow of respect. My monthly morsel is dedicated to the hard-working staff that is in overdrive, as I write this, to ensure the inaugural Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is one that the city can […]
While working in Nevada last week, I went to the final meeting with the off-premise catering company who was catering my client’s customer appreciation event. This party was being held at a museum, and the caterer was from a chain of locally owned restaurants that recently started an off-premise catering division. Their first big contract […]
As we are happily heading into spring the one thought that goes through people’s minds is how do we shed our winter “coats” (a.k.a. pounds)? In this morsel, I am going to share a couple of food ideas that will leave your attendees grateful for having food options that are clever, healthy and tasty. Fruit. […]
This morsel takes place in a southwestern convention hotel. My client decided to do an add-on of an omelet station at one of her breakfasts. There is a chef’s fee associated with this station for a 1.5 hour breakfast. I was purchasing 200 omelets, but the property wanted to provide me with only two chefs […]
Shipping is one of those areas that isn’t a problem until the items you shipped don’t arrive. Then, the scrambling begins. In this best practices article, I’d like to cover the three areas of shipping, general information, shipping domestically and overseas.
Nut allergies, seafood allergies, low-fat, low-carb, vegetarian, vegan, Indian vegetarian, kosher, non-dairy, gluten and soy-free … when the heck did dietary restrictions get so complicated? And where, as an event planner, does it end? To be honest, I don’t have an answer on this question. But “where does it end” does go through my mind as I am writing menus. Since […]
As we are winding down the calendar year, but gearing up for professional and personal holiday gatherings, the same question gets asked over and over: What to serve on a budget? For the month of December I want to take this morsel out of the banqueting kitchen and bring it into your home for the […]
I recently did a reception in Atlanta where the past history indicated 450-500 people would be attending the annual customer party. I have done this event for four years in various cities and have kept strict group history. Because convention attendance was up this year, the client and I decided that we would increase the […]
A sponsor is a supporter of an event and/or activity. Sponsorships come in many shapes and sizes, all with a different dollar value. The sponsorships you may be most familiar with are for golf tournaments, annual conventions or festivals. On the surface, companies buy a sponsorship package to support an organization. But the business reason […]
I am going to make this morsel so short and sweet folks aren’t going to believe it. Here is the deal: When we, as planners, give a third party company or facility a budget number, this is what the appropriate vendor needs to do … RESPECT IT! It amazes me when I give someone a […]
As the event industry continues to evolve, one thing is clear: Not only are planners expected to give their clients more for their money, they are required to prove return on investment for each event they participate. It is important that planners have a clear understanding of what event marketing is and how to maximized their […]
Last week I was working for a client, hosting a Friday night reception at a charming wine store owned by a husband and wife. The wine store is in a very sweet and intimate setting that accommodates up to 50 people. During the event, I had a couple of situations happen that I wasn’t so […]
Because of this rough economy, planning events at conference centers with all-inclusive packages has become more popular. There are several reasons why, with the first being the most obvious — the budget. When everything is included in the conference price, planners can understand and effectively budget their costs. Part of the package price includes the culinary experience, but […]
As I am spending the month in Kittanning, Pa., working my father’s estate, I can’t help but drift back to the roots of this small town: farming. Since it is July and we are in the midst of “corn growing season,” I thought it would be appropriate to give you some insight on how to […]
Ground transportation is a very tricky part of the event planning industry because if done right no one really thinks to thank you. How hard is it to order a car/bus and driver? Here is the answer: harder than you think. If ground transportation isn’t done correctly — for example, a shuttle bus hits a […]
Recently, I went to a party to celebrate the opening of a “new rooftop event space” at an Atlanta office building along with many other event planners and vendors. Atlanta doesn’t have much of a skyline, but that wasn’t what bothered me. What bothered me is that they wanted people to experience their space, atmosphere, […]
Typically, in my Monthly Morsel advice columns, I talk about hotel catering. But for this Best Practices column, I want to go over what you need to think about when booking off-premise venues or restaurants for meal functions. Pre-planning exercise Before we begin, I want you to close your eyes and visualize what the event […]
I was in Indianapolis working an intense food weekend at the NCAA Final Four and I had something interesting occur that rarely happens. What, you ask? I met a chef. Well, that’s not the interesting part because it is only natural that I would be dealing a chef. But this wasn’t any executive chef; it […]
Being a food consultant and having designed menus for many years, I feel it is crucial to get on the phone and spend some time talking with the chef — especially during the design stage. Most hotel/facilities are A-OK with this once they go to rxforcatering.com and see that I live and breathe culinary banqueting. […]
The step by step experience I have with banqueting managers across this country is pretty much the same everywhere. And, banquet managers: There is room for improvement. Time and time again, this is how things go: Menus are negotiated and designed with catering and chef. I put a lot of notes on my BEOs for banqueting and […]
As we are entering the month of February I thought it would be only appropriate to discuss the very thing many of us experience in this blizzardy winter month — ICE! Do I like it ? Yes, I do. Do I think from a culinary perspective that it gets a bad rap? Yes, I do. Do […]
Throughout the years with this column, I have written about weddings, all types of corporate parties and given tips about entertaining in the home. This month, I am going to discuss something that no one is ever really prepared for and which I’ve never seen any event professional discuss: a funeral. On Dec. 19, 2009, […]
As we round out the year, I know many of you are exhaling a collective sigh of relief that 2009 is nearing its end while simultaneously sucking in your breath in anticipation of 2010. With that being said, I want to close out my 2009 monthly morsels by writing about the Executive Chef at The […]
Buying out fine dining restaurants is something I am a big fan of for several reasons. But lately, I am a bit frustrated. I negotiated a buyout of a big-name chef restaurant in Orlando and very clearly told the catering manager up-front that I was going have some menu tweeks. The catering manager said, “Fine, no problem. […]
I am currently negotiating menus at a downtown property and my client is doing lunch buffets. What a buffet is all about is choices, that is why many clients prefer this option of food instead of plated. Here is my problem: This particular property has a hefty price buffet with only ONE choice of dessert. I said to the […]
This month, I am tying my shoelaces in double knots, taking a running leap and landing SMACK right in the middle of Rx for Catering LLC’s well-worn soapbox. Usually I jump up here to crab about, well — whatever is on my mind. But not this month! I proudly want to talk about two happenings that I think are great…