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.
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.
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.
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.
In banqueting, learn to ask questions and then go in and negotiate price points accordingly.
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.
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. […]
Claire Gould shares her best practices for culinary negotiations, how to avoid blowing out your budget, handling bar inventory and more.
The first area planners tend to trim money from is their food and beverage budget. But how do you save money without sacrificing the experience for your attendees, avoid getting hit by hidden banquet fees and best work with the director of food and beverage and catering manager to create exceptional events? In this PYM […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
As the earth is rotating into fall and we are diving in harvest season, I started thinking heavily about farm to table. After all, I was raised in a farming community and I get asked this question all the time. In searching for an answer, I decided to visit Google, and this is what I learned…
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…
One thing that is so important to event planners, but that we tend to glaze over, is the timing of an event. When doing an event timeline, we need to take into consideration our guests and how this timeline will affect them and their experience. Let me give an extreme example of what can go […]
Folks, this is probably one of my most important morsels to-date, so I encourage every one of you to learn from what I have to tell you. When you are doing site selections, be sure to ask for copies of the menus. Why? Because planners tend to miss a lot of negotiating opportunities when they […]
With the economy being what it is — and for our purposes let’s call that crappy — it never ceases to amaze me how hotels keep trying to charge new, and excessive, fees in their banqueting services. Listen to this one, courtesy of a hotel chain in Texas that will remain nameless: “The hotel reserves […]
Folks, there’s an insidious practice that is becoming an industry standard, which I don’t think it is fair to the buyers. So cover your ears, I’m about to start screaming … I was in Anaheim at a big-name property doing a reception for 250 people. We had some action stations that carried a $150 per […]
With the increase of funky, trendy, themed boutique hotels, it’s getting more difficult to pre-plan F&B. Why? Because these fun-to-visit hotels are putting so much “personality” into their catering menus I can’t figure out what they’re talking about.
Hi, everyone, I was fortunate enough to go out of the country to do what? Nothing but eat. Talk about a dream assignment. But, I have to say it is a lot harder than it looks.