Thursday, June 16, 2011

Catering news for 2011 so far. Part One.

Now that I'm past the Great Chefs event I will start to dig into some of the meatier topics about the business and status of catering in 2011. I want to start with discussing some of the big news in the Philadelphia Region as far as catering for the current year so far.

Earlier this year Compass Group changed it's operating unit in Philadelphia from Restaurant Associates to Wolfgang Puck Catering. To hear some in the know tell it, essentially one day they were RA, the next day everybody got new uniforms and they were Puck. I will devote a future post to some more in depth analysis of this, but I am sure there are more significant changes that came and are coming as far as menus, staffing, etc.

Max & Me Catering, the firm that I used to be a part of, acquired Culinary Concepts, their venue contracts and infrastructure. Jim Israel has apparently stayed on to be in charge of business development for this division of Guest Counts Hospitality, which is the name that they have changed to from Libre Mangement, for their overall holding company. They also own and manage Cuba Libre Restaurant and Gourmetro Catering.

The biggest impact on our industry will be from the expansion of the Pennsylvania Convention Center which had it's grand unveiling in March. This bodes well for all caterers as I have always felt a rising tide does lift all boats.

Not many know this, but The new Barnes Museum on the Parkway gave it's food service contract to Aramark, in partnership with Marc Vetri. I hope to find out soon exactly what this partnership means and how much effect Mr. Vetri will have on food quality for the restaurant and catered events at the Museum.

An important development for me is a changing of the catering guard aboard the Battleship New Jersey. Aramark abandoned ship, and one of my clients, Feast Your Eyes Gourmet Catering is in a dual exclusive deal with Andreotti's Viennese Cafe. I am very happy to be representing this great piece of American History again and I will sign off with this, as I am leaving for the ISES South Jersey event tonight aboard the Battleship. I will write about this meeting tomorrow, it features a state of the industry panel between some very connected and important folks in the special event world.

Thanks for reading and sharing,
Harry 6/16/2011

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