Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Interesting info from others...

While you all wait patiently for my Electric Factory post, here is some valuable information to read today. The following article from the New York Times shows very clearly why you need real catering professionals to execute off premise events. Restaurants are usually very good at making food in their home arenas, but put them in an unfamiliar venue and watch out. It's not that they can't learn, but often their egos get in the way. Anyone ever had this happen to them?

How do you avoid having problems like they did in Versailles in the above linked article? One way is by doing a thorough site evaluation. Mike Roman, the founder and head honcho at Catersource, (the most important catering industry magazine and trade show) has a blog, and he did a post back in May that is the best outline for a site evaluation I have ever seen. Here it is:

Every major event a caterer bids for needs to have pricing based on the actual event site’s features. An event site is either user-friendly or a nightmare for a caterer. To set a price and book a major event without first touring and inspecting the event location is both unprofessional and foolhardy. To determine the good and not-so-good of an event site, use this checklist:

a) Measure all rooms or areas to determine space and flow for:
1) Buffets.
2) Bars.
Mike Roman at Catersource Conference & Tradeshow
3) Band, DJ & dancing.
4) Field kitchens.
5) Cooking or reheating.
6) Trash storage.
7) Preparation and plating.
8) Storage of your boxes.
9) Seating.
10) Etc.
b) Determine how much distance there will be between the prep and plating area and the guests.
c) Check for equipment that is already at the location that can be used, i.e. chairs, dishes.
d) Check for stairs or multiple floors.
e) Check the kitchen (if available):
1) For cleanliness.
2) Try all stove burners and ovens to make sure they work.
3) Verify temperature correctness with an oven thermometer.
4) Make sure hoods and exhaust systems work.
5) Check refrigeration and freezers.
6) Count number of trash containers.
7) Count and locate fire extinguishers. Insure that they are have not expired.
8) Insure that drains work.
9) See if your pans fit into the ovens.
10) Verify the quality of both hot and cold water.
11) Verify that the size of doorways will permit free movement.
12) Etc.
f) Check electrical outlets to see how many exist and how they are connected to each breaker. Learn where the electrical panels are located.
Hey Mike, How about a free subscription?
g) Determine how the delivery will be made. Through which doors will it come and where it will be placed?
h) Inquire about for parking for your staff and your truck.
i) Determine who is in charge of maintenance at the location.
j) Determine if there is going to be any security staff
k) Determine how poor weather will affect your performance, especially if using an outside location.
l) Determine where you will place garbage and who is responsible for removing it.
m) Obtain the phone number of the location. Check to see if your cellular phones receive a signal.
n) If elevators are needed, check to determine the hours that they will be available.
o) Determine which bathrooms, if any, your staff may use.
p) Interview the custodian or maintenance people to see what problems they have had with other caterers.
q) Take video or photos to share with other team members during planning meetings.

Here is a link to Mike Roman's blog, good stuff:

That's all for now, Bob Trimble, you won the produce, but only because I don't feel like tracking Lisa Tieger down, wherever she may be this week, to get her the veggies. 

Harry 7/20/11 

1 comment:

  1. that's a great check list--nice update on electric factory over the years--don't know the answers 'cept the Bac went to the Jop Concert w'you?
    you were born to blog ol'A---