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Old 08-25-2008, 11:54 PM   #10
Full Fledged Farker
Join Date: 07-09-08
Location: Watsonville, CA

Originally Posted by Bigmista View Post
It was definitely a trying day. I was running on about 3 hours sleep and dealing with the customer from hell. She was yelling at me and then yelling at my staff because we were out of coleslaw. And then beans. And then green beans.

For 250 people we prepared:

10 briskets
120 lbs of chicken leg meat (actually only cooked 80lbs.)
40 racks of St. Louis spares.
10 big cans of bbq beans
25 lbs of green beans
15 lbs of coleslaw.

I've never seen anything like it. They wiped out the side dishes but we had 1/2 a brisket and lots of chicken leftover.

My feet were killing me (actually they still are) because I was shopping and cooking all week. Plus the kitchen was about a block away from the party so we were back and forth down there. It was a tough day but all of the people there thought the food was outstanding and the service was excellent. We got nothing but compliments from the guest and the lady in charge of the church actually wants us to come vend at the Greek festival next year.

The customers were pissed because they were "embarrased" but the guests of honor (their parents) had a ball. You should have seen the Father's eyes light up when I gave him a bottle of Moet Chandon for their 50th anniversary.

I learned a lot in this. Big Brother Smoke calls it catering 201.

1. Always spell out how much food you will prepare. Not just the guest count.
Yep, some events will have bigger eaters than others.

2. Always prepare at least 10% more than you calculated.
I agree. I would rather have leftovers than run out of food for hungry guests.

3. Always have people you can trust working with you. Again my staff yesterday was awesome!
We have assembled an amazing staff too. We use the best for catering and call them our "A Team!" and they love it.

4. Make sure your servers job duties are spelled out in the contract.
Having someone serve the food or pick up the plates, even at a buffet, is another resource/expense. We charge extra for more than basic buffet service.

5. Make sure the client understands that if you allow people to serve themselves, it's possible that something will run out. Portion control is real serious stuff.
We catered an event where they said 160 people, then 300+ showed up. We did end up running out to buy more product (they paid for it) but if not for people serving on the buffet line it could have been even worse.

6. Do your own head count and have someone on your staff confirm with their own count.
I like that idea!

7. Wetnaps are a nice touch. Have some on the table but put some others in a basket and walk around to the tables and offer them to your guests. It gives you an excuse to talk to them and find out how they like the food.
Another excellent idea. I usually wander through, clean up left behind plates, etc and ask questions of the guests, but the wetnap idea is great!

The next gig will be even better. Pics will be up after I get home tonight. I'm sure BBS and Country will comment later.
Can't wait for the pics!

I know they are UGLY as sin, but I have started wearing Crocs while catering/vending. Honestly, they do live up to their reputation of being very comfortable when you are on your feet all day. And they clean up real easy too. My feet do not bother me nearly as much as when I wear even a good pair of sneakers.
Rollin' Smoke BBQ - West
Marsha is offline   Reply With Quote