Guys (and Gals),
Let's lighten up a bit. I believe ASU when he says that he's not tying to ruffle feathers. I also can understand how he may well have a bit of a frustration level with un-professional caterers poaching business from time to time. This would be especially true if he's recently lost a business opportunity in this way.
Even part time professional chefs and caterers feel the affect of non-professionals mucking up the market place. As a someone who makes a living in this business (or someone who derives extra income from it) I can tell you first hand of 'low ball' bids, poor service and food quality and customers who are leery of hiring anyone in this business. And, worst of all, it hurts EVERYONE.
As you get into doing events, the realization comes as to just how much time, effort and money is involved in doing it right. I know that my prices are fair, but what is a prospective client supposed to do when someone else comes in with a lower number? (sometimes much lower.) Do they know WHY it's lower? Probably not. Do they even ask why it's lower? Almost never. And, when the event has problems, it's too late. At the end of the day, was everything a success? Did everyone have fun? Or, god forbid, were there terminal troubles that just killed the good time for everyone?
I know that I'm going to loose out on some opportunities. It's the nature of the business. But, NOTHING frustrates me more than loosing an opportunity only to hear right after the event that it was a disaster for the customer. And, let me tell you, I have heard some horror stories. Sure, I lost business, but the client lost what is often times a once in a lifetime opportunity to host a special event. Graduations, mile stone birthdays, anniversary and the like just do not come around again. Making these events special for my clients is a HUGE part of why I do what I do. For ME, it is about FAR MORE than just the money.
While I may disagree with some of the comments made above, I can empathize with ASUBBQ's point of view. The difference is that I believe that most people take up this profession in an honorable way.
I suppose what I would offer is that we all try to be Constructive and Assisting with our posts and comments. The reality is that there is MORE than enough business out there for everyone who wants to follow this dream. When I started, MANY people passed on to me their experience and education to help me be the best I could be, and give me more of a running start. Those people not only helped me, and kept me from having to make their same mistakes on my own. They saved me time, money and allowed me keep what little sanity I have left. I firmly believe in mentoring others to the best of my ability, and giving back in that way. Reality is that, inevitably, I learn from the experience as well. Plus, it keeps me engaged and gives me the continued chance to learn from the experience of other people in this profession. In the end, we ALL get to be better and WE ALL WIN!
When You Care Enough to Send the Best