Being good at catering requires a unique set of skills you definitely want to have, no matter if you are planning to start a career in the catering industry or you are simply a fan of hosting parties. Some of the skills a good caterer should have included great organization skills and time management, good knowledge about how to prepare large quantities of delicious food, good hosting skills and the ability to communicate with clients, and so much more. Have a look at our useful catering tips and tricks that will help you learn more about good hygiene, how to listen to customers and communicate with them, how to acquire smart sale strategies, how to streamline the food preparation process and how to improve the quality and flavour of the food you are serving.
The night before a party or an event, make sure to prepare as much food as possible as long as it stays fresh and delicious for the event. This is a good head start if you want to make sure you are not in a crazy rush last minute before the event starts and guests start coming. Once orders start piling up, it will get really hectic, therefore it is always a good idea to take enough time for a good preparation that will save you a lot of time. Preparing in advance includes making the cold dishes first, including salads and some starters. However, when it comes to high-risk components, including salad dressings with eggs, etc., do not prepare them in advance since they cannot be left out for too long. When it comes to fruits and vegetables for the dishes, you can prepare them by peeling and chopping them in advance. Besides the ingredients, you can take care of your serving sets in advance – polish cutlery and clean all dishes, set tables and put water glasses and jugs out. All these steps will help you have a lot of time right before and during the event.
Good organization is the key to success and it can save you a lot of stress, and nerves and prevent a number of mistakes and issues. Make sure to organize your menu and environment smartly. When it comes to the menu, researchers have found that people look at the upper right-hand corner of the menu list first. Since this is the first area that will attract the attention of your clients, you can place there the more expensive or your signature dishes are. Researchers also have found out that clients tend to feel encouraged to spend their money and order when there is classical music. According to studies, classical music as well as the colours red and orange make people feel relaxed and increase their appetite.
Hygiene is super important in the business of food. Hosting a private party usually means that standards are not as strict and high, however, this does not mean that you don’t have to keep your cleanliness and hygiene standards high. Make sure you source, store, handle, prepare and display food to consumers with the hygiene law. Some helpful tips that will help you keep up with high standards include using colour-coded chopping boards for different types of food to prevent cross-contamination, as well as using separate boards for preparing allergen-free food. When it comes to your fridge, make sure it is organized properly – keep raw meat on the bottom shelf, make sure the temperature is the right one, clean the fridge regularly, and place best-before and us-by tags on all products.
Make sure you are not working in a mess as this will slow down your work and possibly lower the quality of the food you are offering. Clean as you go, throw away empty packaging and store away unused bits of food and products you don’t need at the moment, frequently wipe down your working surfaces to prevent bacteria and allergens from building up. Make sure that everyone who works with food at your kitchen has their hair tied up and covered and their nails clipped. In case you are preparing a lot of high-risk food, such as dairy products and raw meat, make sure to add allergen information and consumer advisory to the menu.
In order to succeed in the catering business, and all types of business really, it is highly recommended to develop good communication skills and actually listen to your customers and clients and their opinions and feedback. All the feedback and recommendations will help you improve the services you are delivering and your business in general. If you are critiqued by clients, do not get defensive, you better take your time to listen to what your clients have to say and how this can improve your work. This will help you earn return clients and great reviews about the quality of your food and service, as well as build up a good reputation in the industry.
In order to ensure the success of your catering business, you must not only make sure that you understand clients, but also that your clients understand you. Do not go for a super complex and unique menu, thinking it will impress your clients. Sometimes the simpler things are, the better. Make sure your menu if practical and easy to understand, but with your own twist that makes you stand out. Do not go for a cluttered menu only to make sure you are catering to all needs of all clients – it is impossible to make everyone happy and you don’t have to, plus you will find yourself in a number of stressful situations with too many offers and choice on the menu, which will also lead to waste of your time and money. Opt for fewer options on the menu that will help clients stay focused on the main concept of your business while it will be easier for you to stay organized in the kitchen and streamline the process more efficiently.