4 + 2 bartenders.
2 manned stations, 1 kitchen guy, one floor guy.....6 hours each for a 2.5 hour gig.....just covering bases. Read "my" menu closely, it's designed so that the food coming does not have alot of last minute fussiness.....except for cooking at the Asian Station and carving at the meat station. Well desserts go out later in the night, and there is alittle last minute assembly involved....but it's fairly nominal.
I've got a super front of the house coordinator who decorates table scapes and can do some last minute site stuff quickly.
New college hire has some OK speed not fast by any means but not so slow to be annoying.....just wasted movements that diminish with years of experience...all she usually needs is one example and she'll replicate on site.
Several years ago I was contracted to cook a couple of hodos for a benefit with 2 other catering companies....2 of us were in the kitchen, my food far outshone the others (not brag, just fact). One of my buddies brought in fruit skewers, salmon/cream cheese/pitas on a platter cut into wedges.....no assembly. He was networking the crowd, offered to help take my food (shrimp creole and oysters benville) from the kitchen to the dining room buffet. UMMMMM HELLLOOOOO....when I realized everyone then thought it was his food and he was shmoozing the crowd, I woke up. Working the crowd is the owner's job, not being in the kitchen all night. Of course I oversee the food, my gosh I got into this because creating dishes makes my heart sing......but networking is what keeps parties coming through the door, and essentially the door open.
Really short learning curve.
As to breaking down, depends on where we are.....sometimes I cut staff loose after my car is packed up and just unpack in the morning. A couple of times I've sent a couple of staff back to the kitchen to unload and wash if we are close. My catering business is in a rough area of town.....well one that makes you aware of your surroundings. It's comfortable to be there baking at 6am alone but it's not unusual to be panhandled a few times a month in front of the building. And I'm always really aware of where my purse is.....more so than other scenerios.
So, take pictures/do diagrams of your slow worker's beautiful platters....replicating is easier than just designing.
With Stations I've started packing boxes for each table that has all that table's stuff in it....ie linen, signage, tongs, decor, etc....so that when we get to the site all someone has to do is look at the diagrams and replicate.
I do not always do schedule sheets for non complicated parties, I will for the party mentioned because food is coming out at different times.....cheese table throughout, other stations half hour into the event, dessert after 1.5 hours.....just to make sure my guys are all on the same page timewise.
Recently I've gotten a GREAT guy who does construction during the day, but is energetic...how high/how far do you want kinda guy.....I mentioned something at the last event and he said, "from now on I'll check that".....just love the follow through, the work ethic, the quiet energy. GEM. This is what catering workers should aspire to, actually same goes for the new college girl who loves food and (except for salmon roses) only needs to be shown once. Others are OK, but not the combination that makes these two so great to work with.....
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....