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National Catering/Event Groups

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
How many of you belong to Isis? National Restaurant Association? Women Chefs and Restuarantuers?(sp), Chef's Collaborative? Slow Food? Dames Escoffier?

Any other organizations?

What do you personally get from your membership?

End of the year and memberships generally start Jan1
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 

Equipment.....

I've started this thread numerous times and it's not gone very far.......
but it's come up again from a newbie.

Equipment you have vs equipment you rent.
Depends alot on the type of events you cater.


I'm strictly offsite catering. Events can be continental breakfast for 120, multiple stations for several hundred, private dinners for 8+, buffets for 350...

Silver platters, both small rounds, large rounds, rectangles for passing/stationary aps

Large silver/ceramic bowls, platters with lips etc

Bread Baskets

Sauce bowls

Tongs.....lots of tongs, forks, spreaders, different size spoons

Tiered baskets/trays

Cambros, both liquid 3, 5,10 gallon (by the way the 10 gallon is way to heavy to pick up), food boxes (I've got a monster one with wheels that holds full sheet pans, it's difficult to fit in a stationwagon, it too is heavy)

Tablecloths, fluff, shtuff

Decorations....good quality silk arrangements have been worth the money.

Signage

fish boxes.....whatever would we do without plastic fish boxes

Handy tool bag with assorted tapes (masking, duct, 2 sided, regular), safety pins, sharpies, business cards, business labels, $...few bucks just because in a side pocket, sign holders, various size ziplocs, peeler, microplane, disposable gloves, parchment, breath mints, brush, salt, sugar, blow torch, matches, lighter, sizzors, paring knife and bread knife....occasionally I'll throw in an emersion blender......


Massive quantities of saran wrap.

50 and 100 cup coffee pots

numerous pitchers, numerous carafes, ice chests with wheels, ice scoops

brass laundry tubs

wood wine boxes, very very usefull for raising elevation on a table scape

Tubs (several without lids, where the heck do those lids disappear?)
7-8 bustubs with lids
numerous squirt btls different sizes

And the rolling, fold up cart that was a wonderful purchase! Wheels....love wheels....

How about it guys, what equipment do you have that is beneficial to your business.....what would you suggest to a new start up?

One of my biggest suggestions would be to visit rental companies and take of tour to see what they have. It may open your horizons.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #3 of 14
Best thing I ever did was custom outfit a truck for shipping. I had it outfitted with rack locks to make sure bakery racks loaded with sheet pans would not move or tip. Upper shelves for clean linen.hanging rack for table skirts etc. Angled shelves to hold xtra lare platters. Floor slats so dish lowarators would lock in.styrofoam insulated front area for ice shipping. (later on I added Refrig). Cost me a bundle saved ,me more plus wrote it off. After every function I did, took out some of the profit I purchased one new piece of equipment that I would not have to rent the next time. In the majority of cases this would be paid for by not renting the next 3-4 times. Purchased hot boxes and cambros when they first came out. Doubles on wheels. Almost every thing in my commissary was mobile.
Second best thing I did was to go around to every other caterer I knew and told them I could sell them items just as good if not better then what they did much cheaper. I would save them labor cost, workmans comp,vacations etc. I made money in sheer volume and became what is known in NY as a caterers caterer. Made most of their Hors d and many other things. In the beginning I broke my----- but in the end I think it was worth it.:lips:
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post #4 of 14
Our main vehicle was a normal commercial Astro-van, the only special piece of equipment we had in it was a 2 piece rubber mat. This mat was very heavy, about 3/4" thick, made of re-cyled tires I think, and skid-proof. All trays went into stacking bread cases, and the bread cases were stacked up to 8 high, in 10 years of catering with mulitple trips every day we never had an incident. No need for shelves

The next most valuble thing is a proper trolley. After several incidents with cheap trolleys and thresholds /elevator thresholds, we went for a "real" trolley. Welded steel tubes, pneumatic 4" tires- all swivel--(I don't know why every commercial trolley has fixed wheels in front and swivel in the back. This defies the logic of every car, truck, bicycle, motorcycle and farm vehicle ever made...). Once you work with 4" or larger pneumatic tires you'll never go back to cheap wheels. The trolley was sized to accept the standard "Bingo" bread tray, with sides welded to the frame of the trolley. Stacked bread trays could be bungee-corded to the trolley if desired, especially when delivering from sharp inclines/ramps, or outdoor events.

No one on this site will ever disagree that one of the most important things you'll ever need, is a good contract.......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
things I purchased and regretted......500 glass salad plates 5", they shatter easily, they are heavy, you gotta wash them after they come back from a party, if you don't have special boxes they are giggling around in the milk crate....got rid of alot of them, for large events we rent.

Glassware, rarely do we use the wineglasses. When you tack on rentals to a contract it's just easier (UNLESS you are set up to include rentals) to let them be delivered by the rental company.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #6 of 14
One gimmick a lot of NY caterers used was. To Give a price based on food and service. Tell the Host or Hostess rental was xtra. You told them and wrote out what you thought their function required. They cut a check to rental company on delivery or gave it to you made out to rental co. Therefore they thought you were giving rental at your cost. Rental co. then kicked back 15 to 20 % to the caterer for the business.
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post #7 of 14
that actually makes more sense than having it as a pass through on your books because of insurance costs (insurance rates are based on total sales) and we just were having this discussion over on the CS forum about insurance rates in NYC vs. upstate or other parts of the country. I am always astonded on how much we pay in comparision to say Tennesee. ANd our clients mostly do not drive (eg drink and drive) they take public transport or car service - but everything in NYC is both the most expensive and the cheapest

We have 3 large storage units chocked with STUFF here in NYC and another long term storage (that I want to get rid of) in Philly where its much cheaper (twice the space for half the price) and our storage here in NYC is near Kennedy airport in Queens so not even Manhattan prices which are off the charts.

We also rent most of the glassware, plates etc.
but find that forks, knives flatware, serving pieces make us more money and also give us a nicer look and handle on the whole event

we own cocktail plates - but sometimes rent too.
we own punch cups in vintage glass - have about 300 now (the racks were the most expensive part - didn't pay more than 25 cents per cup and some as low as a nickel - so great investment and not too hard to wash or schlepp in racks (key for glassware
we do own other glassware, but I am slowing getting rid of it, not worth the expense of storing, handling washing etc easy to use rental company and pass costs on but for smaller events when min. doesnt work for clients budget or needs it helps to build the order and give the client what they need.
more later, have to get back to working on our wedding of the year this weekend - the hindjew bollywood with a heart wedding OM SHALOM!
Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
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Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
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post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
I've rolled platters, serving pieces, buffet decor, buffet linens into the price of food.

More and more I use the chafers less and less.....really migrating away from menus that are heavy in hot food. I've not invested in the beautiful roll back ones.

I've got cocktail forks, asian soup spoons, long handled teaspoons...just don't really include them often.


what do you guys carry in your "tool kit" aka majic bag.....as in, staff is looking for ziplocs, hotpads, or whatever, "....mine was listed further down
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #9 of 14
I always had a chefs box A milbox filled with extra sterno, gas lighter, cornstarch bandaids, roll of string, box salt,pepper,pound or 2 coffee, plastic x large garbage bags white gloves , rubber gloves,can of charcoal starter,k towls. and anything else i can think of at last minute gets thrown in my trunk, as I am last to leave for gig.
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post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
cornstarch bandaids? what are they and why cornstarch over latex or whatever plastic ones are made of....
I use Bright comic strip charactors.....
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #11 of 14
The cornstarch is not for bandaids Its in case something has to be thickened a bit more.
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post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
LOL, thought it was a new biodegradable bandaid......
cornstarch, smart move.....
hot pads are in mine as are garbage bags, ziploc bags and box o rags towels....
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by shroomgirl View Post


I use Bright comic strip charactors.....


hi, do you mind me asking where you can buy those? thanks

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

any place that sells bandaids.....walmart, walgreens, target, pharmacies, etc.......

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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