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More and more clubs are opening their doors to folks seeking a catered affair. Catering can be a great way to increase revenues at your club. It can also bring in new members who enter the club for a party and like what they see. Here are a few catering fundamentals to make sure things go smoothly.
Create Atmosphere With Your Club
Make sure the location for on site catering has something special. Use what you have and play it up to make guests feel pampered at the wedding, bar mitzvah or fundraiser.
If, for instance, you're a yacht club, the choices are obvious. Have a reception hall available as well as an upgrade package that includes partying on a yacht. A locale that has plenty of land area and a great view—plus at least a few months a year of great weather—cries out for garden parties. A gazebo or lake will also afford you the perfect area for a catered affair.
If you'll also be offering off-premises catering, be discriminating. NEVER accept a locale without visiting it first, in person. See how their kitchen and staff operate and scope out accessibility and safety, as your own staff will be there preparing and serving.
Be prepared to tote anything and everything to the locale, from dishes to tables to lighting, if necessary. Have a few options (dish sets, etc.) set to go before opening up an off-premises catering option to your club guests. Remember that items that can break, will, so choose wisely and reserve your party best for your own club locale if possible. Simply not having to transport certain items will cut down on the possibility of loss.
Run Party Packages
Complete packages, with a little wiggle room in any given category, make things easier for your clients and also for you. Be ready to be flexible, but do have a plan to lay out in front of your client as a starting point.
Typically, catering businesses offer different menu options for different types of events. Weddings, of course, are standard with a minimum of appetizer, meal and cake courses. Bar mitzvahs, Sweet Sixteens, fundraisers and corporate holiday parties will vary. Have one or two buffet packages, several sit-down dinner packages and at least two wedding options (one evening wedding option and the other more budget-friendly).
Cater to Your Client's Budget
Speaking of budgets, don't forget that your client has one. Be diplomatic when discussing expenses; no one wants to feel he or she is taking the “cheaper” option. Make sure you have a gold standard and then, for instance, a gold standard-plus.
Though you want to be conscious of your client's budget, NEVER use the actual word “budget;” instead, deliver the feel of upscale pamperdness no matter where your client wishes to draw the financial line.
No matter what type of affair you cater, and where (on- or off-premises), do whatever you can to make sure your client leaves the experience happy. This almost certainly goes without saying, but we would be remiss by not repeating it here. As always, word of mouth and networking will remain your best options for keeping club members and gaining new ones. So make sure you offer a catering experience that's top-notch—and worthy of the client base that's been so loyal to your club.
Written by: Melanie Henson