I wanted to make you aware of some very interesting discussions currently on the Association of Catering Professionals group at Linked In.
Basically the threads there are buzzing about how clients, including brides and wedding planners, are expecting too much from caterers without being willing to pay for their demands; more specifically, the buzz is that it's the caterers, among event professionals, including rentals companies, that are most often asked to be flexible. I know this is true also. We have a policy book in which we outline where we are flexible and where not, but we do tend to be asked to be flexible more than other event professionals in the area that we work with.
Since I am the business and marketing manager for my husband's catering and events business but also the owner of an event services and design business (which provides event services to my husband's business's events, it's a tax strategy), I see the 360 view and I wanted to put out to you wedding planners--consider whether you are targeting caterers as the most vulnerable in your supply chain for your events or not. People assume that there is leeway with food more than non-perishable inventory and there is some, but food costs have gone up in the last year or two, especially. I also want to suggest that wedding planners help bridal couples see that if they can't afford a sit-down dinner they should go for something less expensive but still tasteful and elegant, such as hors d'oeuvres. Yes, reality check time.
Most of us in the Association of Catering Professionals group in LI are in our 40s or older and we're astounded by how the twenty and thirtysomethings (and this same group in corporate catering too) want catering that is more expensive than their budget allows and expect caterers to accomodate that. Too many do, but I have a feeling that the "we're not going to take it anymore" mindset has just about sunk in across the country. We have a bride next week that tried to get out of minimum guarantee clause in the contract she signed with us and we just said that we couldn't do the reception and that she obviously did not read the contract; we reinforced the last day to pay, seven days before the wedding. They paid. In fact, I intend to blog (http://bit.ly/9OepuP ) about event services contracts this week!