Monday, February 1, 2010
The dictionary defines extreme as "the furthest or highest degree of something beyond a norm in actions".
and service is defined as "work done by one person or group that benefits another"
Our Services are defined by:
Arriving earlier than the standard 2 - 3 hours call time. The catering staff is selected for each event and all work well together as a team. The clients pick up on this and makes for a more pleasant event.
We are prepared for everything. If the bars are already set up with glassware, linens, runners, votives and floral arrangements and the host or facilities staff suggests a different location - We do it! No complaints, no rolling of the eyes! And you would never know from the bartender's expression that this is not an easy task.
Of course if the new location is an unworthy decision for traffic flow, we make the host aware that it's not a problem to move the bar but it may block the fire exit.
If the host is setting up brochures, swag/gift bags, anything my company was not hired to do I have a staffer volunteer assistance. This makes a favorable impression and shows we care about the entire event - not just the catering portion.
It's important to ask the host if they recycle and how would they like the garbage removed. Corporate events tend to have evening staff remove it and some social events request it be removed to a different location. We want the host to be aware that we care about the environment and the venue house rules. Most venues have this outlined in their contract.
I personally introduce the staff to the host and make sure the host knows who the "go to person is" for questions or problems if I'm not available.
Servers know every menu item that is passed: name, ingredients and how it tastes. In my opinion it's a lack of service when a waiter doesn't know if the soup was made with vegetable of chicken stock and leaves with platter in hand to find the answer. It is also a lack of service if the waiter doesn't know what the food tastes like.
Respond immediately to any request or question a guest has.
No expenses is spared to fix a problem. I don't care how costly the problem is. Fix it and fix it fast.
If the event lasts more than 3 hours and there isn't an ice machine on site, I have two ice deliveries made.
Waiters should always ask it the guest would like their drink replenished with a fresh glass. Most of the time the guest will decline but there are occasions where a fresh glass is requested or required. Woman may not feel comfortable holding a lipstick stained glass and will ask for another or by accident some food crumbs dropped in a wine glass.
We've staged events in storage rooms, coat closets and bathrooms. We make the best of the space and don't complain. Space is limited in NYC luxury stores and understandably as real estate is so expensive.
Some guests feel it's okay to go into the kitchen and taste the food prior to it being served, therefore, we keep a separate tray just for this purpose. It gives us a chance to get feedback immediately. Also, I'm very proud of the way we organize and set up off site kitchen so I welcome it.
My chef's know in advance of this policy and they like the extra recognition. Sometimes it can be difficult, especially when an entire platter falls on the floor just as a VIP walks in. I have a good response to that situation if it happens. I call it "my behind the scenes persona''.
Most important we leave the kitchen immaculate and make sure the floors are clean, carpets vacuumed and do whatever we can to conceal the rentals. Used rentals look unsitely and are generally picked up the following with a 3 hour window time. There's nothing worse than seeing a mess the next day.
Own up to any breakage and offer to replace it. If it's a valuable piece - that's what insurance is for.
My team brings plastic containers, tins with lids for leftovers and labels the food before it's put away. A survival kit is packed for each event which contains glue, tape, felt tip pen, stick pins, safety pins, airplane wire, scissors, black long tie, black belt, tweezers, stain removal, paste it notes with our name and telephone number printed on it.
If it's a home social event we leave 1/2 dozen breakfast danish.
The day after I call or email and ask it there was anything we could have done to make the event better? The feedback is great and helps us improve our services.