Have you ever had a catered meal that just wasn’t up to par? A carry out meal that when you got it home just wasn’t what you expected? It’s about quality at the end that counts.
This week I have been to several catered events and tastings. One was actually by a caterer, another by a local restaurant. The core ingredients were high quality. The preparation techniques were solid. The difference was a focus on delivering a quality product. In one event, there was a temporary kitchen on site to prepare items because that’s what it took to deliver a quality finished product at consumption. This brand was well represented with staff on hand to serve and describe the product as well. The quality of the product that the guests received was representative of the brand’s reputation.
In another event, the product was prepared off site and delivered to the event. In this case, the finished product quality was far lower than expected at consumption. But they used high quality ingredients. The company dropped off the product earlier in the day for a third-party to serve. The brand here was also looking to introduce their product to potential customers. They fell short.
So how do you know what the right preparation and delivery is for your products?
1. Start at the end. How and where will the product be delivered to the consumer. Are there facilities to properly hold warm or cold items? Is there an area to finish or prepare product? Do you have someone on your staff available to stay at the event until all food is gone?
2. Test the food items in the environment. How long does the product maintain its integrity?
3. Plan the menu based on your findings.
4. Have someone attend the event to make sure the product is delivered in a quality manner and your brand message is delivered.
5. Talk to guests and make sure they are satisfied.
Keep the focus on the delivering a quality product with a quality experience. It sounds easy but takes preparation and extra effort in many cases. The extra effort pays off in maintaining the integrity of the brand and gaining new customers. Make sure the quality at the end meets your expectations.