This post is for the Event Manager or Caterer or Host that is thinking of holding a significantly large event soon…say a large gala or conference, fundraisers, business or product launch parties, or a luxury corporate retreat.

For every successful large party or event, the two main teams successfully combining their magic together are the Events Management team and the Catering team. If you are the host of this event,  you need to have a harmonious team behind you to ensure that your event will go smoothly and seamlessly as planned.

First, let’s briefly list down the responsibilities of these two essential roles:

The Events Manager or Event Planner is responsible for planning, organizing and supervising the various elements of an event. Their tasks may or may not limited to the following:

  • Scouting for the venue, with appropriate facilities such as toilet and parking
  • Decorations, lighting and sound as specified by the event and the client
  • Booking entertainment 
  • Secures guest list from the client 
  • Producing invitations
  • Liaise with the Caterer 

The Caterer is responsible for the food and beverages, staffing of chefs, servers and other kitchen staff. Their tasks may or may not limited to the following:

  • Creates a menu plan around the client’s specific food requirement, preference and most notably, the budget
  • Works with the chef and the rest of the kitchen staff
  • Orders supplies within the catering budget
  • Serving food at an event
  • Oversees permanent and casual staff. Ensures that any kitchen staffing issues are handled, usually, if a Chef or Kitchen Stewart will be unavailable for the event, 

As a short term hire agency, Anytime Chefs usually gets called for quick relief staffing for big events. Event Managers or Head Caterers prefer to not deal with the stress and headaches of finding the right Chef. Having professional chefs and Kitchen Stewarts at the ready to fill in an unavailable staff or when the projected volume of guests is overwhelming, are among the service that we happily provide,

NEED RAPID RELIEF AND STAFFING SOLUTION? 

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There are various scenarios for how both teams are contracted for an event:

  • The Catering team already works as an in-house team for the venue 
  • The Event’s Management Team works as an in-house team for the venue 
  • Both work independently and are contracted for the event separately 
  • The Event Management Team teams up with the caterers of their choice

Generally, the two teams may know each other professionally, may or may not have worked previously together in an event or maybe total strangers from each other.

Either way,  a good harmonious relationship should be established to overcome any unfamiliarity, decrease tension, find common grounds in differing opinions, clashing personalities. 

Here are four tips to help foster a good relationship between Caterers and Event Managers:

1. Have an open communication

Planning and managing events are complex tasks that require transparent and clear communication from all participating people/vendors.

The easiest way to make an event fail is when one part of the team assumes what the other is thinking or handling and discovering the errors late in the preparation (or even during the actual event).

This is a particular challenge when both roles are strangers to one another. This is where professionalism comes in. 

Each team should be ready with their questions and expectations. Set them from the get-go.   A vendor meeting should be conducted early on in the planning process so that everyone gets to know one another, and they discuss the overall vision for the client’s event. Set aside personal bias and always have the client’s welfare as your goal.

Suggestions or ideas should be shared. One of the things I do not like during planning events is when people hold back their ideas and then when a problem is encountered as the event day approaches, they will go about with the “this should have been done” line of remarks. That attitude has been NEVER helpful, not for the client, nor their own business.

Both teams should be responsible enough to list down things that have been agreed upon or things that are still up for confirmation. This way, both are on the same page. It is easy for something to get overlooked with the constant back and forth of information, which is why checklists and planners are beneficial tools.  

Be clear with dietary specifications and instructions. This needs planning not only for buying ingredients and supplies, but also for the actual preparation and serving.


RELATED READ: 
Managing Food Allergies in Your Next Event: What You, Your Hired Chef and Team Should Know


2. Have respect for each other’s time

People who exhibit professionalism know how precious time is and will be efficient with their own time, especially more with the time of others. They make each meeting count.

Be responsible for taking down notes or providing them for the other so that you are both literally on the same page.

There comes a time with familiarity or because both teams are pros and can easily adjust to one another that some information gets lost because it is casually commented or relayed. 

Make sure that you have established a preferred method of communication for one another. Confirm which way each other prefers, whether it be email, phone, Skype calls or any of the new cross-platform voice over IP and instant messaging software applications for the iPhone or Android.  

When you need clarification on something, take the time to review emails and your notes before calling the other team. Unless otherwise encouraged by one of the teams, be responsible enough to limit contacting unless genuinely urgent. Some may think that there is no such thing as “over communicating” when it comes to planning an event. The main point here is that you make each talk, email or update purposeful. 

They can share a list that is updated by the Event Manager for an agreed period, say every month, where all changes in the original agreement are indicated, just so that everyone is on the same page. 


3. Accessibility

Planning for an event can be a lengthy process. Sometimes it takes up to a year or even more. 

Both Caterers and Event Managers should make themselves accessible and responsive along the way, most notably as the big date draws near.  There can be several last minute changes and having the other be available for confirmations can reduce stress for both parties.

If someone reaches out to you, respond to them as soon as you can. Respond promptly and appropriately. 


4. Be Patient

One team may feel the pressure more than the other. Sometimes, one can feel annoyed if they are not familiar with how the other works. If there are differences in work practices and work ethics, open it up and discuss with the other team. There is always a reason behind everything and bringing up concerns politely will help both parties assess the situation. 


In Summary:

The beauty of a harmonious working relationship between caterers and event managers is that aside from executing a client’s dream event, they are also building mutually beneficial relationships with one another.

This mutual relationship will open up more opportunities/referrals from other clients or event professionals as well.

Be respectful and professional. 

You are reflecting your brand within this event, which is why it is vital that you showcase it by aligning with your values.

That’s it for this week.

As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!

 

Ciao for now,
Thomas


 


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