The Caterers Corner
Olive Branch... Caterers Corner: Olive Branch...
By George (George) on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 08:28 pm: Edit

I understand there will be some kind of event of interest to Caterers in Vegas soon. Any cantankerous bourbon drinkers know anything about it. ;<)


By Catergreat (Catergreat) on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 12:14 pm: Edit

Yes, George, as a matter of fact there is....
January 13-16 will be the dates for the largest gathering of professional caterers in the world...there is great education and fellowship.

I have been 7 years in a row and never fail to completely pay for my trip (including losses at the tables...) with all the money saving/making ideas I get.

The thing I like about it is the networking with the other caterers.... I get as much from that as anything... That is what I always enjoyed about this site is the ideas exchanged....

I am not sure of the name of the event... CaterSource Update 2003, or something like that.... ;>)

If you want any further info, just ask...

thanks g,


By George (George) on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 01:49 pm: Edit

Very interesting.

Carl could you give us some examples of the knowledge you gained?


By Catergreat (Catergreat) on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 04:42 pm: Edit

At first, 8 years ago, I was a part time caterer, spending most of my efforts in my restaurants... So, the first couple I attended, I was like a sponge soaking up simple principles of catering and dreaming of being able to apply the more controversial and advanced principles....

So intially, I was finding equipment I didn't know existed that helped tremendously, learned new menus to cater, learn marketing and advertising strategies which was the biggest payoff...

Year 1 I did 60k in catering
Year 2 160k
Year 3 240k
Year 4 425k
Year 5 650k
Year 6 780k
Year 7 900k
and next year I plan on 1.1 million

I credit my personal talent as being 30% responsible for my success, 45% CaterSource events and seminars, 20% online forums such as this (commissions george?), 5% luck.

I would be happy to discuss details...


By George (George) on Thursday, December 05, 2002 - 09:43 am: Edit

Hi Carl,

I must have been unclear, I was asking for some information, specifics, and examples of what you learned there that might be of use to a visitor here. (Information not infomercial)

BTW you have certainly given more here than you have received, but I will definitely take what every you will give as a commission. However Iíd much prefer some examples of the information you have gained.


By Catergreat (Catergreat) on Thursday, December 05, 2002 - 04:39 pm: Edit

I got the olive branch reference, I just didn't understand "ya, Learned! Not Earned..."
Nothing to apologize about, I enjoy good humor, I just didn't understand it...., still don't


Here are a few more examples of money saving and money making ideas I gotten at previous CaterSource Conferences that have been critical to my success...

Unique Plate Up system that really works and speeds things up with less labor.

Various checklist that are invaluable to the operation.

"emergency boxes" for the van.

Very strong sales techiques for answering objections, closing the sale.

Image improving methods through the creation of separate divisions in my company.

Pricing strategies such as oddball pricing, to make my bids stand out back when all things seemed to be equal regarding competition. Now our reputation and image is so strong, the strategies are less necessary.

More pricing techniques such as matrix pricing to allow for various sizes of groups and still make money at any number.

Buffet building ideas. Dozens of ideas on materials, lighting, linen, props, themes and sources.

The wedding information is too complex just as most of the concepts above to list here. But it has been essential to my success in my wedding division.

This year, Matt, the guy you blew off the other day, ;>) is teaching a session on "Websites: Do's & Don'ts"

The most profitable concept was information on how to do an on premise banquet hall. It saved me thousands of dollars in silly mistakes I didn't have to make.

The absolute best is the networking with other caterers from around the country and the relationships I have built. I cannot put a price on that!

I could go on, but will be happy to answer any specific questions about any of these ideas.

Thanks for allowing me to share it, Georgeorgeorgeorgeorgeorgeorge......!


By George (George) on Thursday, December 05, 2002 - 07:30 pm: Edit

What is-
"oddball pricing"
I'm familiar with the bulk of the rest of the stuff but don't have a clue what that is.

BTW Carl, don't feel a need to answer immediately. I realize that this is getting into the craziest/busiest time of the year. (even Iím getting called for party work)

If fact if you wish I can delete the "Add a Message" box temporarily, until after the New Year so we can have a chance to explore the above and the new stuff when it slows down. (That will help keep this potentially interesting thread from turning into a 1 liner fest)



By Ladycake (Ladycake) on Friday, December 06, 2002 - 11:39 am: Edit

Catergreat - Is the gathering about seminars, presentations, and classes, or is it more booths and things like that? If there are classes, is there a charge for getting in the door and additional charge for seminars? Is it a one time fee? How much does it cost you, on average to attend, not counting rooms, food, travel, etc.?

By Catergreat (Catergreat) on Friday, December 06, 2002 - 02:57 pm: Edit

Ok, I don't want to push my luck and repaired relationship with George, so feel free to delete... but here is the registration site with all the information about cost....

It is 2 full days of seminars on various subjects.... Michael Roman is an educator/guru of catering... He IS focused on educating caterers and providing an information filled conference... you are free to attend any of the classes. I split up my staff and have them attend the seminar which will mostly benefit them. I go where I want, of course...

And yes there is a registration fee to attend. It is in the ballpark of 700.00. There is a special rate at the Paris and Bally's, but you are free to use other hotels and shuttle over...

Yes there is a great trade show with booths and vendors..... It is a very helful trade show with great prices, however that is not the focus of the conference, just a perk....



By Catergreat (Catergreat) on Saturday, December 07, 2002 - 12:05 pm: Edit

Oddball pricing is a very interesting concept...

Prices are usually 19.95 or 20.00 or 19.75...
They appear to be rounded off, of course...

In an effort to look different, it was suggested that we use oddball pricing such as, 19.93, 19.77
or 20.13.

Some of the more analytical personalities will think you are trying to give them an accurate quote that you took the time to sharpen your pencil and cut out the fluff....

Most assume you have rounded UP anyways... It is just another way a caterer can look different than their competition.... Matched with other unique concepts, this further set you apart as the creative caterer....

any thoughts?


By George (George) on Monday, December 09, 2002 - 11:39 am: Edit

I don't think on a conscious level it would help much, but subconsciously it might.

Are there any case study type info that shows it does help?


By Catergreat (Catergreat) on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 01:50 am: Edit

ok, george,

it may be subconscious and it may effect only certain personalities, but I think the main point is to appear to be different than the crowd... the caterer who pays attention to details

no case studies to my knowledge, it is more a theory that many caterer throughout the U.S. have adopted in their pricing strategies...


By Snuffaluff (Snuffaluff) on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 10:00 am: Edit

About the pricing "technique"... does this round to the nearest dollar after tax is included? I never understood why we have change? Why aren't all the prices rounded to the nearest dollar so that we only have to use bills? Maybe I'm just a young guy that doesn't know better.....

By George (George) on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 - 01:43 pm: Edit

Thanks Carl.

Snuff- The sales tax issue would not make a real difference in a catering environment since the price is multiplied by the guarantee or the amount purchased, so it isnít a real issue.

In a high volume retail situation it might help to adjust the prices to round off with the sales tax.

Just an FYI after visiting the Cater Source site I noticed that they offer a money back guarantee for folks that attend all 4 days of conferences. If you can make it, it sounds like a winner to me.

Iím going to shut this down till after the event and then hopefully Carl can enlighten us with some of the new knowledge he has acquired.