The Caterers Corner
Bridal shows Caterers Corner: Bridal shows
By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Sunday, November 07, 2004 - 03:52 pm: Edit

Has anyone had much experience with bridal shows,Bridal expo etc, we're looking at renting a caterers booth in Jan 05, the cost seems cheap enough $1K.

I attended one show 5 yrs ago but I wasn't thinking catering back then, so I didn't pay any attention or recall if caterers did that show, I don't remember if there were any caterer's in attendance. There were a lot of photographers, tux rentals , florists etc etc.

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Sunday, November 07, 2004 - 04:04 pm: Edit

Here is my take on Bridal Shows. Most of the Brides attending have already made their desicions. The trick is to market to the mothers of thoes brides that have other daughters and to the Bride's Maids, the people hat will be getting married one or two years in the future. The first year you may not get any leads, the second you will get some and it will increase after that.
Th9ink about some kind of swag to hand out. Try to link the swag to getting information to add to your data base.

By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Sunday, November 07, 2004 - 05:23 pm: Edit

CHef, I was afraid you would say that, I thought there must be some reason I don't remember any caterers at the show. I was sober that day too.!

I'll let my crew read this, we're choosing between doing the bride expo or going to the caterin expo in Vegas, Vegas would cost us 3 times the bridal show. This is our first yr in catering , money is tight but do-able , gulp.

If we skipped everything we'd be in fine $hape but my crew has zero experience except what they get from me, I think I need to fast track them.

Regards, Gerard

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Sunday, November 07, 2004 - 09:00 pm: Edit

Yep, did three of them, one was good, two were nightmares. Cheftim is right, you need some kind of swag, but you also need someone to do the talking, and have some menus with prices, preferably a brochure. And Cheftim is also right about the mother of the bride, she's the one forking out $$, so she's the one who gets the attention.

When looking at boothspace here are a couple of things to consider: Where will you be located? Ideally between other caterers and cake people.
If you're stuck behind a pillar next to the stretch-limo guy, you can write your weekend off..
Will there be other caterers or some kind of food available? At my last show, there were supposed to be three other caterers, all who dropped out a week before the show. Every two hours there was a fashion show, and after the show we would get hit with a thousand hungry, impatient, and conniving females. And not only the females, the male models from the show, and all the other booth attendants would hit us for free food samples as well. Lemme tell ya, true diplomacy is telling someone to got to hell in such a way that they actually look forward to the trip. We lost big bucks on that one.

So if you want to do a show, you need food samples, a brochure (at least 3-4000 copies), and the right booth. If you're lucky, you'll get 30 responses of which you might get 3 weddings--now don't get dissapointed--once you do the thre 3 weddings you've got experience and most importantly, bragging rights for doing so- and-so's weddings. It will snowball, but it takes time

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Sunday, November 07, 2004 - 09:10 pm: Edit

Are you talking about the Cater Source Conference & Tradeshow next January? I've heard form more than just Carl that the money spent is worth it.

By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 07:08 pm: Edit

YEs thanks, its Catersource, my crew really needs it but the problem is , they don't know what they don't know.

We've done some very nice events already but they have to follow me and I don't want them to be dependant on me, I'd prefer they develop some original ideas for buffet setups etc of their own.

We'll have to think all this over a bit.
REgards, Gerard

By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 04:45 am: Edit

OK, seeing as bridal shows are not so great ,whats your experience with advertising in the bridal mags ?
Is it better bang for the buck?
Regards, Gerard

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 09:40 pm: Edit

It's easier. No freebies to hand out, no booth costs, no staffing costs, don't need brochures. On the other hand you'll have to fork out for the advert, assuming you've got some kind of idea of the ad you want: lay-out, photos, blurb, etc. If you don't have the above mentioned resources to throw around, an ad is a better way to go until you find the right show.

By Ladycake (Ladycake) on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 08:01 pm: Edit

Here, in California's central valley, the bridal shows are only held twice a year and have been very useful for cake businesses. It is easy to make cakes and cut small bite for not too much $$$. Catering is so different because you have all the people just looking for freebies. As above, they swamp you and eat your food just for the free lunch, with no intention of ever using your services.

Photos have worked well for us (great big ones) and if you have magazine photos of your stuff, so much the better. Really nice pamphlets, glossy, lots of pics are good.

The best way (around here) to grow your catering business is to get on the lists of the locations. That way you are in the groove when the bride is shopping. If the locations recommend you, you are in!

By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Saturday, November 13, 2004 - 04:43 am: Edit

Thanks guys,
yes we are on a few venue lists already.
I have seen the wedding cake vendors at a bridal show, but I don't want that business unless I get the whole shebang. For many yrs I sold just the cakes to other caterers and now I'm in position , new facility, to do the whole job.

I don't have any photo's of food, its never struck me as being worth looking at compared to a cake, I suppose its all in the props, the food seems to play second fiddle to the style of plate its on.
Last week a guy asked me "whats a leek". Sad,.

By Ginamiriam (Ginamiriam) on Friday, November 19, 2004 - 12:23 am: Edit

Your money would be better spent attending Catersource. From my experience, bridal shows are a waste as is advertising in bridal publications unless you actually have a venue of your own. Just my 2 cents. Gina

By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Friday, November 19, 2004 - 08:55 am: Edit

Well its like this, I know how to run a catering biz, we're new here but I've been in the biz 30 yrs. Catersource doesn't appeal to me, it seems theres a lot of emphasis on the props and trends.

I recently answered a survey as to why 95% of caterers never attend catering expos or conferences,probably most don't even need to.

But some respondants said they have been and it looked more like a social clique. I think they are expressing the sentiment that the conference organizers are not catering to their needs, or the organizers are not communicating something properly.

I attended a Mike Roman seminar , we were already doing most of his suggestions.

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