In the event industry, we all know that feeling before an event - we have a surge of energy - and are reviewing essential details and making sure our personal timeline is on track. We are all hustling to make sure we are in the right place at the right time - and may feel like a meeting might "interrupt" our own plan - but we have found that the meeting is just the right thing to keep everyone on track. An article from CaterSource highlights these points:
WHY HAVE THE PRE-SHIFT?
Sets the tone. Sure, we are throwing a party. We are, however, professionals and because there is food and alcohol doesn’t mean we can throw caution the wind. There are parameters that are not to be breached.
Informs the staff of various important event-specific details such as the menu, timing and responsibilities, safety instructions, and interacting with VIPs.
Provides quick public recognition of staff’s previous outstanding work.
WHAT TO COVER
Interactions with guests:
The six-foot rule: When you are within six feet of a guest, you acknowledge them. Smile and say, “Good evening” or “Hello.” Make the guests feel comfortable. They may also make a request.
Be friendly – not familiar: Refrain from jumping into the guest’s conversations, asking for autographs, or offering your latest screenplay. Avoid any discussion with guests of politics, religion, and also limit conversation to aspects of the event.
Corners and blind spots: Remind staff to call “corner!” when carrying trays or hot pans as they approach.
Potential hazards: Point out low-level lighting, surface transitions, and trip areas such as tapped down cables, water puddles, and stairs.
Read more details in this CaterSource article.
Yes - it was indeed Christmas in September at The Mezzanine event space last night! The expansive and glorious venue hosted an open house to get event planners thinking about where to host upcoming holiday soirees. With their floor-to-ceiling windows, convenient downtown FiDi location, and state-of-the-art kitchen, we're sure it will be a hit with planners and guests alike! Oh - and with delectable bites from Riviera Caterers, we are officially in the mood for the holidays!
When duty calls, we must answer - and if that duty calls for us spending a sunny summertime afternoon in The Hamptons - then so be it! Needless to say, our service staff had a wonderful day at the #JPSummerSoiree at the glorious Judy Pak Studio. Our front-of-house team served up delectable bites by On The Marc Events and made sure all service tasks were covered. Surrounded by elite event industry professionals, this summer celebration was one for the books!
Ice cream: @malai_icecream
Thanks to MEET on Bowery meeting space for a lovely New York City evening last night at their downtown Rosé on the Rooftop event. We had the opportunity to catch up with fellow event professionals and enjoy the beautiful Manhattan skyline view from their private roof garden. Their 7th floor 2,500 square foot penthouse space inside has a loft with large windows, exposed brick walls, stunning wooden ceiling beams - with areas that can be customized for meetings, meals or breakouts. Thanks again MEET on Bowery - looking forward to next time!
Events take meticulous planning and execution to be a complete success - especially when produced on a large scale - and outdoors (!) with various New York City weather issues that may need to be considered. In our opinion, the best way to prepare for these types of events is with the right staff - to bring a positive attitude, strong customer service skills, and endurance to ensure the event is enjoyed by the guests from start to finish!
This week our staff had the pleasure of working on the New York City waterfront, which reminds us of important outdoor event planning tips to keep in mind:
Working in the event and hospitality industry, ensuring that the guests we serve are happy is of utmost importance. All of the events are planned for individuals and groups that will be remembered as a unique experience and an affair to remember. There will always be guests who may not be familiar with the event or venue - so we want to make sure we have as much information as possible and/or know the right person to ask for detailed information to get answers or assistance. We are responsible for contributing to a special experience by making the best impression - by knowing the occasion, the space, menu, product, beverages, etc. Below are our Top 5 Customer Service Tips that we ask all of our service staff to keep in mind when working an event. Whether they are a server, host, brand ambassador, bartender, registration staff, or event cook/culinary staff, these tips are top priority:
Be a Good Listener: Take the time to identify customer/guest needs by asking questions and concentrating on what the customer/guest is really saying. Listen to their words, the tone of voice, body language, and most importantly, how they feel.
Make Customers/Guests Feel Important and Appreciated: Treat them as individuals. Always use their name and find ways to compliment them, but be sincere.
Appreciate the Power of "Yes": Always look for ways to help your customers. When they have a request (as long as it is reasonable) tell them that you can do it.
Give More Than Expected: Since the future of all companies lies in keeping customers happy, think of ways to elevate yourself above the competition. Consider the following:
Body Language Is Key: Be sure that your body language conveys sincerity. Your words and actions should be congruent.
Read more Customer Service Tips here...
Considering Street Team Marketing to help build your business? Now that the warm summer weather is here in New York City, this approach may be just the way to go! For our most recent street team initiative, our staff members were promoting a publication and some fabulous sunglasses right in the heart of Midtown Manhattan - so they were able to catch the attention of both commuters and local New Yorkers.
The American Marketing Association has some great tips on this topic.
When is it time to "hit the streets"?
Street marketing may not be right for every business, but there are a few easy ways to determine if this strategy will benefit your company. Ask yourself the following questions:
How can street marketing help my business grow?
"Grassroots" street marketing efforts offer businesses a unique opportunity – the chance to connect with a targeted audience without relying on a third-party medium, such as Internet ads or television commercials. Businesses can set up a display, marketing table, or banner in a public area where potential customers are congregating.
Check out the American Marketing Association blog here for more helpful info!
As our front of house service staff swiftly prepares for this New York City catered seated dinner, we are inspired to review the standards for Formal Place Settings. Having all the details in place put that nice final touch on any event.
The formal place setting is typically used for a meal of more than three courses, such as a dinner party or a holiday meal.
Photo Credit: emilypost.com
The placement of utensils is guided by the menu, the idea being that you use utensils in an “outside in” order. For the illustrated place setting here, the order of the menu is:
(b) Butter Plate: The small butter plate is placed above the forks at the left of the place setting.
(c) Dinner Fork: The largest of the forks, also called the place fork, is placed on the left of the plate. Other smaller forks for other courses are arranged to the left or right of the dinner fork, according to when they will be used.
(d) Fish Fork: If there is a fish course, this small fork is placed to the left of the dinner fork because it is the first fork used.
(e) Salad Fork: If the salad is served after the entrée, the small salad fork is placed to the right of the dinner fork, next to the plate. If the salad is to be served first, and fish second, then the forks would be arranged (left to right): salad fork, fish fork, dinner fork.
(f) Dinner Knife: The large dinner knife is placed to the right of the dinner plate.
(g) Fish Knife: The specially shaped fish knife goes to the right of the dinner knife.
(h) Salad Knife (Note: there is no salad knife in the illustration): If used, according to the above menu, it would be placed to the left of the dinner knife, next to the dinner plate. If the salad is to be served first, and fish second, then the knives would be arranged (left to right): dinner knife, fish knife, salad knife.
(i) Soup Spoon or Fruit Spoon: If soup or fruit is served as a first course, then the accompanying spoon goes to the right of the knives.
(j) Oyster Fork: If shellfish are to be served, the oyster fork goes to the right of the spoons. Note: It is the only fork ever placed on the right of the plate.
(k) Butter Knife: The small spreader is paced diagonally on top of the butter plate, handle on the right and blade down.
(l) Glasses: These are placed on the right, above the knives and spoons. They can number up to five and are placed in the order they will be used. When there are more than three glasses, they can be arranged with smaller glasses in front. The water goblet (la) is placed directly above the knives. Just to the right are placed a red (lc) or white (ld) wine glass. A sherry glass or champagne flute (le), to accompany a first course or for an opening toast, go to the right of the wine glasses. Glasses used for a particular course are removed at the end of the course.
(m) Napkin: The napkin is placed on top of the charger (if one is used) or in the space for the plate. It can also go to the left of the forks, or under the forks if space is tight.
Everything on your table should be crisp and sparkling. White linens are still considered the most formal, but colored or patterned tablecloths or place mats, and napkins can be just as elegant. Other possible elements include candles, a centerpiece or multiple flower arrangements, and place cards. Place mats (if used) are entered in front of each chair, about one to two inches from the edge of the table. A tablecloth is spread to hang evenly on each end and on the sides. The average drop is 12 to 18 inches, but don’t worry if it is a little long or short—you just don’t want it hanging too low, or it will end up in the diners’ laps.
The most formal table is strictly symmetrical: centerpiece in the exact center, an even number of candlesticks, place settings spaced evenly around the table, silverware lined up and at the same distance from the edge of the table. The space not taken up by place settings is your available real estate. Feel free to vary flower arrangements and decorations as you like, creating a balanced and pleasing tablescape. Be careful not to overcrowd the table, and arrange your decorations so diners seated opposite can see each other.
Credit to Emily Post for all of the formal place setting essentials. Read more here:
A sunny New York City day combined with a scenic waterfront location would make just about anyone smile - but a proper bar set-up is essential when working at an outdoor catered event. It's that feeling of really being prepared when the guests start to arrive that inspires confidence to start the event on the right foot.
Here are our Top 3 Tips for Proper Bar Set Up For Catered Events:
1) Place a small bucket or bus tub with water in it for yourself.
This way you can easily rinse things like mixing tins, wash rags, spoons, etc. Just make sure you change out the water regularly.
2) Keep a close eye on ice.
Generally if you are about half way out of ice, its time to fill up. Keep in mind that it can take a while to retrieve or receive the ice. That’s why it’s better to prepare way in advance.
3) Standardize the set up.
With a catered bar, you usually have more limited space and supplies. The last thing you want when you’re bar catering a busy event is to waste time looking for vodka when someone orders a martini.
Cheers to a festive spring and summer event season - filled with sunshine, smiles, and happy guests!
Read more here:
Now that the beautiful warm and sunny weather is here in New York City, we are really appreciating the venues where our staff may work events - that utilize both the indoors and outdoors. One of our favorites is Dobbin St in Williamsburg, Brooklyn - which fully maximizes it's location, being so close to McCarren Park and convenient subway stations, and having a multi-level event space, complete with a rooftop space, perfect for appreciating the Manhattan skyline.
Our event service staff had the pleasure of working at the Adidas Runners NYC launch party at this venue. The participants and attendees started the event off atop the rooftop terrace for an evening stretch - and then hit the pavement for a "quick" 5k jog around Williamsburg. The event finished up with a film presentation and dance party. Sounds like a great way to spend a spring day in New York City - and we were ecstatic to be a part of it. Looking forward to next time!...
What makes Chef Christian stand out to us? When it comes to providing staff for our clients, experience and expertise are top priorities - which is why Chef Christian is one of our go-to's for kitchen and culinary prowess. Plus his willingness to help out the team in any way needed is like gold - especially in the event and staffing industry! Thanks Chef Christian for all of your hard work - Tapuz and our clients appreciate it! More info on Chef Christian here.
As part of of our Venue Site Visit Series, this week our Sales & Marketing Manager Nandini Austin stopped by New Lab in Brooklyn Yards, New York City and met with Stephanie Hemshrot, their Director of Programming & Events, to find out why the space is not your average venue. Check out this informative Q & A...
Tell me about the unique architecture. It seems like a combo of the old and new.
New Lab's home is a century-old shipbuilding factory in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The expansive space, and its long history of being a center for manufacturing, inspired the development of New Lab as a hub for advanced technologies, from robotics and AI to vertical farming and solar energy. Our beautiful 84,000 square foot flagship includes space and resources for our on-site community of entrepreneurs, as well an expansive offering of event spaces to host provocative conversations, dinners, and original programming.
So New Lab is not simply an event space? Who else is in the building ?
Well it's home to over 100 member companies, each which has its own story of innovative work relating to sustainability, the future of cities, and the intersection of technology and human experience. Our event spaces are designed to serve as a loudspeaker to help tell the stories of innovation happening on-site.
Tell us about the events you host?
All events hosted here tie into our mission of supporting crucial work and advancing the intersection of technology and the human experience—whether it be a panel discussion about Mars exploration or a salon dinner or venture capital funding for scaling advanced tech companies.
It sounds like New Lab is a robust community that is always percolating with activity and exciting stories. How you do you publicize these?
New Lab tells these stories through its monthly zine, Tech Fancy--and is crackling with great stories, as each of our 100+ member companies are developing exciting new technologies every day. We decided to capture and tell some of these stories ourselves—each issue of our monthly zine and newsletter explores members doing work in a particular theme (from food innovation to blockchain).
Tell me about your programming ?
We include quarterly conversation series that will launch next fall, focusing on topics related to the work happening here, like medical tech innovation and artificial intelligence. We think a lot about the intersection of technology and people, and what it is like to live and work alongside new technologies. This lends itself to some serious dinner table conversations! We are launching our own quarterly series in the coming months to bring these types of discussions to a platform large enough for the public to join in on.
To host an event or to learn more about what's going on at New Lab, please reach out to email@example.com.
With Passover and Easter all in one week, our kitchen assistants and servers have been busy providing helping hands for all of those New York City home cooks out there hosting dinners this week. We have a few tips to keep in mind:
1) DON'T attempt a maiden voyage.
2) DON'T apologize for the food.
3) DO accept some help--if you want it.
Read more tips here.
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday! #happypassover #happyeaster #homecook #holidaydinners
Last night our team had the pleasure of attending an event at a fabulous venue The Mezzanine by Bond Collective in New York City's Financial District! We loved the chandeliers and decor - and the delicious catering by Riviera Catering!
Photo Credit: Nino Marcutti
Last week our Sales and Marketing Manager, Nandini Austin, ventured over to Queens from our Midtown Manhattan staffing office to visit one of favorite New York City venues, Sound River Studios. Check out her take on the site visit...
It was unusually cold the day I visited this warehouse / gallery space on the Long Island City waterfront. I felt the rain turn into big frost flakes hit which my cheeks and made my eyes water. Exiting the Court Square subway station, I recalled the directions I'd been given: "Walk down 44th Drive toward the Manhattan skyline of the city. When you reach the river, we're on the left side of the street. Give a call when you arrive." As I drew near the end of the street, my jaw dropped at the amazing views from Sound River Studios.
Una, who manages the venue with her colleague Steve, was in the midst of supervising a load-in for Dessert Goals, a two-weekend event filled with muffins, candies, cakes, ice cream and sweets of every variety. In such a large venue, she told me, events with multiple vendors is not unusual.
We walked around this 5500+ square-foot, year-round event space, exiting onto the dockside terrace which features their own dock from which you can charter a private yacht during events. The fading letters of the former Sabrosa warehouse give the exterior a rustic look. The venue also boasts 28' ceilings, ten skylights, and a large catering kitchen. The white walls offer event planners and clients great versatility for any type of function, from corporate branding events and social gathering to film and photo shoots, art exhibitions or fashion events.
Una's hospitality made me feel most welcome, and she encouraged me to return once the weather became warmer to enjoy the beautiful evenings at their sister bar, Anable Basin Sailing Bar & Grill, a beloved neighborhood establishment attracting diverse crowds all summer long. I can't wait!
This week our Sales and Marketing Manager, Nandini Austin, had a moment to catch up with venue expert Gabriella Wood from Kagency in New York City to discuss what’s hot and trending in the events world--from pop-ups to instagrammable DJs. Read on to learn more...
So what type of venues are proving favorite this year?
For the past few years, our bookings with our real estate partners have tripled--so I would say empty, commercial real estate are the front-runner for space. More than ever, clients are looking to for that wow factor, the surprise element so a temporary space adds a certain sex appeal. Clients utilize the space for short-term marketing opportunities such as pop-up shops, collection showcases, and product launches.
What can clients do to differentiate their events?
Two-Fold. Find new and unusual talent. Clients want something novel to take their event to the next level. Talented DJs with major Instragam followings are sort of a must-have these days: from May Kwok to Hesta Prynn. Mad Marj and Alex Merrell all globe-trotting DJs playing for major brands. Alex Merrell just celebrated her 10th-year DJing and most recently spun at the Fox Searchlight Hulu official Golden Globes party. DJ Mad Marj spun in Lisbon, Portugal at Giancarlo Giammetti’s birthday party. 2nd, I would say technology--there are SO many new ways to interact with guests, I suspect we will see a lot of VR/AR this year at client events.
How has AV and technology changed this year?
AV & lighting technologies are constantly evolving. I see smaller and smaller rigs coming in that are twice as powerful as what we used to have--making the tech side of the event less visible. Especially with projectors and moving image, loads of new ways to play in spaces without having to do actual decals. I think the biggest change has been the social media aspect of technology, producers have to create a moment that photographs well for an Instagram post or Snapchat and something that gives the brands legs beyond the four walls of the event--hopefully going viral.
As people are looking for more immersive type food and drink experiences, what’s popular right now in the catering arena?
I guess my theme is social media--beyond the incredible creativity in theming food and drink, the caterers food not only has to be great tasting but easily photographed. Drinkers are becoming more discerning so they expect high-quality specialty cocktails and virgin drinks. So hiring a top mixologist like The Cocktail Architect who can create high-quality cocktails and unique bar activation will inevitably elevate the event.
Our client's production of an airline marketing event at 201 Mulberry was a big hit as well!
How are planners marketing their events?
Back to social media--we event have clauses now in our talent agreements about social media added-value work--those Instagram posts are immediate, we don't have to wait for Page Six or People Magazine to come out anymore. A lot of clients ask for “high-foot traffic” areas so that their event can get more exposure from passersby. We are also doing media buying for our event clients, both the traditional billboard buys as well as in window displays in our commercial real estate properties, such as the in front of Penn Plaza Pavilion/Pennsylvania Hotel right across the street from Penn Station
The hustle and bustle of the event industry usually is a 24-7 task - but sometimes we like to take a moment to enjoy our beautiful Southern Arizona surroundings, while taking a scenic hike throughout Catalina State Park!
When planning a daytime business meeting or corporate conference, it's important to have all areas covered - by both front of house and back of house staff. This type of event can be very different from - say for example - a full-service catered cocktail reception because the food and beverage may be dropped off - and the attendees and guests may be greeted by a registration staff member - but it is important to have all of these positions manned.
At a recent New York City event of this type, we had our Greeter/Registration Staff checking guests in - and our Kitchen Assistant keeping the food and beverage organized and maintained - so the event planners can focus on their tasks at hand. We love supporting our fellow event professional colleagues!
Being in the hospitality industry, providing the best service to our clients is always on the top of our list. And as we know - details always count - even down to the garnishes at the bar. One may wonder - what is the correct way to prepare these?...
To Flame an Orange Peel
This is a technique that will require practice, but with patience, it will come to you. Remember, fire and alcohol can be a volatile combination so take care when flaming the peel.
Check out this article from The Spruce to see more!
Photo Credits: Tapuz, Inc., Getty Images
In honor of #internationalwomensday2018 we are taking a moment to really appreciate our fellow #women in the #NewYorkCity #business world - and this @Thrillist article provides a few great examples. We hope you feel as empowered as we did after reading it! http://bit.ly/2tB5CZR
Photo Credit: Tucson News Now
As a Tucson-based women-operated business, we feel very inspired by this news! In honor of International Women's Day, 100 McDonald's restaurants nationwide will flip the iconic "M" to a "W" for women - and in southern Arizona, LeAnn Richards, owner of five restaurants in Nogales, Sierra Vista, Douglas, Benson, and Wilcox, will participate in the event. Read more details here.
Left: Chef John de Lucie.
Middle: Richard Dorney, District Manager of Santa Margherita USA; Nandini Austin, Sales and Marketing Manager of Tapuz, Inc.
Right: Kisa Heyer, CEO Of Dream Foundation; Jacqueline Indelicato is on one of the teams at the NY Advisory Council Member for Dream Foundation, part of the 13-person Council; VP, Innovation and Development, DAS – a Division of Omnicom Group Inc.
Photo Credit: ©Jill Lotenberg
This week our Sales and Marketing Manager, Nandini Austin, had the pleasure of attending this inspirational New York City event. These are a few of her takeaways from the evening...
I have always believed that food and drink connect people and are a gateway to broader cultural issues. Now I know it to be true. I witnessed a few weeks ago a bunch of hospitality strangers come together with one thing in common ‘the willingness to donate their time for a cause they believe -The Dream Foundation.
For those of you who don't know the Dream Foundation, is the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults. They fulfill final Dreams that provide inspiration, comfort, and closure at the end of life. With the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, healthcare organizations and committed donors, Dream Foundation has given life to nearly 30,000 final Dreams since 1994. Dream Foundation does not receive any federal or state funding and relies solely on individual donations and corporate partnerships to fund its programs.
The Dream Foundation had their premiere NYC Launch Event on Thurs, Feb 8, 2018, at the Urbani Truffle Lab NYC. The floor soon became packed as guests arrived. The were caviar demonstrations by Calvisius Caviar, canapes of mini waffles and caviar circulating, thin crust pizza made by Chef John de Lucie and delicious mini cakes by Elizabeth Hodes. To wash these all down was a bubbly Italian sparkling wine Ca'del Bosco.
Then the room was silenced by an emotive opera performance cellist is Joan Harrison and the baritone Ricardo Rivera. The night concluded with moving speech from the Dream Foundation CEO Kisa Heyer her team including Jacqueline Indelicato - head of their of our New York Advisory Council.
Being part of such an important night, nourished my soul from the inside out. I intend to donate more of my time to causes such as these that rely on the kindness of strangers.
For more information, please visit www.DreamFoundation.org
- Nandini Austin
Credit: Chef's Resources
Working at an event or in any hospitality type of environment, safety - for both the staff and guests - is the number 1 priority. This is why we wanted to highlight a few very important notes to remember:
1) Have stocked first aid kits on site. Sometimes a venue, catering company, kitchen, or management team may have them - but we all must remember to keep them stocked with the essentials. (such as Alcohol Wipes, Burn Ointment, Cold Pack, Eye Pad, Eyewash, First Aid Guide, Gauze Pads, Bandages, Gloves, and Burn Free Gel - just to mention a few.)
2) Use dry rags or gloves/mitts to pick up hot vessels. Sometimes we have damp rags or towels nearby - but they will conduct heat. So when transporting a soup bain marie or chafing dish, for example, be sure to use something dry!
3) When working at a stove or fryer, always have a rubber mat in place. This will help ensure a non-skid surface, therefore resulting in less falls and injuries.
Please keep these tips in mind when working at any role in the hospitality industry - whether it's a restaurant, bar, cafe, catered event, wedding, bar/bat mitzvah, kitchen, venue - stay alert, aware and safe! Check out more tips here.
As a growing business, we like to operate as a feedback-based company - meaning that we welcome comments, both positive and negative. Plus, we are Open to Continual Improvement (one of our Core Values!), so we consistently review and utilize feedback in order to better serve our clients.
To ensure that our clients have a positive experience from both our service staff and management team, below are just a few things that we incorporate into our daily operations:
Finding the right staff members
Many of our staff members are referrals from current staff, which we feel is a great compliment! This also instills a sense of accountability among peers.
Careful hiring and screening
Our hiring process is done in several stages so we acquire the right people who align with our Core Values: application review, phone interview, and then an in-person interview. How the applicant presents him or herself, how they correspond leading up to the meeting, and of course, the information they provide during the interview all will inform us on whether our not the applicant is a good fit for us and our clients.
Mandatory on-boarding session
This session is a complete review of our expectations of our staff, an overview of catering basics, and a dress code critique so our staff is fully ready to be a successful contribution to our clients' events.
Incorporating these procedures is very detail-oriented process - but because it usually results in positive client feedback - we are happy to do so! Cheers to positive feedback, happy clients, and successful events!
Working in the event industry, we oftentimes hear the term French Service but what exactly does the term mean?
The concept arose from the elegant style of the French court, le grand couvert (the great cover) and provides a unique and personalized seated dining experience for the guest, as the meal is plated at the table - not pre-plated in the kitchen.
Two types of French Service:
Cart French Service: This version involves tableside food preparation and assembly, where unprepared foods are brought from the kitchen to the dining room on a gueridon (a cart) and then the final preparation is completed at a side table in front of the guests. For heated foods, a rechaud would be used.
Banquet French Service: The food is prepared in the kitchen - and the servers will serve the food to guests from platters with tongs (from the left side). The platters are then kept in front of the guests to replenish.
Of course the service staff who are providing this type of service must be fully prepared with skill and knowledge to offer such a finessed experience. Typically these roles would include:
Chef de rang (the main server): Tasks would include preparing, serving food, serving the beverages, and presenting checks. Techniques would be tossing, mixing, presentation, saucing, deboning, carving, and flambeing.
Commis de rang (assistant to the main server): Tasks would include taking orders from the main server, bringing food to dining room, serving dishes prepared by the main server, and clearing the tables.
Dining Room Captain: Seats guests and oversees the service.
Cocktail Server: Serves beverages.
Wine Steward or Sommelier: Trained professional providing wine and food pairing knowledge.
Hopefully these notes will help next time you're wondering, "What exactly is French Service?"...
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