Food Trends Catering
Here’s the ingredient list: start with the most demanding clients in the world. Add short attention spans and an endless demand for food that is different. Toss in New York traffic, byzantine freight entrances and delivery logistics that make getting from your place to their place no easy feat. What you have is the recipe for being a caterer in New York.
None of that bothers Alison Moskowicz, owner of Food Trends Catering and a new ISES NYC member. Alison recently joined ISES NYC to make new contacts and business prospects, as you’d expect. But she had other reasons, too. “It’s easy to get caught up in every day stuff and not get out to exchange ideas – about costs, labor, the health department – anything.”
The Russian native has been in business for 18 years. Started by she and her father (now retired), Food Trends migrated from retail to catering and has grown its corporate catering business ever since. It now employs about 50 people, including Alison’s daughter, Nina, who handle sales; and son, David, who recently left Deutsche Bank to handle the company’s finance and operational needs.
Alison’s approach to being a New York caterer will sound familiar to others who are successful in the business: “No one cares about how successful your party was yesterday. They only care about tomorrow.” That healthy dose of New York paranoia keeps Alison working 12 hour days, but with no regrets. She has a few secrets of success she shares with others:
• Don’t take customers for granted: She’ll routinely treat customers that order a few times a week to something special, like a complimentary tasting of a new dish.
• If something goes wrong, fix it: On some days there are hundreds of orders, and sometimes things go wrong. “Don’t worry about what it will cost to fix it. It you have to put someone in a cab that costs $20 because someone forgot a spoon, you do it.”
• Grow 10-15% a year, at least: “If you’re in the catering business and not growing that much in New York, you’re dead.”
The biggest challenge of the New York events business is the need to reinvent the business continually, Alison says. “Last year everyone wanted clear Lucite and an elevated presentation. A few years ago it was baskets, baskets, baskets. Now people want a modern, sleek look. We’re working with interesting ingredients like herb crystals, microgreens and pipettes for people to add their own choice of alcohol to cocktails.”
Food Trends Catering
56 E. 41st Street, NY NY 10017
Please B Seated
There are plenty of party rental companies serving Manhattan and the New York metro area. But that’s not stopping some industry veterans from setting up shop and creating a space between the hippo’s toes.
Diane McDonald, the event director for the newly formed party rental company Please B Seated, recently joined ISES NYC to “get out there with event planners.” Diane is a rental industry veteran, having handled sales at TriServe Party Rentals before it was acquired by Classic Party Rentals.
Please B Seated, she says, is looking for a relatively small handful of caterer and event planner clients – 40-50 tops. The company’s goal is to bring products and a high level of service to a select group of clients, rather than slugging it out with the industry behemoths.
Some of the newer products Diane thinks planners will like include Lucite folding chairs, a silver Napoleon chair, and chafing dishes in triangular rather than traditional oblong shapes.
Diane’s value to caterers goes beyond new ideas in equipment. Often, it’s just her experience that makes the difference. Sometimes a question like, “What did you want to pour the coffee into?” is the most important question a rental salesperson can ask. Events have a lot of moving parts, and Diane considers it her job to make sure her clients don’t overlook anything.
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Please B Seated
C 516 519-4823