Top 10 Catering Tips
To the blindingly obvious to the complicated, serving the general public is no mean task. Having worked directly and indirectly in the catering trade for more than 40 years. I’ve worked in some of the best places in the world, witnessed some of the worst establishments imaginable and amassed huge experience in the hospitality industry.
So here are a few of my top tips in managing any sort of catering establishment :
Tips not necessary in any order of importance.
1 : If you sell draught beer, make sure it is clean to sell. I hate coming into a bar in an early evening and no-one has bothered to run the pipes through, so the first pint is stale.
2 : If you serve bread, make sure its fresh. In my view there is nothing worse than being served the following…
Homemade bread is fine as long as it is properly made. There is nothing worst than promoting homemade bread and it’s stale and awful. Homemade bread can go stale within hours of being made and frankly it is never made properly. If you’re going to make homemade bread, put some passion in it. If you use par baked bread, make sure you cook it through properly. Again being served those thin looking, doughy baguettes that are tasteless and in some cases still frozen. Fresh bread is great, especially Tescos French sticks. Made to a proven and tried recipe.
3 : Employ decent staff, employing staff with a surly attitude, and that’s across all departments, cause complete discord with their colleagues. Lousy chefs can destroy a business overnight. With all staff employ them on a basic short term contract to see if they can do the job first. Employing someone who is rubbish and then you’ll find it’s extremely expensive to get rid of them.
4 : Keep things simple. Simple menus, simple choice of beers, wines, spirits etc. my local pub has about 15 beers and about 100 odd back shelf bottles of spirits and then moans he can’t sell the stock. Unless your unit has huge footfall, keep the choice of stock which is manageable suitable to the size of premises, avoids huge amounts of wastage.
5: Keep staff informed about simple things like flavour of the “soup of the day”, tell them what the specials are. Just shows a complete lack of professionalism when someone is taking an order and has no idea what’s on the menu.
6 : Here’s a simple trick to double your bar turnover, simply employ more staff! if you know you’re going to be busy make sure you have enough staff on duty. Again there’s nothing worse than having to wait for a drink to be served and most people will buy another one if they are served properly and quickly. I can never understand catering establishments that think they can get away with minimum staff with no one being served. That’s the whole point of the business, to sell drink and food efficiently because that’s were your profit is.
7 : I hate paying a surcharge for “service”. What do you think is in the charge of the food and drink you’ve just served. It’s a racket, if you’re that good and that desperate increase your prices.
8 : Which leads me onto the next point, if you are that busy and that good, there is a point you can increase your prices. People will always pay good money for good food and service.
9: Years ago i worked in a hotel on a dual carriageway and we were very quiet Monday to Friday lunchtimes. I put on a long term promotion for a 2 course meal for OAP’s. They had no choice, included a drink, glass of wine, sherry or a beer, but it proved popular and got rid of food from the weekend and previous nights specials. Massively reduced wastage and increased profits.
10 : If you’re the manager and reading this, then the most important thing you can do is be around when the customers are. Be “mine host” and entertain them, buy them a drink ( occasionally ) make the business fun, make them want to come back.

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