Catering Staff Doing The Right Things Right

This past weekend my wife and I made dinner plans at a restaurant in Virginia Beach that we had never been to. We were really excited to try it since we read so many great reviews. There was one staff member, however, that had us leaving with questions about the management team.

Upon our seating, we were presented with a rather extensive wine list. Because it was Valentine’s Day weekend, I wanted to make sure I selected something memorable. I also know my wife really likes a more fruit forward Pinot Noir. So I suggested we wait to talk to the Sommelier before ordering our wine. Oh but wait… the Sommelier wasn’t available because he was handing out Valentines roses to the ladies that night.


I kept telling my wife how much this reminded me of an old saying that a mentor would repeat to me time and time again: “Always make sure you have the right people doing the right things right.”

So, who made the decision to have the Sommelier hand out roses? Shouldn’t he have been Sommelier-ing (is that a verb?). If I were the general manager, I would have probably had the hostess hand out the roses upon seating guests.

So without talking to the Sommelier we ended up just playing it safe and ordering 2 glasses instead of a bottle. A loss for the restaurant.

Now think about this for your catering operation. Do you have the right people doing the right things right? Some examples of mistakes that I have come across are:

  • Utilizing any and all staff members for servers. Key mistake! The servers are the face of your company and directly reflect you. You want your best personalities out there. I have actually had entire experiences ruined from poor service – not necessarily bad food.
  • Hiring family members because they need a job. It’s not necessarily that you shouldn’t work with family, we did it for years, but are they the best person for a role? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
  • A staff member (or yourself!) not trained in website design in charge of building, or updating, your website. I know there are some great tools out there today, however, there is still no substitute for a professional who knows about design, blends, flow, content strategy, SEO, etc.
  • A salesperson who may only be money, not guest satisfaction, focused. Sure the sales are important but I don’t know a caterer on the planet that puts sales over applause at the end of the night.
  • A closed minded marketing manager. Every company, whether it’s catering or catering software, needs to be open to new trends, ideas, feedback, and even social media. Don’t get left behind!

Can you think of other examples where it may not have been the right person doing the right things right? Share your story with us!