In The Catering Kitchen: Special Election Edition!

John Cohen | October 11, 2012

For our October spotlight, we wanted to feature two of our clients who recently had the honor of catering the Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention in Tampa, FL and Charlotte, NC respectively.

La-Tea-Da’s Catering in Charlotte, NC really made an impact on the Democratic National Convention by bringing their “Southern charm with a modern twist” cuisine to some of the hottest events of the week. To assist with the approximately 10 large-scale and numerous smaller events, they asked fellow TPP users Mark Baldwin of Blue Ridge Catering in Roanoke, VA and Dave and Margo Jones of Purple Onion Catering in Washington, DC to pitch in. Woodson and her team of about 150 served about 14,000 meals between September 3-6, 2012. The prior week, Kevin Lacassin of Good Food Catering brought his upscale bistro style food to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL. Despite the first day being cancelled, he and his team fed about 2,600 people per day at about 50 events between August 28-30, 2012.

Both Lacassin and Woodson mentioned that Total Party Planner was an important part in helping their small catering businesses be successful on such a grand stage. “We couldn’t have done it without TPP. It was our Bible! It help us over deliver on everything because we had a plan,” said Jessica Petrini, La-Tea-Da’s Corporate Leader who had a large hand in landing the DNC gig. She specifically mentioned the proposal helped her company score the events. “The clients loved the attention to detail,” Petrini added. Also, TPP’s integration with Staffmate allowed them to organize their very large army of staff.

Lacassin said that having a good software program was a “key element” in his success. “People might not use [TPP] for every department, but we do. We could communicate with each other without being in the same office,” Lacassin said. “So many things changed [during the convention] and we were able to record these changes in one place.” Going from two to three large scale events a week to 18 in three days was a daunting task, but TPP helped Lacassin and his team stay organized.

Last minute changes and additions were status quo during these conventions and Lacassin and his kitchen team had the opportunity to create special meals for the important public figures at the convention. In fact, one day, his chef whipped up a custom quesadilla for former New York City Mayor Rudy Guilliani for a lunchtime treat while prepping for the evening’s events. Also, a last minute addition of a nightly sit-down dinner for 10 hosted by Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner had the Good Food culinary team thinking outside of the box. Lacassin said the flatbread pizza station was a huge hit, with four to five different selections every night.

Woodson and her team wowed their guests, including celebrities like Jon Stewart, MC Hammer, LMFAO, Jared Leto, and Olivia Wilde with signature cocktails and hors d’oeuvres served by staff members in t-shirts that stated the item’s name and description. When asked what her proudest moment of the week was, Woodson responded, “The satisfaction that we did everything we said we would with that La-Tea-Da’s touch. Smaller companies can achieve great big things!”

Janet Woodson of La-Tea-Da’s and Mark Baldwin of Blue Ridge Catering show off one of their culinary creations.

The La-Tea-Da’s staff show off their t-shirts printed with the item’s name and delicious description.

Signature cocktails were a hit with La-Tea-Da’s celebrity guests.

Kevin Lacassin of Good Foods Catering in action at the Republican National Convention.

The flatbread pizza station was a hit at the Republican National Convention!

Some delicious desserts prepared by Lacassin’s team.

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