In The Catering Kitchen With Blue Ridge Catering
For our March Spotlight, we caught up with Mark Baldwin of Blue Ridge Catering in Roanoke, VA. The Blue Ridge team just celebrated their 10-year anniversary in February and have shared some amazing pictures of their open house event! Read on for great info and tips!
Tell us about your business.
Blue Ridge Catering is a full service off premise catering company located in Roanoke, VA. We specialize in custom designed menus and service for weddings, galas, and events of all types.
How did you get started catering?
I grew up in the catering industry working for a family friend who owned a BBQ Catering company. I ran that business for his family after his death in 2001. In 2003 Blue Ridge Catering was formed.
How has Total Party Planner helped your business?
When I met TPP @ Catersource in 2006 we were a small company both in stature and revenue. We couldn’t have achieved the growth in both categories we have experienced over the last 7 years without TPP.
What is your favorite program feature in Total Party Planner?
That is kind of like asking me what is my favorite food or what is my favorite dish we prepare. There are so many features that it is hard to narrow down. Pack list and the contact management features are at the top of the list though.
What sets your company apart from others in your area?
Our continual quest for improvement. We aren’t satisfied with the status quo and constantly work on R & D. Our creativity and commitment to preparing the freshest and finest available.
What do customers expect when doing business with you?
A pleasant & satisfying experience from the initial inquiry until post event follow up.
What advice would you give a new caterer?
Be prepared for longs hours, lots of challenges and an interesting journey. To succeed in the long term you need to have a hunger for what lies ahead and what your next creation might be. Like they say, you are only as good as your last event.
What was your biggest blunder throughout your career? What did you learn from it?
Very early on… realizing that I had forgotten to send the Roast Beef to an event. I realized during cocktail hour. I was a guest at the wedding. I snuck out, got the Roast Beef and rejoined the reception.
What has been your greatest accomplishment as a caterer?
Partnering with La Tea Da’s to cater for the 2012 Democratic National Convention. We served about 14,000 people in 5 days of controlled chaos.