In The Catering Kitchen With Mi Chicas Catering & Events
This month, we asked busy upscale kosher caterer and event planner, Mi Chicas Catering & Events, to share what brought them to use Total Party Planner, along with advice for other caterers out there. Read on for great info and tips on how they have grown their business exponentially!
Tell us about your business.
We are a women-owned (mother-daughter) kosher catering & event planning company. Clients love that they only deal with one company from the menu planning to décor, centerpieces, linen, staff etc! We just love what we do, especially the decorating and planning for each party on an individual basis so they are all unique and one of a kind.
How did you get started catering?
Davii started out helping her husband over 20 years ago. Slowly but surely, she took over more and more aspects of the business until it became her total responsibility. Chany grew up in the business and eventually became Davii’s partner.
What brought you to begin using Total Party Planner?
We saw it at the Catersource event in Las Vegas. Even though we were using [another software program] at the time, we kept it in mind.
How has Total Party Planner helped your business?
We absolutely could not keep track of what we do without it! We log in many times a day and use it for all aspects of our business. We do our menus, contracts, staffing, packing lists, invoicing, everything on this program! It keeps us organized which is essential in this business.
What is your favorite program feature in Total Party Planner?
Just the fact that it is so easy to use. It’s also logical, so if we don’t know something, we can often figure it out. If not, the email help is fast and easy to access. We can tell it was designed by people in the catering business.
What sets your company apart from others in your area?
Our high level of personal attention to every detail, plus our great design ideas and beautiful plate presentation make us unique in our community.
What do customers expect when doing business with you?
Our customers expect to be able to call or email us and get a quick response. They also expect us to take care of every detail so they can come as a guest to their own party. They also expect (and are frequently surprised to get more than expected) to have everything done on a professional level and at the highest standard.
What advice would you give a new caterer?
Ideally you should work for someone for a year or two before venturing out on your own. Be prepared to work long hours when you are busy and be ready to do everything necessary: cooking, baking, washing dishes, setting tables, waiting tables, schlepping dishes, etc. It usually takes a long time before you will have enough employees to take some of that off of your head. Also, don’t be afraid to charge!! If you undercharge, you:
1. Risk not covering your costs
2. Show that you are new at what you are doing and don’t respect your worth as a caterer, which causes people not to trust you.
What was your biggest blunder throughout your career? What did you learn from it?
Not being organized enough for one of our most important parties and having a crowd of 300 people try to squeeze into a space that only held 200 comfortably. In that case, our customer had offered ahead of time to hire an event coordinator and, out of pride we said it wasn’t necessary. We needed an event coordinator at that party and we still cringe when we think about what a fiasco it turned into!
What has been your greatest accomplishment as a caterer?
A year and a half ago we took a big, brave step and rebranded our company. We changed the name to Mi Chicas Catering & Events, upped our prices to almost double and got all new chefs. We are proud to say that in this past year we have doubled our gross sales! It was a scary move and many people advised us against it, but we went with our gut and did it! We are looking forward to doubling our sales again this year!!!