Smokin’ the Competition

By Connie Jeske Crane

For the last few years, barbecue enthusiasts have been happily patting their bellies as a barbecue boom sweeps the nation. While the roots of American barbecue go long and deep in our nation’s history, the latest resurgence is changing things up in several ways. First there are the impressive numbers. In 2014, for example, Chicago-based market research firm Technomic reported that U.S. barbecue restaurant sales grew by 7.2 percent to $2.9 billion—double the overall industry rate—and the number of barbecue restaurants increased by 8 percent. Continue reading »

Take It Outside

Last September, Riverdale, Md.-based Geppetto Catering pulled off a “Lavender-to-Table Dinner” that was such a success, it’s now a summer series.

The event was a fundraiser for Soleado Lavender Farm, a family-run farm at the foot of Sugar Loaf Mountain in Montgomery County, Md., that grows several varieties of French and English lavender. Geppetto’s menu was inspired by the French countryside and infused with light touches of the lavender harvested from the farm. Continue reading »

How to Get the Best Rentals for Your Outdoor Event

By Tracy Johannsen, American Rental Association

Successful production of an outdoor event is a multi-faceted challenge for catering professionals. When it comes to equipment, every event has its own unique demands, depending on size and scope, décor elements and guest expectations. Fortunately, a professional event rental company can help create an outdoor environment that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

For tips on how to get the best rentals for an outdoor event, we turned to Dan Hooks,  president and CEO of Party Reflections, an American Rental Association (ARA) member rental provider with four locations in North Carolina and South Carolina. Continue reading »

Drop-Off Is Picking Up

How caterers are profiting from the growing demand for food delivery

By Sara Perez Webber

“It’s the American way—no one is leaving their desks anymore,” says Victoria Brady, vice president of caterer partnerships for Boston-based ezCater, explaining the growing demand for drop-off catering. “With the rise of technology, people are working all the time; it’s just constant, and people want their workforces at their desks.” Continue reading »

Consider a Commissary

By Sandy Korem

Three reasons why a central commissary kitchen can help your business reap higher profits

On any given day in my catering business, we have catered food items being made for at least five catering revenue streams—wholesale food manufacturing, retail food shops, corporate catering, hotel catering and private social events. We actually have a total of 11 catering revenue streams, and all of the food is produced in our commissary kitchen. Continue reading »

North Star

By Deanne Moskowitz

Danish chef Claus Meyer is lighting up the New York culinary landscape

World-renowned restaurateur, cookbook author and culinary entrepreneur Chef Claus Meyer, who seems to have successfully realized every conceivable culinary business opportunity in his native Denmark while working to forge social change through food, has brought his singular brand of ethical culinary entrepreneurship to our shores and is making great inroads.

Meyer is perhaps best known as co-founder of the Copenhagen-based, Michelin-starred dining destination Noma, which four times topped the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, and he’s often credited with initiating the New Nordic movement, which celebrates the deliciousness inherent in seasonal Scandinavian ingredients and artisanal techniques.

He has authored numerous cookbooks, hosted a Danish television series (New Scandinavian Cooking, broadcast here on PBS and in 50 other countries), and counts among his incredibly diverse Danish business interests bakeries and caterers, fruit and chocolate Continue reading »

Vegan Revisited!

Caterers are responding to rising requests with surprisingly delectable dishes

By Deanne Moskowitz

The vegan population in the United States last year reached 6 percent, according to a report published in June by GlobalData, a U.K. research company. That percentage may not seem noteworthy, until you realize that the number was 1 percent in 2014—a 500 percent increase in a period of only three years. Continue reading »

Clever and Creative

Caterers are raising the bar with their station set-ups, capturing guests’ attention with imaginative food-and-drink displays

By Sara Perez Webber

When it comes to creativity, stations are in no way stationary. Caterers, hotels and even convention centers continue to come up with ways to make their food-and-drink stations and buffets engage the imagination as they whet the appetite. Read on for examples of clever and creative station concepts that keep ’em coming back for more. Continue reading »

What 2018 Will Bring to the Table

Looking ahead to restaurant and special event trends expected to emerge in the new year

By Jonathan Morse, CEO and Founder of Tripleseat

As we begin 2018, it’s time to take a look back at some popular trends in the industry—and predict which ones will continue. One of the biggest trends of last year was the increase in private dining arrangements, as venues provided customers with more of a unique and personal experience. At Tripleseat, we believe this type of dining will remain popular in 2018. Continue reading »

Taking the Cake

What wedding cake trends are hitting the sweet spot? Talented bakers fill us in on their customers’ top requests

By Sara Perez Webber

A wedding cake must serve two purposes. It has to look good—the cake takes center stage for at least part of the reception, after all, and shows up in wedding albums for generations to come; and taste good, as an eagerly awaited sweet treat to cap off a good meal.

These days, the cake also increasingly reflects the style and personalities of the couple getting married.

So what types of cake are brides and grooms choosing to serve their guests?

We asked some talented bakers and cake artists to fill us in on the trends. Continue reading »