What’s a Caterer to Do Part 18

Here we are as the second weekend in October draws to a close. Let me apologize in advance for being out of touch for such a long time. Not sure if we’ve been busy, preoccupied or just possibly a bit uninspired. It’s not that I don’t think about you, and even mentally prepare some mildly entertaining anecdotes to include in this communication…I just haven’t done it. There, I admitted it. I just haven’t done it! We met with a client the other day regarding details for a retirement celebration at their business. She asked if I’m the one that writes these monologues. I admitted that yes, it’s me. She inspired me to get it together, grab a cup of tea (wish it were wine), and take a few moments to write. I’ll attempt to stay positive, upbeat and hopeful. I’ll do my best to portray enthusiasm, excitement and energy. Please bear with me if I don’t quite accomplish that. It’s not that I’m not trying!

So, here are the chilling facts 7 months into this disturbing, uncertain day in which we live. We operate a bit like a glorified deli. We pack food in plastic boxes with lids. It’s hard to make beautiful food look appealing when it’s compartmentalized into a black box. It’s not the container, it’s just the fact that food wants to show off its beauty and be party of bountiful tiered displays, combinations of brilliant colors, interesting textures and shapes, scintillating aromas and flavors. Food deserves to be treated with respect and should be allowed to make a statement. We err on the side of caution always sporting plastic gloves and masks when we’re in public. We hope that our eyes sparkle enough that our guests know that we’re still smiling under that mask. We resist the temptation to scold our guests when they try to take liberties ie. Skipping the mask, trying to help themselves to something, or share a serving utensil with someone else. We are grateful for our clients that step “out of the box” (no pun intended) and allow a carefully served buffet or family style meal for a small group of their close family and friends. The average size of our catered events now is maybe 50. As much as that hurts us, it hurts our clients and their guests. We try to make each other feel better by listing the attributes of these “intimate” gatherings. But we all know in our hearts, that having to exclude special people on the guest list because of “guidance restrictions” is troublesome on so many levels. Our sales are down a whopping 53% this year over last year. The good thing is that we are still operational and fighting for that 47% everyday. We are grateful for those that help us stay in business with their regular orders and for those that create excuses to hire us. Our staff has been loyal, understanding and tolerant of abbreviated schedules supplemented by partial unemployment. We actually have enjoyed a couple of victories in the midst of all this. Our local Rotary club has used our party room for their last three weekly dinner meetings, and we hope they’re here to stay. We worked at a new venue, OFC Creations on a fundraising event for ARC a couple of weekends ago. We are also offering the opportunity for any generous friends that might want to hire us for $150 to prepare and deliver individual dinners for the guests at the Ronald McDonald House. After having shut down for many months, they are again hosting families of sick children. We have supported RMH for years. There is an organization that truly makes a difference to people during their toughest times. In the midst of doom and gloom, there is light on the horizon and wonderful, hopeful clients and guests to inspire us and encourage us to channel our creativity in “other ways”. Some call it “re-inventing” ourselves. We kind of like who we are and what we do, but for now we’ll continue to go with the flow and make the best of it!

Hope you are all managing well and hanging in there. My husband just peeked over my shoulder to read this and when I asked him if this was depressing and boring, he said, “maybe something good will happen tomorrow!” Thank God for optimism and tomorrows! On that note, I will close and wish you the best for a wonderful, inspiring tomorrow.

Take Care, xoxo Sandra

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