@MPIGNY- Spring 2013 - (Page 9)

#feature BUFFET BATTLES New York caterers say the industry has rebounded, but competition remains fierce BY NICK FORTUNA T @ hese days, catering companies have a lot on their plates. The economic recession of 2008 and the subsequent fragile recovery have caterers in the greater New York area competing to offer the best value to cost-conscious clients. Event budgets are under increasing scrutiny, but meeting planners’ expectations for good food and professional service haven’t diminished, and that has forced catering companies to seek out ways to prove their worth. Tom Ellis, director of sales and development for Stephen Starr Events, and Nick Swain, catering and sales manager for Savory and Sweet, both based in New York City, said caterers that can accommodate a growing list of dietary restrictions, provide healthier meals and keep costs down are reaping the benefits of a resurgent industry. But with clients looking for a bargain, even the best caterers can’t afford to get too comfortable. “The industry as a whole is doing great,” Swain said. “No matter how bad the economy is, people are still going to get married and hold events. On the corporate side, clients have been scaling back, but they’re still holding events. “Corporate clients are definitely shopping around more. We’ve gotten a lot of new business from clients that have had relationships with other caterers for some time, but they’ve become more educated as consumers and are looking to make a change. They’re also looking to negotiate for better packaged deals, such as having hors d’ oeuvres or an extra buffet station included. And they’re more willing to book at the last minute because they were out shopping around.” Ellis said that after several years of declining attendance at corporate events due to belt-tightening, some clients have added events to their schedules, realizing that in-person networking is still invaluable. To encourage networking at such events – and thereby ensure that events offer real value to attendees – meeting professionals are planning fewer sitdown dinners, Ellis and Swain said. Instead, various types of food and beverages are being served at stations scattered throughout a venue, which allows guests to mingle more easily. The days of socializing solely with those at your 60-inch banquet table mpigny.org 9 http://www.mpigny.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of @MPIGNY- Spring 2013

President's Message
Force Majeure
Trends in Event Food and Beverage
Meeting and Media
Member Spotlight
Tips for Professional Development
Meetings at the Beach
Destination Niagara Falls
Chapter Survey
New Members
Advertisers Index
Can You Spot Yourself?

@MPIGNY- Spring 2013