I've been perplexed and talking to friends about this; the bastardization of the word "catering", for the better part of a year.
I learned "catering" from some of the top party producers on the West Coast - people often written about in industry catering "bibles" (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) such as Catering Magazine, Catersource, Special Events Magazine, and Event Solutions magazine. And it's kind of funny. I've never been confused about catering, before. That is, not until I moved back to the Midwest in the late 1990's.
Prior to this, successful catering was self-explanatory and straight-forward: good food and great service.
It's pretty easy, right? You purchase food. You prep it. Then you prepare it. And finally, you present it in a way that aesthetically showcases it at it's best - with great service.
Thanks to stores like Party City, a lot of people believe that they're professional caterers these days. But the "proof can be in the pudding" when they're asked to cater to a large number of people. Because the question is: Can they can cater to a large number of people successfully?
If you're the owner of a pizza joint, submarine sandwich shop, or you're running a concept restaurant and advertise that you offer "catering", are you catering to your customer, fully? Or are you basically offering them carry-out or take out food from your menu and calling it "catering"?
It's very confusing. I'm a full service, luxury, off-premise caterer that did feel baffled when people would call asking if we did "drop-off's".
The word, "catering" or "caterer", confuses consumers because it has too many meanings and seems to have lost it's credibility. Unfortunately, there are no particular terms that denote the various types or levels of catering or caterers.
By and large, there's nothing luxurious about a luxury event catering company or wedding catering services if they solely denote carry-out's and drop-off requests. Yet understandably, because of all of the various party catering businesses that advertise catering service and the varied connotations of the term, this catering food network can be terribly confusing to the consumer.
Some consumers might not agree; thinking, inglorious (food) bastards? Nein, nein, nien!
Others may surmise that "caterers" at large are nothing more than a bunch of inglorious food bastards.
And quite frankly, when it comes to the latter - I don't blame them.
Image source: Calvert Cafe & Catering
Catering, Party City, United States, Event planning, Business and Economy, Restaurant, Food, Hospitality, Business, Caterer: Technorati Tags