Catersource 2017 is in the books, and what an amazing experience.
Attending the conference is a privilege that we cherish every year. Nothing beats getting some face-to-face quality time with our clients.
We also enjoy attending sessions and learning from the top minds in the industry.
Here are a few of our biggest insights:
Erin Walter, CEO
I was personally inspired by Jennifer Perna’s session.
As the former president of the International Caterers Association, her perspective is one that I truly admire and respect. The session name, “Gather Around the Campfire,” was quite appropriate too.
It was a very conversational exchange, and her emphasis on the values of open communication in everything from numbers to performance in business is something that I strive to remain mindful of throughout our organization here.
Karen Walter, Project Manager
I had two big takeaways from Catersource this year.
My first was learning about Event Pros Take Action (EPTA). They’re a great organization that gives back to those in need, and I’m very excited to join their efforts. No doubt my second was Harlan Diamond’s acceptance speech for the Michael Roman Lifetime Achievement Award.
We can all learn a lot from his story and how his upbringing reflects what he does in his day-to-day life and organization. He is intensely passionate about what he does and enjoys giving back to those in need.
Jamie Pritscher, CCO
I loved attending the ACE & Spotlight Awards Ceremony. Watching some of our top clients such as Purple Onion Catering Co., A Fare Extraordinaire and Tastebuds Custom Catering walk away with wins filled me with a real sense of pride.
We hear and see all of the handiwork and passion that they put into their events. Seeing them win brought it all full circle for me, and hearing their speeches and the emotional excitement brought me tears of joy.
Emily Ebert, Graphic Designer
David Rich did an incredible job with his session, “How to Click with Everyone Every Time.” His energy combined with his crowd engagement was inspirational and truly stood out to me.
I was intrigued by his “B.L.T.” solution for communication richness (or the lack thereof) and customer loyalty.
He spoke on how business has changed in the last 10 years as communication has become easier. However, he also posited that richness has deteriorated through technology, and the emergence of competitive noise has negatively affected customer loyalty. B.L.T. (Believe, Like, Trust) is a method for creating that customer loyalty by getting clients to do those three things.
Brian Ottosen, Digital Marketing Specialist
I thought the “Viewpoint Session: Develop Better Management and Operational Systems” was done very well.
Bill Hansen moderated a panel of Greg Karl (president at COO of Epicurean Group), Rod Hansen (owner at The Painted Table), Jeromie Garza (owner/chef at The Painted Table) and Jolie Oree Bailey (owner at Low Country Quisine).
The panel was arranged by scale, with a small caterer (Low Country Quisine), mid-sized caterer (The Painted Table) and large caterer (Epicurean) to account for a wide range in points of view. They discussed topics such as yearly planning, pre/post checking costs at every event and organizing a management team.
I felt it was a very informative session and believe every caterer in the room had at least one takeaway from it.
Michael Larson, Web Director
My biggest takeaway was from Michael Stavros’ session on celebrating LGBTQ friendliness.
He discussed how in the catering industry, we can unconsciously make assumptions about gender and relationships that can alienate the LGBTQ community. For example, phrases like, “In a traditional wedding” or “bridal room” can marginalize and reinforce heteronormative attitudes.
The goal should be celebrating inclusiveness. He discussed making our brands “naturally open to all” by using inclusive language that works to dispel those assumptions.
Peggy Kulato, Client Solutions Specialist
I personally took a lot from Jennifer Perna’s session on sales tactics and peer-to-peer relationships.
She discussed listening to your organization’s team and involving them in things like the hiring process, seating arrangements, cross-selling and goal setting. She mentioned how her group actually has an internal Facebook page to share praise and recognition. Everyone wants different things out of their work, and she did a masterful job of coaching on how to recognize and tailor those goals and priorities to make your business better.
Our team is already looking forward to Catersource next year. As for this year’s show, we’re taking away a collective sense of pride and connection with all those catering professionals who shared in the experience.
If you were there, what were some of your takeaways from Catersource 2017? Tell us about them in the comments below. We look forward to seeing you all again soon.