Restaurant vs. Catering Menus: The Great Divide

Contrary to popular belief not all caterers dislike each other. Though we may compete with each other we are very much brothers in arms. People who I consider among my best friends and favorite people in the world are my “competitors”.
Us competitors make sure we carve out time to get together and do what we do best……eat and drink. Recently we’ve met once at the Bristol and the Publican. Both restaurants are consistently among the most popular restaurants in the city along with other places like The Girl and Goat and Perennial Virant. Looking around the dining rooms we all agreed that for the most part our clients are the same as those that regularly visit these restaurants.
After a few libations we begin to work through the menu sharing dishes and ideas as we go along. While the conversation is always lively, largely due to the libations, it always ends with the same question that none of us has an answer for….. “Why do people eat like this everyday and then come to us and ask for beef tenderloin, salmon and mashed potatoes?” These items don’t appear on any menu at any restaurant we ever visit. While economic conditions have improved people never stop asking for the most expensive and least flavorful cut of meat, beef tenderloin. We had a hard time finding a potato on any menu we’ve seen in recent memory yet when any of us propose not having a potato on the plate as an accompaniment people look at like we have continued our happy hour into their meeting. Would anyone really not find a puree of fava beans, carrot, cauliflower or sunchoke offensive?
Another mystery we try to unravel at our dinners is that of the ever popular combination plate that finds its roots in the famous “Surf and Turf”. This is another item we never find on a restaurant menu. Salmon, chicken breast and beef tenderloin are found in various combinations with mash potatoes on all of our menus. Our personal belief, if I can speak on behalf of my catering friends, is that people are trying to please everyone. By giving everyone a ½ portion of two items are they pleasing everyone more than offering a full portion of something they would rather have?
The answers to these mysteries are never answered at these clandestine catering meetings. None of us agree at the reasons why they exist. All of us agree on one thing…if people would be a tad more adventurous their events would be more interesting, guests would be happier and the event would be much more memorable.
John Rudy
VP of Catering

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Posted on October 1st, 2015 at 11:40 am [ssba]