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Some people are lucky enough, connected enough, or occasionally, sometimes against all odds, clever enough, to make it to the Board of Directors of the company with whom they have worked in and for.
They probably, unless they are a ‘junior member’ of the Board and still expected to eat their ‘butties’ (sandwiches) at their desk, ( an atrocious ‘New Yorkism’ which unfortunately seems to have become a precedent in many companies worldwide), get a pretty decent spot of lunch.
Many companies in the City of London run their own “in-house” catering for very good reasons. Trading information about what the particular company or law-firm, insurance broker or shipping agent, stock–market or commodity trader is doing can only be discussed in private, and the monetary size of the involvement prevents the parties to any potential deal, perhaps negotiated over days, ‘entering the public domain’, particularly public restaurants.
This is where discrete, competent, corporate caterers enter the scene. They are there to ensure the perfect atmosphere for business discussions to continue over a delicious lunch. There should be no break in the briskness of trade, but at the same time, a little bit of time taken to savour the delicacies that have, without your noticing, arrived in front of you.
The truly good corporate caterer in these circumstances can make the difference between the company making millions or not. It is a very special function.
Unobtrusive to an incredible degree, the expert chef and his one or two assistants, who also act as waiters/sou-chefs/barman or lady/ will conjure-up from their little rabbit-hutch of a ‘galley’ the most truly amazing food. They have been to the very best markets during the morning to get the very best produce for their dishes. They have marinated, prepared and pre-cooked these commodities and ensured their delicacy.
Without noticing it, the visiting businessmen pick up a canapé of fresh froi-gras to go with their Chablis, try another very nice smoked-salmon and mascarpone offering, munch through a bit of caviar with blinis, and instinctively reach for the ice-cold vodka…. And they are all hooked!
Talk of business takes a second place to the orafractory pleasure they are receiving. Now you have them really starving they are pretty much at your mercy, particularly if the caviar and vodka keeps coming.
“Well, if we can sign this contract now, with your agreement of course, we can have a ‘bit-of-lunch’. The smells of fabulous food have been wafting through from the ‘galley’ for a while. Everyone is ravenous. The pens come out and you can at last get the correct marks on the appropriate pieces of paper and make your ‘significant profit’ on the deal.
Your foreign guests will probably demolish everything put in front of them (your corporate caterers having read all about their culinary requirements well in advance), and depart in a, possibly, orderly-ish manner, to their waiting car, secreted by the Chairman’s private lift, to avoid any alcoholic ‘embarrassment’ of your guests to your staff.
Your company has not only made very good friends, but has made shed-loads of money from the care and attention that your corporate caterers have paid to your guests. They may have to do the same tomorrow for the Arabs or the Japanese or the Sri Lankan gentlemen, so you make sure they are ‘very adequately provided for financially’.
To be a good corporate caterer you have to want to please at any given function. The rewards, if you are any good at it, can be tremendous.
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