Building 30+ Years of Service: Occasions Caterers

LIVE at The Line Hotel in Adams Morgan in partnership with Full Service Radio... 

Do you run a small business, or have dreams to start one? Each week on The Tidbit, brought to you by Cureate, we discuss tidbits of knowledge around starting and running a small business with a food and beverage lens. Kim Bryden sits down with guest experts and shares trending new topics on food, business and culture to help best prepare you for your business journey. 

EPISODE 30: BUILDING 30+ YEARS OF SERVICE - OCCASIONS CATERERS

A FEW QUOTES

  • An excerpt from The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker - "In planning that networking night, what if the organizers paused to ask questions like these: Is our purpose for this gathering to help people find business partners or clients? Is the purpose to help guests sell their wares or to get advice on the weaker parts of their product? Is the purpose of the night to help as many people from different fields make as many new connections as possible, or to build a tribe that would want to meet again?”

  • In 1986, Occasions Caterers started in a tiny apartment kitchen with just a few printed business cards and a small van. They gradually built a team of executives, chefs, captains and waiters who were also committed to the Co-Founders, and brother’s vision. Fast forward thirty years later and Occasions has indeed grown but the focus remains the same: a boutique approach to full-service catering with a focus on custom menus, creative décor, expert planning and gracious service.

  • When we started 30 years ago, local wasn’t something anyone talked about. There was no where to shop locally, even if one wanted to. There’s a confluence of demand and supply - the demand has pushed supplier out and vice-versa.

  • We decided to plant a garden and grow the food for the wedding. We researched heirloom seed companies, got their gardner involved, and timed out the planting so that we would have the crops ready in time. We harvested heirloom carrots, cucumbers […] we served those proudly for the guests.

  • How can small businesses ensure they’re on the radar of companies like Occasions? …tune in for the answer :)

  • People care about artisanship and craft. When we’re looking for products to build into our menus, we’re looking for the very best. For example: we’re building our bar packages now with locally-made sodas, liquors, craft beer.

  • Matt joined Occasions 16 years ago as Eric’s assistant, moved to account executive and now is VP of Business Development.

  • What is the message or what do you want to evoke from this event?

  • We work one party at a time - and that has always been our goal. We create each experience uniquely.

  • We said Occasions Caterers - with an s - and that was intentional because we are a collaborative. A collective of individuals that bring their experience to the table. […] Investment in talent is everything - culinary talent and event planning talent.

  • We’ve built our business by allowing for diversity. We look for and invest in differences, instead of sameness.
     

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