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The Last Word

DON'T FLIP OUT "When a problem arises, focus, solve it and never, ever lose your cool in front of anyone. Anybody can scream and belittle others, but it takes a talented, pragmatic professional to succeed for others at times like that."

DOING IT MY WAY "I have spent time identifying what we do best and then doing everything possible to back it up with my company's actual performance on the job. We don't attempt to be the caterer for all occasions, and sometimes we do politely say no. We know where our limitations lie and what I adore doing-then I seek out those pieces of business that seem to be a fit. It's a slower, more deliberate bid process to custom-design every menu, but I love doing the culinary research, fine-tuning the details, and matching the decor and service level to that concept."

THE HUMAN TOUCH "I have become an immediate, avid devotee of e-mail, but sometimes the downside is I miss actually talking with a person! Twenty-first-century technology can foster the lack of the human touch in business transactions and dealings. That's why I really try hard to create an 'experience' with my company that is fulfilling and satisfying for both client and colleague. This is how entrepreneurs can set themselves apart from larger companies-by creating this culture and treating the human side of the industry with as much importance as the bottom line."

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER "Caterers will continue to face an increasingly sophisticated clientele in years to come. And doing the best possible job of keeping food quality, sanitation, creativity, eye-appeal, menu concepts, ethics and profit margin in the proper alignment will be the challenge that sets us apart. That's why a caterer's involvement in NACE is so important. Staying current, leading-edge, profitable and committed to quality can be achieved only by continuing the 'catered experience' with your peers in a broad educational forum."

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