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‘Protecting your slice of the pie’ is catering's biggest challenge

Tough competition is keeping caterers jumping, according to Stephan Baroni, managing partner and chief operating officer of Tentation, the American arm of international catering/event design firm Potel et Chabot, based in Paris. In addition to its off-premise catering business, the New York operation holds exclusive contracts with Sotheby's, the Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center Studios, Bulgari Café and Milk Studios.

“For a while there was a new caterer established every day, particularly spinoffs from restaurants or hotels,” Baroni says. “Many of them realized that catering, while in the same industry, was very different and required a different operating model, which they didn't expect. Consequently the spinoffs either failed and closed or were eliminated following a downturn in business activity.”

Tentation recently established a Style and Design department, “which makes us more of a full-service provider,” Baroni says. “We now have the ability to better customize our services and fill the needs of the client looking for the themed/custom event. We also offer small arrangements and centerpieces to our exclusive locations. In addition, we are going to introduce a very high-end box lunch for our corporate clients incorporating real china and glassware packaged in an elegant, custom-made box.”

His biggest challenge: “Keeping ourselves fresh and new,” he says. “We don't want to become the establishment caterer, nor reinvent ourselves every year, but rather be known as an innovative, creative, reliable and quality-driven caterer that makes our clients look good and makes their job easy.”

For the full story, see the May issue of Special Events Magazine.

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