Have you ever been asked for references?

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by desdinova, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. desdinova

    desdinova

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    We were called by a client who found us on the Internet. They are from out of state, and it's a big corporate type thing where the event is for a group of business partners, arranged by people that probably aren't even going to be at the event, payed for by the management accounting department that probably doesn't even know who the people attending are.

    So that's the setup. We work up a proposal, do a site visit, have a tasting, they are excited, we are excited too, (hey we like our job) all is ready to go... then... they submit the invoice and we get.. "the management requires that we get references for all outside vendors and caterers for our conference event"

    Our response was "While we would love to provide references, we do not have permission, nor would we burden our clients with asking for permission, to distribute their contact information for any reason. Our clients often post reviews and comments on public forums such as Yelp and Facebook and in addition we have testimonials that have been posted on the home page of our website for which clients gave specific permission. "

    Two weeks later, we get a "we had to move on to another provider."

    As most of our business is word of mouth, we've honestly never been asked for a reference before. I think I handled it as best as I could, but no one likes to loose an event so far into the planning.

    Was wondering if this sort of thing has happened to anyone else, what you did, comments, support, advise, etc...

    Miles
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
  2. quelper

    quelper

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  3. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    I suspect they didn't want you and probably had someone else in mind. Unless someone else comes up with a valid explanation, I'd say they came up with a bogus excuse not to hire you. You are probably better off.
     
  4. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    In corporate world, approved list of vendors and references is pretty much SOP. I would imagine their event planner was new and/or dropped the ball as far as being fully cognizant of corporate policies and procedures.

    Miles (desdinova), I thought your response was well thought out and phrased. I also agree with your philosophy, with one exception. When dealing with corporate event planners in the future, after successfully staging an event, I would request a reference and/or recommendation.
     
  5. desdinova

    desdinova

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    LOL... and this is why I like this forum.. chefwriter and cheflayne those are the two thoughts we bantered around today. I'm leaning toward the planner dropped the ball and was not fully aware of what hoops needed jumping through but at the same time, I am curios how they even managed to get someone else in on short notice. There are not many Caterers in the area that could handle the event on anything from location to menu. I have a strange feeling we may get called back at the last minute.

    As far as asking for a reference or recommendation after a corporate event, we don't generally go through an event planner, but we do occasionally and I wouldn't have a problem asking them for references. I wish I would have thought of that at the time..

    Thanks
     
  6. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I basically look at whoever contacted me from a corporation about hiring my services, as an event planner. Just my loose interpretation of the word.

    In this particular case, the event planner was probably a secretary (AKA these days...administrative assistant) who got the job dropped in their lap for the first time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
  7. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    I had a Food Service Contract Management Company and work with the Corp bullshit for many years. You either do it their way or they find someone else. It's that simple, they don't bend. If your the person in the Corp that should have gotten references and the function didn't go well your butt is gone. Corporations always have to have a scape goat, it's never the company's fault. I learned this many years ago, if they ask they get. There are no no's because there is someone else begging for the chance after you drop the ball. If your going to work for the big boys you need to do what they ask........ChefBillyB
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  8. peachcreek

    peachcreek

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    When I had my catering business we had several large clients that we worked with. I found that working with ultra-particular corporate type people was easier than pursuing weddings. I also found out that the event planners or companies that book food service? Its as important that they hear good feedback as it is for the people you actually cater for. So don't be afraid to ask the lead in-house client to send word back if they like you. And ask if you can name-drop them as a reference to future clients. If they like you? They call you back. Its great. However under no circumstances biff it with that type of client. B/c The relationship only runs as deep as your first fuckup.
    Good luck!
    Peachcreek

    PS.
    Why do i prefer corporate over weddings?
    Wedding caterings are an emotional affair.
    Corporate caterings are almost an exercise in metrics.
    So much easier!
     
    cronker, Chrisopotamus and chefbillyb like this.
  9. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    No mothers of the bride. :~)
     
  10. quelper

    quelper

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    Good for you! We don't give out private references either.

    Now corporate customers are somewhat obligated to give you one. "we would love to use you as a reference" is often well met and just the contact name and phone number will satisfy most potential clients.

    I agree about weddings. The father of the bride and mother of the groom can be the worst.

    Weddings are about loss.

    Losing your children (we'll take it out on the caterer)
    Losing your innocence
    Losing your youth
    Losing your childhood

    Oh and 'It has to be PERFECT!!" as it need to be "The happiest day of our lives!" Now don't fuck it up!
     
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  11. cronker

    cronker

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    What we do is send out a feedback form for every event we invoice. Some, we never get back, and others are simply an exercise in the client complaints about the birds in the trees chirping too loudly (not kidding).
    For better references, it's always better to approach your more regular clients who already have a relationship with your business and will probably be happy to recommend you.
     
  12. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Finding noisy birds to be a nuisance?
    Handy dandy lil' tip ...
    I don't often watch a movie more than twice but this particular film I could watch forever.
    Reminds me of growing up southern lol.
    mimi

     
  13. cronker

    cronker

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    I kid you not, flip, i always thought I should write a book about the insane things I have seen in this game, but social media killed it because some of you have better stuff than even I could imagine!