The Caterer Conundrum
By Cindy Silvert, www.easybreezygourmet.com
It doesn’t take an MBA to know that “the customer knows best”. This formula for success varies from country to country. In Israel for example, there’s typically a slight twist. It’s more like: “You gonna buy it or not?” Back in the USA, the man at AT&T thanked me fourteen times for giving him my phone number and zip code. The lady at the post office welled up as she apologized for giving me a pen that didn’t work. The company that printed my business cards is going to print them all again for free, since I called them to say “hi.” (Okay, I also mentioned that the colors were off, but still…). In this economy, customer service can make or break you. Meanwhile, kosher caterers charge twice as much as their non-kosher counterparts and apparently make up the difference by not returning phone calls.
In my previous blog I declared that I would reach out to caterers, and I did. They just didn’t reach back. One outfit took six months to return my call. I do not exaggerate. (Fine, I always, always, always exaggerate, but I happen to be telling the truth this once.) The second time we spoke, she said she would send me an estimate within two weeks. I don’t like to be pushy, but I called her two months later to find out what was up. Her food is superb, otherwise I wouldn’t have put up with this, (and might have gotten the hint last Fall), but how can I be sure she’ll serve it on the right day?
Caterer #2 basically opened the conversation with “trust me” (case closed). He immediately told me how much better, classier and cheaper he is compared to the bigger caterers. He then suggested that a “light” afternoon snack for kids could include rib eye steak & cheese steaks, without the cheese, at $85 a pop. (At that price, I’ll take the cheese in a doggie bag please). As if that wasn’t bad enough, he asked me if I knew what “haimesh” meant. Sorry, but anyone who’s xenophobic and haughty enough to ask if you know what haimesh means, is not someone I can work with, or frankly, all that haimesh.
Caterer #3 said he wanted to speak to me again the very next day to make sure he understood exactly what I wanted. He also said he wanted to visit the Bar Mitzvah location to make sure everything would work out perfectly. I was impressed. I’m still waiting by the phone. Someone just asked me if the antics I share with you are based on actual events. Since reality is so much stranger than fiction, why would I make it up? (That’s a yes.) My friend who wants to cater the event from his kitchen over his wife’s dead body read my last blog and wants to have “the talk”. I’ve got no alibi, no caterer, no estimate, not even a phone call. Doesn’t he realize I have everything under control?
About Cindy Silvert
Cindy Lynn Silvert took the long route to the States from Canada via Israel, where she studied, worked and had her first two children. A lover of the Arts, Cindy is a professionally trained actor, prolific artist and writer. She has designed educational software, curricula and museums exhibits in addition to editing two books. She writes for a number of sites including easybreezygourmet.com where she shares culinary secrets, shortcuts and tips. She is also a featured chef and lead contributor of metroimma.com.
Follow Cindy’s new blog Eat Pray Save, right here on MitzvahMarket.com as she challenges the status quo all the way to the Bimah, while planning her son’s upcoming Bar Mitzvah. Eat Pray Save will be the place to get a fresh perspective and a classy, yet fun and affordable solution to the out of control phenomenon of the American Bar Mitzvah.
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