BEWARE of unethical Tricks
”Dirty Tricks “ or slight of hand. In any business, there are those who regularly use “tricks” to compete for your business and use unethical practices to fool clients into thinking all is well. If you want to know more, read on:
1. Being Illegal - Caterers who operate their business without a Food Service Permit from the Health Department are operating illegally. To have a PERMIT, a caterer’s kitchen must meet strict guidelines and the caterer must be educated and trained in Food Safety.
Danger: In the likely event of food poisoning from un-inspected foodservice operations, YOU will be held liable for injury, sickness or death of your guests. Even though the caterer may claim to have liability insurance; that insurance is null and void if they are operating illegally - without a permit from the Health Department.
Action: Ask to see the kitchen of your caterer and ask to see the Food Service Permit. Ask to see a copy of valid liability insurance. Don’t serve illness to your guests! HIRE A Professional Caterer.
2. Not Collecting or Paying Sales Tax - Caterers who don’t have a foodservice permit are most likely not paying sales tax. Some will charge you sales tax but pocket the money; further increasing profits. Not paying sales tax will be the action that will eventually put them out of business and possibly in jail.
Danger: As with any non professional caterer; what happens with your event and your deposit when they are forced out of business and bankrupt?
3. Sandbagging Portions - There are caterers who regularly short clients on portions; especially with expensive items like beef tenderloin or shrimp.
Here’s the trick: Only a very few people know the menu. The caterer knows where those people are located at all times so they will pull the tray of shrimp from the buffet telling the people at the buffet “the shrimp will be out soon, please check back”. The other people who are in line do not know the shrimp is missing since they don’t know the menu. After many people have gone through the line, but before the CLIENT comes through; a nice full tray of shrimp is put back on the buffet. The client sees everything they ordered and is impressed with the caterer. The end result is the caterer uses 1/2 as much shrimp.
Action: Monitor the buffet! However, at a special event, the client is too busy enjoying their guests to pay attention. Make sure someone is watching and listening closely.
Warning SIgns: cheap prices or those who are operating illegally. If they’ll cheat to avoid the cost of operating responsibly and legally, they’ll cheat you too.
4. Claiming Expertise they don’t have - Catering is not easy, nor is serving hot food to 500 guests! Yet many inexperienced caterers will claim to know how to cater events with no clue of what they are doing.
Danger: There are numerous things that can go wrong without the proper equipment, training or know how. Anything that causes embarrassment to you or risk to your assets is a serious concern. It is unethical and irresponsible to put a client at risk of ruining a special day!