Potions in Motion catering guru Jason Savino has been doing private parties and fundraisers for 16 years. Regulars on Boca’s party and social circuit know the brand and always expected something new and different. But once precautions were in place, Savino faced a business challenge.
Q: How does a caterer reinvent a party?
A: I try to be ahead of the curve. We started right away what was legally acceptable and what our customers would be comfortable with. What food service would look like.
Q: What did you do first?
A: We opened a market where people could get hard-to-find items like steak and proteins. The site for our client base did close to $15,000 a week. The average order was $100 to $150 doing 10 to 20 orders a day, seven days a week. Contactless delivery with full gloves and mask. Everything was boxed up and left at your door on ice.
Q: How did you handle prepared food?
A: Cooked items changed every week. Unlike a restaurant, we didn’t have a menu. We had to train and educate by video. We moved back to our bread and butter, which is catering.
Q: How did you know what customers wanted?
A: We saw the demand was all private occasion type of events, birthdays and engagements. Zero corporate.
Q: Do you think corporate catering will return?
A: It may be dictated by law, but it has to come back. When it does, it will come back strong.
Q: What else did you think needed changing?
A: We’ve been working hard in the past two months rebranding our web site and mission statement to our client base and potentially new clients. We’re starting out promoting a new set [of protocols] for wedding and engagement parties, micro event catering.
Q: What does that look like?
A: What we normally did on a smaller scale so maybe a 200-person wedding is 60 people. Reducing the head count allows us to set up the event using social distancing catering practices; not only spacing of tables but a whole new way to serve people food and beverage.
Q: How does that work?
A: The traditional buffet is changed to a more live action food station where guests won’t be able to get near the food but can see it. So we’re directing our trained staff to serve the food. Zero contamination from guest to guest.
Q: What about drinks?
A: Bartenders and mixologists will have drinks premade in mason jars and carafes. They can be delivered by servers or picked at stations. Vessels will be high-end and disposal, one-time use only. That’s where we’re starting with the beverage service.
By Marci Shatzman