We are super excited to feature one of our favorite caterer’s in Saskatoon, to get their thoughts on all the things you need to know BEFORE you hire caterer. Let us introduce Pick Nic’s Catering and Fine Foods owned and operated by Nicola Lawson!
Hiring a caterer can be a tricky task. Many of the calls and emails we receive from people planning a corporate wine & Cheese party, birthday party, or a wedding are often wrought with stress and worry since many people calling us have never worked with a caterer before and they are not sure how to go about it.
Catering can mean many different things; it can mean a company that will deliver sandwich platters to your office or it can mean a company that will coordinate a large sit-down dinner for 300 guests in a theatre lobby with no kitchen facilities. It can mean a company with highly trained staff who prepare everything from ‘scratch’ using fresh and quality ingredients or it can mean a company that uses prepared and frozen foods that are re-heated and re-plated for many of their items. It can mean a company that is only interested in providing the food for your event or it can mean a company who wants to partner with you for your event to ensure the whole experience is seamless and enjoyable for you and your guests. Price points and levels of service can vary widely and this can be confusing for someone trying to get what they need at the budget that works for them. What to do?
Not all caterers are created equal and sometimes judging a company only by their pricing is not the best indication of what you will receive.
Be sure to view our Wedding and Celebration Menu carefully, to ensure you understand everything we include in our pricing.
Be sure you know the eight facts when deciding who to work with for your event.
1. Fresh Doesn’t Always Mean Fresh
Your meal should be prepared from scratch by chefs just for your event. Your hors d’oeuvres should be made by hands (and with love!) not a machine. Your meat selections should arrive fresh from the butcher, in your caterer’s kitchen the day before your event. Your pastry chef should be following recipes and creating desserts from scratch, not ordering from a price list.
2. Served Fresh Means Cooked Fresh
All the cooking should be done from scratch, using fresh produce, fresh protiens, real and wholesome ingredients. Sauces and gravies should be made by hand, not commercially prepared.
3. Service Is A Matter Of Math – The Ratio Of Staff To Guests Is Critical.
Nothing is more frustrating than having to hunt for hors d’oeuvres, wait for your dinner, or sit at your table wondering when your dish will be cleared. Lack of adequate staff is very obvious to the guests and can undo all your careful planning. Your staff should be service oriented, pleasant and attentive because your guests should never feel as if their needs are an imposition. In our numerous client reviews, our staff is repeatedly complimented for their wonderful attitudes as well as their caring service.
4. Style Is Significant
Your food, whether plated, buffet or served cocktail style should be beautifully presented. Foods that add colour and zing to a plate, stylish menu tent-cards, serving platters that are modern and attractive – these are just a few elements of the style that a caterer can bring to your menu.
5. Menu Planning can be a creative process
Your caterer’s client co-ordinator should be well versed in menu design. What kind of a crowd is it? Are they younger and more receptive to many cuisines? Is there a vegetarian contingent? What time of year is your party? What personal touches can be added to ensure guests know it was your party and not just a party? We have a spectacular menu with a wide array of choices, but you can also request some unique touches, some ethnic additions or a certain dish that is near and dear to your family. We will do our utmost to accomodate your theme and style!
6. Customer Service Counts
How long did you wait for your information after you made your initial phone call or email? Was it the information you asked for? Are your calls and emails answered in a timely manner? Do you feel important? If you have definite ideas about your celebration, they should tailor the information to suit you.
7. Your Caterer Should Be A “Know-It-All”
When it comes to the venues, the menus and all the other details your caterer should be an expert. We are familiar with several venues across the city. We can also suggest wonderful venues for your corporate cocktail party, wedding, or private party or create an event literally in the middle of ‘nowhere’.
8. Word-of-Mouth Is The Best Advertising
What is your caterer’s reputation? Ask to speak to past clients, nobody forgets the performance of their caterer. Different vendors also have a good sense of who’s who and who’s doing what in the catering world. Speak with florists, musicians, and photographers. They are at events from start to finish. They see the service, eat the food, interact with the staff and won’t hesitate to share their thoughts.
PickNic’s Catering believes that every day has something to celebrate. Caring and connection are the essential ingredients for every celebration no matter how large or small. We call it genuine hospitality and we bring it to everything we do.
A Little Bit more about Pick Nic’s Catering and Fine Foods
Nicola Lawson began her Culinary Career with studies in Pastry Arts at NAIT, Edmonton, AB. While travelling worldwide, working in various resorts, catering companies and retail bakeries, she fulfilled the requirements to become a Red Seal Journeyman Pastry Chef.
In 2003, upon returning to Saskatoon from overseas, she began her business in a cafe/bakery-style setting, downtown. While lunches were very busy in her cafe, catering quickly took over as the main focus and in 2008 she moved the business to the Mayfair district of the city, to be centrally located to her growing client base, around the city and beyond. At this point she decided to dedicate her energies fully to the Catering & Cake side of the business.
Nicola Lawson is a mother of 2 beautiful girls, she is actively involved in the community, and loves to travel as much as time allows. She gains inspiration and culinary knowledge from her adventures as far away as India, Egypt, Italy and Morocco!
A self-proclaimed extrovert, Nicola loves the daily client interactions her business affords, and thrives in quality communications, while truly getting to know the wonderful people she has the pleasure of serving.
With a focus on quality food-preparation, an eye on ever-changing food trends and always up for a challenge, Nicola has successfully steered her Culinary & Food-service team in a wide variety of special events, food festivals and, of course, many wonderful weddings!
On weekends, don’t be surprised to find her at the local Farmer’s market, savouring all the goodness our prairie city has to offer. Sundays are her cherished family time and she finds joy in sharing adventures and stay-cations with her family, around the city and province.