Catering Workshop 2016

At The Heathman Lodge, we seek ways to think outside the box. Our top priority for 2017 is to redefine our look and prioritize innovation. To kickstart our goals, we recently hosted a Catering Workshop under our management service, Connect Hospitality Services (CoHo), in which we invited seven properties under CoHo to join the festivities. The purpose for these properties was to collaborate with each other and produce tangible ideas for next year. Our resident catering team produced and beautifully executed their vision “fall in the park”, the theme for meals and decor throughout the 3-day workshop.

Aside from the delectable food and elaborate decor, the core theme and focus of the workshop was teamwork and brainstorming. By coming together, each property was able to discuss the minimum standard of service and discuss potential food and presentation ideas for future events. Cyndi Holloway, Director of Sales, lead everyone through a team-building exercise created by Tom Wujec, coined “The Marshmallow Theory”. This exercise is comprised of a marshmallow, spaghetti, tape and a rope, in which the main objective is to build a marshmallow tower in a small group setting. This experiment yielded interesting results: that “every project has its marshmallow” and incentives plus high skills equals success. Most importantly — that success isn’t possible as an individual, but as a team.

To highlight these successes, I interviewed our Resident Catering Managers Leah Sarkinnen and Keri Erickson, and Executive Chef Ray Delgado.

Leah was very impressed with the workshop as a whole, stating she had three favorite moments: “First, the opportunity to network with other catering managers in CoHo and to share thoughts and ideas amongst one another. Secondly, to see firsthand how decor and food packages can be presented and sold and visualizing the ways to upsell creatively. Third, to learn about current trends in catering, decor, technology and sales techniques.”

Overall, Keri felt the workshop was a smashing success. She said excitedly, “seeing how other properties and how they set up was very insightful.” Additionally, she claimed her favorite meal was prepared by Running Y Ranch Resort’s Chef, which included goat cheese dumplings, Korean chicken legs, beef and wild rice, finished with a pear dessert.

Executive Chef Ray Delgado of Hudson’s Bar and Grill captured the essence of the workshop perfectly, claiming his favorite moment was that “everyone was happy”.

We look forward to a wildly successful 2017!