How to Maintain a Successful Venue/Caterer Relationship

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The relationship between a caterer and a venue is one of the most important for guaranteeing continuing success for each organization. JHW Hospitality has teamed up with our venue partner, Catalyst Ranch, to offer these suggestions for building a strong and winning relationship.


  1. Know each other’s differentials. Whether they book their venue or their caterer first, clients often turn to one for advice on selecting the other. “Each of our caterers are unique in their own way” says Krissy Dabrowski, Special Events Assistant at Catalyst Ranch. “We have implemented a strategy that we meet with them every 8 -12 months for a deep dive of their offerings, see what’s new and exciting, etc. so that we are able to continuously give our clients the best suggestions.” By communicating their own distinctive qualities to their event partners, venues and vendors ensure that they are well-represented to clients.
  2. Be selective. For a long time, the goal of most caterers has been to earn a spot on the vendor list of every venue in town, but this is not necessarily the right strategy for every company.  Not every caterer is a good match for every venue. Consider paring back on the list of places you work. Focusing on a smaller number of venues will allow you to dedicate the time and resources necessary for delivering the most successful events. Also, caterers shouldn’t join venues just for the free marketing and exposure. Venues will know that you are using them and may resent being taken advantage of. Rather than trumpeting that you’ll work at any location in town, pair yourself with venues that best complement your food and style of service.
  3. Get to know as many people as possible. A strong partnership goes beyond the venue’s sales representative meeting the caterer’s event coordinator for lunch twice a year. Instead, make sure that event staff, sales reps, cooks, security guards, and executives all meet and understand each other’s responsibilities. As Krissy explains “I honestly feel that when everyone feels respected and appreciated, it makes for a calm and nearly flawless event every time!”
  4. Promote each other. Go beyond the guaranteed marketing you are contracted to provide each other. Look for ways to highlight your partner such as interacting on social media and attending each other’s open houses and networking events. These small exchanges help strengthen the foundation of the venue/vendor relationship.

The partnership between venue and caterer is valuable and important to the success of both organizations. Our thanks to Krissy Dabrowski of Catalyst Ranch for sharing some tips for maintaining that relationship. Contact Catalyst Ranch for Chicago’s most creative meeting and event space!

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