John Maher: Hi. I’m John Maher. Today I’m here with Curt Fougere, a fourth‑generation Woodman, and Kristi Swett, a fifth‑generation Woodman. Today, we’re talking about the topic of do caterers do more than just food. Curt and Kristi, welcome.
Kristi Swett: Hi, John.
Curt Fougere: Hi.
Food Service & Event Planning
John: Curt, as a catering company, do you handle just the food service, or are there other aspects of event planning that you handle?
Curt: We plan all sorts of different events for people. Whether you need a table or a tent rental, maybe a bar service for drinks, whether you want flatware or china on your event. We can rent those. Any type of transportation that might be involved so your guests don’t have to physically drive to the event for a little safety if people are drinking.
Also, you can set up different types of game booths for children or adults in the sense of fly fishing, learning how to fly fish, or games for kids as in tie‑dye, face painting, things like that.
John: Kristi, let’s go through each one of those and talk a little bit more about them. Say I want a tent set up for my event. How do you guys go about renting that for me or what are the options there?
Kristi: It’s definitely something we can do and call and make the arrangement for. You only have to pay one company rather than write individual checks for every item you need for your event. We use a third party to do our tents. We would call up the place, give them an estimate on guest count.
Then, once they’re booked, they would come out to the location and do actual measurements so they know that the tent that they’re going to bring the day of or the day before will fit in the space.
John: Right, that would be bad if you rent a tent and that’s too big for your backyard or wherever you’re having your event and you don’t find out until the day of.
Kristi: Yeah, absolutely. If you’re going to do it on your own, which is always an option, too, make sure the tent company does pull the permits for Dig Safe. Make sure that when they do stake the tent they’re not going to hit any underground sprinkler systems or anything like that.
John: I wouldn’t have even thought of that. They have to stake that tent down into the ground, so there’s probably at least one‑foot stakes or something like that that go into the ground. You want to make sure you’re not hitting pipes and things.
Kristi: Most tents are definitely staked into the ground. There are, also, weighted tents. If they don’t have the option to stake in, if it’s concrete or something like that, they can use either cement or water weights to hold the tent in place. Most of the tents are staked down.
John: Are there all kinds of different sizes and shapes available for tents?
Kristi: Yeah, absolutely. You can make tents with multiple rooms and alleyways through it. More than likely, you just see one large tent to accommodate all the guests, but if your yard is broken up they can do multiple ones and connect them with walkways.
John: Sometimes I see those tents that have sides around them, as well, to make sure if you have a really driving rain or something it keeps that rain out. Sometimes they’re really nice and have little windows in them and things like that. You have all of those options, as well, I’m sure.
Kristi: Yeah, absolutely.
Tables & Chairs
John: What about tables and chairs? Is that something that you guys handle as a caterer?
Kristi: Yeah. Again, we use a third party. We would talk to you about the shapes and sizes of the tables you would want. We’d talk to you about a floor plan. Then, we’d contact the rental company to come and set up delivery and takeaway.
Part of what we do when we do make that arrangement is make sure that the tables and chairs are going to be set up for you, so it’s something that you don’t have to do the day of.
John: Dinnerware and flatware, does that come with the tables and chairs, or is that a separate thing?
Kristi: That’s always an add‑on. It would be the same company. We do recommend that if you are going to use any dinnerware or flatware that you have that caterer rent those items for you and don’t try to do it yourself. You don’t think of all the little pieces that go into those items.
Sometimes you don’t think about butter, and then you get there and you don’t have the dish to put the butter in.
Music & Entertainment
John: What about music and entertainment? That seems like it might be a little bit more outside of the scope of what a caterer does. Could you help me find some music for my event?
Kristi: Yeah, we work with so many people that we always have recommendations. I would definitely think that this is something that you would want to do a lot of research yourself just so you’re getting the right fit for the party you’re having, but we could always lead you in the right direction.
John: Bar service, is that something? Do you have bartenders that will come and set up for me?
Kristi: Yeah. We have a third party, again, that we just — just for liability. They cover their own insurance. Their service doesn’t necessarily provide the product, so that’s something that you can either have at your house available and they can use. Or, we can arrange a liquor delivery that could just be there for the party, and then the company would come and take it away and bill you on consumption.
John: You mentioned transportation. Do you mean transportation like if I’m having a wedding at a church and then the reception is at a different place where you’re catering the food, you can arrange for some transportation to go from the church to the reception and back? That sort of thing?
Kristi: Yeah, absolutely. Popular right now is using an old‑style trolley or something like that to get your guests, or even just your bridal party, from point A to point B.
John: Curt mentioned some extras like booths set up for kids and maybe some games and things like that. What are a few of the options that we have there?
Kristi: That’s something that corporate parties use a lot when they’re having a large event and they’re trying to have it family‑friendly. They could bring someone in that could do arts and crafts with the kids or play games.
They sometimes do water balloon fights or a watermelon eating contest just to keep them engaged so the adults can have fun and enjoy the event, as well.
John: It sounds like the best thing to do is to contact you or contact your caterer and see what all of the options are. It sounds like you can either just hire you to do the food, come in and do that or maybe arrange everything else myself if I want to do all the legwork that’s involved in that. Or, if I just want to hand it all off to you and say, “Hey, look, this is what I want for my party,” then, you can go ahead and arrange it all for me and take it all off my hands.
Kristi: Yeah, absolutely. We try to do as little or as much as possible so you’re really getting the full experience and everything you want is covered.
John: Kristi and Curt, thanks again for speaking with me today.
Kristi: Thank you, John.
Curt: Thank you.
John: For more information about catering, visit the Woodman’s website at woodmans.com or call (978) 768‑2559.