The importance of paying attention during your client planning meetings makes all the difference during an event. In today’s episode of EventPlanning BlueprintTV, I talk to award winning catering company Food For Thought’s VP of Catering, John Rudy about catering trends and paying attention to the details.

‘Prepare For The Experience’

With a slogan like, Prepare For The Experience, it’s obvious why Food For Thought is at the top of their game. Not only have they won the Industry Excellence Award For Best Off-Premise Caterer as well as the Catering Executives Club of America Peer’s Choice for Best Caterer, but have also gleaned the first ever Green Seal Certification, something that took them four years to attain! These trail blazers are a must watch this year!

In today’s episode…

You’ll learn how listening to the small details that your clients discuss will help you cater to their needs (I’m full of puns today!).

We’ll share how you can meet your client’s expectations; How to showcase your creativity; How to craft signature menu items such as craft cocktails which are sure to knock the socks off your client and finally the importance of making the caterer part of your event-planning team.

8 Questions To Ask During a Client Planning Meeting

John gives you 8 unique questions that are sure to get the most out of your client planning meetings.
  1. How did the couple meet?
  2. Where have they lived?
  3. What is their favorite restaurant?
  4. What is their favorite dish?
  5. What TV shows do they watch?
  6. How did they get engaged?
  7. What movie is their favorite?
  8. What do they do in their off-time together?
Warning: You may get very hungry and you’ll find yourself running out to buy a bottle of gin; whether you like gin or not!

1.48 Why are certifications important? 2:47 How event planners can work best with caterers. 4:55 How craft cocktails affect catering and creativity. 8:10 Achieving your client’s goals and how event planners can make the caterer part of the team. 9:51 Eight unique questions that are sure to get the most out of your client planning meetings. 10:59 The importance of creating the experience for the client. It’s not just about the food! 11:51 How Blue Cheese Grits Can Help You Get The Most Out Of Your Client Planning Meetings. 13:03 Catering trends. Some of the trends may surprise you. 16:17 Would you buy cheap shoes? The downfall of cutting back on a catering budget. 18:46 People always remember the food. Food For Thought has shared their recipe for Bee’s Knees:

  1. 1.5 ounces gin, Tanqueray recommended
  2. 1 ounce honey syrup
  3. .75 ounce fresh lemon juice
  4. Muddled summer berries (2 blackberries & 2 raspberries or 2 blueberries and ½ strawberry, adjust to your liking)
  1. Pour the ingredients, except soda, into a cocktail shaker, over ice
  2. Add mulled berries
  3. Shake briefly
  4. Add splash of club soda
    1. Strain into a chilled cocktail or Double Old Fashion glass
    2. Garnish with berries

Now it’s your turn John and I could have talked for hours and we’d love to hear from you. How do you get the most from your client planning meetings? As always, thank you for reading, watching and sharing your comments. We read every single comment and love what you share. Happy Planning,


  1. Robert at3:14 pm

    I take it the client or recipient of this list of questions has to be an engaged couple. I think the questions are one of the most overlooked part of event planning because if you ask the right questions, the feedback will often give you some specific ideas that can infuse your event with creative details that can add that special touch and transform an event from a mundane affair to a special experience.

  2. Gerald at8:48 pm

    There are ways to continue to offer top – quality events without raising registration fees or expanding event budgets. I think it’s important to understand your needs and priorities. Determining the areas in which your organization can be creative is the first step. Food, audio visual, venue, communications and programming are all areas that lend themselves to creative thinking. And the more you can save on costs, the more profits are left for you, the planner.

  3. Timothy at12:22 am

    A common denominator in event planning is creativity. No one sets out to coordinate the most uninspired meeting of all time. Event planners want to be remembered for integrating originality and imagination into their events. Often times though there is a boundary to our creativity. It could be a limited budget, or a conservative theme that leaves us wondering where we can sneak in a dash of personality. This can be a major challenge for anyone.

  4. Alvin at7:24 am

    John, the caterer is certainly an accomplished, decorated cuisine professional. I think it is a good idea to get certified. It can help you get more business and a higher end of clientele. These days, it can only help to proclaim that you as a person and as a business are green. That I imagine not only gains you favor among some clients, but that gives you more credibility as well. This is an informative video.

  5. Joseph at1:25 pm

    I have come to the stark realization that before planning an event, there is much that must be done behind the scenes to make the event successful. If you look at it realistically, before any thought is even given to timing or location of the event, before the menus are selected and the decor designed, there are proposals to be written, fees and contracts to be negotiated, and safety issues to be considered. So there’s a lot to learn.

  6. Steven at12:18 pm

    This was a very clever blog post you had some fun stuff in there and you made some puns that I found very funny. It was entertaining yet educational at the same time. You did a great job on this and I hope you don’t mind if I take some of the ideas from your post and use them myself in my blog. Keep up the good work, now off to get my gin.

    1. Event Planning Blueprint at3:52 pm

      Hey Steven,

      Thanks, I’m glad you got so much out of it – humor included!

      feel free to copy and paste my blog URL into your blog and share it.


  7. Thomas at12:02 am

    They say it’s important to know your guest profile. What is the profile of the guests being invited to the event? For example, most business people attend many events throughout the year, and the phrase “rubber chicken circuit” is common among political, business and fundraising circles (and others). You want to prevent your event from having this description. So consider things like: The frequency your guest attends similar events. And the ethnic background of your guests.


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