The Nowsta Blog

Management tips and labor market insights to help you run your business

Our Guide to Renting a Commissary Kitchen

By Henry Updegrave June 18, 2019

Culinary businesses without a brick-and-mortar presence face a big problem: Where can they prep and store their food while following sanitation laws? For many, commissary kitchens are the answer. Commissary kitchens provide a legal, fully equipped space to prepare, cook, and store both food and supplies on a part-time rental basis. Businesses that benefit typically include:

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3 Hiring Mistakes to Avoid

By Anthony Lambatos June 3, 2019

Hiring new employees is one of the most difficult challenges for any business.  Just when you think everything is firing on all cylinders, someone gives their notice and you’re forced to divert your attention from the work that you love to replace a team member.  There is no question that this is a time consuming process, however making the wrong hire can be costly and have long term negative effects on your business. I’ve certainly made my fair share of mistakes over the years and seen many caterers stumble through the process.  Here are three common mistakes to avoid when you’re looking for your next hire.

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Tip Pooling: Your Comprehensive Guide

By Henry Updegrave May 28, 2019

Millions of servers, bartenders, baristas, and others depend on tips to supplement their income. While direct client-to-server tipping is the most standard practice, many businesses opt to spread the love with a tip pooling policy.

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The Life of an Outdoor Caterer

By Matt Phelan May 21, 2019

This guest post comes to us from Matt Phelan, President and Co-Owner of Simply Fresh Events! This is Part One of a three-part series. 

Simply Fresh Events has been catering outdoor events in the Washington, DC area since 2015, but my background in the industry goes back much further than that -- more than 20 years, in fact. I’ve spent nearly my entire career figuring out how to get delicious, simple, and fresh meals to hundreds of people in far-flung parks, barns, quarries, and wherever else people want to gather. I’ve learned a ton, and when Nowsta approached me about sharing my expertise with the rest of the catering world, I jumped at the opportunity.

Over a three-part article series, I’m going to share with you some of my strategies for building an outdoor catering company, finding new customers, and making an outdoor event run smoothly. I’ll start with my background and a few things I’ve learned about what makes for a well-run catering company.

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The Latest in Corporate Dining: 7 Trends for 2019

By Henry Updegrave May 14, 2019

In today’s perks-heavy office environment, companies go to great lengths to retain top employees and build an enthusiastic office environment. Corporate dining is one of the most potent tools available. Although free or discounted office food has been around for decades, creative meal plans and catered meetings are becoming more and more common for white collar employees around the country. In a recent interview with the New York Times, one corporate food supplier explained, “You reduce turnover because you have happier employees. It’s how you stay competitive for a certain sector of companies.”

As corporate dining preferences shift and expand, caterers need more highly-trained food service staff who can adapt to a wider range of client preferences and even, in some cases, work directly with office managers to meet new demands.

So, what exactly are these new demands? We lay out seven below. You'll notice common threads like a focus on wellness and sustainability, but above all else, these corporate dining trends are about elevating the daily work experience for office employees. Let's dive in!

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6 Questions with Hotbox Authors Matt and Ted Lee: Undercover Students of Catering

By Henry Updegrave May 7, 2019

Matt and Ted Lee have the catering world abuzz with their new book Hotbox: Inside Catering, the Food World’s Riskiest Business. The two food writers went undercover, working as event chefs for two years to get the inside scoop on an industry that nearly everyone has interacted with but few truly understand. We got the chance to sit down with them and learn more about their journey into catering.

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Want Happier Employees? Show Your Appreciation!

By Anthony Lambatos April 30, 2019

In his New York Times bestseller Life’s Little Instruction Book, H. Jackson Brown has a great quote for managers: “Don’t forget a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.”  

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5 Simple but Crucial Sales Fundamentals for Caterers

By Lisa Ware April 8, 2019

Allow me to introduce myself! My name is Lisa Ware and I'm the Director of Business Development & Special Projects at Catering by Michaels in Chicago. I've been in catering sales for ten years and prior to that, I taught Kindergarten at a private school for six years.

You might think that teaching Kindergarten and selling catering services are totally different careers -- and they are -- but the lessons I learned managing a classroom laid the foundation on which I've built both my personal brand and business in catering. Many people think sales takes a magic formula or specific personality type. But I truly believe that anyone who has a passion for their industry can become successful in sales. It just comes down to some fundamental basics that are often overlooked.

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How Can Event Pros Build a Culture of Creativity?

By Renee Miner March 26, 2019

Creativity is so intrinsically linked to the special events industry that its true meaning has become lost in a sea of job titles, marketing verbiage, and company branding. As a diverse, powerful, well-connected industry, we’re all in agreement that creativity is a key part of what we do, but we often struggle to make it part of our companies’ daily operations.

It’s not enough to just say that we’re creative. How can you as a caterer ensure your company's default position is to always be innovating? The answer comes down to culture.

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3 Takeaways from Catersource 2019

By Henry Updegrave March 5, 2019

Last week, the Nowsta team was lucky enough to attend our third Catersource conference together as a company. In addition to being the premier conference for caterers and industry-adjacent businesses, Catersource has been a crucial part of Nowsta’s growth thus far -- we launched our product to the catering world two years ago at Catersource 2017, and then grew our customer base substantially after announcing several new features at last year’s Catersource.

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