Don’t Be Fooled By Imitators

While “Imitation is the highest form of Flattery” it isn’t always to the benefit of the consumer.  Everybody loves a bargain, but you have to know which offers are a great deal and which will leave you empty and disappointed. When it comes to bigger, more important purchases such as booking a wedding reception, you certainly don’t want to compromise your special event for inferior service!  Many times imitators will promote their product as the same or better than the original to gain the business only to disappoint. Take the venue’s reviews into consideration with a grain of salt…are the reviews legitimate?  More importantly, talk to people who have used the venue and ask them some questions:

  • Was the venue ready when they entered?  Were the tables set properly with matching silverware?
  • Were the linens clean with no spots or holes? Were the colors they wanted for their linens included in the package pricing or was it an additional charge?
  • Were salads served fresh or were they sitting on the tables when their guests arrived for the cocktail hour?
  • Was the food hot and served in a timely manner or did dinner service take too long and postpone the dancing time?
  • Was the food high quality and delicious or did they settle for low quality, unappealing food?
  • Were the portions adequate? If it was homestyle or buffet, were serving bowls kept filled?
  • Was the bar appropriately staffed and equipped with premium liquor?  Were there enough fully stocked bars and bartenders to accommodate the number of guests?
  • Was the venue clean and were the bathrooms attended to throughout the event?
  • Was there enough staff present for serving and clearing the tables?
  • Was the coffee served to their guests at their tables or did they have to walk across the room to get their own hot coffee?
  • Was there an Event Coordinator with them all day to make sure the reception flowed smoothly?
  • And, most importantly, would they recommend the venue to family and friends?

Imitation in all services and products is common and sometimes acceptable.  You may choose the “bargain item” for various reasons and be perfectly happy with it.  Bargain bags, detergents, or potato chips can easily be replaced if you are not satisfied.  However, choosing the “imitation” for your special event is something that can’t be re-done if it doesn’t turn out as you expected. As a catering company, Capriotti’s is often faced with imitation of our Menu’s, Fundraising Items, Promotions, and Wedding Reception packages.  Although we are flattered, it sometimes leads to confusion with potential customers.  Products by the same name or description may be perceived to be as delicious as ours or services may be perceived to be as professional; but, we often hear about customer’s dissatisfaction when being duped by the imitators .  We have created and updated our very own menus for over 25 years to ensure you always get the best we have to offer. Realistically, we can’t reach everyone personally, but we can let our reputation speak for itself! We welcome any questions about our products and processes and even offer our customers a tour of our clean and efficient kitchen! We look forward to seeing you at Capriotti’s!

It's Fundraiser Time

It’s that time of year again and sports teams, groups, and organizations are busy planning fundraisers.  If you are looking to raise money for your Group, check out the tips below on selecting and running a successful fundraiser.

Purpose – Does everyone know the purpose of the Fundraiser, besides raising money of course? Inform your participants how the money will be used.  Instead of saying we are raising money for the basketball team, direct your sellers to say, “we are raising money to get new uniforms for our team”.

The Chairperson & Committee – Choosing a chairperson and committee that are organized and dedicated to the cause is your best bet!  Don’t select the kind hearted person who is overwhelmed and involved in so many activities that they are only giving a small percentage to each cause.  To run a smooth and financially successful event, select a leader who will be the direct communicator with the fundraising company and has top notch organizational skills.

Fundraising Goal – Set a goal for each participant or your group as a whole. Base it on the number of items sold or a specific dollar amount; and set the goal high enough to push people to succeed, but not too lofty as to discourage sellers.  Have a friendly competition by organizing teams to encourage teamwork and push the participants to reach their goals.  You can even offer an incentive for those that achieve it.

Choosing a Fundraiser – How much time will your group have to spend showing items, gathering, submitting, picking up and delivering orders?  If the members of your group are pressed for time, as most are, choose a fundraiser that can be done over the phone, by text messages, or through social media.  You also need to think about the group that will be selling your items. If you are heading up a boys soccer team, the enthusiasm to sell candles may not be quite as strong as selling pizzas!

Profits – How profitable are the items? Some fundraisers offer a flat rate for dollar amount sold while other fundraisers offer a profit for each individual item, making some items better sellers and more profitable.

Ease of Ordering – Recommend that all sellers collect the money at time of ordering to eliminate being stuck with product.  If possible, set up an online ordering page. This streamlines the process for those who are computer savvy and prefer buying online.

Delivery- Will you have to pick up, sort, and distribute the fundraiser or is it delivered to you, pre-packaged? This is a detail you want to know ahead of time so you can make arrangements for the proper amount of help on delivery day.

Form a List – each member of your group should make a list of potential buyers.  Compile a list of family, friends, co-workers, businesses, and even exercise partners.  Think creatively!

So the bottom line is when you are ready to choose your Fundraiser, select one that is easy to sell with quality products.  At Capriotti’s, we offer our Food Fundraiser which includes a variety of our delicious products, delivered to your location.  The profits range from $1.00 to $6.00 per item, and you can sell as little or as much as you want.  If you would like more information on the Fundraiser at Capriotti’s, please contact us at 570-929-7200. Happy Fundraising!

Wedding Bliss On A Budget

Wedding Receptions come in all shapes and sizes! You don’t have to break the bank in order to have the perfect wedding…after all, the day is ultimately about you and your fiancee celebrating your love with family and friends.  There are plenty of ways to pinch pennies without compromising the elegance of your wedding day.  Here are a few tips to trim the fat.

Have a Flexible Wedding Date – Once you are engaged, it is very exciting and many couples will immediately choose a date for their wedding.  If possible, don’t be steadfast on one particular date.  Enter into your planning with a range of dates that could work for you and your fiancee.  Flexibility gives you the opportunity to hold your reception at a location that might be out of your price range or unavailable for a Saturday wedding.  Most popular reception halls offer discounts for booking on an “off-peak” day or “off-peak” time of year.  You can still get the experience of a beautiful venue and delicious food by choosing a Friday or Sunday. Often times, there are also discounts available for choosing a date in the late fall or winter, even if you do choose a Saturday!

The Endless Guest List- Although you would love to celebrate your special day with everyone you know, you can probably cut back on the list and invite those who are closest to you.  Although your hairdresser may see you every 5 weeks and share in your trials and tribulations during shop gossip, don’t feel obligated to invite them to the wedding!  The same goes for those cousins you haven’t seen since you were 5 years old!  Inviting only those closest to you will make your day more meaningful, not to mention saving you a ton of cash! By cutting out as few as 10 guests, you can save up to $1,000 or more on the catering, invitations, centerpieces, and favors. 

Choose a Reputable Venue- Although it may seem cheaper to rent an off-site location or have the wedding at your home, keep in mind the cost of all the rental items you will need: tables, chairs, linens, bar, plus a caterer, bartender, and staff for set up, serving, and clean up.  You may even need to rent a tent, dishes, glassware, and additional restrooms.  If you choose a reputable, ready to go venue, all these items are included in the cost per plate.  Weigh out your costs before choosing whether you will host your event at an offsite location or at a full service venue.

Say I do at the Venue – If you are not set on a church wedding, having your ceremony at the reception venue saves money in various areas such as transportation costs, double venue fees, music, and flowers. Having everyone at one location offers an easy transition from ceremony to reception.  Your DJ or band can play your wedding music and you can use your ceremony flowers to decorate different tables at the reception, such as your cake table or gift table.  The flowers can be seamlessly transferred by the venue staff during cocktail hour.

Morning, Noon, or Night – Holding a reception earlier in the day may allow you to save money on the menu and the cocktails.  Consider a brunch reception with pastries as appetizers and upscale breakfast foods as your main course.  For drinks, serve a Bloody Mary Bar, Mimosa Fountain or Wine Spritzers.  If you are paying on consumption, your bar bill will be half of an evening reception.  For those venues that include the bar, work with your caterer on requesting a limited, less expensive bar.

Choosing your Dinner Option – Although a plated dinner sounds more formal and expensive, it is a cheaper alternative to a “stations” reception and most likely comparable to a family style serving.  A buffet may be the least expensive; however, consider your guest list before having your grandma or tipsy guests walk across the room with a plate full of food…the savings may not be worth the potential food disaster!

Put a twist on your menu – Instead of serving a gourmet meal, which most guests will only eat a portion of because they are not a fan of arugula, quinoa, or bearnaise sauce for example, stick to the comfort foods.  The latest trend is to serve traditional foods such as mac and cheese or BBQ chicken on a pretty platter.  Your guests will be relieved to eat food they actually recognize and your meal will convey a feeling of fun, rather than fussy!

Tis the season – Choose your menu based on the season.  Don’t serve fruits and vegetables that are out of season in your area.  Not only will the flavor be less than satisfying, but the sour taste left in your mouth of the over priced items will leave you wishing you had chosen a different menu.

Bar Bill – If you can, you may want to opt out of the premium open bar and serve guests wine, beer, and a signature cocktail.  They will still be able to enjoy “free drinks” without breaking your budget.  Some venues include the Premium Bar in your package; if that’s the case, stick to the hours contracted and don’t be swayed to extend the bar by that fun-loving best man!

Toasting the Bride and Groom – At any gathering, guests raise the glass of whatever they are drinking to toast the occasion.  The same can be true at a wedding, eliminating the need to serve champagne for a toast if it is an additional charge at your venue. Most people don’t enjoy champagne and may just take a sip to join in the toast.  Think of the savings if you weren’t throwing out all those half-finished glasses of champagne! Of course, having champagne in the wedding couples’ glasses may be a tradition you would like to keep.

Even if you have the money to spend, saving a few dollars here and there will be a great boost to your newly wed piggy bank! At Capriotti’s we offer Special Packages for Friday and Sunday Weddings for those couples who would like first-class service at a savings. You don’t have to compromise your wedding bliss just because you are on a budget. There are affordable options for everyone at our venue.  No matter what your budget, our outstanding team will pay attention to every detail for your special day, whether it’s a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday!

At Your Service…

You’ve chosen the date, the dress, the venue, the photographer, and the entertainment.  Now, its’ time to finalize all those little details.  One item not to be overlooked is the Culinary Serving Style for your Reception.  Choosing the Serving Style often raises a few questions…how formal is your reception, who is on the guest list (are there elderly and small children), and what costs are involved with the different styles. The most common styles of serving dinner to your guests are Plated,  Homestyle, Station Setups and Buffet.  Many times, not only is there a difference in serving style but also in price, so consider your budget when choosing.

If you are planning a formal reception, a Plated Serving Style may be your best choice.  When choosing a Plated Dinner, giving your guests a Choice of Entrees should satisfy the palettes of any discerning guest. Once your guests are seated, salads are served, followed by a plate with the complete dinner, and then finally the dessert. Some venues may even offer “white glove” service in which the waiters and waitresses wear white gloves while serving your dinner for the ultimate in formal serving. 

For those couples who want to convey a “family gathering feel”, Homestyle, or sometimes referred to as Family Style serving, still allows your guests to remain seated at the table.  Dinner starts with a served salad and then platters of food are placed on the table for people to share around the table with one another.  Even though this is a more casual form of serving, your guests will feel “at home” while enjoying their meal.  And don’t worry about not having enough food.  As the bowls are emptied, the servers will replenish, ensuring plenty for your guests.  When the meal is finished, dessert is served to each of your seated guests.

“Station” buffets offer a unique style for weddings.  Stations may be setup during the cocktail hour to enhance the hors d’oeuvres selections.  Offering a “Chef Attended Carving Station” with Roasted Tenderloin of Beef with petit rolls will surely be enjoyed!  The “stations” also can offer a great dinner setup to include a “Chef Attended” Hand Carved Meat and Pasta Station.  The Main Station may offer a variety of food to include fish, chicken, beef, with accompaniments of potatoes and vegetables.  Sweet endings of specialty desserts with coffee and tea will be the finale to a great dinner!

Another type of serving style which is not as common for weddings is Buffet Style.   This style is often typical for a banquet type of event rather than a wedding, but does offer a variety of food choices for your guests.  People are customarily formally dressed for a wedding and walking from a buffet line with a plate of food is sometimes difficult in those great looking high heels!  Elderly guests or children may also find it cumbersome to walk with their food from the buffet line.  Taking your guest list into consideration is recommended when choosing Buffet Style.

Service styles play an important role in the success of a catered reception.  In the end, the option you choose will be perfect for your Wedding when working with an experienced caterer.  At Capriotti’s, no matter what your budget or theme, we make every dinner option and style of service exceptional for the Wedding couple.  We include a variety of complimentary services with options for upgraded amenities, such as Cocktail Entrance Greetings, Carving Stations, and Dessert Stations.  Learn more about the Wedding Reception packages  offered at Capriotti’s where we are dedicated to Passionately Perfecting Life’s Celebrations!

Time is Ticking…

Your wedding day is almost here and suddenly you start to worry about whether the entertainment will be set up on time, does the photographer know your address, do the groomsmen know when to show up for the ceremony?  There are endless questions that will be going around and around in your head! How will it all come together in so little time? 

As the week of your wedding arrives, it is likely that all of the arrangements have been made and it’s just down to a few last minute items.  However, it’s human nature to second guess ourselves and let our nerves get the best of us as the event draws closer.  Don’t let your anxiety overwhelm you and ruin this exciting week!

To keep calm as the time is ticking away, create a checklist for yourself that you can review a few days before the wedding.  Share the appropriate portions with your Maid of Honor and Best Man and ask for their help in communicating with the bridal party.  Here are a few items that should be included on your list.

Vendor Checklist:

  • Hair Dresser and Make Up – check in with your hairdresser and confirm your appointment time and double check that she will have enough staff on hand to get you and your bridal party on your way in a timely fashion.
  • Photographer/Videographer – confirm address and the time they will be arriving at your home.  Ensure they know the ceremony location and time as well as reception information.  Your photographer should already have a list of the photo’s you would like specifically taken, but now would be the time to add in any last minute ideas.
  • Limo Driver – verify the address and time they will be arriving at your home.  Double check that the driver knows the ceremony and reception locations.
  • Shuttles – if you are using shuttles to transport guests, confirm the pick up and drop off locations and times with the shuttle company.  Confirm the end of reception pick up times.  You don’t want any of your guests to miss their shuttle and have to come back with you to the Honeymoon Suite!
  • Cake Delivery – if your cake is not baked on-site, confirm reception location and drop off time with your baker.
  • DJ or Band – review the set up time and the time you expect your guests to arrive so there is background music playing as they enter the reception.
  • Reception Location – review your Wedding Day Timeline with the Event Coordinator and ask any last minute questions.

Bridal Party Checklist (to be given to the Maid of Honor and Best Man).  Realistically, it will probably be your Maid of Honor who covers all these details, but we’ll include the best man just in case!  Have the MOH set up a group text with all the bridal party members.  This way, if you have any last minute reminders or changes to get out to your bridal party, she can quickly handle that for you!

  • Bridesmaid Final Fittings – Has everyone had their final fitting, picked up their dress, shoes and any other coordinating accessories?
  • Tuxedo Pick Up – Have all the groomsmen tried on and picked up their tuxedo?
  • Ceremony Rehearsal Time and Rehearsal Dinner – Confirm the time and location with all bridal party members and get your final count for the dinner.
  • Hair Dresser – Check with your bridesmaids to make sure they know the time and location of their hair/makeup appointment.  If you have any bridesmaids who always show up “fashionably late”, adjust the arrival time to 15 -20 minutes earlier than the actual scheduled appointment.
  • House – What time should your bridal party arrive for pre-ceremony pictures?
  • Speeches – Are the Maid of Honor and Best Man prepared?  It is probably best to give them a time limit for their speeches so your teary eyed MOH doesn’t go on and on about every year she has known you since preschool.  That emotional moment should be shared between the two of you the week of the wedding, not in front of your hungry guests! On another note, a gentle reminder to the best man about his speech may keep him from elaborating about any embarrassing escapades before you were a couple.  Sometimes that drink or two they may have had beforehand to calm their nerves makes them a little too comfortable with the microphone!

If you are dealing with a reputable and experienced Reception Venue such as Capriotti’s Palazzo, than you are in good hands with our Wedding Coordinator.  Although this may be the first go-round for you and your groom, our coordinator has years of experience in pulling off a perfect event.  The final meeting with her will assure you that the biggest part of your day is well under control. Once you arrive at your reception, it will be time for you to relax, be the center of attention, and have a fantastic time!