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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2006
"The Professional Caterer's Handbook: How to open and operate a financially successful Catering Business" by Lora Arduser and Douglas Robert Brown is a great resource for anyone in the catering business. The book covers the start-up basics such as getting a loan, do on-site or off-site catering, and much more. It also goes further into the catering world by providing samples of catering contracts, profiles of caterers, and a comprehensive list of catering equipment one would need for any sized operation.

The book seems to focus mainly on off-site caterers specializing in weddings, but they do bring up other functions that require caterers as well as briefly touch on on-site catering operations.

I loved the guides within the book on table settings for various kinds of meals. From dinner with salad to breakfast, I now know the proper table arrangements. The book also gives examples of room layouts for various functions and tips on how to layout the buffets so that guests don't over-consume the more costly items.

For those that will be serving alcohol there is an excellent section that discusses kinds of liquor, suggestions on what to stock and what to look for. The authors define different bar terminology, but it is fairly basic - such as virgin and on the rocks. They cite sources to visit for more information on wine, but do provide a list of descriptive wine terms and a guide as to what serving temperatures are appropriate.

I think the section on cost control is very extensive and can help anyone in the industry become more aware of ways that money can be easily and inadvertently wasted. There is also a catering and event check list that I think is invaluable to anyone just starting out. I wouldn't have thought to ask so many questions about the upcoming event and I would have been paying for it later. Anyone can use their guide to make sure they are covering all their bases.

I think this book is a great resource for anyone in the catering industry. It provides wonderful basic information on getting the business up and running and then provides more in-depth information on actual catering concerns.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Handbooks fit in your back pocket. This is more like an encyclopedia for caterers: newbies and experienced alike. No stone is left unturned in this compendium. The chapters are well laid out and the information is easy to find. It is the perfect balance of substance without overkill. The average caterer need book a couple of deli platters to pay for this. I think it's a must for anyone in or thinking about getting in the catering business!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2006
If you want to enter the catering business, there are plenty of lighter guides on the topic on the market - but if you're really serious about professionally entering the business, you can't be without THE PROFESSIONAL CATERER'S HANDBOOK: HOW TO OPEN AND OPERATE A FINANCIALLY SUCCESSFUL CATERING BUSINESS. A cd-rom supplements the weighty exploration which is actually a detailed manual of step-by-step instruction on all the basics. From bookkeeping and handling profits and loss to considering the pros and cons of professional equipment, there's no better guide on the market. College-level culinary schools in particular must have this reference.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2006
This beautiful hardcover addition is by far the best and most inclusive synopsis of how to run a business that I have read in a long time. This is a must have for any caterer or prospective caterer. Starting from the basics and covering everything that ones needs to know to start a catering business, this book is has a fantastic layout that is simple and easy to use and understand.

The complementary CD-ROM has all the forms needed in order to organize the business.

Starting from page one, anyone who has ever dreamed of becoming a caterer will be inundated with all the information needed to make that dream come true. It shows every aspect step by step to save the reader both time and money. There are plenty of charts, graphs, and pictures to complement the explanations in each chapter.

It covers any question that the entrepreneur may have from portion sizes to beverages to costs. It goes into great detail on many subjects, even those that one would not first think about, even offering suggestions on the types of questions to ask prospective employees. The book has many different methods that people can use in order to get to the same goal and the authors offer their suggestions on which are methods work best.

Catering is the dream job of many people and this book will go a long way to helping to fulfill the dreams.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2006
Although the sheer size of this book is initially daunting, the information could not be more comprehensive and useful. For novice or veteran caterer, this book belongs on your reference shelf. Among others, the chapters include information on getting started, marketing, personnel, equipment, record keeping and cost controls. Presented in black and white, one of the more endearing features are the photographs and diagrams interspersed throughout numerous chapters - uniforms, table cover setups, major equipment options, cookware selections and sample menus; practical, useful and to the point. Of special note is the detailed information provided on wine terminology. The tasting vocabulary, the section on understanding wine labels and the tips for serving wine and cocktails will help any professional train their staff appropriately. Too many times caterers end up getting bad press due to inexperienced help; largely over something that is easily prevented. The accompanying CD-ROM offers easy-to-use templates that can be applied to daily and seasonal operations; such as a survey of competition, event checklists, contracts, site lists and miscellaneous catering forms. The inclusion of listings under "Journals & Trade Publications" and "State Restaurant Associations" - both found on the CD-ROM as well as in the book itself, are clearly beneficial. Without having to do the research yourself, you are provided with additional resources that only serve to better prepare you for this demanding business. There are less expensive books, but none as helpful.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2006
"THE PROFESSIONAL CATERER'S HANDBOOK: HOW TO OPEN AND OPERATE A FINANCIALLY SUCCESSFUL CATERING BUSINESS" by Lora Arduser and Douglas Robert Brown.

This book is an indispensable addition to any would be caterer's library. If you have thought about turning your catering skills into a full time business this book will open your eyes to all that is involved in starting and operating your own catering business.

Any and every aspect of operating your own successful catering business is included in this fabulous book. The authors start by talking about the skills needed to open and operate your own catering business, the give you a step by step planning guide to developing your business goals and plan.

Each chapter of this text skillfully builds on the last one to provide you with a comprehensive handbook to answer all your questions. Should you own or lease, what laws should you be aware of, how to market your company, how to set up the event, staffing, which equipment to purchase, and should you start as a home based catering company? These are only a few of the thousands of answers you will get from reading this handbook.

From the very first page of the book the author's are getting you excited about opening your own catering business. The tone of the book is uplifting and positive and will make you feel like you could do this!

The book also comes with a companion CD-ROM that will provide additional resource material including tons of business forms to get you started. This book is great for anyone in the catering business, weather a seasoned business owner or just in the contemplation stages of owning their own business; this book will be an invaluable source of information.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2011
Good reference book for those contemplating or starting their own business as a caterer.

There are no color photographs and there are very few actual pictures and illustrations in the book. I am slightly dissapointed in the book for that reason because I was hoping for pictures of room staging, table scapes and decorating props.

The book offers comprehensive information and references to further one's knowledge of developing a business plan to building a successful catering operation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2007
This book is more than worth its money in culinary gold. I recently graduated from culinary school and have started a catering business with my husband. I've read a number of books on how to start a catering business and have found this to be the best one yet. Lots of information and very good detail. Every caterer needs to have this copy in their reference library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2014
Geee I wish I had my money back. This book is so dated and in need of revision that I would recommend that you wait on the new edition. Very boring presentation of some very dry material in a very boring wrapper......yawnnnn goin' to bed.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2006
The Professional Caterer's Handbook: How To Open And Operate A Financially Successful Catering Business (With CD-Rom), expertly co-authored by Lora Arduser and Douglas Robert Brown, is an informative introduction and comprehensive guide to properly establishing and managing a catering business. Comprehensively mapping out an easy-to-follow, "user-friendly" compendium of strategies and tactics for establishing a company name and reputation, The Professional Caterer's Handbook presents logical and effective advise vitally important for all aspiring catering entrepreneurs. The Professional Caterer's Handbook is very strongly recommended as instructional reading for all small catering business developers, those hoping to create a professional catering business, and for those seeking to expand their catering business.
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