For many small meat shops and meat markets, catering has become a significant side business. It requires some substantial investments to stock a catering operation, and it definitely requires some long weekends when graduation or wedding season rolls around. Food is a significant part of those important events, so your service skills have to be as good as your food preparation skills.

In the last year, catering had all but vanished, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. We spent almost all of 2020 trying to avoid large crowds, after all. Thanks to the robust vaccination program we have seen in this country, that may be coming to an end. As more people get their shots and are able to venture out without fear of illness, I can see a pent-up demand for public gatherings this summer. Families that haven’t seen each other outside of a Zoom chat will want to reunite and celebrate events like graduations and weddings again. And what better way to celebrate a family event than with a prime rib, or bratwurst and potato salad?

For those companies who had to idle their catering operations, it’s time to prepare your trays and launder your tablecloths. You may have a busy summer ahead of you. Not everything will be completely back to normal, of course. Your event staff should still practice the same safety measures that the industry has employed over the last year, with means masks and sanitizer dispensers can’t be thrown away yet. The rules for COVID safety have been relaxed by the CDC, but they haven’t been removed entirely. A caterer should be known for their professionalism as much as their food quality, and continuing to observe COVID precautions is a part of that professionalism.

Of course, this is all dependent on your comfort level. If you’re cautious about public events, it’s your prerogative to hold off scheduling events. When you feel comfortable enough to do so, let your customers know that your catering business is back, and you can once again be the hit of summer gatherings.

Sam Gazdziak