Meetings + Events

The power of gathering people

room space calculator

Find out how many people will fit in your room or what size room you need for your number of attendees.

Step 1
Choose a Room Layout type:

Step 2
Enter one of the following to determine the other:

Room Size:

sq.ft.

Capacity:

NOTE: This is a starting guideline only. Accuracy for your particular event cannot be guaranteed.

look_for_new_issue

The new reality for... Caterers

The new reality for Catering

by Laura Bickle

As the industry ponders what reopening will look like, every segment has its own unique challenges. Each week we are reaching out to those sectors to get their insights.

This week, we spoke to J'Val Shuster, proprietor of Devour Catering and Events in Calgary.

What is the current operating status of your business?

We have never really ‘closed’ although we were working from home for several weeks. That being said, we have only been providing delivery service or curb side pickup. We have only provided on-site event service for one event so far.

How are you working with planners and partners to reschedule postposed events?

All of our events that were scheduled from mid-March until the end of June have been either cancelled or put on indefinite hold. We are staying in communication with all of these clients to decide when or if it is appropriate to proceed with their event.

How are your employees being prepared/trained to meet the new safety expectations?

We are currently only working with our core team of four people and have been since mid-March. Since we are on off-site catering company that provides food and service in very different locations ranging from private homes to rented venues to offices, we are thinking carefully about how, or if, we can provide onsite service.

What are you doing to ensure attendee safety and confidence?

As mentioned, we have only been part of one event so far where we have had staff on site. We talked through the procedures of providing service and maintaining physical distance.

What will be the greatest challenges in returning to event catering?

The greatest challenge is going to be whether there will be enough event business to return to for us to only do that kind of work to stay in business. People are possibly going to be reluctant for a long time about getting together and our event staff may be reluctant about serving larger groups of people in different venues and locations. Also, being in Calgary, we are also preparing for a challenging time economically because of the impacts of COVID and the oil and gas industry. So, even when its ‘safe’ to have events, people may not have the money to spend on them like they did before.

What changes will attendees and event organizers notice in regard to food service?

There won’t be shared items such as passed hors d’oeuvres, buffets, grazing boards, self-serve bars or beverage stations. Seating arrangements will have to be altered to allow for smaller groupings of guests. Guests may have to remain in certain areas for the event instead of moving around from area to area and station to station. Hand sanitizing stations will have to be set up at various points at an event space and staff may be required to ensure that all guests are cleaning their hands frequently.

How do you think the pandemic experience will affect your operation in the short and long term?

The initial impact has been immediate and fairly severe in terms of there being a complete stop to cash flow. We will have to restructure the way we operate to possibly do things we didn’t do before. All the income that we are not able to generate right now will never be recovered. The long-term impact of that is still unknown to me.

What lessons have you learned from this experience?

That anything can happen at any time. Make sure you have a strong team in place all the time—it is, and has always been, the most important thing for a business. Maintain a strong connection and communication system with your regular clients. Keep your mind open to possibilities. Don’t focus too much on what you ‘used to do’ and think instead of what abilities and assets you have in terms of people, skills, equipment and networks and how you can use those to do something you maybe never imagined. Surround yourself with good, honest, trustworthy people. 

other articles in this section

Feeding the Future

Milestone reflections

Virtual Holiday Party Ideas

Case Study: Canadian Event Industry Awards

Stress Busters

Case Study: 100-person virtual mentoring event

The Power of Story

Event spotlight: ConferenceDirect meets at Caesars Forum Las Vegas

By the Numbers: October 2020 Edition

A Whole New [Virtual] World

Level Up

The Time is Now

Grab the Mic, Grow Your Business

Should you give interns a turn?

Up for Interpretation

Balancing Act

Back to Business: Insights from the MTCC

Back to Business: Insights from byPeterandPauls Hospitality Group

Back to Business: Insights from Industry Associations

Hands Off

Must-haves for the New Reality

Back to Business: Insights from White Oaks Resort & Spa

Gotta Get It: Golf Edition

The Art of Communication

Back to Business: Insights from Casa Loma Escape Series

The Ignite Guide to Masks

Parting thoughts

Back to Business: Insights from JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka

The new reality for... Speakers

The new reality for... Caterers

Fight Right

The new reality for... Team Building

Virtual Sponsorship How-To

The new reality for... Hotels

CanSPEP Connext Conference Kit

The new reality for... DMCs

How to turn delegates into social media brand ambassadors

The new reality for… CONVENTION CENTRES

Job Hunting Today

Your Event Contract Questions Answered

The New Reality for… RESORTS

Hack Away

Beyond Talking Heads

Keeping Connected

Be a Part of the Solution

Time Wise

One Big Virtual Reunion

There's No 'i'solation in Team

New Direction in a Time of Need

Financial Smarts

On the Bright Side

Talk to Me

Food Forward

The Value of Employee Sustainability

All the Right Moves

The Real Cost of RFPs

Valuable Video

Meetings Forecast 2020

RFP Writing 101

Epic Flight

Events that Matter

Trade Show Secrets

Taking Good Care

Oh Canada

Canadian Teambuilding

The Dilemma

We’re All in This Together

Trend Update

Vision Quest

Turn Off that Phone!

Get Into WEC 2019

No Place Like Home

Get into the Tourney

Eating Cleaner

Marriott’s Bonvoy Launches

On the Quiet Side

Getting to Know You

Lifelong Learning

Dynamic Icebreakers

New Year, New You

The Next Step

Meeting Trends 2019

Dialled In

MPAHT Signs The Code

Holographic Magic

Light Touches

Screening Room

Attendee Survival Guide

Oh Canada!

Supporting Roles

Breaking Down the Barriers

Tour Guides

Happiness Matters

Deals on Meals

You need a ‘Workation’

Pop-Up Events

Green Event Trends

Risky Business

Tee Time!

On the Quiet Side