It’s no secret that exceptional work stems from the power of collaboration. So in addition to featuring notable young professionals and entrepreneurs every single day, we’ll be chatting with some of Canada’s best teams every Thursday to get an inside look at how they combine talents to stand out in their industry. Today we’re talking to the Toronto Four Seasons Hotel catering team…
1. Describe what you and your team focus on in less than 140 characters. Go.
Our main goal is to ensure that every detail of your event is perfect, from inspired event design to custom menus by our award-winning culinary team.
2. What kick-ass projects / programs have you been working on recently?
We are always looking for new ways to impress our guests. For example, creating restaurant-style experiences within our event space. Our culinary team also has a variety of ethnic-inspired menus including South Asian and Kosher. And because reception style is so popular, we are looking at ways to make a cocktail party a full blown sensory experience.
3. What are some of the benefits of working on a team?
We have a buddy system where each manager is paired up with another – which allows us the freedom to enjoy days off knowing our clients and events are well taken care of. We all support each other and our combined experience gives us a vast knowledge of all things catering.
4. What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced?
Entertainment riders certainly keep us on our toes – it isn’t uncommon for us to receive lengthy riders with outlandish requests. From “only green M&Ms on the tables” to “please suspend a grand piano from the ceiling, with a bench, and make sure it’s connected to sound for when I play it”, the stories are endless. One client wrote “need a blue duck” and we found her a blue duck…what she meant was blue duct tape!
5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals working within a team?
Carefully listen to feedback and see it as a gift, whether positive or constructive. We work in an industry that is very fast-paced, and stressful at times, so you must absolutely love what you do every day. Manage your relationships carefully and discover who your mentors are. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get more involved!
6. Does your team have a designated leader?
Yes – Sara Railey (Assistant Director of Catering) for day-to-day catering operations.
7. Within your organization are teams switched up every once in a while or do they stay the same? What are some of the pros and cons of that?
Each manager oversees their own separate market segments, which works out very well because we all specialize in certain areas (ex. Kosher events, Indian weddings etc.) This has allowed each of us to develop a rapport with clients over time.
8. What does the word collaboration mean to you?
Working together in harmony to get results.
9. What has been you and your teams favorite project/campaign/initiative to work on and why?
Before we opened our flagship hotel in 2012, we wanted to make sure we were ready for a 300 person wedding, so we asked the hotel team to dress up and we hosted a “mock wedding” – it had all the making of a wedding without a bride and groom!
1. Where is your teams’ favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
We love our Yorkville neighbourhood… It’s the perfect little hideaway in downtown Toronto. There are so many places to choose from depending on what type of cuisine/ambience you are looking for! When we’re not hosting our clients at Café Boulud and d|bar (TIP: order our famous rotisserie chicken) we like to visit Sotto Sotto, Buca Yorkville, and Bar Reyna.
2. Do you and your team go out together? Where and why?
We always go out to celebrate our successes. Recently for achieving our prospecting call goals! We typically go somewhere in the neighbourhood right after work.
3. What’s the best thing that has happened to you and your team recently?
Our NEW iPhones!
4. Are there any other teams within your company or any company that you know of that are killing it?
Our amazing Banquet and Kitchen teams! We work closely with them and ensure they have the appropriate information required to execute a flawless event. At Four Seasons, each department plays an important role in the event process. From the Guest Services team who greet our guests and valet their cars to the Front Desk and Housekeeping teams who ensure our overnight guests have an amazing stay with us. We are a well-oiled machine and communication is KEY when entertaining so many guests!
5. And finally, what does success look like to you and your team? Work, play, or otherwise…
For us… it’s the BIG smile on all of our client’s faces!