COMMENTS FROM THE KOSHER KING

By David S. Covell
SPECIAL FOR THE AJT

With the summer season well under way and with many events to be planned, we have dozens of clients interested in hosting outdoor events. But where to begin?

First – Choose a Venue
Look for a venue that can provide you with much of the ingredients you need – green space, privacy, parking, bathrooms and easy access for your guests. Nobody wants to schlep through woods (unless camping) or walk through muddy fields (unless it’s mud sliding day in summer camp) in order to go to an event. Think practical and think rain plan. Can your critical vendors achieve the vision at this site, or not?

Second – Logistics, Planning and Vendor Coordination
Our office has a detailed checklist for clients seeking outdoor venues. Maybe it was my previous career as a CPA, but we have a comprehensive form that will help you select an appropriate venue that will be audit proof when searching for your special event.

Outdoor spaces are very tricky so you need to address the following and cost these out item by item:

• Tenting for your guest space.
• Tenting for your caterer. Yes, they will need a space to stage from and possibly some pipe and drape for added privacy from the guest space.
• Table and chair rental including delivery and pickup.
• Power? Is there any for the band, DJ, caterer and other vendors? Many caterers have the necessary equipment to produce events in remote locations. Others need to rent.
• Ask about additional equipment and travel charges. Ask about additional staffing charges from your caterer and other vendors. Do you need running water, fans or air conditioners, the need to rent golf carts or need to hire o v e r n i g h t security to watch all the equipment?

Third– Food Choices
Think seasonal ingredients and create a menu that works with the venue. Listen to your caterer as they have done this before and therefore have the expertise to create a winning event. Match the style of food service with the venue.

Fourth– Rain Plan
Don’t forget about that rain plan and let the guest know in your invitation that this is an outside event. Have fun and make sure you have plenty of ice.

Editor Note: David S. Covell is the CEO of Saratoga Event Group and President of Avenue K-Glatt Kosher Events. The Saratoga Event Group manages multiple event facilities and operates an award winning catering company, Avenue Catering Concepts. “Avenue K” is the certified glatt kosher event division of the Saratoga Event Group. David also has a background as a Certified Public Accountant in New York State and consults to the hospitality industry on matters of food, beverage and facilities.