What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
We don't have a standardized pricing system. All of our menus and details are very customized according to each client.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
We communicate mostly by email and phone, but prefer to have at least one in-person meeting to make sure that personalities mesh and all questions are answered. We have a menu packet that we offer, but most of our events have menus that we custom build specifically for each client. We love to work directly with the clients and ask them for details of their dream event, then try to get as close as possible within their budget. Once all the details have been discussed, including dates, timing, menu, rentals, servers and more, we will send a contract and ask the client to review and sign it. We ask for a deposit to secure the date, and for payment via check, cash or paypal credit card on the day of the event. We are very flexible with our clients, and as new issues or questions pop up, we can always edit the contract up to a week before the event. We ask for a final number at least a week ahead, so we can plan our staffing needs and order our food.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Sarah graduated from Western Culinary Institute in 2003, and started working at a Portland hotel, where she met Javier, who was a baker at the time. They have been together ever since. Together, they bring over 30 years of experience to Mundo. Sarah has been a banquet cook, line cook, sous chef and most recently the banquet chef at a local brewery. Javier has been a server, bartender, baker, line cook, banquet cook, sous chef, executive sous chef, executive chef and kitchen manager. Sarah has a passion for food, and loves designing custom menus for clients. She takes care of all the sales and office work, but still cooks for the events as well. Javier is an amazing driver with a CDL, and can park and operate any of our mobile kitchen setups in just about any location. Plus, his food is incredible. We are a small, family-run business, which means the people you discuss menu details with will actually be cooking the food. There is no sales person middleman, just us, and our love of food!
How did you get started doing this type of work?
Javier responded to a job posting ad, and booked the job. It turned out to be catering for the film industry. He immediately fell in love with the challenge of the job, and the flexibility and creativity it allowed. So many food jobs require standardized recipes and cooking the same items over and over. Film catering, however, requires different menus every day! This allows us to use our creativity and take advantage of all the wonderful produce, seafood and meats the Pacific Northwest offers. After a few years, Javier and Sarah decided to open their own catering company, and in 2013, Mundo Catering LLC was born. We still cater for the film industry, but also cater for weddings, other social events and corporate events.
What types of customers have you worked with?
We serve casts and crews for movies, television shows, commercials, and photo and video shoots. We also cater for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and other social events, and corporate events as well. Some of our clients include "Grimm", "Portlandia", "Wild", "Significant Mother", "Lean on Pete", Nike, Adidias, Reebok, Volkswagon, Footlocker, Jeep, Toyota, OMPA, Oregon Lottery, the Northwest Film Center and many more.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
We recently catered an event at the Portland Art Museum for the Northwest Film Center. It was a fun, networking event and we created a menu of heavy appetizers, including Korean pork sliders, chicken tinga street tacos with guacamole, mini falafel with cucumber relish and tahini, white chocolate-rhubarb blondies, and a display of fresh, roasted and pickled vegetables. Everyone loved the food, and we got to play with fun displays and finger foods.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Ask lots of questions, and make sure whoever you hire is the right fit for your event and personality. If a caterer is good, even the cheapest menu will still taste amazing, because the chef knows how to transform affordable ingredients into tasty menu items. Too often, there is no personal attention and the person you talk to is not the person cooking your food, so there is no way to tell how much passion and care will be put into your event. A tasting is a great tool, but no guarantee of food quality for the day of the event. But, if the food at the tasting is bad, RUN! It will not get better when cooked in quantity. A good caterer will also be flexible with menus, because he/she is creative, and loves the opportunity to do something different.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Budget, date, timing, location, if servers or bartenders are needed, if there is parking for the caterer, water and electricity on site (if not, caterer needs to supply it), special dietary requirements and requests, any special menus desires, any rentals that may be needed, if the caterer comes with a full setup, or only what he/she is contracted for, what to do in case of bad or unexpected weather, how long service is required for, and anything else that is important to you. A good caterer will also be able to answer questions you haven't even thought of yet, by making suggestions and asking questions.