Catersource Convention 2019
Monday, July 8th 2019

Catersource 2019 Reflections

In February 2019, Utah Food Services sent three representatives to the annual Catersource Convention and Tradeshow in New Orleans, Louisianna. These three attendees experienced seminars, demonstrations, an award gala, multiple after-parties, and a tradeshow showcasing the latest and greatest in catering solutions. These three representatives from the Front of House, Sales, and Marketing Departments recently came together to reflect and compile their favorite experiences in hopes of sharing the experience with the Utah Food Services team and all of our friends!


Our Salt Lake Catering Team Representatives:

Brenda Lara

Front of House

Heather Fairchild


Emma Farr



Brenda Lara: Front of House

My Favorite Seminar:


This was my favorite seminar and I feel like I learned a lot from their business experience. They broke down management inside of this equation:

VISION -> Principles (rules) -> Systems (tools) -> Culture = Results

We envision our day to day events starting from the first contact with the client to actually executing an event. Our rules really lay out a guide for new employees and expectations.

Systems, our tools and the way we use them can really affect the wow factor of our presentation. As well as knowing how to utilize our resources.

We have a very embracing, patient, and caring culture in our company, I have many times expressed how much Utah Foods is like a family. For some, it may be because we work with actual family. But no one is left to be felt unnoticed and if they are and approach someone I guarantee the action is corrected. We have great workers because they feel like we care and want to do a good job to express that.

We emphasis a lot in our day to day work. But to know that other companies do it to gain a better experience really validates that we are on the right track to continue growing such a wonderful company.

My Favorite Tradeshow Find:

SKECHERS I sent some information to Kershdon and Karie about their online program. How we can include their online set up to have our employees go straight to the site and we could narrow down what shoes are acceptable. Since this is a more popular brand, I believe the discounts and the control we could have in-house to make sure staff are getting a great price and meet regulation on shoes. Maybe in some cases, we can control buying and charging for them on the next paycheck to ensure an employee has the appropriate pair of shoes. For those who cannot afford to do so until after their first paycheck.

My Overall Experience:

Overall the experience and to be able to be on the other side of service really shines a light on how well as a company we are doing. Being able to try food and drinks that are out of our spectrum was also a highlight. Who would have thought alligator corndogs would be a thing? It was a fun and I learned a lot from this experience and was glad I could add a little more culture to being in the food business to see what the rest of the nation is doing, not only to compare but to learn from.

Heather Fairchild: Sales

My Overall Experience:

I recently attended the 2019 Catersource Conference held in New Orleans, Louisiana. Although I had a lot of my friends and family make suggestions for food spots and places to see, I had little expectations for the delight I would experience. New Orleans seems to be a very accommodating city. The people have a sense of humility and love for life, that I think only frequent inclement weather experiences can nurture. The locals seemed to love to share the wonder of the aspects of the city, included haunted properties, alligators, delicious food and street party pride. Being one of four cities in America that allows for open containers on the streets, this city is totally my Jam!

I think holding a Catersource event here was an excellent idea. I loved attending because I learned a lot about my company. Our company is unique in many regards. A lot of our standard policies and procedures vary from every other established catering company. As I heard speakers and presentations, my company seemed to stand out, already utilizing all of the latest trends, equipment, and service methods. We have flexible/customized menus that can fit into lots of different budget frames (other caterers seemed to eliminate any budget outside of their standard costs, which were, to me, extremely high). UFS is a Ma and Pa company, with conglomerate revenue and distinguished reputation. We stood out with our sustainability and green efforts and just experiencing a different convention center, helped me appreciate our convention center, as well. I got to see just how many companies are out there, that work with catering companies to provide the latest and greatest of everything in the trade. I feel very fortunate and confident, that I simply work for the BEST catering company in all of the United States.

Not only did I learn about the behind scenes for several catering companies, but I got to experience ACTUAL catering, done by another convention center. The first thing we noticed is that there were no B & B plates for the rolls, there wasn’t a spoon set with the coffee saucer and the cold beverage pitchers were silver, so we couldn’t recognize the difference between water and Ice Tea. Although these could potentially be miscommunications from a Sales staff in the initial paperwork, I believe my company stands out in recognizing where things are missed or overlooked. Our thoroughness shines bright, as I know if I had misdirected the necessary equipment for a complete set, that the event directors would have approached me about the mistake and it would have been corrected beforehand. This speaks volumes about my companies nearly 25 years of business and reputation for quality and excellence. I can think of only a few things more valuable, than gaining confidence and pride in the company you work for, and although I already feel that way for my company, the outside reassurance from this experience has enlightened and empowered my drive to be the best I can be in whatever I am doing for Utah Food Services!

The food scene in New Orleans has given us some great ideas of new food to test out and sample! I love that we are always striving to be better and grow as a customer service industry to provide the best food services to all of our outstanding clients. Our company logo is “Catering to the Senses” and as a city, New Orleans catered to each of mine and I am so grateful I got the professional experience of seeing how we compare, to what’s already out there!

Emma Farr: Marketing

My Overall Experience:

This was my second time attending the Catersource Convention, and my first time attending in New Orleans, Louisiana. I feel very fortunate to represent Utah Food Services twice, and am very grateful for the learning opportunities and connections that I take away from each new experience. Reflecting back and comparing the differences between Las Vegas and New Orleans, it’s hard to say which one is objectively my favorite. Each city has pros and cons, and with each new conference, there is so much to be learned in such a short period of time. Below are my favorite standouts and key takeaways from Catersource 2019.

The first standout is the Anthony Bourdain inspired “Lunch & Learn.” I loved the way that they presented the buffet and the menu items were thoughtfully created for the event. The menu housed favorites of Bourdain, recipes from Le Bernadin, and desserts inspired by New York City (Bourdain wasn’t a fan of sweets).

The other standout was a seminar titled: 45 food trends in 45 minutes. My job requires me to keep my thumbprint on the pulse of industry trends, so this seminar seemed like a natural fit for me. As you can tell from the title, there was a lot of information jammed into a short period of time. It was impossible for me to contain my excitement as they moved from idea to idea. I can try to explain in as much detail as possible each of the trends, but as you can imagine, this is more effectively accomplished via images. The lookbook attached below provides images of the food trends brought to us in 2018!

Here is the lookbook that our Catering Team created based on their experience:

Catersource Lookbook created by UFS staff

Catersource Lookbook Page 2

Catersource Lookbook Page 3

Catersource Lookbook Page 4

Catersource Lookbook Page 5

Catersource Lookbook Page 6

Catersource Lookbook Page 7

Catersource Lookbook Page 8

Catersource Lookbook Page 9



For more information about the Utah Food Services catering team, food and beverage, please be sure to visit our Catering Blog every week.






One thought on “Catersource 2019 Reflections”

  1. Ken Lee says:

    Wow! Great job you girls! Looks like a lot of information as well as some fun packed all up together! That is the best way to learn!
    Thank you so much for sharing it all with us, in such a comprehensive & informative way!
    I would love to attend some time, looks like a great trade show.

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