Vendor Spotlight – Jeff Thomas Catering

Vendor Spotlight – Jeff Thomas Catering

Choosing a caterer can be quite the challenge, so we happily provide our clients with a list of Preferred Catering options. One of those options being Jeff Thomas! Jeff Thomas Catering & Events has been a wonderful caterer to work with over the years at The Center. It gives us great pleasure to introduce this week’s Vendor Spotlight blog post, featuring Jeff Thomas Catering & Events!

1. Tell us about Jeff Thomas Catering. How did the idea for this company come about?

I went to college to become a buyer for a department store.  After finishing my BBA from UC, I had five job offers.  But I made so much money waiting tables in a restaurant 3 nights a week that I had bought a house and a new car.  The job offers didn’t have starting pay to meet my expenses.  So I decided to stay in school and get an MBA.  Upon completion, I flew to New York City and interviewed with the big department stores.  This was in the early 1980’s.  During an interview with Macy’s, I was asked to come back that evening to which I replied, “I’m sorry.  I have a dinner reservation at Lutece”!  It didn’t hit me for 15 years how out of line that was!  My career for the rest of my life or one fabulous dinner at the hottest restaurant in New York at the time.  Somehow, I think I made the right decision!!

So I bit the bullet and took a job with Burdine’s, a Federated Department Store in south Florida.  I loaded everything I could in my Triumph Spitfire and moved to Ft. Lauderdale.  That lasted all of 7 weeks.  I decided I didn’t like retail and you couldn’t be poor in south Florida.  So during grad school, I worked as a server at a 32 seat restaurant called RSVP.  We featured a set 7 course dinner that changed weekly.  The chef got tired of coming up with the menus and started delegating the menu planning to me.  I also had a mailing list of very high end clients.  So I thought I had a very unique idea that I would bring RSVP style cuisine into peoples homes.  I had no idea I was a caterer!  And I think that was a good thing.  At the time, caterers for the most part lined the buffet with chafing dishes with cheesy skirted tables.  I didn’t learn how to let the veggies die in the chafing dish or serve Chicken Supreme and Steamship Round of Beef!!

Jeff Thomas Catering became unique to the catering market and received Best Caterer award twice from Cincinnati Magazine in the early 90’s.  We are now in our 32nd year of providing the food for the special occasions of our clients lives.

2. What types of services/packages do you offer clients?

JTC is a full service catering company.  We do not have set packages to choose from.  Having an MBA in Marketing has helped with meeting face to face with our clients to determine the right path to create the best menu to fit the client’s budget, taste and venue obstacles.  We do not have a menu for clients to choose A, B, C or D.  That would make my job become factory work!  I like making client’s experiences as unique as possible.  You can also count on our team to bring to the table any other elements the client might desire from entertainment, to centerpieces to lighting or specialty linens.  We are there to meet the clients needs.

3. What sets this company apart from catering companies?

I’d have to say it’s mostly in our services.  We help our clients construct floor plans, timelines, and simply go further than just providing food for an event.  I personally travel abroad at least 3 times a year looking for fresh new ideas or simply trying to understand the essence of certain cuisines. Past that, we are known for quality wait staff and innovative presentations.  Also, we are very proud of our reputation for giving to the community that has given so much to us.

4. What is your favorite part about working in the event industry?

No doubt, it’s the tastings.  My business started from my passion and love of throwing a dinner party.  My clients are invited to my home where we enjoy wine, food and laughter.  It truly is like a dinner party and I have amazing connections while breaking bread together.  They trust my company with one of the most important days of their lives.  Showing them how I live I feel gives a stronger bond of confidence in what JTC will bring to the table.

5. Do you have any advice to offer clients who want to utilize your services at The Center?

At The Center, you have the ability to work with several great caterers.  I suggest for clients of The Center to look at all websites and narrow your search down to 3 specific caterers.  Then, interview all 3 face to face.  Judge them on how closely they listened and understood your needs and desires.  Read their reviews.  And judge the speed with their ability to turn around a professional, all-inclusive quote. That will usually give a clear indication of all correspondence leading up to the event.  If you go with these guidelines, your gut will give you the answer of who is best suited to fulfill your event needs at The Center. 

Jeff Thomas Catering always delivers nothing but the best service for their clients. With exceptional guidance and advice, they will create any delicious cuisine you envision and they do it with a smile on their faces. Share and leave us a comment below if the pictures above have your mouth watering!