The catering industry is suffering as businesses are reducing the scope of their annual banquets or simply deciding not to hold the events this year since the economy is doing so poorly. Some chefs, however, are insisting that quality not be affected and are refusing to lower prices to compete in the market, while some are creating new dishes to attract more customers and working hard to make it through these tough times.
Chi Jung-chun, a chef with Tainan’s Formosa Chefs Association, says that catering orders from various companies usually come pouring in around the time annual banquets are held, typically bringing in anywhere from 400 to 500 tables for him. This year, however, orders for not even half that many tables are being made, evidence of an economic downturn.
Chi says that a lot of companies have canceled their annual parties due to poor sales and reduced profits, handing out red envelopes filled with cash to employees instead. Although a few companies are actually seeing profits, they feel that holding an annual banquet would be too lavish and contentious in these tough times as the economy is in a slump, so they are saving money by not holding the events and giving out cash to employees instead — a major blow to the catering industry.
Chen Ya-chia, another chef with Tainan’s Formosa Chefs Association, says that since many companies are making less money yet would still like to hold annual banquets while also saving money at the same time, catering companies are facing the dilemma of either slashing prices to compete or choosing to continue offering quality catering.
In order to maintain the normal amount of catering orders, Lu Cheng-chih, a chef who won first prize at the World Golden Chef Competition, has teamed up with people working in other fields to enhance the performance arts aspect of his catering events, cooking up something fresh and lively for his customers. He is also giving performances while the food is being served and displays the catching of seafood during the events, highlighting the freshness of the ingredients used and improving the overall presentation of catering services, which has successfully attracted more customers and allowed his catering business not to be affected by the downturn.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)