For over three years, Distilled NY has been feeding hungry New Yorkers from their popular Tribeca restaurant – and around a year ago, they also decided to branch out into the corporate catering world. We chatted to CEO Nick Iovacchini to find out how and why Distilled NY got involved with catering clients through Seamless.
First off, can you tell us a little bit about Distilled NY?
We’re a New American public house where you can get high quality food and beverages on par with the fine-dining restaurants in the neighborhood, in a fun and approachable environment. We serve good cocktails that you don’t need a PhD to understand, and we serve really well made food. We do a lot in the local community too, and have a strong base of regulars that we see every week.
How did Distilled end up working with Seamless?
Last year, around early July, we decided to launch a drop-off catering division specifically geared toward corporate catering. We’d never done anything like that before, but it was a great way to build our daytime revenue without needing to open for lunch. We put together a menu, started conversations with the Seamless team, and gradually began to take on clients. We learned what worked – and what didn’t – and built out a more extended menu designed for drop-off catering. We had to take into account things you don’t need to consider when cooking in a restaurant environment – such as how food travels, and how much – and what – large corporate parties tend like to eat – and we tailored our menu accordingly. Catering has become 15-20% of our business – and if, three years ago, you’d told me that would be the case, I wouldn’t have believed you.
What’s your favorite thing about working with Seamless?
Seamless is really helpful when it comes to dealing with corporate clients. There’s a new industry of matchmaking clients and consumers with various types of cuisine – and Seamless get to know exactly what their different clients like, so we can cater to that. We’ve built relationships with both our contacts at Seamless and our clients, and we have regulars now. Everyone is very friendly and we all get joy from serving people and working in hospitality.
How does it work?
There are two typical situations – the first is where the client knows exactly what they want, Seamless orchestrates the order, and we deliver it. The second is when the client is looking for something very specific, within a certain budget, and so there needs to be more of a dialogue. Our contacts at Seamless mediate between the client and us, so the client’s needs are communicated effectively, and we’re able to respond with a menu tailored to them. It’s great for both sides – Seamless do all of the work on the client side, so we can concentrate on cooking and delivering great food.
What are the best food items to serve at client meetings and events?
We’ve found that people tend to eat lighter and healthier at lunchtimes (except maybe on Fridays). People want to eat with an eye toward a balanced diet. We’ve taken a lot of time to develop quality offerings for vegetarian and vegan diets, and not treat those dishes as an afterthought. One of my favorite menu items at the moment is our quinoa mushroom and broccoli salad – it’s healthy, tasty, and thoughtful. Our salads aren’t just mixed greens – we use a lot of different greens, herbs, and dressings to make things special. We also do fun things like a build-your-own-burger bar, and a build-your-own-hot dog bar, plus beverages and watermelon skewers for a summer happy hour.
What can a client do to help their catered event go smoothly?
Definitely giving us plenty of notice is a huge plus – particularly for bigger numbers. Also, it helps if you know how your company eats. Are they heavy meat-eaters? Are there any vegetarians? If we know how a client likes to eat, we can better cater to their tastes. We know our menu really well, so the more information the client can give to us, the more we can recommend certain dishes. We get the food there, make sure it tastes good, and make sure it’s on time. Those are our three main rules – and if we get an email the next day to say how much everyone enjoyed the food, it goes a long way.
To find out more about Distilled NY, visit their website.
Interested in setting up a Seamless corporate account? Contact us to find out more today.