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Why you need Standard Operating Procedures for your Catering and Events Business

One of the biggest lessons I've learned in my 9 years of being in the catering and events business is the need for consistency in how tasks are performed.  Whether they are front of house tasks, behind the scenes, processes handled by the CEO or by staff onsite executing events, standard operating procedures (SOPs) give us the benefit of a more predictable and reliable outcome each time a task is completed.

Stephanie Yonce Photography 

A standard operating procedure doesn't have to be time consuming to create or complicated in its final form - it can simply be a documented set of steps, written down for all to reference.  If you want to get fancy, you can add photos, screenshots, or even create videos of your processes for others to use!

In addition to encouraging a more predictable outcome for the tasks being performed, SOPs also are a good idea for any catering and events business for the following reasons:

SOPs are a huge asset in case of an emergency 
Unfortunately, emergencies and accidents do occur, but having documented processes can ease some of the burden that comes along with situations such as illness, injury, or other issues.  In these situations, having an SOP available will make it infinitely easier for another person to step in and handle the task at hand.  If you have to deal with a more catastrophic situation (such as devastation from weather events, the passing of a team member, or personal loss), having SOPs will give you and your company a roadmap of how to continue moving forward, even during difficult times.
 

SOPs increase the value of your company
Whether or not your company is (or ever will be) for sale, the value of a company is greatly increased when operations manuals & SOPs are present.  A higher value is placed on companies that are “turnkey” - where new ownership could come in to a well-oiled machine with clear procedures.

SOPs save time and money
We know SOPs can create consistency, but with that consistency also comes the benefit of saved time and money.  Guided instructions mean less mistakes, which translates directly to the bottom line.  While you do need to invest time up front to create these documents, videos, or guides, the return on investment is well worth it in the long run.

SOPs are a vital asset to catering and events businesses, and can be both a safety net and a streamlining tool.  Being tasked with helping people celebrate life events, market their businesses, and create successful educational experiences all through events can be a rewarding, but difficult job, and SOPs can help us do it even better!

Morgan Montgomery, CPCE
NACE National Treasurer 
morgan@paisleyandjade.com
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Photos by Stephanie Yonce Photography