Branching out into the event catering market can raise a restaurant's profile, but it doesn't guarantee a rise in profit, industry figures have warned.
The warning came after former Michelin-starred restaurant Tamarind announced it is to extend its event catering arm by entering a partnership with Mint Catering.
The deal will see chefs at the Indian restaurant in London's Mayfair creating menus under the guidance of executive chef Alfred Prasad, while Mint will handle sales, marketing, staffing and event organisation.
Tamarind's chief operating officer, Rajesh Suri, said the partnership meant that the restaurant could form part of a more comprehensive catering offering. "While we were already doing some event catering, as a restaurant we lacked the expertise, knowledge and operational capacity to cater for all types of events, which Mint Catering provides," he said.
However, running an event catering business as well as a restaurant does present challenges, according to Rohit Khattar, managing director of Old World Hospitality, which operates London restaurants Chor Bizarre, Tamarai and Sitaaray and also runs Events Etc.
"Running the restaurant and an event at the same time can be tough, particularly on busy nights," he said. "We've had to turn down events due to the restaurants being fully booked. It's an illusion that it's a quick way of making money."
This was echoed by Christian Sandefeldt, chef-proprietor of Deep restaurant at Imperial Wharf in south-west London who does the catering at a variety of music events and festivals, including Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds.
Sandefeldt told Caterer that, while it can help raise a restaurant's profile, it's not an easy way to increase profits. "Renting equipment can be very costly," he added. "We've been doing this for six years and are only now starting to get ahead."
By Kerstin Kühn
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