Coming Soon to the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas

Catersource 2016

Bill Hansen

CEO Bill Hansen Luxury Catering and Event Production

Some folks call Las Vegas “lost wages” but for thousands of caterers heading there in less than two weeks, it will be “found wages”. The learning experiences there are bountiful and if one forgets about “What Happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” and instead remembers “What One Learns in Vegas, You Take Home from Vegas” the trip will be worth every dollar invested.

Mike Roman started Catersource in the early 1980’s. At that time, he was the only educator who taught caterers the secret of how to cater better. Mike, The Catering Guru, is no longer with us, but I’m sure he’s looking down at what he built. His lessons to others in the catering profession continues to carry his torch of education. And I feel blessed to be one of them.

For years I was afraid of public speaking. I couldn’t lead a Sunday School group in silent prayer. At Cornell in my public speaking class I would cut class when it was my turn to present. I finally got up the nerve to deliver my speech… I don’t recall the grade, but I did not get a Standing O.

After running my own business for eight years, I began to get the urge to teach and share what I’ve learned through my mistakes and successes and from guru’s like Mike. Basically, opening my kimono for all to see the good, the bad and the ugly. I remember my first catering class at Florida International University in 1990 I was so nervous. I arrived at class very early and filled up the blackboard with my notes. Later on I discovered slides on overhead projectors, and now PowerPoint does the job so well.

Five years ago Mike asked me to speak in front of thousands of my peers. By that time, I had pretty much mastered the college level teaching, getting great reviews from my students. But now it was the big stage, seven classes in total, each 75 minutes long. Wow… what a challenge! I guess my nervousness never shone through since my reviews were all very high. And I thank my stage partner and caterer Bill Pannoff who helped me during the first three years. As the “Two Bill’s” we shared our stories, our policies, our procedures and our management and leadership styles.

At the Mirage, at this year’s Catersource I will be teaching two classes. Sunday’s class is “Keep Your Kitchen Cooking While Booking Business at Every Opportunity”

On Monday, as a follow up from last year’s class, I will present “Ten Places Where Money is STILL HIDING in Your Catering Business”. I hope you can join me.

Parting Shot

I want to share one parting shot. In the late 1980’s Mike Roman partnered with the National Restaurant Association and produced a Catering Conference at Caesars Palace. That’s the hotel where George Burns, at age 95 years-old, refused to sign a ten-year deal to perform on the main stage. His reason, as George put it, “I didn’t think they’d be in business that long.”

Mike booked a little-known caterer from New York to present at this Caesar’s conference. She’d only been in business a very short while and the catering veterans their poo pooed her as not being worth listening to. Well, they should have listened and learned…. the speaker was Martha Stewart!!!!