Posts Tagged ‘corporate drop-off’

Jules delivers!

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

When we popped by Jules Catering on a recent snowy day to chat with Expeditor Oscar Ortiz, we didn’t find him at his usual spot by the phone near the door with a clipboard in hand. Instead, he was hands-on “expediting” deliveries by pitching in on shoveling snow.

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful,” we warbled, “but inside, by the stove‚Ķde-lightful!”¬†

“But since we have places to go…” Oscar smiled as he pushed his shovel. “Not to worry, Jules¬†delivers, let it snow!”

Jules Catering Expediter Oscar Ortiz, on the left, teams up with Rony Jimenez to facilitate deliveries

Jules is an all-weather caterer

We were following up with Oscar Ortiz this snowy day, to see how Jules’ new Chevy Express cargo van, purchased in the fall,¬†was holding up in winter weather–and to ask whether Jules’ delivery drivers were feeling daunted by parking bans, snow emergencies, and relentless cold and ice.

Each of Jules' six drivers and vans typically makes 12 to 14 deliveries a day

“It’s all good,” said Oscar. “We have a very capable team and solid systems in place, many of them instituted by my longtime predecessor, Elkin Restrepo. I’ve been with Jules since 2001, much of this time as a driver, and we all know what it takes to get the job done.”

Jules takes very seriously the business of delivering food, including on-time delivery of edible valentines!

“It must take a¬†lot to be a good delivery driver in and around Boston,” we said.
“Maybe more than meets the eye,” Oscar smiled. “We have six vans and six drivers who first set off at 6AM and don’t finish up until after dark. No matter what the weather we pride ourselves on our reliability, which means we need to think fast and make smart decisions. Above all, we have to¬†be¬†resourceful. When the only option is to improvise–well, that’s what we do.”
“On a day like today, we wish Jules had delivered our breakfast,” we mused. “And never in a million years would Frank Sinatra have squeezed his own OJ on a snowy day, had he been able to order from Jules. (Frank sings and squeezes beautifully–and brieflyso if you have 90 seconds, check this out.)

But, hey! No matter what the weather or the season, Jules Catering’s delivery drivers have places to go! Last November we experienced at least some of what this entails.

An hour in the life of a top-notch delivery driver for a MetroBoston caterer

Whether the fellow behind the wheel is Oscar the Expeditor, or the Oscar known as ‘Matador’–or whether he’s Joe, Kevin, Tony, or Wilbur–you can rest assured your Jules delivery is in expert hands.

“Expert” applies to Joe Lang, a fellow who, though quiet and self-effacing, clearly takes great pride in his work. When we joined Joe last fall, he was poised to make some lunchtime deliveries.

Joe Lang knows that courteous, reliable delivery service is part of what full-service catering entails

Obstacles aplenty

Over the course of half a dozen deliveries in the space of less than two hours, we witnessed first-hand some of what it takes to deliver catered food on time. The challenges were many, but not once did Joe lose his cool.
Of course it helps to be a master of Boston traffic.

Especially in downtown Boston, both quick response times and patience are required

And it doesn’t hurt to be able to charm meter maids and meter men, if only momentarily.

Genial Joe initiated a pleasant exchange with this equally hard-working fellow just doing his job

No series of deliveries would be complete without encountering the unexpected, Joe had forewarned. And our outing was no exception.

Hazmat road block? Police re-routing traffic? No parking nearby?--No problem! Joe delivered on time.

 Obstacles overcome

Thanks to Joe’s multifarious multitasking capabilities, including both physical and mental dexterity–and of course with the solid backing of Oscar the Expeditor and¬†Jules Catering’s nearly 27 years of experience–on-time deliveries were made.

Although Joe has his hands full, he moves really fast

Ambidextrous Joe advances hot food with his right hand and room-temperature food with his left

Joe makes this looks easy, but potential upheaval lurks in every sidewalk bump and crack

Loading docks in the bowels of downtown hi-rises often present Olympian uphill challenges

After a not atypical 8-minute wait for space in the freight elevator, but with time to spare, Joe delivers a corporate lunch

Deliveries complete, it’s back to the nearly empty van…

Joe readies himself and the van to start all over again

…to return to Jules, where more lunches wait to be loaded and delivered.

Oscar pauses in the process of expediting Joe's next delivery

Jules treasures its delivery team

Back at Jules’ Somerville office, we checked in with General Manager Annie Flavin and founding Owner Anita Baglaneas to share our delivery adventures and ask if they’d like to weigh in on Oscar and Joe and other members of Jules’ delivery team.

“I can’t say enough¬†about them,” enthused Anita. “After all, it doesn’t matter how inventive our menus, how fresh our ingredients, how expertly and beautifully prepared our food–all these things would mean nothing if deliveries didn’t consistently arrive on time.”

Annie added, “Together with the sales team, our delivery team represents the “face” of our company. That’s why we’re so proud of how pleasant, polite, punctual, and professional they are. And they’re great communicators. Our account folks communicate with Oscar, who stays in¬†close touch with the drivers. Delivering on time requires a team effort, but of course the drivers are on the front lines.”

Anita, standing to head down to the kitchen, added, “Taking responsibility for getting the job done…a strong work ethic–these are a big part of the delivery picture. Our customers need to know they can count on us, because rain, snow, sleet, or hail, customer satisfaction is our bottom line.”

Joe Lang, Jules Catering full-service delivery man!

Jules reliably delivers "Delicious"

Photo Credits: Liz Muir 

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Jules welcomes Bobby and Brooke

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Not long into our conversation with Jules Catering’s newly hired Event Managers, Brooke de Moraes¬†and Bobby Spano, we experienced a moment of cognitive dissonance: Did the numbers add up? Could these fresh faces really and truly have (in sum) clocked 30 years in the catering industry?

In total, Event Managers Brooke de Moraes and Bobby Spano offer 30 years of catering experience!

“I‚Äôve always been in catering–or at least since I was 16,”¬†Bobby offered.

I started at 14!” Brooke laughed.

Hmm… We did the math… Jules Catering’s new hires really are¬†old hands–with decades of experience between them.

So you found your path into catering very early, we prompted. Now, fill us in on how and why and where you began.

Brooke: “Primarily I’m someone who likes to help plan”

Raised on Martha

“I grew up in¬†Longmeadow, a cute little town south of Springfield, where my mom threw a lot of dinner parties. Every month she eagerly awaited the next issue of “Martha Magazine” (that is, Martha Stewart Living), with the result that many of those tasty and reliable recipes landed on our table. My mother tried¬†everything. She was always cooking new things, and I enjoyed it. (Maybe I enjoy eating a little too much!) ¬†I think this is how it all started for me.”

What then?

“Throughout high school and college I worked for an off-premise catering company near Springfield. At 14 I was a server. Later, I learned to bartend. And some of the time–even as early as age 17–I was actually running the show, managing weddings and tackling some other quite complex events. It was fun, and I learned a lot.”

Brooke de Moraes

“Before joining Jules this winter,¬†I worked as a Catering Operations Manager at a Boston-area caterer.”

“A stand-out event for me there was a half-million-dollar wedding. I treasure this memory, not so much because my clients had tremendous resources and because the wedding turned out to be perfect (it really did!), but because¬†I became so fond of this family. They were so down to earth, so grateful for the help I was able to provide as we moved through the planning process and then the wedding itself–I’ll just never forget it.”

“As is the case with all of my catering experiences, I value the relationships. Even when there are no events on the horizon, people tend to stay in touch!”

Now that you’re with Jules, what’s on your calendar?

“Well, this afternoon I’m meeting with a bride and groom and a representative from the Charles Riverboat Company,¬†for a tasting. We’re planning a June 1 wedding out on Boston Harbor. (How romantic is that?!) I’ve been married for nearly four years, and my low-key, backyard wedding was just what I wanted it to be. But if I had to do it all over again, I might opt for a nautical setting.”

“I don’t want to give the impression I do only weddings (that’s more Bobby’s bailiwick), because I’m very busy with a number of other projects, including staffed events for corporate clients.”

“And I’m thrilled to have joined the Jules team. I have a lot of experience planning and managing events, but one of the really nice things I’m beginning to appreciate about this new situation is that I’m able to turn to longtime event sales managers–people like Lynn and Jenny and Paula, for example–and brainstorm with them about how to remedy issues. This is great, because successfully planning and managing a catered event has a lot to do with recognizing a¬†wide variety of challenges–and then being able to “invisibly” deal with them. By “invisibly” I mean: create the reality for clients that their event represents no challenge at all!”

Is there anything else you would especially like Jules clients to know about you?
“Maybe that while my job title is ‘Event Sales¬†Manager,’ I don’t think of myself as a sales¬†person. Primarily I’m someone who likes to help plan.”


Bobby: “I guide the bride”

Bobby Spano

What about you, Bobby? Where did you begin?

“My first job was dishwasher, then server, then bartender, then manager. I worked my way up, which is of course great training for anyone in catering, because it exposes you to everything. On top of that, my mom was a catering director for a hotel on the South Shore when I was growing up–and she’s still in the industry today. She sells bands for weddings…music.”

Sounds like your mother was influential.

“Ours was a¬†big party house–it still is–particularly in the summer when we all gather around the pool. My father’s family is Italian, my mother’s is Greek–so while she serves grape leaves and all sorts of delicious things, my dad cooks on the grill.”

Other influences?

“I love to dine out. This is also true for Brooke, I know, because it’s important for us to keep tabs on what‚Äôs going on, observe new trends, and then bring the best elements of what we experience back to our clients. “Every weekend I watch the Phantom Gourmet,¬†and I was¬†obsessed with Downton Abbey. TV like this is fun, but it’s also educational. I learned a lot about service and place settings–the way silverware is properly set–from watching Matthew and Lady Mary’s ‘Masterpiece‘ wedding!”

You’ve been here for not quite two months. What were you up to before you joined Jules?

“I went to law school, while simultaneously working at Wildflour Caterers, in Milton. At Wildflour my initial, exclusive focus was weddings and other social events. Later, I expanded into corporate catering. Still later, when I got out of law school and didn‚Äôt immediately find a job as an attorney, Wildflour promoted me to Catering Director and offered me a raise. So I stayed on for another year, and I was comfortable. But when my former (and once again current) colleague Kim Gericke alerted me to an opening here at Jules, I followed up. And here I am today.”¬†

Now that you’re with Jules, will you turn your attention to any particular types of events?

“I’ll be involved with a little bit of everything, but because I love to plan weddings–and because I have particular expertise in this area–weddings will be my special focus. Large, small, traditional, cutting-edge–I stand at the ready to help plan and manage them all.”

“A trend I’m noticing among my friends who are getting married is toward the back-yard celebration, rather than the fancy hotel wedding. These smaller events are fun for me, because when I’m planning a wedding in someone’s home, I’m working with more of a blank canvas. The process can be especially creative.”

“An unforgettable wedding I planned and managed when I worked at Wildflour involved a hurricane! Due to the absolutely crazy weather, we had to change the time of the wedding twice in 48 hours. ‘No, no, no…don‚Äôt come at 4…come at 5!’ There was an outdoor tent, gale-force winds, windswept rain, and¬†mud–and when the bride came to me feeling a little stressed out I simply told her, ‘You gotta have fun. You gotta enjoy yourself because everyone here is either family or friends and we have collaborated on an amazing wedding.’ And she did–she had a great time.¬†Everyone did. Later, at WeddingWire, the bride posted a very positive review, noting not only how wonderful the wedding was, but thanking me for being so friendly and accessible and respectful of the budget, throughout the process. Feedback like that always makes me feel good.”

What else would you particularly like Jules clients to know about you?

“Maybe that because of my law-school background I’m very detail oriented, while also being easy to work with…easygoing. My job is to guide the bride, and so these are qualities that serve me well as I help plan weddings.”

“Once–for just a moment–I thought I’d let down the bride. Her wedding was at the¬†EpiCenter, in South Boston, and when she stepped inside and started to cry, my heart sank. Then, to my great relief, she sniffled and smiled: ‘It‚Äôs better than I’d ever imagined it would be!'”

“It’s moments like these that make me love my job. Planning a wedding is a lot about trust, about building relationships, so when the wedding is over and we all move on it can feel a little bittersweet.”


Photo Credits:
Portraits of Brooke and Bobby: Liz Muir
Magazine Cover: Martha Stewart Living
Lisianthus Stems: Liz Muir
Wedding March: Boston Public Library, Wikimedia Commons
Garden Sign: Liz Muir 


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