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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…de-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