FCSI Associate Steve Sidd of Catering HQ in New South Wales, Australia, discusses his life in food with Michael Jones
Coming from Greek heritage I live and breathe ‘food’. My parents were always cooking and entertaining family and friends, so when I started my first catering company in 1996, it felt natural.
Over the years I have owned and operated cafés, restaurants, bars and catering venues. Today, Catering HQ is a boutique catering business specialising in three main areas: venue catering (clubs, pubs and hotel groups); external catering (for large and high-end events); and hospitality consultancy (for the club, pub, hotel and franchise group sectors).
We employ almost 200 people and are continuing to grow. We pride ourselves on quality food and service and we are always looking at trends and, importantly, setting trends ourselves.
My father was in the catering business and all I ever wanted to do was to follow in his footsteps. During school I helped out at my father’s restaurants. I loved the buzz and the passion that went on behind the scenes. Times have changed, but I still feel the same excitement and adrenaline I felt as a child.
I love being part of FCSI. Not only do you meet like-minded people, but you also benefit from accessing knowledge, support and new information about the industry. The events across the globe are a great way to keep abreast of new trends.
The greatest challenge faced by any consultant is when clients are not willing to listen. However, if you never over-promise and under-deliver then you won’t have any issues. Word-of-mouth is your greatest marketing tool.
Patience doesn’t come naturally to me, so I make a conscious effort to stand back, look at things objectively, and not rush. I am all about perfection and will never drop my standards, so I have also learnt that sometimes it may take a little longer to achieve my goals.
My advice to younger consultants is success takes time. Don’t try to take on the world overnight. We all have good and bad experiences we learn from, so put that knowledge into your work. Watch and learn.