Catering to Success:
Angela Walker cut her teeth in the restaurant industry early.
Starting with her first job as a hostess at a local restaurant, she quickly moved through the ranks, working almost all positions in the restaurant. Clearly, she had a knack for it—but, more than that, she loved it.
At the time, Walker was going to school at FSU, where she double majored in finance and business management. Initially, the young college student thought she was heading in a different direction. But she loved the behind-the-scenes aspect of restaurant life and had a head for numbers, plus she exceled in leadership roles.
In essence, she was hooked.
Eventually, the hook sunk deeper, as she met her now-husband at the restaurant. Much like Walker, he was also working his way through the business; and the couple later had a restaurant of their very own. “We got our first dose of just how hard this industry can be, and there are things we learned during those years that cannot be taught any other way,” Walker recalls. “When we closed our restaurant, my husband took a job as general manager of Madison Social.”
It was then that Walker realized a new path for herself. She stepped in to help with the logistics of running large events out of the restaurant and, after an extremely busy weekend of offsite events, sat down with a group that would ultimately become her partners.
And so was born Social Catering and Events.
Eight years later, Social Catering and Events has become a brand synonymous with excellence—and, as such, it has become the go-to caterer for some of Tallahassee’s most anticipated events. “We have worked hard to build that reputation,” Walker says. “We are blessed with a large team of people and the resources of our group to pull things off. Our team works hard to stay current with trends, and to stay at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to choosing their caterer.
“It’s crazy to think that some events can take more than one year to plan!” she goes on. “It all starts with the date—the date is always the most important thing. I have some clients who don’t let us leave their event before confirming that we have them on the calendar for the following year, which is always awesome. Unfortunately, sometimes it seems like everyone wants to plan their events on the same days, and as much as we would like to serve everyone, it just can’t happen. We work to prioritize our regular clients. A lot of these people are like family to us after years of doing their event each year, and the success of the event is just as important to us as it is to them. We love having the opportunity to continue to add new clients to our calendar regularly and get to know the wonderful folks in our community. All our clients work with a dedicated sales manager to get the details of the event together.
“There are so many moving parts to make everything come together, and I truly believe we have become experts at asking all the right questions,” she continues. “Weeks before the event date, our entire management team meets to discuss each of the ins and outs, from special ingredients needed for the menu to staff scheduling and the equipment we may need on-site. The operation is split into two halves, where we spend a lot of time focused on service and presentation for the client and guest’s enjoyment, and then have the behind-the-scenes kitchen set up and food execution. Some of the larger events we do require multiple days of set up and break down just to pull it off.”
As many of the large-scale events Social Catering and Events serves, there is a segment of clients who simply don’t need such a production. This is where Social Kitchen comes into play. “We want you to think of Social Catering when you think of the big events in life that need the extra attention,” Walker explains. “That said, we realized that a lot of our regular clients had a need for something a couple steps down from the full-service experience but still wanted the same great food and service. From there, the idea for Social Kitchen was born. I call Social Kitchen our ‘easy entertaining’ company.”
And with good reason, as Social Kitchen offers prepared meals that are heat-and-serve, as well as drop-off breakfast, lunch and reception packages. They are also opening their first brick and mortar location at the end of October, which will include their popular prepared foods, a specialty meat case, cheese and charcuterie, and counter catering pick-up. “This is definitely a passion project of mine!” Walker says. “I am so excited!”
As high-pressure as the catering business can be, Walker is doing precisely what she loves—and that passion shows in the growth and success of the company. “I absolutely love watching our team grow,” she says. “Every single time we add a new manager, server, cook or driver to our team, I know we must be doing something right. I have been blessed to watch so many people grow during their time with us. I have had multiple people start as a server with us in college and stay with us to accept full-time management positions on our team. It is an awesome feeling. I truly believe that our people differentiate Social Catering from the rest. Every single person on our team cares about our clients, and it shows.”
Disclosure – This post is a paid partnership with Social Catering and Events, in exchange for my work here at Tallahassee Foodies. Partnerships help pay for my expenses so that I may offer our readers resources including this blog, our calendar, newsletter, articles, directories and more, while we continue to support our locals.