Catering: The most valuable thing you can give is time and quality

Today, catering is not just feeding a multitude at a christening or other big occasions. Catering has adjusted to the needs of our contemporary lives.

Home replacement food is usually provided by the takeout deli, a sophisticated bakery that offers nice sandwiches. It is the type of food you will otherwise prepare in your own home.

This type of catering can provide a dinner for as small as six or 12 people. A whole chicken will be roasted, for instance, and the caterer will provide everything from candles to silverware, even the disposable and microwaveable utensils, if it is a formal dinner. It is, in other words, very personalized. A caterer today now takes even small orders like one crab or one steak.

Video stores are connected to home replacement food providers, so before you go home, not only can you buy your dinner but rent a movie to go with it, too. Clearly an expanding trend, even supermarkets are already going into this service. You may, for instance, see pre-packaged salads in separate containers in select upscale supermarkets here.

More Choices in large sit-down dinners, guests now choose from either salmon, steak, chicken, or game, which replaces the traditional one-entree-and-one-appetizer package. This type of set-up is tricky for chefs, who have to guess how many of each viand they have to preparation. That it can be fun as the chefs take bets in terms of how many of each dish will be served.

A caterer should handle everything: music, table favors, printed menus, and flowers, who thinks this type of overall service is making a comeback.

Even the customer saves money, because the caterer gets a discount. A live band, for instance, would welcome the extra business.

This may provide an advantage over the restaurants, more of which are now going into Catering Hire because it is a way of extending revenues without increasing overhead costs.

Healthy Dining: Asian diet is healthier. It used to be that the American diet consisted of meat and potatoes, but as with food trends, caterers now offer a whole array of healthier alternatives. Whole wheat, grains, pastas, and fresh veggies as well as multigrains and rice not only offer a healthier alternative but gives an attractive color combination.

Fusion, a popular term for restaurants today, is getting increasing exposure in catering. Eclectic combinations of Asian linked with French cuisine may please a more select audience spectrum, an exciting alternative for those palates weary of the traditional. The use of salsas, a combination of beans, onions and garlic, and chopped onion is a trend that is a part of both the cultural and culinary fusion among various ethnic groups.

In plate presentations, the skill of the catering chef is important. This is where training comes in handy, although for buffet tables, the trend is that the food is blended rather than separated. A layer of garlic mashed potato is spread on half a layer of chicken, for instance.

Theme buffets are also increasingly popular and are not any different from kiddo parties. The only differences are that there’s alcohol and it’s at night.

Often done for corporate cocktails, an elaborate set-up of a sports bar (which may include a mini-basketball court and videos of games), a Caribbean booth that serves tequila and tortillas, and a western saloon in one room is not unusual. You are creating entertainment venues.

Must Quality service guaranteed is one of the keys to a successful Catering Equipment Hire business. Quality service is the perceived value that a customer will receive.

For instance, you would expect a different level of service at McDonald’s than you would at a swanky resto, and it’s the same with catering.

This is a business and you have to make a profit. There’s a lot more involved aside from food. People often go into the business because they love to cook or all their friends say so, but they sometimes forget that it’s a business they have to study.

Most caterers are not serving the food from the kitchen to the table and considerations as to how long will the food will stay hot/cold, safe to eat, or look attractive should be taken into account.

The most valuable thing you can give is time and quality…If you don’t care about the small stuff, then you don’t care at all.

Turn to a professional when it comes to bathtub repair

Q: We moved into an older home that has a badly stained bathtub. Is there any do-it-yourself method of refinishing an older porcelain fixture such as this?

A: Refinishing bath fixtures is a difficult do-it-yourself project. They can be painted, but not with ordinary paint.

Choose one of the newer epoxy or polyurethane paints. These are plastic coating systems. The most durable of these paints come in two-part systems that react chemically when combined to form an exceptionally strong bond and durable, water-resistant finish.

But these paints are difficult to work with and apply. Follow manufacturer’s directions carefully, including the preparation of the surface to be painted.

Although painting can be successful, a better method is to have a synthetic porcelain glaze applied. This is not a do-it-yourself process. A professional should apply the new finish.

These new coatings are available in several colors, and custom colors can be mixed. Check with companies that specialize in repairing and refinishing: bath liners Chester County.

Another method of refurbishing unsightly bathtubs is to have a new bathtub liner installed over the older fixture.

When contracting with a company for refinishing or installation of a liner, it is best to check several suppliers to obtain price estimates and information guarantees.

Q: I bought a home in May 1993. It was renovated by the previous owner, including the painting of clothes racks in the closet. My problem is that the hangers scrape the paint when I slide them.

A: Waxing the rods will help. Or, rub paraffin on the rod to provide a protective coating. Either the wax or the paraffin will lessen the friction as the hangers glide over the rod. For more durability, add varnish over the paint and then wax.

Q: We have acrylic plastic “windows” that we roll down from the patio roof to protect the area from wind. With wear, they have become cloudy, dull and unattractive. I have wiped them down with various window cleaners. They still remain cloudy. Do you have any suggestions on how these might be cleaned?

A: Try applying a furniture polish with a soft, lint-free cloth. Harsher fabrics, even paper towels, will tend to scratch the plastic.

How to Find a Handyman: Tips for Happy Home Rrepairs

The gutters are clogged with frozen leaves, the bathroom faucet leaks, the front door sticks and you either can’t or won’t fix them yourself.

You need a handyman.

Yes, there are people out there who will come to your house and do odd jobs. But you have to choose them as carefully as you would choose someone to add a room.

In general, a handyman does not need a license to perform small repair jobs but does need one for new installations or alterations in a structure. A handyman Tigard can fix a leaky faucet, replace old gutters, paint and do other minor repairs and cosmetic work without a license or permit. But he can’t install a ceiling fan, replace a water heater, run a new electrical circuit or replace a faucet without one.

A handyman will often go into a house to fix something and say, ‘Hey, I can fix your hot water tank for you, too.’ When they do that, they need a license.’

Licensing requirements vary depending on the community. And there are contractors who will claim they are licensed when they are not.

Why bother? If the work requires a permit, then it requires an inspection by a city inspector, who will make sure it was done according to code. That’s a safeguard for a homeowner.

The best way to find somebody is still by word of mouth. It’s not by advertising. Find neighbors who’ve had construction work done.

There’s been a lot of fraud this year. Senior citizens are often the people victimized by shady repair people who either talk them into unnecessary work or walk away with the job undone or poorly done.

By interviewing them, asking them questions, listening to what they’re saying, I can have a feel for who’s good or not. I ask for referrals, talk about jobs I want done. I’m pretty precise. Some people have this vacant look. I know, not only do they not understand what I’m saying, but they don’t care.

Don’t be surprised if the handyman you choose doesn’t choose you.

Why, if there’s a demand for handyman services, are there so few handymen? It’s not an easy business to run successfully. You have to be meticulous about scheduling and bookkeeping to survive doing jobs that pay only a few dollars each.

For that reason, there are far more remodeling contractors than there are handymen, and many of the people who advertise themselves as handymen are actually remodeling contractors who do odd jobs on the side.

Remodeling is more of a glamorous, creative process. Doing repairs is more like piddling around. I enjoy piddling around.

They get some unusual requests. Lower once climbed atop a slippery slate roof and cleaned it for a woman who likes things tidy, top to bottom.

Ask who is actually going to do the work. Some handymen work alone. Others use subcontractors when needed. There’s nothing wrong with subcontractors, but it’s best to know who’s who, especially when they’re working in your house.

If you’re old, call a senior citizens center near you before hiring a handyman. The centers may be able to refer you to a government-funded program that provides minor home repairs free to senior citizens.

In addition to the need for handymen, there’s a need for better education of homeowners in how to maintain a house.

Home inspection best opportunity to know a house

It’s not as magical a process as that by which a fertilized egg becomes a human being, but the evolution of a bare mound of dirt into a brand-new home is something to be admired. Once the lot is ready to build, it may take from about 90 to 180 days to complete your new home.

Is a pre purchase home inspection by a professional home inspector necessary when city or county inspections are being performed during the building process? The answer is “yes.”

City and county inspectors check the construction to ensure the builder is complying with the local building code. They are not checking for quality. A professional home inspector who you hire is looking out for your interests.

Unless a new home is completed and is for sale as an inventory home, builders do not accept contracts with contingencies pertaining to home inspections. A builder is not going to build a new home for you and allow you to cancel the contract. Most builders do not mind you bringing a professional home inspector to accompany you on your pre-settlement inspections. Some builders work with buyers scheduling several inspections during the construction process.

As a buyer, you may add to your offer a provision allowing you at least three inspections before settlement with a professional home inspector. Your inspector will especially want to check the property right after the foundation is poured, just before your home is dry-walled, and a couple of days before settlement. These inspections cost between $175 and $500, depending on the size and price of your home. When hiring a home inspector, you may want to negotiate with him or her on a package of three inspections.

These inspections are not cheap, but an experienced inspector can discern the hidden flaws that sometimes graduate into catastrophes. At least these professional home inspectors can help you identify deficiencies on your pre-settlement walk-through.

Don’t forget your builder’s warranty. Bring that along on your walk-through. The standards and deficiencies described in your warranty will help the home inspector. Good luck.

Having been in the home building business for almost two decades, I know one of the most frequently asked questions is, “Who builds a quality home?”

Quality is the marketing buzzword of the 2000s for many industries, including home building. But just what is a quality home? Will a home inspector be able to make a difference in the quality of the home that will be delivered to the end user? My answer to the quality question is it all comes down to the construction superintendent. This on-site person sets the standard for the level of construction for your home. A home inspector scrutinizes the end product, but it’s what is behind the walls that makes the difference in the performance of your home.

Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t buy a “used home” without a home inspector. I want a professional to tell me if an expensive item like a furnace or roof is in good condition, or if I may need a replacement in the near future. However, in most new homes major items such as these are under warranty by the builder and the manufacturer. You should take the time to review and understand these warranties before you contract for your home. In particular, find out who will handle the warranty work: the builder, the supplier or the manufacturer, and for what time period?

The on-site manager inspects your home throughout all levels of construction. Many construction superintendents today have degrees in construction management. Find out the qualifications of the person building your home. Top companies have preconstruction meetings with customers to review plans and options to be built in their home. Do you have a level of confidence in the person that will be supervising the construction of one of your biggest investments?

Home inspectors perform a tremendous service, but the inspection is performed after your home is built. Usually, these inspections happen the day or several days before you’re ready to move in, many times with the moving van in the driveway. The inspector’s job is to find mistakes. It’s easier on everyone to be sure these mistakes don’t happen in the first place.

Tile Medallions for Your Home

In the 1700s, Josiah Wedgwood carried on the medallion tradition when he inherited a pottery shop. Wedgwood lived at the same time as British neo-classical architect and interior designer Robert Adam. Wedgwood took advantage of the classical influence that spread over England and produced pottery that harmonized with Adam’s furniture and other interior decorations. Adam sought to transfuse the beautiful spirit of antiquity with novelty and variety.

Wedgwood’s greatest fame rests in medallions on a smaller scale — on his jasperware, a dull white bisque capable of being colored and ornamented, used in a wide variety of collectible tableware, from mugs to plates to cups. The colors of the background were blue, olive green, black, lilac or sage, most often with white ornaments.

In earlier days, his larger sculptural pieces were often used as panel insertions in walls, mantels, door trim and furniture appliqu├ęs.

Now the designs are back in style. To keep the foyer connected to the rest of the house, use the same flooring as in the adjacent spaces. For interest, you might add inserts or a contrast border: stone or tile in a wood floor; Tile Medallions, or marble borders in a limestone floor.

Lighting is another consideration. For a softer ambiance, my favorite choice is a beautiful chandelier with shades and a dimmer switch. If possible, add architectural details, such as a dome where the light fixture could fit or moldings that could be faux finished or gold leafed.

A custom area rug using commercial grade carpeting is another solution. Even with a mat outside, people will wipe their feet on the foyer rug. But I’ve found that if the outside mat is sisal, people are more likely to use it. And the inside rug should be professionally sealed to resist dirt and stains.

Oilfield equipment – Cyber sales

Surplus oilfield equipment represents a hidden asset. Inventory managers are using the Internet to buy and sell equipment.

Oilfield equipment is stored and stacked in as many parts of the world as there are oilfield sites, and there are as many dealers of new and used inventory. Cyberspace is offering an expedient means of disposal.

Oil and gas companies increasingly are looking to the Internet as the venue to buy or sell new and Used Oilfield Equipment, while various third parties are playing the role of a petroleum business-to-business version of EBay Inc. by acting as auction houses, brokers or transaction clearinghouses. Meanwhile, many oil service companies are in the process of developing their own World Wide Web commerce strategies.

Virtually everybody that we know is talking about the need to put together an e-commerce or e-business strategy. I think that folks are still scratching their heads and trying to figure out what that means.

So much of the attention has been focused on the buy side, which is everything from electronic data interchange (EDI) links to electronic catalogs. I can’t point to a single example yet where a company in the industry has a comprehensive e-business strategy.

In the true spirit of entrepreneurialism, various third-party web sites are emerging that link equipment buyers and sellers. Some sites serve various industries while others are oil and gas specific. All the sites provide centralized databases enabling customers to buy or sell equipment without leaving their desks.

You have to spend time getting your machine polished and together. The Internet seems to be like riding a wave. It’s a very volatile thing. You have your ups and downs, and you’re continually adapting your marketing strategies to respond to the customer.

Everybody, especially in the oil industry, is looking to be more efficient, and this is the perfect tool. Our primary goal is to get the end user, the distributor and the manufacturer in a better line

There are many perceptions that someone is going to see something on the Internet and immediately draw out the cash, It’s not that easy. To sell anything in any culture, you have to sell confidence first, before you sell your material.

That confidence-building criterion implies that a local presence is necessary to ensure the customer that the item is going to work.

When a manufacturer sells an item overseas, he has service facilities to enhance the end-users’ confidence-when he buys a `once-off item such as surplus on the Internet, he doesn’t know what he is getting into.

We’re talking about reallocating assets. That could be casing, it could be tubing, it could even be a refinery, production facility or multimillion-dollar block of equipment.

Most people prefer to just pick up the phone. We think it’s going to change to more online sales in the next three to five years, but right now personal contact is still the most popular method for potential buyers to make first contact with sellers.

Sellers can choose between auction or fixed price formats to sell their surplus goods.

Petroleum companies typically spend a lot of time and money managing excess inventory and idle assets but are unable to maximize the sales revenue on these goods because they work with a limited group of liquidators, jobbers and auctioneers.

Third-party web sites expand the pool of potential buyers, resulting in competitive, market prices and faster transactions.