Imagine the upscale restaurant where your company takes its best clients for dinner. You wouldn’t necessarily call on this restaurant to cater your morning meetings, too. But Chase Devitt, the chef and owner of Brider, in Denver, wants to change how you think about the relationship between corporate catering and fine dining. His first restaurants, Acorn and Oak, let him scratch his fancy food itch. But, at Brider, Chase Devitt has developed a catering-friendly menu that ticks all the right boxes.
“We designed Brider to be conducive to grab-and-go,” said Devitt about how easily his menu adapts to Brider’s catering packages. “This food is designed to hold well and look good in a to-go box.”
The catering menu at Brider centers around the Denver restaurant’s prized Rotisol rotisserie, which roasts meat low and slow, until it transforms into tender, succulent main courses. Devitt’s chicken, lamb, and porchetta all have high fat content, which keeps the cuts moist under high heat. No matter how long your colleagues wait to open the porchetta and spicy kimchi sandwiches in their boxed lunches, they’ll still be perfect hours later.
But Devitt’s catering menu, which draws on his background in fine dining, took some time to iron out. Balancing costs with catering customers’ high expectations was initially a challenge, Devitt remembers. But he understands that office managers and salespeople often work with limited budgets. To bring costs down for his customers, but keep quality high, Devitt polled his team: “How can we make our food just as good as at the restaurant, but for a lower price point?”
The answer, as it turns out, is vegetables. Devitt’s team added entrée salads, like baby kale with shaved apple, along with sweet potato and avocado, to the catering menu. Then they turned sweet potato tots and fried brussels sprouts into must-order sides.
Even with fan-favorite dishes under their belt, feeding Denver’s corporate crowds made the stakes at Brider that much higher. Catering was a costly investment and there was little margin for error. So the Brider Denver team added catering orders to their kitchen slowly, improving as they went. They got better at thinking on their feet, too. “We’ve had entire speed racks of food fall over while crossing the street!” Devitt recalled of the team’s early days. “It’s about always having a backup plan, in case something like that happens,” he added.
Devitt has also learned that catering requires more work than running a restaurant. “But you’re cooking lunch for fifty people—it should take more work,” he said of running a business at a grander scale. “You’re impacting more people and more meals than one diner sitting in your restaurant, for good or bad.”
Thankfully, for both Chase Devitt and Denver’s Brider, corporate catering offers greater rewards, too. “When you see repeat orders, you must be doing a good job,” Devitt said. “People wouldn’t be spending a thousand bucks on lunch every Wednesday if they didn’t like it.”
In the mood for a porchetta and kimchi sandwich? Order a catering spread from Brider Catering in Denver.