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Year in Review: The Top 18 of 2018

Read Time: 4 min

Just in time for the new year, we’ve rounded up this year’s most popular catering, craziest cravings and unexpected events. From the most loved Mexican restaurant on the platform, to liquid nitrogen snacks, check out the top 18 Platterz facts of 2018!

Drum roll please…

1) Number of Meals Served in 2018: 1.88 Million

Is it just us, or does the number 18 seem to be popular this year? Since January, Platterz has served more than 1.8 million (and counting) meals to offices across the continent.

2) Number of Offices Fed: 1,200+ Offices

We grew from 40 employees to 140, from the East coast to West coast, and boosted company culture in over 1,200 offices across North America. Imagine what we can do in 2019.

3) Top Cuisine: Mexican Food

From DIY taco bars to chips and guac, the office favorite cuisine goes to Mexican food, ordered more than any other type of food on Platterz (and there are hundreds to choose from)!

tacos

4) Most Creative Meal Combo:  Liquid Nitrogen Apple Fritters and Liquid Nitrogen S’mores

Yes, liquid nitrogen food is a real thing. One office even paired it with a cocktail mixology class for their team!

5) Top Event Type: Family-Style Lunch

People say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but we beg to differ! Taking a break in their day is when teams are happiest, and what’s more important than that?

6) Most Ordered Caterer: Craft Kitchen

From sandwiches and salads to platters and pastries, this Toronto-based corporate caterer was the most loved by you!

7) Top Dessert: Ice Cream Sandwiches

It may be chilly outside, but that’s not stopping us from dreaming about pralines & cream ice cream stuffed in an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. With the most ordered dessert going to ice cream sandwiches, it doesn’t seem like it’s stopping you either.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

8) Top Lunch: Greek Salad & Plates

Ios? Mykonos? Santorini? Rather than hop on a ferry, offices chose Greek cuisine as this year’s most frequently ordered lunch. If we weren’t already, now we’re really dreaming of a vacation.

9) Largest Offsite Event: 1,250 Guest Count

Between booking the venue, arranging rentals, planning the decor, and providing the catering (of course), Platterz Event Specialists made lasting memories for companies celebrating any special occasion this year!

10) Most Popular Office Snack: Branded Cupcakes

You can never go wrong with chocolate or vanilla, but there’s nothing like custom cupcakes baked just for your team, for any celebration.

Cupcakes

11) Number of Orders For 1 Client: 2,620 Orders

To put it into perspective, that’s 7 orders per day over the span of 2018!

12) Most Unique Party Request: Dunk Tank

At Platterz, we stop at nothing to provide offices with their dream event. From bouncy castles to life-sized Jenga, we made it all happen, no matter how unexpected the request.

13) Top Food Trend: Poke Bowls

Fresh fish, seaweed salad and a little soy sauce go a long way for employees, and we have a feeling Poke isn’t just a fad.

Poke Bowls

14) Shortest Time Placing an Order: 8 Seconds

That’s really how fast you can check out an order on the platform. We’re not exaggerating.

15) Most Last-Minute Order: 45 Minutes in Advance

We received an email with a last-minute catering request for a meeting of 150 people. 45 minutes later, the food was delivered, served hot and ready to eat. True story.

16) Top Food Holiday: World Chocolate Day

Offices with a sweet tooth is a recurring theme, with World Chocolate Day being the busiest food holiday of the year, occurring on July 7.

Chocolates

17) NEW Lines of Code Written: 1,021,472

Not only did the Platterz’ Developer team grow 3x in size, the team wrote over 1 million new lines of code to make ordering on Platterz seamless!

18) Hungriest City in North America: Toronto, Canada

Torontonians sure do love to eat!

Thanks for a record-breaking 2018! Share Platterz’ roundup with your team, and place an order to hit the top of the charts for next year!

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Schnitzel Hub Oktoberfest
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Schnitzel Hub: A Traditional German Oktoberfest Celebration

Read Time: 3 min

With Oktoberfest just around the corner, what better way to celebrate the week-long event than with this go-to schnitzel spot, Schnitzel Hub? Walking into the restaurant we were greeted by owner Rita, who without a second thought, offered us a drink. Upon asking for a regular coffee, Rita, in classic Oktoberfest-fashion, insisted we had a beer. Never too early for a midday beer, right?

schnitzel hub pretzels

Getting the Oktoberfest party started early, we sat down with Rita over a couple of beers to learn about how Schnitzel Hub came to be. “My husband Yan, is a chef and has been working for many years in hotels and restaurants. He gained enough experience to open his own restaurant,” Rita explains. While thinking of concepts for their own place, their son expressed his love for schnitzel, and asked if he could “live in Schnitzel Land.” Thinking that Schnitzel Land would be a great place—to eat and live—Rita and Yan opened their first restaurant in 2008, naturally named Schnitzel Land.

schnitzel hub restaurant

“We want to feed everyone.”

Schnitzel Land became Schnitzel Hub when they decided to evolve the restaurant into a more upscale schnitzel spot with a modern twist: German imported beers, customizable schnitzels, and upgraded appetizers. “You can customize your meal from the meat to the toppings,” including eggplant schnitzel as a vegetarian option. “We want to feed everyone. [We have] eight or nine schnitzels on the menu, including weekly specials. We have chicken, veal, pork, and eggplant schnitzel, that you can customize the toppings with, turning each it into a different meal,” says Rita.

schnitzel hub chef

Schnitzel Hub Chef

“We bring lots of extra stuff [in] for Oktoberfest. People go crazy for it.”

We were eager to get to Schnitzel Hub’s favorite time of the year–that is, Oktoberfest. “We bring lots of extra stuff [in] for Oktoberfest. People go crazy for it.” This year, “the Oktoberfest sponsor is Hacker Pschorr”—quality German beer featured on tap. “We have pretzels, different sausages, sauerkraut, schnitzels, potato salad, and spaetzle”, which are all available on their Oktoberfest menu on our platform. Sounds like the perfect recipe for an exciting (and delicious) Oktoberfest!

Oktoberfest menu

“Platterz brought us to the next level. Before even opening [our] restaurant doors [in the morning] you can already sell large amounts. It’s a big benefit.”

Being right across the street from Platterz headquarters, it was natural for us to connect. We started working together early on, after discovering them in our own backyard. “Platterz brought us to the next level. Before even opening [our] restaurant doors [in the morning] you can already sell large amounts. It’s a big benefit,” states Rita on our longstanding relationship. “It used to take me hours with clients to book catering. It would take us two days to feed offices with dietary restrictions. It saves a lot of energy, and is a great thing.” Our platform makes it easier on our caterers and customers to accommodate dietary restrictions, while also creating custom meals with our advanced meal builder technology. We were thrilled to hear Rita’s feedback, knowing we have made it easier for her.

Schnitzel Hub schnitzel

Bring on the pretzels, spaetzle, and schnitzel. So as they say in Munich, ‘ein prosit!’

 

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Instagram: @schnitzelhub

Twitter: @Schnitzel_HUB

Website: http://www.schnitzelhub.com/

City: Toronto

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How SIPBAR Brings the Party to Your Office

Read Time: 3 Min

From an app concept to a booming full service business, SIPBAR began when brothers, Jack, Daniel, and Alex created a restaurant-rewards app while running pop-up bars in offices on the side. Bar bookings were filling up the brothers’ schedules, becoming the core of their business, causing the app to be put on hold. They saw an opportunity to create an elevated corporate bar experience that would change the way offices host events.

cocktails

“[You can] create a bar that suits your specific event profile, and check out online, in less than two minutes”.

Our visit with SIPBAR was unlike any other—they invited us to their summer party (how lucky are we)?! Upon arriving, the brothers welcomed us as if we were longtime friends—offering us drinks and food, while live music was playing in the background. The event had all the ingredients for a lively party, complete with food from one of our most popular Toronto catering partners, Per Se Catering. We sat down with Alex and Edmund, SIPBAR’s Toronto City Lead. “Corporate event planners have a difficult time pulling together an elevated bar experience at a reasonable price for any event, while caterers don’t put as much effort into their cocktails and bar experience”, explains Alex. “SIPBAR.com, was the solution to that. [You can] create a bar that suits your specific event profile, and check out online, in less than two minutes”.

office party

“It comes down to the bartenders, the team, the cocktails, and the quality of ingredients.”

“We started building the business around an efficient high level scalable bar service”, Alex explains. “We have a wide range of products–anything from craft beer, premium wines, spirits, and a cocktail menu that changes season by season,” Edmund adds. SIPBAR puts an emphasis on customer service, ensuring that all clients have a bar experience that is unmatched by any other service alike. “It comes down to the bartenders, the team, the cocktails, and the quality of ingredients.”

SIPBAR bartender

“Having Platterz as a sales arm and marketing channel has a direct benefit.”

SIPBAR launched in January 2017 and began working with our team that October. We have had the honor of watching SIPBAR grow from the early stages all the way through to now, where they have officially launched in New York City (and are a part of our roster of NYC vendors as well). “I always feel like Platterz wants to learn more about our product to be able to promote us better on the [Platterz] site,” Edmund explains, speaking to our partnership. “Having Platterz as a sales arm and marketing channel has a direct benefit,” Alex adds. Platterz has unique offerings for our clients, especially through SIPBAR, so we were thrilled to hear such positive feedback. We have an upscale bar service that pairs well with any event, meeting, or happy hour—safe to say, SIPBAR and Platterz are a pretty killer team together.

office party
With Fall officially upon us, we’re starting to plan for the holiday season (did we mention we can plan your office holiday parties—for free?), and we’re thinking of all the amazing drinks and cocktails SIPBAR can add to your event. Looking for a custom cocktail? Get brainstorming, and let’s plan a party to remember.

 

For behind the scenes footage from our shoot, check out our Instagram page highlights!

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Instagram: @thesipbar

Website: https://www.sipbar.com/

Cities: New York City & Toronto

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It’s Not a Myth: Aaamazing Salad is Truly Amazing

Aaa·ma·zing Sa·lad

/AHˈmāziNG ˈsaləd/

When moving to Canada from China eight years ago, chef-owners Eva and her husband, Jacky, wanted to do something AH-mazing. Fast forward eight years, Aaamazing Salad is a booming healthy spot in Toronto’s trendy Kensington Market. One being a chef and the other boasting an art background, this dynamic husband and wife duo creates colorful healthy salads that appeal to not only the eye, but also the body.

“In China, salad is just fruit and romaine lettuce with a simple dressing. Here, salad can be a [whole] meal.”

Aaamazing Salads Salad

When first moving to Montreal, Eva and Jacky walked past a salad restaurant that had a lineup out the door. Coming from China, the two of them never thought that salad could serve as a main dish, nor be a restaurant’s main focus–they only viewed it as an appetizer. “In China, salad is just fruit and romaine lettuce with a simple dressing. Here, salad can be a [whole] meal,” says Eva. With a young daughter, who they wanted to grow up living a healthy lifestyle, the couple was inspired by this Montreal spot, and thought ‘we can do this too’!

“It’s pronounced AH-mazing. I wanted to do something amazing, and it just came to me.”

Kensington Salad Spot Owners, Eva and Jacky

After diving deeper into health and nutrition research, Eva and Jacky started experimenting with nutrients and various healthy flavors. “We try to match tastes together, while also thinking of everybody’s’ [nutritional] needs. I also love the colors of vegetables,” Eva explains as she compares salad to a piece of art. When asked about the name of her restaurant, Eva explains “it’s pronounced AH-mazing. I wanted to do something amazing, and it just came to me.” We can attest that her salads are AH-mazing indeed!

“We have to get the best [quality] of each ingredient. Quality product is more expensive, but it’s worth it.”

Aaamazing Salads Salad
In 2014, Eva and Jacky opened Aaamazing Salad. Prior to opening, Eva explains that they worked on developing their asian sesame dressing for more than one and a half years, and continue to perfect it, four years later. Eva and Jacky use the same approach in developing their whole menu; they are always working to improve the taste and ingredients of their product. “Quality [of ingredients] is really important,” explains Eva. “We have to get the best [quality] of each ingredient. Quality product is more expensive, but it’s worth it.”

“We start with a new recipe for a dressing, and based on the texture, we match it to grains or salads and then build up from there.”

Preparing Salads

The items on the menu all start with an idea. “We start with a new recipe for a dressing, and based on the texture, we match it to grains or salads and then build up from there,” describes Eva. Their popular (and delicious) Rocket Bowl began with a chickpea sauce. “Step by step we add ingredients”, such as eggs and avocados which are key items in the Rocket Bowl.

“Platterz gives us a chance to serve a lot of different customers and really big companies.”

Kensington Market Spot, Aaamazing Salads
Aaamazing Salad heard about Platterz from another local spot, Toronto Popcorn Company, who serve gourmet popcorn flavours—including Maple Bacon Popcorn. Yes, you read that right—just across the street from Eva’s restaurant. “Platterz gives us a chance to serve a lot of different customers and really big companies,” denotes Eva on our working relationship. “Platterz focuses on both their customers and their partnerships, making sure both parts are happy.  We can really feel it. I’ve had a really good experience working with Platterz, and give a lot of thanks to Platterz for our business.”

Colourful Salads
Eva made us feel so at home during our visit, and ensured we did not go hungry either. She sent us home with enough salad to feed our team for a week (not to mention it was incredibly delicious AND colorful).

What are you waiting for? Bring some healthy colour into your office—people will love it, we promise!

 

For behind the scenes footage from our shoot, check out our Instagram page highlights!

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Instagram: @aaamazingsalad

City: Toronto, Ontario

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How To Host The Happiest of Office Happy Hours

Summer is commonly known as Post-Work Drink Season, Patio Season, Leave-The-Office-Early Season, but here at Platterz, we call it Happy Season. What happens during Happy Season you might ask? For starters, they key is narrowing it down to an hour. That peak hour between 4:00pm-5:00pm on a Friday in August: one of—if not the most—happiest hours of the week. The team is preparing to head out of the office for the weekend, and people are starting to wind down after a week of hard work. We can’t think of a better way to kick off the anticipated weekend than with an office happy hour! Here are a few tools to help you plan the joyous occasion—that is, a Friday afternoon.

First things first: mark your calendars.  

Calendar

It goes without saying that no one wants to have meetings late on a Friday afternoon. Just incase, it’s important to have this hour booked in your team’s calendar well in advance. If you’re looking to get creative, try out Canva, the super easy, super FREE web program that allows you to customize invitations. The best way to entice coworkers to attend (aside from the beverages and great company) is to make the invite clear, concise and most importantly, catchy.

Get mixing.   

Coworkers drinking at office party

Before you get to mixing the cocktails, it’s key that everyone in the office gets to mix and mingle with one another. This is, in fact, what Platterz preaches every single day. To ensure that all employees are chatting not just amongst their respective teams, but with all of their coworkers, introduce a few interactive games and/or activities.  Try these conversation starters to help break the ice. Have you ever heard of Two Truths and a Lie? Or, liven things up with old-school Music Bingo. There are so many ways to bring everyone together to collaborate, compete and communicate.

When hunger strikes, opt for light bites.  

Cheese platter
4pm hits and the late-afternoon cravings kick in. The problem? You don’t want to spoil yours or anyone’s appetite for dinner. The solution? Plan ahead with a few bite-sized snacks and appetizers for your whole office to enjoy. For the elevated audience, pair wine with a cheese platter and fresh fruit. If your team is more of the cocktail crowd, how about an assortment of dips and canapés? Don’t worry if your office prefers the casual classics like sliders, pizza and chips. There’s more than enough for them too.

Last, but most definitely not least: the beverages.  

Glass of beer
A pop-up bar? Yes, it exists. The easiest way to host an in-office, out-of-the-box happy hour is to bring the bar (and bartenders) to you through a bar service, such as SIPBAR. This includes certified bartenders, selections of craft beers, quality wines, premium spirits and custom cocktails—so custom that you can bring in a mixing station for your team to participate! Or, if you’re on a tight budget and plan to keep it low-key, visit the nearest liquor store and pick up a few cases of locally brewed beer or ciders. You can even think up a themed mocktail, or spruce up sparkling water; there are endless alternatives to alcoholic beverages. Happy hours should appeal to everyone in the office, because after all, they’re synonymous with bringing people together during the best time of the week!

By implementing these four core elements into your office happy hour, you’ll end up with the reputation of being the office host with the most. Now we’re talking.

Want to turn your happy hour into happy hours and interested in planning your next office party? Platterz is here to help, so contact one of our Event Specialists to chat next steps.

Keep an eye out on FEED and on our social channels for a deep dive into how SIPBAR quickly became the one-stop beverage-shop that your event can’t live without.

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Booyah: A One of a Kind Ice Cream Experience

Growing up in a house that was known by family and friends as “The Carnival”, it comes as no surprise that 24-year-old Blair Mincer, started his own ice cream and catering business inspired by his childhood. When asked why he opened Booyah Inc., Blair explains, “who doesn’t love ice cream? Everyone always comes in a good mood for ice cream”. Having always been a big dessert fan, it was an easy decision for Blair to open Booyah when he was looking for something to do during his summers off of school. Booyah, a gourmet ice cream shop, opened four years ago and is already a Toronto favorite.

“Everyone always comes in a good mood for ice cream.”

ice cream cones

Using bits and pieces of Blair’s youth to influence his shop, Booyah felt like a childhood dream. With the smell of freshly baked cookies, sprinkle-covered ice cream cones, a soft serve ice cream machine (which Blair’s family had in his house growing up), and a large neon sign that spells out “BOOYAH”, we were so excited to learn about Blair and his catering business (and eat some ice cream too)!

“I knew right there. It was a sign.”

freshly baked cookies

The shop’s name, Booyah originated from a family friend who always shouted “Booyah” when playing board games together. Searching for the perfect name for his ice cream shop, Blair spoke with a friend of his dad’s, who out-of-the-blue suggested “Booyah”—a word that had already come to mean something in the Mincer household. “I knew right there. It was a sign,” remarks Blair.

neon Booyah sign

“Some of our ice cream is Kawartha Dairy, and some I make myself.”

Having gone to school for political science and accounting, Blair landed himself in an unexpected yet exciting career; he is both a business owner and a self-taught ice cream expert. “Some of our ice cream is Kawartha Dairy, and some I make myself.” And, if anyone knows Kawartha Dairy ice cream… you know we’re talking serious ice cream quality. “I read a lot of textbooks about ice cream,” says Blair about his 25 (and counting) original ice cream flavours (including vegan flavours). He experiments with different recipes to create the “not-so-typical ice cream flavours” such as Strawberry Balsamic, Corn on the Cob, and Earl Grey.

“My ice cream has only 8 ingredients in it…”

“My ice cream has only 8 ingredients in it, and is not a list of 50 ingredients. It was important to me that I can pronounce all the ingredients I use in my ice cream.” Blair gave us a bit of an ice cream chemistry lesson as well; “ice cream has different qualities, by percent of fat, and I knew I wanted to be at the top. Super premium product has more fat than sugar, and my ice cream is at around 18-19% fat with 7-8% sugar.” You taste fats. When you pick up a bucket of regular ice cream and my ice cream, mine is about double the weight,” he explains as he speaks to the delicious creamy quality of his ice cream.

“I’ve had a lot of business I wouldn’t have had without the platform.”

ice cream sandwich

Booyah joined Platterz this past May. “I’ve had a lot of business I wouldn’t have had without the platform,” explains Blair. “I don’t have to worry about collecting money, or any outstanding balances. It’s all taken care of by Platterz.” His most popular items through our catering platform are the ice cream sandwich platters, and has accommodated corporate events anywhere from 20 to 350 people through our platform. Booyah is able to cater over one thousand ice cream sandwiches at once (we’re drooling at the thought of what over 1000+ ice cream sandwiches would look and taste like).

ice cream sandwich platter

With our minds full of joy after hearing Booyah’s story, and our stomachs full of ice cream, we left Booyah pretty happy. Blair is right—everyone is in a good mood when ice cream is involved.

Thinking of hosting an ice cream party at your office? Order Booyah and bring some whimsical, ice cream magic to your team!

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The Platterz Effect: How Daily Lunches Feed Top Hat’s Culture

Top Hat, an education technology company, uses Platterz to order daily lunches for their constantly growing team of 320. We went to Top Hat to learn about their team, their company, and their time with Platterz!

Arriving just before lunch, we were welcomed into their bright, wide-open space. Their office was designed to encourage collaboration; on the layout of their space, Lydia, a Top Hat Office Coordinator explains: “There are no closed doors.” It was clear from the get-go that office culture is a priority for Top Hat—something we can definitely relate to here at Platterz.

open collaborative space

As two Toronto-based startups in the tech industry, we have had a long-lasting collaborative relationship with Top Hat, who has used our office catering platform since we first launched. Top Hat is the provider of the leading cloud-based teaching platform for higher education. Top Hat’s mission is to make higher education more effective, affordable, and engaging. One of the ways they accomplish this is by making textbooks, test materials, and educational content right in the palm of students’ hands. “Students are on their phones anyway, so why don’t we just put the content right in front of them,” says Office Manager, Russ. He mentions that they designed their lunchroom to “make it more like school. Everyone comes down to eat together, no matter what department or floor. Everyone has room to eat together.”

top hat daily lunches

“Hardly anyone ever leaves the office for lunch. Why would you ever need to go to a restaurant, if you know you’re getting delicious food at the office everyday?”

At Platterz, we are strong believers that when teams come together over shared meals, they’re happier, healthier, and more productive. Speaking to Top Hat’s lunch culture, Lydia emphasizes that “hardly anyone ever leaves the office for lunch. Why would you ever need to go to a restaurant, if you know you’re getting delicious food at the office everyday? Even if team members have lunch meetings they will ask if they can bring [external] people into the office for food.” Bringing lunch meetings in to the office to avoid missing out on delicious meals? We want in too!

“I think it’s those little things that make a big difference for employees.”

top hat daily lunches

“I think it’s those little things that make a big difference for employees. They enjoy coming to work, and they feel provided for which incentivizes them to keep working really hard,” Lydia says. Platterz is here to make offices more human, so it was especially exciting for us to hear that this has been the case for Top Hat.

“We know how stressful it is to order food [just] one day for 300 people, whereas doing it every single day takes a lot—it takes a team, and it takes a platform.”

Lydia explains how hers and Russ’s positions are all encompassing, and that ordering food is made easy with our platform, taking a stressor off their plate; “We always joke that we do everything (we’re like plumbers, nurses, whatever it is, we do it), so if we also had to order food everyday and make sure that all allergies and tastes were catered to, we wouldn’t be able to pull it off as smoothly as Platterz does.” Russ adds, “We know how stressful it is to order food [just] one day for 300 people, whereas doing it for daily lunches takes a lot—it takes a team, and it takes a platform.”

shared meals

We want to thank Top Hat so much for hosting us over their lunch hour. We loved getting to know their team better and seeing first-hand how Platterz has contributed to a positive work environment for their employees!

Interested in having Platterz cater to your office (daily lunches, food trucks, happy hours, etc.)? Be sure to create an event now! 

Salads
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Café Neon’s Healthy Catering Infuses Greek Heritage Into Every Bite

“In Greece, every village has a cafeneon, where all the locals gather to eat. A day doesn’t go by without going there.”

Walking into Café Neon, we were transported to a Greek café right by the Mediterranean sea. With brightly patterned walls, music beating, and the fresh smell of coffee, we felt far away. It didn’t feel like a Tuesday, or the beginning of a work week. It felt like we were in a small town in Greece – a place full of life and culture. We sat down with Greek owner Niki Tsourounakis at Café Neon, to hear her story and learn about her restaurant-catering business.

Veggie Platter

Named after the Greek traditional meeting spot, “cafeneon”, Niki wanted to bring a piece of Mediterranean culture to Toronto. “In Greece, every village has a cafeneon, where all the locals gather to eat. A day doesn’t go by without going there”, mentions Niki. Cafeneons bring people together over food – which at Platterz, we know a little something about. “I loved the feeling that they exuded. It was a local spot, and you met your relatives and friends, and caught up on the day’s events” Niki explains. Upon opening her restaurants and catering business, Niki wanted to bring this exact feeling to Café Neon and its cocktail counterpart, Bar Neon.

Being born into three family restaurants, Niki always felt at home in the kitchen. “I just had it in me”, she says. “I learned so much being in the restaurants. I learned how to cook by watching the chefs in the kitchen. I still have visions of how they prepared things to this day.”

“This is what I should be doing. It’s my passion.”

Despite her family history in the restaurant industry, Niki wanted to do something different. “I thought I wanted to leave the restaurant industry to challenge myself more. I went to school for forensic psychology. I wanted to be a criminal profiler.” After going through schooling for forensic psychology, Niki purchased a property and rented it out to a budding chef. “Watching him cook re-inspired me, and brought it back out of me. I thought to myself, what am I doing? This is what I should be doing. It’s my passion.” Stemming from this realization, Niki started participating in catering events, cooking out of her small apartment.

“I just dreamt it. I thought, this is going to be the place, this is perfect.”

Keeping busy with small-scale catering events, Niki was approached to do an office launch party for 300 people. Seemingly an ambitious undertaking, Niki was ready for the challenge. “I was cooking out of my tiny loft, but I never say no to anything.” Inspired by the neighbourhood of the event, she ended up finding a vacant space online, which would become Café Neon. “I just dreamt it. I thought, this is going to be the place, this is perfect.” Café Neon opened shortly thereafter in 2011, and just six months later, Niki opened Bar Neon. She now operates the business with her partner Katy Chan, who is a Stratford trained chef. 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

“We like to stick to simple ingredients, and letting them shine. Less is more.”

With a healthy Mediterranean fusion menu, Café Neon’s food is made from scratch. “One of our biggest mantras is that we don’t use anything that’s processed and we use mostly organic ingredients. We make everything.” Niki is proud of the ingredients she and her team uses, and even imports her family’s olive oil from Greece. “It tastes like liquid-gold.” She mentions how eating healthy is important to her, and how this is incorporated into her catering. “We like to stick to simple ingredients and let them shine. Less is more.” 

Café Neon signed on with Platterz about a year ago. On working with Platterz, Niki says “it feels like having an extra team member.” We work with our vendors daily to make sure that they feel like they are a part of our family, so it was extra exciting to hear Niki say that she feels like we are a part of her team.

In terms of opportunity, Niki reflected on how her business has recently evolved. “We’re catering to people we would’ve never approached. We don’t really advertise that we cater, and we don’t really have to because of Platterz. They’ve opened a lot of avenues for us, and are allowing us to grow at a much faster pace.”

Cafe Neon

After hearing about Niki, her Greek heritage, and how the kitchen is Niki’s natural habitat, our admiration for Café Neon instantly grew. This is why we love meeting our vendors – their stories and the care they put into their food is truly inspiring. We felt very at home during our time at Café Neon, and love the way Niki’s passion for food comes through in her catering. If your team is in need of some healthy comfort food, Cafe Neon has got you covered! Take a look at their menu on Platterz and be sure to let us know what you think!

Take a look at their menu on Platterz and be sure to let us know what you think!

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The Top 10 Most Popular New York Office Caterers of 2017

2017 was Platterz’ first year in New York, and we couldn’t be more excited to have played a part in bringing hundreds of NYC teams together over delicious food! Of course, it takes a village; in this case, our dedicated caterers, who time and again brought Platterz customers memorable experiences, friendly service, and – most importantly – amazing local food. Without their help, we couldn’t fulfill our mission of making offices across New York City a little more human – so we’d like to take this opportunity to extend a huge “thank you” to all of our incredible Platterz vendors!

In the spirit of giving credit where it’s due, today on the blog, we’re featuring your tried-and-true favourites from the year: 2017’s 10 most popular vendors. Read on to find out which caterers and dishes our customers loved most this year for some inspiration for your next office meal!

10. Mulberry & Vine

Known for: Squeaky clean, yummy eats
Most popular dish: Broccoli With Honey Sriracha 

Who knew eating clean as an office could be this delicious? Mulberry & Vine was a Platterz customer favorite in 2017 for their hearty, healthy lunch and dinner options that made it easy to stick to the office health pact without skimping on taste or feeling hungry again by 2pm. Plus, gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options abound!

9. Toum

Known for: Authentic Lebanese fare
Most popular dish: Platinum Party Platter

Platterz customers in offices across the city experienced authentic, mouth-watering Lebanese flavor with Toum in 2017 – and judging by their popularity, it’s safe to say that they’ll continue to in 2018. Toum’s menu was a favorite for its simple, shareable meal options, versatile combos, and warming, comforting dishes. 

8. Bagel Café & Catering

Known for: Office breakfasts worth coming in early for
Most popular dish: Hot Breakfast

Bagel Café & Catering describe themselves as specialists in office breakfasts, and we think it’s a title that’s well-deserved! From their yogurt parfait and oatmeal stations, to their amazing classic quiche, our customers ordered from Bagel Café & Catering again and again for the most important meal of the day in 2017.

7. Bite

Known for: Café fare with a Middle Eastern twist
Most popular dish: Mediterranean Salad 

For reliably fresh and organic soups, sandwiches, and salads with a Middle Eastern spin, our NYC customers loved turning to Bite in 2017. They offer everyone’s favorite café classics – and yet they’re so much more than a café, bringing authentic international flavors into the mix for dishes as memorable as they are filling.

6. Tompkins Square Bagels 

Known for: Hand-rolled bagels, schmear, and much, much more
Most popular dish: Classic Egg Sandwich

For classic, handmade New York-style bagels, baked fresh daily, our customers couldn’t get enough of Tompkins Square Bagels in 2017 – and that’s saying something in a city where there’s no shortage of great bagel options! Plus, they how to go the extra mile to make a meal special and memorable (dessert bagels, anyone?) 

5. Bread’s Bakery

Known for: Mouth-watering baked goods made fresh daily
Most popular dish: Rugelach Platter

Babka and more, indeed. It’s hard to believe that one bakery could do it all – but from elegant appetizers, to the freshest baked goods, Bread’s Bakery never disappoints. For executive meetings and simple team lunches alike, you can’t go wrong with Bread’s.

4. Landhaus

Known for: Farm fresh American classics
Most popular dish: Mac & Cheese

Landhaus brings a creative, flavorful twist to classic American dishes that doesn’t go unnoticed – or unloved. Our customers appreciate that their menu is comforting and fun in equal measures, and that plenty of vegan and veg-friendly options make it so that everyone in their office can enjoy what they have to offer.

3. Barney Brown

Known for: Amazing sandwiches made just right
Most popular dish: Kettle Cooked Chips

It’s clear that New Yorkers love a good sandwich. The catering team at Barney Brown know that, and hold it sacred, delivering on perfectly-made sandwiches with the freshest ingredients (and bread!) every time, for an office lunch that’s so simple, but so good.

2. Market Crates

Known for: Delicious food & a responsible company ethos
Most popular dish: Market Crates Signature Dessert Platter

Market Crates’ mission is to deliver wholesome, healthy, sustainable food to their customers, and they hit the nail on the head every time, without settling on flavor for a second. From their finger foods and snacks, to their breakfast and lunch packages, it’s easy to see why they’re a favorite choice of so many.

1. Todaro Brothers

Known for: High-quality Italian classics

Most popular dish: Assorted Sandwich Platter

This gourmet Italian grocer has long been known for the quality of their local and imported ingredients, and it’s obvious that our customers love how that same craftsmanship shines throughout Todaro Brothers’ entire catering menu. From great sharing options, to classic Italian entrees, to artisanal sandwiches made with care, there’s something for any occasion on this menu.