Raleigh caterer stays afloat by serving families with prepared meals, cooking classes for kids
Spring is usually a very busy season for caterers like HL Catering. The business launched in Raleigh after owner Houston Loper moved to the Triangle in 2013 when he married his wife, Katie, a fourth generation Raleigh native.Posted — Updated
"Katie ... spoke so highly of her hometown, and upon my first visit, I knew Raleigh would be an amazing place to move, not only to start our family, but to take my catering business to the next level," Loper tells me. "The food scene here and more mature palates have allowed me to push the boundaries and create elevated menus and food presentations beyond the norm for catered food."
Business was great for Loper, who first served corporate clients, but eventually added weddings to his work. He's catered large hospital galas, high-level political events on both sides of the aisle and professional sports events. But, in mid-March, business appeared like it would grind to a halt as the pandemic forced the cancellation of nearly everything. Loper, however, was quick to pivot, offering up not just prepared meals for families stuck at home, but also cooking classes, including a series of very popular classes for kids.
I checked in with Loper, a father of two young girls, to learn more about what he's offering and how it's enabled him to keep his business afloat. Here's a Q&A.
Due to this, we began making plans immediately with our team and initiated our prepared meal delivery service as soon as schools were closed, even before the governor's announcement of the statewide shutdown. We continued to think outside the box to fill the needs of our community and decided to launch our adult cooking classes to give folks an opportunity to get together and socialize and our kids cooking classes to help entertain them during this time.
Given that we have been required to cancel all events during our most profitable months of the year, we expected a devastating financial loss. Thankfully, due to our quick pivot to the prepared meal service and cooking classes, we were able to continue to keep our full-time staff employed. While we are still taking a serious financial hit this year, we are thankful to still have our team intact so we can get back to catering events as soon as it is safe. This time has proven to us the importance of diversifying our offerings, and especially since we enjoy them so much, we hope to continue to offer our cooking classes even when the pandemic is over.
HL: Chicken Parmesan with Sauteed Squash, Flatbread Pizza with Buffalo Cauliflower Bites, Taco Casserole with Homemade Salsa, French Toast Casserole, Chocolate Chess Pie, BBQ Chicken with Vegetables and Rice, Caprese Fritatta with a Avocado and Orange Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette ... to name a few.
Copyright 2024 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.