How one industry giant relied on creativity and 40 years of local connections to navigate COVID-19.

Over the last 40 years, Bill Hansen Luxury Catering, has served as one of South Florida’s premier full-service catering services. The team is made up of culinary and catering experts who execute high-end weddings and social functions for large groups. The brand has hosted four U.S. presidents, championship Super Bowl teams, countless celebrities and athletes. In addition, the company has catered events for everyone from Pope John Paul II, to The Bush family, The Reagan family, Michael Jordan, Usher, Kim Kardashian and the list goes on.

Widely recognized as a giant in the catering industry, Bill Hansen Catering typically caters 400 events a year with 40 full-time and 200 on-call employees

Owner Bill Hansen has built a business that has grown and thrived despite periodic economic downturns including the global financial crisis of 2007–2008, the 9/11 attacks, Zika virus, Hurricanes Andrew, Wilma and Irma (where he served tens of thousands of meals to evacuees for the Red Cross) and the current COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of COVID-19, catering brands and other food and beverage operators have had to rethink new revenue streams in order to pay employees and keep the brand alive. Like all catering companies, Bill Hansen Catering was largely impacted by COVID-19, going from serving thousands of dinners a night, to rescheduling all large events entirely due to social distancing mandates. This challenge forced the team to strategically focus on new and creative ways to generate revenue.

As a result, Bill Hansen Catering shifted efforts from large group catering to family meal kits and individual dinners, offering delivery of five-star meals to homes and businesses via their fleet of customized refrigerated trucks and vans. They teamed up with like-minded partners such as  luxury brand Perrier Jouet Champagne for themed menus such as BBQ & Bubbles.

Over the years with the explosion of services such as Uber Eats, Postmates etc , as well as home delivery “Meal Kits” the potential for additional revenue growth in food delivery services has been massive. As caterers are the experts at hospitality to begin with, this market has become an opportunity for reinvention for Bill Hansen Catering who sold out of their creative culinary packages for Passover, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day and other holidays.

As many know, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. We also utilized our close relationship with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau to get special approval to participate in the city’s Miami Spice program, also known as Restaurant Month in other cities. Bill Hansen Catering became the first catering company to participate in Miami Spice, a two-month program that offers three-course prix-fixe dinners at hundreds of Miami-area restaurants during the summer.

Across the country, many catering companies have also adapted similar new business models that have shifted to delivery. Likewise, micro-dining for small parties with custom menus has become widely popular.

In South Florida, the response to micro dining has been tremendous. In addition to offering meals to individuals, groups are dining together, from afar. Bill Hansen Catering creates offerings for those groups who want to enjoy a birthday party, a catered meeting or a celebration. The group delivers the meals to each attendee’s home and they share the experience together via Zoom, Skype or Facetime.

As a luxury catering brand, Bill Hansen Catering is still executing weddings and social functions, but on a much smaller scale. They currently offer smaller, intimate functions through a series of elopement packages available on the company’s website. In order to accommodate these affairs, the catering brand acquired the capability to livestream small ceremonies virtually.

That said, 2021, is looking to be a record year. People around the globe are rediscovering what’s it’s like again to be eating at home. in a field, on the street, on a rooftop … anywhere  … and Bill Hansen Catering and Events, helps realize that experience.

Giving sustenance to customers, especially during this stressful and emotional time, is something that the brand feels is an obligation.

Two giants of the South Florida catering and restaurant scene, Bill Hansen and Dewey LoSasso, have teamed up to solidify Bill Hansen Luxury Catering and Event Production’s position as the leading special event planning firm in the area ( LoSasso’s career is a virtual “who’s who” of restaurants and luminaries, and this step will demonstrate his creativity and energy, as Hansen continues to dominate the event planning industry at more than 100 exclusive and preferred venues, spanning from Palm Beach County to The Keys.

LoSasso has clearly become one of the country’s top innovative celebrity chefs, having transformed numerous restaurants in New York City and along the trendy Biscayne Corridor. He has served as Donatella Versace’s personal chef and has delighted patrons of several of Miami’s leading restaurants, including The Forge Restaurant/Wine Bar, Schnebly Winery and Miami Brewing Company, LaTour, Pavillon Grille, The Private Foundlings Club, North One 10 and Tuscan Steak, to name a few. LoSasso was also the executive chef for the Lipton Tennis Tournament, now the Miami Open. While in New York, he brought the Hudson Hotel back to dining prominence. During his four-year tenure at The Forge, LoSasso led the rebirth of the iconic restaurant, creating modernized interpretations of classic dishes from the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, emphasizing farm-to-table and ocean-to-table ingredients. His “Coffee, Steak and Eggs Dish” was selected by Esquire Magazine as one of the Top Dishes in the country.

This skill has been particularly important in creating dining experiences for the likes of Ron Wood, Bill Clinton, “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson, Gloria Estefan, Joan Jett, Al Pacino among others. He has made appearances on the Food Network’s Chopped, South Florida Today Show, “the Chefs Challenge” TV Segment with CBS (Florida Emmy Award winning) and various other shows.

Expert Takes, Feature