Marketplace: Savoury Kitchen dishes up meals to Park City
Catering company aims to set itself apart with top-notch customer service
In 2009, Joe Saladyga had two choices when a close friend decided to shutter the catering company they had built together: work for someone else or start another business of his own.
He chose the latter. And more than seven years later, it’s clear he made the right choice.
After an uncertain beginning, Savoury Kitchen, the company Saladyga started near the base area at Park City Mountain Resort, continues to flourish. He said the business has grown to the point where it’s turning customers away daily because it doesn’t have the resources to meet the demand.
“I saw a lot of potential and decided it was the right time, even though it was 2009, which was probably the worst time to be starting a business,” he said. “However, if you can make it work in that kind of economy, you can make it work any time. We had a modest goal for sales that first year and have grown in huge amounts ever since.”
One thing that has helped the company succeed is Saladyga’s desire to provide top-notch customer service. For instance, Savoury Kitchen doesn’t book any other events on the day it’s catering a wedding, and it makes all of its food from scratch, giving customers restaurant-quality dining at their events. Saladyga does everything he can to deliver a special experience.
“When we walk into someone’s home, and the host and hostess are in bathrobes going, ‘Oh my goodness, what can I do for you? What do you need?’” he said. “We say, ‘I need you to calm down. I’ll pour you a beverage and you sit back and relax because this is why we’re here. We’re here to make you look good.’”
Saladyga said that stems from his guiding principle of under promising and over delivering. That’s something the company aims to do in many different ways and is the main reason customers come back time and again.
“We cater to them,” he said. “We’re a catering company. We’re not catering to me — we’re catering to them. So it doesn’t matter what I want, it matters what they want. Keeping that in mind and always putting the customer first helps set us high on the bar.”
Saladyga’s passion for food stems from his childhood. His mother was a caterer when he was young, and he recalled doing dishes and mopping the floors in her kitchen before taking on a more important role as he grew older.
By the time he graduated high school, his love for cooking was strong enough that he abandoned his dream of joining the United States Coast Guard and instead attended culinary school. Eventually, his career brought him to Park City.
“I realized, ‘Wow, I can make money in a restaurant, eat well and have a good time with people,’” he said. “It’s a fast pace and high strung, but I really enjoy that type of environment. Don’t get me wrong — there are days when I’m like, ‘Why the heck am I doing this?’ However, it keeps me on my toes.”
Years later, the uncertainty of what each day may bring is what has kept Saladyga in the catering business, he said. He has years of experience in restaurants, too, but nothing compares to the thrill of fulfilling custom food orders that may not even be on Savoury Kitchen’s extensive menu. He enjoys when customers push him and his staff into new culinary territory.
“I love being able to do different things or have a client say, ‘Hey, have you ever done a Cambodian menu?’” he said. “It’s like, ‘No I haven’t, but I’d love to research it and make it the best darn Cambodian menu you’ve ever had.’ That kind of thing keeps me in the catering business.”
Saladyga has not ruled out returning one day to a restaurant’s kitchen, something he would view as an exciting new challenge. But even if he does, he intends to keep Savoury Kitchen dishing up the same service it has since 2009.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he said. “It’s been a wild ride and a lot of fun. I suspect we’re only going to get bigger and keep crushing it like we have been.”
50 Shadow Ridge Road
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Another ski season is in the books, and much to the relief of the restaurant industry, the outlook, like the weather, is looking sunny.