Kevin Lacassin’s Tampa catering company has just six full-time employees, but over the next four days, they’ll prepare some 2,500 meals.
Anticipating a Feast
Helped by a roster of some 50 servers and staff Lacassin keeps on call, the four-year-old Good Food Catering Co. will cater at least 17 events a day during the Republican National Convention—the equivalent of opening a brand new restaurant every day for four days, according to the Tampa Tribune.
On the menu at just one of the more than 60 parties: 500 ceviche tacos, 500 blackened ahi tuna entrées, and 500 fried macaroni and cheese lollipops.
"It may seem like just four days," Lacassin, a former food blogger, told the Tribune. "But we've been preparing for this for seven days a week for three months straight." He got a commercial kitchen inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum earlier this summer, and collected advice from veterans.
He said he was told that getting in and out of the convention area "will be horrible. Things you think take 10 minutes will take an hour … so when that loading dock opened at 6 a.m., our truck was already there at 5:59, ready to unload."
From Blogging to Background Checks
Lacassin, who began his blogging career when he was a bank manager in New Orleans in 2004, declined to reveal how many months worth of business the packed workload equaled.
It’s not a straightforward catering job. Lacassin and his employees had to go through Secret Service background checks and sign nondisclosure agreements.
Another Business Finds Notoriety
Lacassin’s small business isn’t the only one experiencing a windfall from the convention.
One independent coffee shop should also see a boon.
Its name: Buddy Brew.
That’s because you’ve probably seen its logo in a much-used Mitt Romney photo.
Owners Susan and David Ward trace its notoriety down to a bit of luck: A county commissioner named Mark Sharpe began frequenting the shop, hosting weekly gatherings there and using it for politics and policy webcasts.
A Must-Stop for Party Members
When officials from Romney’s campaign came scouting Tampa ahead of the Republican primary, they learned of Buddy Brew. So Romney popped in there in June for a meeting. So, of course, did the media.
Sitting at a table at the coffee shop, Romney joked that he himself was “out of work.” The gaffe from the wealthy candidate led the news.
"Every media outlet in the world picked that up," Susan Ward told the Tribune. "And they ran a photo of Romney with our logo right there behind him."
Later that summer, Tim Pawlenty and his campaign popped into Buddy Brew, cementing the place’s reputation as a must-stop for Republican hobnobbing.
Its owners seem bemused. Said Susan Ward: "We've never been that political about anything like this."
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