We chatted to Managing Director of French Corner Catering Popi Tomazos to find out the 26-year-old catering company’s secrets to success, as well as Popi’s predictions for trends and big impacts on SA’s hospitality industry.

How do you stay relevant in such a fast-paced and often trends-focused industry as ours?
Research is the key; thank goodness we have internet nowadays and either myself or a member of the team can look into food trends. It is amazing to have social media tools such as Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration.

What’s trending for you right now?
A more social setting with a lot of pass-around food rather than formal sit down settings. Other trends are a market-style feeling as well as the Mexican influence, which is a big hit for the social setting.

Biggest inspiration for you in events and catering?
“Food is Art.” Being able to create a masterpiece, have fun with creativity and executing our thoughts into a visual masterpiece.

Biggest lesson you’ve ever learnt?
You are never too old to learn, and communication is key.

An essential element for success in the hospitality industry?
Be humble. Listen.

The biggest downfalls for business in the hospitality industry?
I wouldn’t call it a downfall but rather an education. Due to reality shows and social media exposing more people to the “Art of Food”, people are now becoming food critics. Which is fantastic as they now know what to expect for their money.

A possible downfall would be budget restrictions. Due to the prices increasing year on year, the economy pulls on the consumer’s purse strings, who in turn reduce spend in the hospitality industry. The consumer tries to reduce the budget, but still wants the quality, quantity, passion and creativity that they’ve come to expect. This puts pressure on maintaining the operation of a business.

Do you predict any big impacts on the SA hospitality industry over the next few years?
Food and hospitality is constantly evolving, so every day is a new day in the industry. It is a matter of keeping up with the times, and listening to the trends and what people want.

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