Family and Food are at the Heart and Soul of this Catering Company
Separate Tables Food Caterers, located in Santa Cruz, Trinidad, is a multi-dimensional food catering company established in the early 80’s and is the brainchild of Sheila Joseph, a resident of Trinidad. While going to school for hospitality management in Canada, Mrs. Joseph decided to embark on an entrepreneurial journey and started a small catering company with the support of her husband, Clifton Joseph. It was her passion and love for food that awakened her taste buds to the likes of catering.
In a short period of time, the business experienced exponential growth and Joseph’s children began assisting her on weekends, as they were enrolled in school at the time. Upon graduation from college, her daughter, Kizzy, began working with Bel Canada, a Telecommunications Company. She soon left that job to assist her mother with the catering company on a full-time basis because demand was high. Kizzy realized that she, too, had a love and passion for food, and, therefore, fully immersed herself in the business.
The family was contracted to cater for multiple events including weddings, corporate events and major events for Caribana, the Toronto Carnival Festival. They were soon coined the “Wedding Specialists” of Toronto.
In 2004, Joseph decided it was time to retire and proceeded to pack up and return home to Trinidad leaving Kizzy and her brothers, Nigel and Anthony, to manage the company in Toronto. Joseph did not go into full retirement because true to her Caribbean roots, she enjoyed cooking, so, quite naturally, she started catering small events in Trinidad. These small events turned into regular jobs and she soon found herself catering events for up to 500 guests.
The business began to thrive in Trinidad and in 2008, Kizzy made the decision to leave Canada and relocate to Trinidad to assist her parents with the company; her brother Nigel followed four years later in 2012.
The family’s regular clientele consists of the executive staff of their corporate clients, to include Massy Stores, Guardian Life Insurance and gas companies in South Trinidad. Menus are provided weekly, clients submit orders, lunches are prepared in the family’s commercial kitchen and a driver delivers lunches on a daily basis. In addition to their regular clients, the family caters private events such as weddings, anniversary and birthday parties, to name a few.
During the much anticipated Trinidad Carnival season, they cater events such as Vale Vibe, providing private meals for the staff, Punchy Punch and they prepare meals for their recurring client, Guardian Life Insurance’s private box. Their kitchen staff varies between 4 – 20individuals depending on the size of the event and at times, multiple drivers are needed for delivery services.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the implementation of social distancing rules, their business went from 100% productivity to 5% overnight. Shell-shocked and uncertain of the future of their business, they had to think quickly and found innovative ways to stay afloat.
The pandemic caused interruption to all businesses except essential services. One of their regular gas company clients, Nutrien, located in South Trinidad, contracted the company to provide 200 lunches and 200 dinners for their employees, as they acknowledged restaurant closures and the difficulty families faced due to the pandemic. The employer wanted to alleviate some stress for their employees and took care of all food costs for 5 weeks.
In addition to providing food for their client’s employees during this critical time, they provided meals to some of their private clients and other families within the community; these meals were delivered to the customers’ homes and all delivery fees were waived.
There was a special Mother’s and Father’s Day offer and meals were prepared and delivered to well-deserving mothers and fathers throughout the island.
It is important to give back so they going forces with the Guardian Life Insurance Company to provide free meals to different charities they work with; where a new charity / entity is selected on an annual basis.
An innovative effort is the consideration of providing homemade, on the go meals, which includes, but is not limited to, frozen lasagna, meats, seafood and chicken dinners. Separate Tables Food Caterers aims to provide products that make life easier for those at home and for those who are preparing to return to the workplace.
This family operated business was able to thrive by pooling strengths and working collectively to survive during uncertain times. With family and food at the heart of this every evolving company, there is so much more in store and we wish them continued success!