Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How To Profit To Catering High In The Mountains

Small companies can readily compete with major players by refining the experiences they provide customers. For Picnics on the Piste, a new catering business operating at ski resorts in the French, Austrian and Swiss Alps, those experiences are bound to leave lasting memories. After shushing through the crisp mountain air to a clearing offering a majestic mountain view, they can break for a buffet of hot soup, foie gras and aged cheeses with champagne chilling in a snow bank nearby. Or ski down a trail to an igloo gleaming in the sun, with a waiter inside, ready to serve lunch. Then after the meal (or before it, if they have sensitive stomachs), clients can opt for a brisk jaunt on a skimobile or a short ride in an ultra light plane.

Adding to the service’s appeal, British-French Picnics on the Piste’s spreads are affordable. A light gourmet lunch on a beginner’s slope starts at about EU 15 per person. Meals catered for expert skiers on more difficult-to-reach black slopes cost about EU 69 per person. Wine and other extras come at an additional cost.

True enough, hotels and resorts have long offered similar high-end services. However, Picnics on the Piste is likely one of the first companies to brand its mountainside meals by making them available at a growing number of resorts. The company has partnered with local villa and chalet management firms at several locations. A wise move, since those companies are experts at bundling lodging, meals and activities into the kind of customized vacation experiences their clients desire.

Naturally, peak experiences needn’t be confined to the ski slopes. A gourmet meal on a canyon trail in the American Southwest or a secluded beach in the Canaries could prove every bit as memorable. For the entrepreneurs doing the catering, the benefit is a low-cost way to start a company in a place where most of us can only dream of living.

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