With nearly 40 years in the profession, Bill Hansen is continuously challenging the boundaries of imagination and breaking new ground as one of South Florida’s extraordinary full-service event design and production companies. Complete with over 200 team members, their sophisticated know-how, warm, personalized service and paramount commitment to your happiness guarantee to exceed even the highest expectations. In all that they do, Bill Hansen and his team strive to delight their clients and guests with passion, innovation, teamwork, and quality.
Renowned for their bespoke event planning and tailored gastronomic approaches, every detail of Bill Hansen’s impeccable service is thoughtfully designed and personalized to delight you and your guests. Since its inception, Bill Hansen has served four U.S. Presidents, Pope John Paul II, Bill Gates, top professional athletes, singers, hundreds of Fortune 500 firms, and over 5,000 couples. Bill Hansen uses a distinct approach of combining traditional and innovative solutions to turn your entertaining dreams into brilliant reality.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced while planning an event and how did you overcome it?
Catering for 10,000 French plumbers at Miami Seaquarium in 1995. We set up multiple buffet lines and were able to feed them all within 20 minutes as they arrived all at once.
Currently, we are able to cater up to ten weddings and events on the same day.
What are 2 trends in the catering industry that you’re excited about?
The importance of the overall experience continues to grow. Yes, food and service are important, but successful weddings and events touch all the senses.
Even with all of the high tech today, high touch is still in vogue.
What is a go-to meal for a tight budget that also leaves the attendees feeling like they’ve just been served a gourmet meal?
An enormous tapas table filled with meats, cheeses, veggies, fruits, and breads, followed by a buffet filled with comfort foods like meatloaf, fried chicken, rice, black beans, and plantains and an ice cream sundae bar for dessert.
How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?
Our vendors are trusted partners. Diamonette Party Rentals and I have worked together since 1988.
We pay our vendors on time, while they keep our prices competitive.
We do all we can to buy locally grown foods.
We welcome new vendors into our fold if they offer unique products and services.
How do you handle the diverse dietary needs and requests of your clients and what is one of the most challenging requests you’ve been presented with?
We accommodate all special dietary requests. The most challenging ones are for seated meals for corporate clients with as many as 20 different requests, all different, including Kosher and Indian. Assigned seating is a MUST under these circumstances.
Trust me, it’s a challenge yet, we deliver!
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
My new Youtube channel…which will position me and my brand as the ultimate entertaining resource in South Florida, providing all sources such as venue sourcing, staffing, wedding ideas, catering, rental equipment, and beverages.
What inspired you to launch your own company in catering? How long did it take from initially having the idea to setting up and starting to attract a client base?
I’ve always had the heart of an entrepreneur, starting at age 10 selling mailing labels, wreaths, and rose bushes in my hometown of Holland, New York. After Cornell, my duty as a Naval Officer, I worked for the private sector and hated it.
In 1980, my break came when I took over catering at Miami’s most prestigious private clubs, the Miami Club. And here I am, 40 years later, doing what I love 24/7/365.
What are some things you wished you knew before starting your business?
To buy my own commissary rather than rent for 35 years.
What is the most unique location that you’ve had to plan around?
Too many to choose from, but catering on Fisher Island under their airplane hangar for the Orange Bowl Committee in 1984 was tough because we needed to bring everything there by barge. This was long before it was developed into what it is today. Back then it was the old mansion and the hangar.
What sets you apart from other caterers?
First and foremost, my venue Villa Woodbine in Coconut Grove.
Our mantra is to delight our guests with passion, teamwork, innovation, and quality. These all come before profit. We know that if we satisfy our clients with a great experience, profits will follow.
Every caterer in South Florida has cut his or her teeth working for me at one time or another.
What kind of food are you know for and what is your favorite food?
We produce whatever the clients wish. Our diverse culinary team can produce whatever is needed.
Personally, my favorite foods are slow-cooked meats like pot roast, osso bucco, and lamb shanks cooked by my wife, Sugar Girl.
Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
Thank you for this opportunity to share with you.
At 74 years young, I’m not retired, but re-fired!