Money left on table: Lack of basic catering cuts out KML from profits

Daily Mining Gazette file photo The Keweenaw Mountain Lodge has enjoyed a profitable summer because of conventions and weddings. However, revenues could have been enhanced this year by catering those events, according to the lodge’s coordinator.

EAGLE RIVER — The Keweenaw Mountain Lodge could be missing a financial opportunity by not catering the events taking place at the KML, according to Harvey Desnick, KML coordinator, catering the lodge is equipped to handle. He added, however, that an adequate staff would reduce potential profits.

“I want to tell you right now,” Desnick recently told the KML Board, “because we did not do any of the catering — we left a ton of money on the table.”

Desnick told the board the events have been catered by a local business which, because they are done economically, are quite profitable for that business.

“They’ve been doing pulled-pork sandwiches and a couple of side salads,” Desnick said. “For this, they’ve been getting about $20 a plate … that’s a huge margin on that stuff.”

A pork sandwich, Desnick said, is one of the KML’s highest-margin items on a single basis, but while he was surprised that event guests felt the menu items were adequate for wedding parties, apparently they are satisfactory.

Desnick said businesses are not in the catering business because they are not profitable.

“People have not done well with the catering up at the lodge,” Desnick said, “because the expense side has been so outrageously out of proportion to what they’ve been doing.”

Although payroll issues are a drawback, Desnick said financial statements show events at the lodge showed a profit to the business doing the catering.

“After looking at the numbers,” Desnick told the board, “if it wasn’t for their payroll issues there, I think they were making money on those events, and I would have loved to have had the people capable of producing it. I think that’s where we run into a problem. You need a chef or a cook that gets it and can produce it properly.”