Brian Semple, One if by Land, Two if by Sea
Avoid the expected: "People are far more adventurous, these days" says Semple. "For example, most people used to come in expecting that salmon would be the fish entrée served at their parties. Now, they ask for alternatives; monkfish has become a popular choice. Customers want to know what will be in season at the time their party will be held."
For appetizers, he recommends, instead of going for the tried-and-true shrimp cocktail and Caesar salad, "We suggest more interesting cooked shrimp presentations.
"We also advise people to skip salad altogether," he says, "even though salads are usually quite profitable for restaurants. The fact is, people can have salad at home."
Instead, he suggests, if you're hosting a party, "you should take advantage of the chef's more interesting vegetable appetizers, such as tarts or soups. A tart is usually far more impressive than a salad," he emphasizes.