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There’s a whole team here at Robert Ryan Catering & Design that you may not even realize is a huge part of your event. Our operations department is the behind-the-scenes team that makes every event possible and has a hand in just about everything we do. On any given day, a member of operations can be seen cleaning, setting, stocking, delivering supplies, maintaining our venues, fixing equipment and the list goes on.

We sat down with our operations manager, Joe Marshall, to learn exactly what he and his department do. We learned quite a lot, and we think you will, too! Joe says the most important part of his job is making sure our venues are perfect for tours and events, while his favorite part of the job is the freedom he has to adjust his day based on what needs to get done. Here’s a day-by-day look at what he and his amazing team do.


Mondays are usually full of meetings and planning, not to mention unloading! First up is to get everything — including linens, equipment, bar supplies and rentals — off the trucks. Then it’s time to meet with the team to discuss events at Columbia Station, Philander Chase Knox Estate and off-premise spots and review notes, questions, needed equipment and supplies. A separate meeting for Barn on Bridge tackles topics like checking on the resetting and cleaning progress; walking through the venue and warehouse to check on inventory and placing orders for liquor, beer, wine, sodas, specialty beverage supplies, linens and rental trucks (if needed). Tasks will be assigned to team members, so they are ready for the week.

Tuesdays: Day off!


A visit to the Restaurant Depot for maintenance and janitorial supplies takes place on Wednesdays, followed by picking up liquor orders. The team will stage events on the warehouse floor and then load up supplies to be put on trucks for these jobs. They’ll also put linens on the tables for Friday’s events at Barn on Bridge and Columbia Station. Another important task is the touch-up cleaning, including chair pads, power-washing hardscape areas and working on maintenance and repairs from feedback forms.


The team will put away any other orders that came in, such as sodas, linens, vessels, etc. They’ll also load trucks with staged items for Friday events, pick up rental orders and grab equipment from Columbia Station and separate it by event.


On Fridays, the team loads trucks, sets lighting for events, prepares ceremonies and handles any final touches for the evening’s events.

Saturdays and Sundays

Weekends are no time for slacking off! Just a few of the many jobs that need to be done include unloading trucks, washing dishes, restocking supplies, counting linens, reloading trucks, cleaning and resetting venues and planning for the next week’s events. Miscellaneous tasks include cleaning the parking lot, changing lightbulbs and cleaning and washing trucks and vans.

Ongoing and Other

In addition to the regular duties, other things crop up, from seasonal issues like snow removal and watering flowers to installing propane heaters under the tents for cold weather and setting light timers based on the time of year. Of course, the operations team is also continuously updating the inventory tracking sheets, making sure supplies are used, as well as problem-solving for events.

Our operations team members are the behind-the-scenes superheroes who, with little fanfare, make sure you’re “wowed” when you walk into your event — that goes for your guests, too. Indulge us in a moment, then, to salute this important team and give them a well-earned thank you!

Ready to start planning your party? Schedule a consultation with one of our event managers today!

Robert Ryan Catering and Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a five-star rating on WeddingWire and has received WeddingWire’s Couple’s Choice/Bride’s Choice Award seven years in row. Learn more about Robert Ryan Catering & Design and tour our venues. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for exclusive offers, up-to-date news and recipes from our executive chef.

Kim MacKinnon

Featured photo: Robert Ryan Catering & Design; all other photos, top to bottom: Martin Reardon Photography; Moonloop Photography; Martin Reardon Photography; Mason Photography