Meet Sarah Pendleton
Sarah Pendleton, owner of Pumpernickel Pickle, used to work in the medical field as a respiratory therapist. Sarah’s husband Willie, co-owner and culinary director for Pumpernickel Pickle, has been in the catering industry for 15 years. Sarah recognized Willie’s talent and decided to leave corporate America to start their own catering company about 5 years ago. As Sarah says, “Sometimes those things pick you, you don’t necessarily get to pick it.” The decision to start Pumpernickel Pickle is a decision she does not regret and she has not looked back.
About Pumpernickel Pickle
Pumpernickel Pickle is an award-winning catering company whose style can be described as Southern with a twist. They have an amazing creative approach in their food presentation offering buffets, plated food, stations and family style service. During the past 5 years, their success has taken off. They currently employ 6 full time and 34 part-time employees. Due to their success, they have plans to expand regionally to Charlottesville and Lynchburg.
In addition to being a full-scale catering service, Pumpernickel Pickle also offers rental pieces. They have mixed vintage China, settees, sideboards, buffets, linens, and other accent pieces to create a unique look for any special event.
Customer service is important to Sarah. She makes sure to employ a staff that is pleasant and fun to work with becasue she wants all of their clients to feel special.
What Sets Pumpernickel Pickle Apart
Sarah and Willie made a very conscious decision to keep Pumpernickel Pickle mid-level. They have high quality standards and did not want to be a low-end company. However, they didn’t want to be really high-end either because they wanted to be affordable to working class and blue-collar families. They have tiered menus with different pricing to ensure that they have something to offer everyone. Sarah wants to offer the same level of service to all clients, no matter how big their budget is. “I want them to feel like a million dollars,” says Sarah.
Sarah’s Advice to Couples Looking for a Caterer
Sarah would first warn brides about reading too many wedding blogs, sites, and magazines that are filled with “fluff”. “A lot of that information that they go to automatically, especially for catering, is just a bunch of fluff. It is written by people that have absolutely no idea what in the world they are talking about,” says Sarah.
She would recommend starting with an Internet search of local caterers and then start vetting the companies. Sarah says, “You can do business license searches. You can also access health inspections, things like that. That is one of the biggest things I advocate for. Any unlicensed and unregulated catering company can absolutely outbid me. But, they’re not playing by the rules. They’re not paying taxes. They’re not under the microscope of health regulations. It might seem to you that that’s worth it but in the long run the thing is you’re going to pay for it in one way or the other. You’re either going to pay for it in poor product or you’re going to pay for a decent execution, good product from a professional catering company.” Sarah also recommends talking with other vendors and having conversations about which caterers they have had experience with.
The last piece of advice Sarah offers is to meet with different caterers. You want to ensure that your caterer’s personality fits with yours and that you will enjoy working with them. Also, food is subjective and different people have different tastes in regards to what they think is good. Once you choose a caterer you should be able to trust them completely and just enjoy your day.
Life Outside of the Business
When Sarah is not working she enjoys swimming in her pool, playing video games and watching documentaries and foreign films. Sarah is also a self proclaimed “Harry Potter nerd.” Recently Sarah has started digging deep into her genealogy and has been pleasantly surprised with the amount of information and the connections she has found. She is an animal lover and advocate with a cat and 2 dogs.
When sitting down to talk with Sarah, her bubbly personality and infectious laugh make her very comfortable to be around. It’s always nice when you find someone who is not only professional but relatable and fun. When you work with Pumpernickel Pickle you can expect to receive a reliable, quality product. They have won The Platinum Award from The Roanoker for the past 2 years and were awarded the Silver Award in 2015. Be on the lookout for their upcoming feature on Style Me Pretty. Thank you Sarah for giving us your time and letting us tell your story!
For more information visit their website: http://pumpernickelpicklecatering.com
Written by Blake King