Originally published on the Atlanta Business Chronicle, 11/5/18
By H.M. Cauley – Contributing Writer for Atlanta Business Chronicle
The hospitality bug, Adam Noyes said, bit him when he was growing up. He got his first exposure to the industry at Proof of the Pudding, the catering business his father, Phil, and his partner acquired almost 40 years ago.
“It was a year-old coffee shop at 10th and Piedmont when my father and partner bought it,” recalled Noyes. “As Atlanta grew, the business grew, and we started getting into the off-premises catering. By the late 1970s, people were asking us to cater holiday parties, and things morphed from there.”
The coffee shop is long gone, but Proof of the Pudding’s reputation as one of the city’s preeminent catering companies has held fast. This year, the company was a finalist for Spurgeon Richardson Member of the Year of the ACVB. Not only is Proof of the Pudding known for feeding crowds at major events, but it also is a favorite among individuals planning special events from weddings to graduation parties.
“Through the years, we’ve developed strong partnerships and exclusive accounts with companies like The Carter Center, the Infinite Energy Center in Gwinnett and the Georgia International Convention Center,” said Noyes. “We do business in the seven-state area [around Georgia].”
Before joining Proof seven years ago, Noyes worked for the Ritz-Carlton and Hyatt hotel chains. “But having the opportunity to rejoin Proof and own my own business was the best decision I ever made,” he added.
Noyes credit’s Proof’s popularity to two key elements: creativity and innovation.
“We do all types of cuisine, though a lot of people, especially visitors from out of state, love a taste of the South, so that’s our most commonly served cuisine,” he said. “But we believe customers in this fast-changing foodie environment, with Instagram pictures and instant feedback, take the first bite with their eyes, so presentation is paramount. It’s got to taste great and be creative, whether it’s on an elaborate buffet or an individual plate. For instance, we recently did a breakfast with deconstructed chicken biscuits, donut lollipops and fruit and yogurt parfaits that looked like ice cream sundaes. It was a big hit.”
Those elements have also made Proof a player in the metro area’s hospitality industry. Noyes sits on the ACVB’s advisory board and said he has employees assigned to work directly with the ACVB.
“Proof’s been involved with the ACVB on a team level as long as we’ve been in existence,” said Noyes. “Our sales and ops teams work hand-in-hand to support the efforts to bring in business, be it convention or leisure travel.”
William Pate, ACVB president and CEO, said, “Proof of the Pudding has been an important partner and a mainstay in Atlanta’s hospitality community, offering our convention clients innovative and creative concepts. Their fabulous food selections and impeccable service leave a lasting impression on our attendees and meeting planners.”
One of those impressed by Proof is Michael Gossling, co-founder and CEO of Do My Own, a Norcross-based company specializing in DIY pest control and lawn maintenance products. For the last five years, his firm has had a suite at the Infinite Energy Arena where Proof is the in-house caterer and customized menus aren’t a hassle. But it’s the companies philanthropic spirit Gossling appreciates most.
“I attend many fundraisers throughout the year for CHOA, the Aflac Cancer Center, the Rally Foundation and others,” said Gossling, who also started the Granting Grace Foundation for Childhood Cancer after losing his young son to the disease in 2016. “Proof is commonly donating a dinner for 10 to be auctioned off. For my personal golf tournament ever year, Proof always donates my afternoon meal for 120 to 150 golfers. They have giving hearts and love to give back, and that is a true measure of a company.”
Noyes said he hopes the company’s recent relocation to Atlanta’s Westside will help it expand both its charitable and business outreach.
“We’ve doubled our footprint with larger kitchens, more refrigerator space and eight loading docks,” he said. “We have a lot of collaborative work spaces and an employee break area we call the ‘meet locker.’ But what we’re most proud of are our people and the relationships with our customers. Taking care of our people and valued clientele has been our special stock.”