Hanna Brothers is honored to be featured recently in Catering Magazine
In the early 1990s, Joe Hanna was operating a restaurant in Jupiter, Fla., when a TV show started shooting nearby. The caterer hired to feed the cast and crew was asked one day to also prepare the "second meal"—actually the third meal of the day for a production company, or dinner. Without enough supplies on his truck, the caterer asked Hanna if his restaurant could help. He did, and that decision eventually led to the founding of Hanna Brothers Motion Picture & Event Catering in 1997.
Jim Hanna had joined his brother in the business by that time (hence the name). "We bought some older equipment, and he and I did every project, start to finish," says Jim. "We would take any profits we made and reinvest, upgrading equipment, trying to build infrastructure."
The single-minded focus paid off. Hanna Brothers has catered for more than 200 productions during its 20-plus years in business, and now operates two facilities—its original location in Slidell, La., and its second in Fayetteville, Ga., opened in 2014 to work with Georgia’s booming film industry.
The productions Hanna Brothers has worked on include the last two installments in the Twilight movie series, Breaking Dawn, shot in Baton Rouge, La.; seven seasons of the TV series Burn Notice, filmed in Miami; four seasons of the HBO series Treme, filmed in New Orleans; and, currently, the TV series Queen Sugar, which airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network and is also filmed in the New Orleans area.
It also catered for the 2003 Civil War movie Gods and Generals. "That was memorable just because of the sheer volume," says Jim. "A large portion was filmed on a gentleman’s farm in Virginia, and there was a reenactors unit. Sometimes the reenactors unit was 1,200 to 1,500 people that we were feeding for three meals a day." While catering for a production, the typical day is about 14 hours, says Jim, starting very early in the morning to be ready for a crew call at 7 a.m. Hanna Brothers will serve an extensive breakfast buffet, then serve food a la carte off the truck until lunch time. Six hours after crew call, lunch is served, during which Hanna Brothers will again offer an extensive buffet, including a full salad bar with 20 to 30 toppings, bread selection, two or three vegetable options, three or four starches, three or four protein options, two or three desserts, and drinks. After lunch, the staff is placing orders and shopping for the following day.
"We’re taking care of the same crew day in and day out for weeks on end, so you have to give them a wide variety of food," says Jim. "It’s about doing a lot of things really well, and it’s also about taking feedback from your crew— whether in the form of verbal feedback, or what’s eaten and not eaten on a buffet line." Logistics can be tricky, notes Jim, whether it’s a truck that needs to be parked on a hill, or setting up a buffet line in a Manhattan skyscraper.
The location of the shoot needs to be considered ("If I do a project in California, I know I’m not going to sell any sweet tea, but in Georgia, that’s going to be what everyone drinks," says Jim)—as well as the ages of the actors ("If I’m doing a movie with a lot of kids in it, we’ll serve chicken fingers and mac-and-cheese," he says).
As for the stars of the shows, their requests and needs vary as well. "Some talent wants to be treated just like the rest of the crew, some talent will send specific requirements to the chef, and some talent will come up and cook with you," says Jim.
One of the allures of this type of catering is the down time. "A short movie lasts about four weeks, and a long one about three months, but between projects you get some time off," he says. On the other hand, Jim notes, "Sometimes it’s feast, and sometimes it’s famine, and you really have to be able to weather the famine parts, which is hard to do when you have employees and families involved."
For that reason, Hanna Brothers has branched out. It operates the movie studio-style commissary Hanna Brothers Studio Café in the Pinewood Atlanta Studios, a massive complex with 18 sound stages on 700 acres.
In addition to film catering, Hanna Brothers offers special event catering; assists with disaster relief catering across the Southeast; and operates Hanna Brothers Quick Takes, delivering healthy snacks and light meals to corporate clients in the Atlanta area.
So what advice would Jim give to someone looking to emulate Hanna Brothers’ success? "Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, because specializing is great and the film industry has been good to me, but by not having all my eggs in one basket, it’s allowed my stress level to go down exponentially," he says. "Then, it’s all about relationships. Get out there, work for someone else, and find out if this is what you really want to do. If it is, don’t settle for anything else."
Hanna Brothers Studio Café Expanded Services to Include Friday/Saturday night Dinners and Saturday Mimosa Brunch
The response to the reopening of Hanna Brothers Studio Café after the remodeling has been so overwhelming, we are expanding our service to include Friday Night Supper Club, Saturday Mimosa Brunch, and Saturday Nights Live Dinner.
We will be serving brunch Saturday from 10:00am-2:30pm. Our Friday Night Supper Club and Saturday Nights Live Dinner is from 5:30-9:00pm.
Connect with Hanna Brothers Studio Café on Instagram and Facebook to get regular menu updates and special offers.
Hanna Brothers Dehydrator Video
Hanna Brothers "Deeply Honored" to Help Out Southern Conservation Trust's "Land for Life" Benefit Dinner
Fayetteville-based Hanna Brothers is excited to help local nonprofit organization Southern Conservation Trust score a success at their "Land for Life" benefit on June 8—specifically by donating their signature Sliced Beef Tenderloin Over Dauphinoise Potatoes with Micro Greens entrée to the amazing feast, which consists of gourmet selections provided by many local chefs.
"The work that Southern Conservation Trust does right here in our little corner of Georgia is so important," said Hanna Brothers Founding Partner Jim Hanna, "we are deeply honored to be able to be a part of what looks to be a very successful event for a great organization."
"We are really excited for the support of Hanna Brothers of Southern Conversation Trust and the Land for Life Benefit," said SCT Executive Director Katie Page. "It is great to see a local organization so committed to giving back to the community -- and their food is delicious. We couldn't accomplish what we do without the help of people like the Hanna Brothers."
The Land for Life (formerly Farm to Table) is the Southern Conservation Trust's 7th annual benefit dinner to help further the organization's mission of protecting the land, wildlife and nature of Georgia.
In addition to the amazing food selections, there will be live music, as well as silent and live auctions. For more information, visit the Land for Life Benefit Dinner website.
Welcome to the redesigned Hanna Brothers website!
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