Top tips for successful corporate event catering
The quality of the catering can make or break an event, but there are steps you can follow to help ensure your event is a success.
When it comes to throwing a successful event, catering is key. We’ve all been to events where the food has been substandard, and it can really make a big difference to how the event is perceived and remembered by guests. Follow our tips for successful catering to ensure that your event is talked about for all the right reasons
Before forging ahead and devising a menu for your event, it’s first important to make sure that you understand your guests. Take into account factors such as age, interests and occupation, as this can help you when considering what menu options to offer. For example, if you’re catering for a fitness conference you’ll want to deliver fresh, healthy meals, whereas for an event geared towards older people you might want to look at more traditional menu options. In particular, be sure to make yourself aware of any special dietary requirements so that all attendees have the opportunity to enjoy the food. If the event lasts all day, it’s a good idea to provide some good quality coffee to attendees, so hire a coffee bar to help keep delegates vitalised and alert.
Know your numbers
It may sound somewhat obvious, but in order to successfully cater for an event it’s important to have a good handle on your numbers. Make sure you know how many people will be attending and what the budget is as this will influence what and how much you can serve. In terms of quantities, as a general rule of thumb, for a canapé event you will need 8-10 items per person and approximately 3 glasses of wine. For a sit-down three course meal, people tend to expect half a bottle of wine per head.
Choosing your menu
Now that you’ve take the above factors into account you can get on with the fun task of putting together the menu.
The type of event you are catering for will have a big influence on the food and drink that’s served. For a formal event, a sit down meal works well, whereas canapés or bowl food might be best for an event where networking is the focus, as it enables people to mingle while eating. Meanwhile a ‘serve yourself’ buffet is often the most convenient choice a product launch or networking event.
When it comes to the menu items, you may want to consider adopting a particular theme, such as a regional cuisine or type of meal (afternoon tea for example) to really help your food stand out from the crowd. Seasonal and fresh ingredients can make all the difference to the quality of the food and, if you source locally, it should help to keep costs down.
An important thing to remember is to give your guests plenty of choice as this greatly increases your chances of keeping everybody happy.
Don’t forget to think about presentation and how you will serve the food, as this can have a big impact on guests’ perceptions. Again, this will be largely influenced by the type of event you are hosting. If you are offering a five-star, fine dining experience you will want to make sure that the crockery and service levels match the occasion, but for lower key events such as picnics and BBQs you can get away with something a little more informal. Disposable items work really well for this type of event, so bulk buy paper cups, plates and plastic cutlery to keep costs down and reduce the time spent clearing up afterwards.
Whatever type of event you’re catering for, a little forward planning and forethought, and a good understanding of your guests’ needs will help you to produce a successful menu and create a positive memorable experience for all attendees.