Brands can flourish in so many ways other than traditional marketing and advertising. One of these ways is through corporate events. Whether it’s a company picnic, marketing launch or holiday party, planning a special event for your associates can help them network, which can boost innovation, efficiency and other key operational elements. Besides, they’re worth it since they’re your most valuable resources and best brand ambassadors.
One of the most essential aspects of any successful corporate event is catering. However, since there are so many details to consider, organizing catering can be a complicated task. To help, we’ve gathered some tips below so you won’t overlook a single detail.
Determine Your Needs
Prior to contacting a food service company or caterer, determine a few important details. First, how many associates are attending? Second, where will this event take place? Third, will any of the guests require specific dietary requirements? Also, what is your business’s budget for food?
Once you’ve determined the answers to the questions above, think about the type of food services you’ll need for your event. This can range from just appetizers and drinks to a five-course meal. Some of the different types of meal service include:
- Reception: This is a simple meal session that includes light or finger foods that guests can select themselves or servers rotate through the space. If your event is on the short side, this option is good for feeding people a little fuel for the trip home or a break between sessions.
- Buffet: If you need to provide food for lunch or dinner, consider a buffet so guests can serve themselves from a series of food stations with pre-selected food items. The price of this option varies according to the number of stations you select. A buffet can also be a great choice since it’ll provide associates with the chance to interact with one another while saving some pennies.
- Cafeteria: Similar to the buffet, this meal service includes different food stations. However, there are chefs or servers behind the table to serve food. If your event is more formal, a cafeteria set-up may be the way to go without hiring wait staff.
- Sit Down: For this option, guests are assigned a table and food is brought to them. However, it could be plated or buffet style, meaning each table receives plates of food to choose from or each guest receives a pre-plated dish of food. If you’re looking to give people the best service, this is the way to go.
Remember, you need to consider your space and the length of your event when choosing what type of food service to do. Although you may want to do a formal sit down service, it might be smarter to offer a buffet so guests can choose when they eat and how much they eat. Especially post-COVID, crowd control will be an important underlying factor as well, which means you may not be able to have everyone together at one point.
Research Your Options
Now that you’ve accounted for the event needs, start looking at caterers. Much like your previous homework, don’t slack on this selection either. Dive deep into your options and verify your information. Look at past reviews of caterers to see what other companies or big events experience they have under their belt. Did they follow through with what they said they were going to do? Are their menus open to adjustments?
Set up some phone calls or meetings with your favourite vendors for some one-on-one time. Ask them about meeting dietary restrictions or special extras that you may want during the foodservice. Remember to look at their certifications to ensure they meet all mandatory requirements of your area. Check if they’ve worked with your venue before or if they need any on-site needs. That way you can confirm with your venue if these necessities can be met.
Once you make a final decision on your caterer then iron out the rest of the details. Write down or ask for confirmation emails on what is decided and confirmed between the two of you, so if there is a breakdown somewhere, you can refer back to these agreements. Begin to meet or email with your caterer to get a menu nailed down.
Make a Plan
You’ve got your caterer. You’ve made the meal selection. You have the venue on the same page as your caterer. Now, you need to create a backup plan for any potential emergencies that may happen planning the day of the event. It’s better to have the contingency plan ready ahead of time rather than in the middle of the meal service.
Brainstorm problems that could arise, and how you and your team can prepare in advance. What will happen if the power goes out? What should you have in place if the caterer is late? Nothing brings event morale down like having guests calling a delivery service to bring them food. And you shouldn’t have to rely on them either. Hopping on DoorDash or Grubhub to bring you a meal is not a very professional idea for your formal dinner service.
In all likelihood, these disasters most likely won’t happen to your event. But being prepared will make sure a small problem doesn’t become a big one. It will also ensure your caterer has everything in place to make the service run smoothly.
Now that the work is all done, enjoy your work! Sit back and taste the sweet success of your catered event, and celebrate with your team.