Whether you work in a professional kitchen, or you’re planning on hosting a party yourself, serving the right food and drinks are two of the most important aspects of a successful event. This requires skill and careful planning.
But, properly catering an event requires not only skills and organization, a caterer must also be knowledgeable about how to prepare large quantities of food for the guests. In other words, they need to be able to efficiently dish out food and drinks in order to keep everything flowing smoothly throughout the event.
From proper preparation, through to proper food hygiene and etiquette, there are many things you can do to ensure that your event is a hit with all those who attend. Check out sites like Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, to learn more.
Below, we’re going to go over a few simple tips and tricks for improving your catering abilities, which might even save you a bit of time and money in the end.
Create a Budget
Just like all the other elements of an event will need a budget, so does your meal planning.
Therefore, it’s important to sit down with the event’s management team to discuss what the expectations are for the food and drinks that will be served. This ensures that everyone is in accordance with the plan and you can then set out a budget that suits everyone’s expectations.
To put it simply, you can’t expect to serve a full-on wine, surf and turf meal, when you only have a budget for cheap beer and cocktail weenies.
Find more event budgeting tips here.
Stick to a Schedule
If the event you’re planning is going to have a handful of guest speakers or presentations, it’s important to plan the food and drink service accordingly. For this, you’ll also want to sit down with the event’s management team and create a schedule to serve food in between guest speakers.
This ensures that your guests are well-fed but will also remain focused on the event’s speakers.
Consider Your Theme
Before you really get into planning anything, it’s important to take some time to consider the theme or focus of the event.
The feeling that you’re planning to convey will help you determine how the event should be cater and whether it’s appropriate to serve a buffet-style meal or if you should opt for waited service.
Buffet-Style VS. Wait Staff
Depending on the size of your event, you’ll need to decide whether you want the meal to be a self-serve buffet, or if a full-service wait staff is appropriate to serve your guests and clean up afterward.
Learn more about different service styles here: https://blog.cvent.com/events/venue-sourcing/choose-best-service-style-next-event/
Typically, if you’re looking for a way to break up your event and allow time your guests to mingle, a buffet-style meal is the way to go. However, if the event needs to be focused on guest speakers and you want to save time, then a wait staff is the best way to keep your guests in their seats.
Take a Head Count
For a successful party, it’s extremely important to have an approximate headcount of how many people will be attending the event.
This allows you to plan the menu options accordingly and prevents you from under-ordering the necessary amount of food that you’ll need to feed everybody.
A good rule of thumb is to always over-estimate the headcount, which accounts for any unexpected or last-minute guests.
Choose Your Menu
When selecting the menu for your event, you’re going to want to follow a few general catering tips.
For example, if you’re event is a breakfast function held on a weekday morning, then you should make sure to serve a main entrée and one or two sides. You also need to serve appropriate drinks such as tea, coffee and fruit juice.
For lunchtime events, we recommend serving a 5-once entrée for each person, plus two or three sides, and a handful of appetizer options.
For dinner parties, you should plan to serve four or five different appetizers, soup and/or salad, a 7-ounce entrée per guest, as well as two or three sides. Oh, and don’t forget to include two dessert servings per guest as well.
Finally, the rule of thumb for cocktail parties, which don’t include a dinner meal, is to offer between 10 and 15 appetizer servings per guest.