Food. An event defining factor.
The food you serve will define your event. That is the long and short of it. Food is the medium that can transform your event into something truly memorable, it can encourage networking and discussion, it can put smiles on the guests faces and just as easily, if not done well, can cause untold horrors.
We've outlined a few best practices to ensure your food is the star of the show..
It is important to choose a menu that will work well for the occasion. Work closely with the caterers to come up with the best food depending on the type of event you are organising and the guests you are expecting. Do you want a sit-down formal style meal, a buffet, a cocktail and canapé or a mix of styles? If you have a theme for the event, incorporate this into the menu. The food is as much a part of the event design as say, decor or venue selection. By presenting the guests with fresh, healthy and great looking food your event will already be on the path to success.
Always remember the Event Goals?
Are you hosting a networking evening where you want people to be able to move around and interact with each other, or perhaps a formal gala dinner or food for a hospitality event? Think about what the clients need to do at these events and offer the food accordingly. A large side of beef as a centrepiece or sticky deserts may work well in a gala dinner but not so much for a cocktail function where people want to remain mobile, shake hands and eat on the move.
A good catering company will have years of experience and can help guide you with your choices. They will know what food is normally appreciated by certain guests and what less so.
Work within your budget.
An experienced catering company should know how to work within your available budget to create your perfect event. Sometimes compromises may have to be made but if a certain class of food is out of reach of the budget then they should offer similar, lower priced alternatives that will achieve similar results. Prosecco instead of Champagne as an example. If they are good caterers they will have other, less costly, options and will ensure you get the best food for your budget.
Never forget that caterers are also business people and they want the largest margin they can achieve, so negotiate. Never accept the first price and ask for alternatives if the offer or item seems expensive. Their fees also affect your budget so negotiate well to make sure you get the most out of them for your guests.
Catering for different tastes.
Never forget you are not just catering for yourself. Everyone has different tastes and preferences and your aim should be to offer something that everyone will enjoy. The ability to offer your guests choices and to cater for different food preferences will help to ensure that all the guests are happy.
Use the caterer's experience.
A good caterer will have many years of experience on many different styles of events. Each event is different and as such a good caterer should be a fountain of knowledge. Use this knowledge to your advantage and ask for their suggestions.
However important it is to use their experiences, don't be afraid to guide them too with your wishes. If you strongly believe your client would prefer x over y then make sure you stick to your decisions. The partnership between you, the event manager, and the caterer is one of collaboration, not dictatorship. This should work both ways if you want to achieve the best results.
With these hints and guidelines above you should have no problem making sure your guests are well fed, happy people at the end of any event. If they are they are much more likely to come back for a second course sometime in the future. Good luck!